How to know if you stayed in Indonesia too long

Sometimes we feel that we stuck (at least I had such feeling ;)) – maybe in the same job position, in the same surrounding. All the time going to same places, eating same food, doing same things and etc. And we don’t realize when it becomes routine.

When we are traveling and stay in one place longer, we see how we start to adapt to surrounding, do things which locals do (even if in our country it wasn’t common) and somehow it’s starts to look like routine as well ;).

So what are the signs showing that you are staying in Indonesia too long?

And maybe it’s time to consider moving somewhere else or at least changing something?

  • You are driving motorbike like Indonesian: don’t show anymore turns; start to drive when traffic-light still red; not wearing helmet (at least for the short distance); on your motorbike take big amount of stuff (or big ones) or at least on motorbike already sit with 3 people; driving with slippers and dressed fully (even if outside so hot); when you are passenger, you don’t hold your hands in the back.
  • When you meet a person in a street or in front of his home – you don’t get out of motorbike, you just shout to that person what you want to say (usually even without turning off the engine).
  • You are crossing a busy street using your right arm to “stop” the traffic and go through.
  • You don’t searching ”clean” or “aesthetic” places to eat but eat in small street “warungs” where sanitary condition not the best.
  • Start to eat almost the same food – “nasi”, “sayur”, “ayam”, “tahu”,“tempe”, “nasi goreng”, “gado gado” and “soto”. As well can’t imagine food without “sambal”.
  • You wash your hands after finishing the meal instead of before.
  • You have your own rice cooker.
  • You sleep soundly through the first call of prayer at 4:30 am.
  • Indonesians no more asks pictures with you (they recognize by your behavior, attitude that you are staying already in Indonesia longer).
  • You start do things in Indonesian style (wearing sarong, eating with hands…)
  • When you meet foreigners you start to speak with them in bahasa Indonesia, at least use some Indonesian words in English sentences or in your native language sentences.
  • You start to use expression “yah” (“yes”) almost in every sentence (“Makasih, yah?” – “Thank you, yah”?).
  • You start to use question “apa” (“what”?) more often.
  • Start to be late to the meetings at least 30 min.-1 hour.
  • Even if it’s looks that you are doing something, most of the time you do nothing.
  • Start to be a bit lazy to travel, find new places for activities, eating.
  • You start to smoke or if you are smoker, start to smoke more.
  • When you have possibility – you move to a cheaper living place even if there condition a bit worse than in previous place.
  • In Indonesia nothing surprise you anymore.
  • Start to ask yourself maybe it’s time to go home (or at least somewhere else).

After almost 2 years of staying in Indonesia, I already have almost half of these signs. So it seems I need to “work” on it harder and stay here longer.



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And here is Tomas (from Belgium) thoughts how to know if you live in Indonesia for too long:

  • at dinner, you automatically grab for a spoon first, then for a fork and you don’t even think about a knife.
  • upon hearing the words “sakitnya tuh di sini” (“feels hurt in here”), you pump your first against your chest.
  • you think car taxis are for pussies and you prefer an “ojek” (motorbike taxi) or at the very least a “becak” (bicycle taxi).
  • you feel deeply unnerved when you haven’t had rice for a day.
  • you hardly notice the “Hellooooo mister!”, “Bule! Bule!” or “Mau ke mana?” (“Where to go?”) anymore.
  • a stop at “Indomaret” is an integral part of your evening routine.
  • you think it’s outrageous to pay more than a euro for a haircut.
  • you sometimes involuntarily shout “Allah Ou Akbar” (“Allah the great”) or “LURUS! LURUS!” (“straight, straight”) in your sleep.
  • you feel more natural in a squatting position than on a toilet seat (but you still use toilet paper, because there are limits to your adaptability).
  • you think it’s perfectly fine to eat noodles for breakfast.
  • you wonder how the rest of the world survives without “Beng Beng”. Or “Es jeruk”. Or “Tempeh”, “Pop Mie”, “Roti bakar”. Or…
  • you can scoop up “sambal” with a spoon as if it were ice cream.
  • it upsets you if the gasoline price rises.
  • you don’t count sheep when you can’t sleep, you count geckos.
  • you’ve stopped using the letters ‘v’ and ‘f’ altogether and have replaced them with a ‘p’. You wonder how you’ll ever order a “kopi” in Europe again without being ridiculed.
  • you can only vaguely recall the taste of cheese and you don’t even remember that there is such a thing as wine.
  • you think it’s perfectly fine to put cheese on top of milk shakes, pancakes and fruit salads.
  • you know that the last two points are not contradictory.
  • you think it’s perfectly fine to drink from a plastic bag.
  • you can easily distinguish between the different rings and tic-tocs from the passing street sellers and know perfectly well which ones sell “bakso”, “siomay”, ice cream or bread.
  • upon seeing a white face, you have to refrain yourself from shouting “BULE!!” out loud.
When you living in Indonesia too long
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SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

  • Which signs show you that you stay in Indonesia already too long?
  • Do you think you could stay in Indonesia longer than only couple of months?
  • If you lived abroad for a while, which signs there can show that you already staying in that country too long?

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Wearing tube sarong

Before knowing how to wrap, keep it on tube sarong (or “sarung” in Indonesian language) I think it’s good to know what it is :).

“Sarong” (means “scabbard” in Indonesian) is a large tube or length of fabric. Tube sarong often wrapped around the waist and worn mostly by men (sometimes and women) throughout much of South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, the Horn of Africa, and on many Pacific islands. The fabric most often has woven plaid or checkered patterns, or may be brightly colored by means of batik or ikat dyeing. Many modern sarongs have printed designs, often depicting animals or plants.
Sarong denotes the lower garment worn by the Indonesian men. This consists of length of fabric about a yard (0.91 m) wide and two-and-a-half yards (2.3 m) long. In the center of this sheet, across the narrower width, a panel of contrasting color or pattern about one foot wide is woven or dyed into the fabric, which is known as the “kepala” (or “head”) of the sarong. This sheet is stitched at the narrower edges to form a tube.

So some practical information:

How men wearing tube sarong

In Java, most people now wear Western clothing. Traditional tube sarong is worn for ceremonies, for Friday prayers, and in its casual form, to relax at home. For casual and Friday wear the soft cotton tubular sarong is very cool and comfortable. Men wear them in plaids. The central Javanese courts of Solo and Yogyakarta are famed for their intricate batik “kain panjang” in fine cotton, with tiny pleats created with the loose front end piece of the cloth falling straight in front. Men wear tube sarong with a short jacket, often with gold trim and buttons.

It is common for the sarong to slip or loosen over time. When this happens, just open it up and refold/re-tighten it again.

How women wearing tube sarong

In Javanese culture, the wearing of batik tube sarong is not restricted to women on formal occasions such as weddings, common wear with a “kebaya” blouse. The style of the “kebaya” varies – there are gauze-fine ones with beautiful embroidery, or heavier ones with lacy cutouts. Older “kebaya” have no buttons; they were held closed by ornate gold or silver pins.
Women slipped into, pulled up to the waist or underarm, depending on whether one wants a skirt or the strapless look, and the top is carefully folded to cinch the sarong tightly around the body, then rolled down to secure. Traditionally these were worn as a strapless dress, with a “selendang”, or shoulder cloth, for formal occasions, or as a skirt, worn with or without a blouse. Today in some remote villages it’s still possible to find women pounding rice with only an old sarong tied around their waists, but they now usually pull the sarong up when they see foreigners. Formal dress today consists of a beautifully patterned sarong, worn with a fine blouse and “selendang”. Every day wear is often an old sarong with soft floral patterns and T-shirt.
Tubular sarongs are usually worn by older women; younger women prefer the more flattering fit of the tightly wrapped two or two-and-a-half meter “kain panjang” (literally “long cloth”).

If you want to wear tube sarong you should do the same like it’s written above (how to wear tube sarong for men). I wear at home my tube sarong in original way, shorter when it’s hot outside and like dress (very comfortable especially after the shower :)).

How to use tube sarong for other purpose

Indonesian man using tube sarong not only by original purpose but for other things as well. You can try it too, no matter if you are man or women ;).

After the trip to Sulawesi island, our guide showed other ways how people there use tube sarong for other purpose.

How to use tube sarong - pinterest
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SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

  • Have you tried to use tube sarong? It was comfortable for you?
  • Would you like to buy a tube sarong like a souvenir from the trip in Southeast Asia?
  • Have you tried any other local clothes during your trips?

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Information used from Javanese people sharing and internet sources. Illustrations made by Hendra Arkan

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Asian people are not poor – they live easy

When I wrote few articles about my life in Indonesia (in Lithuanian one of the popular portal) I got some comments from the readers. They were calling me stupid to coming to this poor country. Asking what I left in Indonesia, why I want to live in that dirty society and etc. I met some travelers as well, who felt pity about Indonesian people, that their life is hard, they live in unsanitary conditions: have only cold water, doesn’t use toilet paper, eat with hands; live in small, almost transparent, houses without any comfort. I couldn’t understand those people at that time.

When I arrived in Indonesia, somehow I didn’t thought about it. Maybe because I had to take care how to find a place to live, how to deal with transportation here, buy some things, understand the system and people behavior. Deal with very hot weather and health condition (I got sick on the first week of living in Indonesia). Or maybe those things, Indonesian people lifestyle didn’t shocked me too much, I wasn’t pay attention in it? People live like this all their life, so what I can change about it?

Now, when I’m going back home (for Christmas) to Lithuania, I started to think what I experienced in Indonesia, what I learn here, what I discover and many more things. Even if I feel that holidays at home is just temporary, but still I will leave behind 1 and a bit more year of my life in Indonesia. And I know that after I will come back, many things will be different because of my ideas for the future.

And during my last days thinking I saw one video from TEDxDoiSuthep. It put all things together, what I was thinking recently. Jon Jandai from Thailand says a speech about his life, about one thing that he understood:

Life is easy. Why do we make it so hard?”

Even he is not from Indonesia but the things that he says, I think, possible to put to Indonesia, maybe some parts of Vietnam as well :). I haven’t been in Cambodia or other similar countries, so can’t generalized to all Asia.

What came to my mind after watching this video – Jon says true (he uses some funny comparisons) – life is much easier that we think. We – who decide to make it hard. We who put aims for our self (nobody ask us to do that), we who chase the fancy life style. Like a humans we don’t need all those things to feel happy.

We just need things that can satisfy our daily life needs and the rest of the things depend just on our way of thinking.

One of the things that I learned in Indonesia – live simple. Even if my European brains didn’t accept this still (I have to do list in my mind, schedule when and what need to do, what I want to reach) but the way of living I see that I already changed. And I feel really happy.

I live in my “big tent” without proper walls, without windows and all other things that I used to live with in Lithuania. I make things from used stuff, I bought only couple new clothes (and in second hand shop) during this year in Indonesia. Because clothes that I have are still good, I take good care of it. I try not to spend money for those things that I don’t need, I think couple of times before buying.

Even Indonesian people sometimes surprise when they find out that I live in “gedeg” house. They can’t believe that foreigner can live here. But almost all of them told me, that they have been living in such houses in their childhood. Or at least was visiting their grandparents in such houses and they felt happy. Does they feel happy now, in big houses which they rent for a big amount money that it’s hard to earn? I didn’t ask this, didn’t want to “pour salt on the wound”.

I just remember how stressed I was making repair work in flat in Vilnius (my friends know it :D). Searching the best things, quality ones, wishing to be more happier in the place that cost a bit more :D. Now it’s seems so funny. I think if I really needed all those stuff? Even if my place not crowded with much furniture or really expensive ones but still I spend much money on it and worked so hard to earn it. Now I think I could spend those money more wise – travel more, try new things and etc.

Jon Jandai words make sense and I could say conclusion – Asian people are not poor, they know how to live easy. Yeah, there are every time exception, and here lives more than 255 million people, so I can’t generalize all of them. But at least from places where I have been in Indonesia, the surrounding where I live, I can say that most of people doesn’t have a lot of money but you will see the smile on their face every time when you will meet them. They have in their garden plants that they grow – it’s enough for family and sell. Those who knows how to make handicrafts – make it for their home and sell it. People who know how to cook, they sell it in “warungs” (street eating places) or with “kaki lima” (street vendros). People take it easy – sell things in front of their house, for the neighbors, for bigger shops. Even if they don’t have money – they know how to enjoy the time with family, neighbors – meeting and chatting, making local events, solve problems in slow way, walk slow (for Europeans this part is hard to understand and make much more stress when they need to deal or solve some problems with Indonesians:D). They live in simple houses without expensive things because they don’t need them. They learn from their childhood how to enjoy time playing with animals, nature. They dress simple clothes as well. And you don’t need to judge Asian people because of their lifestyle. Don’t need to be surprised, just need to accept and not try to change them. Just think what they think about us – people from abroad? Probably when they deal with us, they don’t understand many things, why we are so in a rush, why we all the time have problems and etc.

And when I think now about coming back to Europe, I think how I will live now there – will I manage to bring this easy Indonesian my life there?

Yes, my 1 and a bit more year of life in Indonesia was easy as well. Just I didn’t see it all the time. You know, people need more time to change the way of thinking, understand and evaluate things that they get. Maybe you can say that easy life came because I got scholarship – no need to work or take care of the family with small amount of money. But for me, like a person from totally different word, not the money was a problem. But the things that I needed to accept, the things that I needed to change and understand. Sometimes this part is more difficult. If you are professional in your field, I think you can find the way to earn money in any country but to open your mind, heart and eyes not so easy everywhere.

Just want to say – I’m happy with simple my life in Indonesia even if sometimes I struggle to deal with myself here. But I still have time to work with it and the main thing that I still want to do that – learn how to live 100% easy life – live in Indonesia and enjoy the life here:)

So if life is easy. Why do we make it so hard? Maybe it’s already enough what you have? Maybe it’s time to relax and enjoy the moment?

 

Just spend 15 min. of your time to see Jon Jandai talk. If it won’t give you any incentive you won’t lose anything beside will have break :).

 

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