Shattering of my Heart

I just said goodbye to my mum. She has been visiting us for the past month from Australia. I see her about twice a year. Personally, this isn’t nearly enough because I can see how much joy her grandchildren bring into her life and how much my kids love her. 
I hate having to say goodbye. It’s so heartbreaking. Truly one of the worst parts about living abroad. And it’s constant goodbyes. Each home visit, we have to eventually leave again. Each visiting relative or friend, has to leave us. I won’t even mention the constant moves of our expat friends! 
Each time, my heart shatters a little more but I have to remain strong. Yes, I show that I’m sad but I don’t like to make a big deal out of it. I don’t want my children to sense that deep down inside, I am missing home so much and wish that this tormenting part of being an expat would end. I want to be a strong role model and teach my children (and remind myself) to enjoy our life now and live here. Jakarta is our home now. We are home. Seeing grandma twice a year is our normal. We are happy. 
The ironic thing about my mum leaving is that our relationship is so much better when we are living in different countries! She also gets very overwhelmed by staying with 3 young kids. Her visits are intense. She doesn’t want to explore our city, she just wants to spend time with her grandchildren. I want her to feel at home and constantly welcomed, even if during certain times, this is difficult for me. I think most expats are fiercely independent (hence why we chose this life), so it’s difficult for me to be suddenly living with my mum again! 
I always wonder, how much longer should we sustain this expat lifestyle? My mum is getting older each year and I honestly don’t want my children growing up, and living so far away from her. I worry about her health, her safety, her emotional well being. I worry that if something happens to her, I am too far away. And not having grandparents growing up myself, I truly want this gift for my children. I’ve always wanted my children to be surrounded by their extended family, so why am I doing this?!
The worst part right now is that as much as my heart is breaking, I know my mum’s is a million times worse. She’s left her world behind in Jakarta, crying on a plane, all by herself. And I can’t be there to give her a hug. I’ll miss you mum! 

Summer Holiday Fun – Photo Series


I will be starting a series of photos on Instagram during the long summer school holidays. Since I’m staying in Jakarta, I want to try and see as much of it as I can and enjoy it with my kids. 

Join me daily and count down the days until the new school term starts again! 

You can view my photos on my Instagram account @The_Expat_Housewife_of_Jakarta or at my Facebook page. 

Jakarta during Ramadan and Hari Raya Idul Fitri

Jakarta is a different city in June and July. Ramadan is the month long of fasting practiced by Muslim Indonesians during dawn to sunset. This year it will be from May 26th to June 25th of June. This period is also the summer holidays for international schools with the school break lasting for approximately two months. Expats like to take advantage of this time by returning home to their country of origin to enjoy the warmer months or go on a family vacation to popular locations like Bali or Singapore.

I find that this is a very quiet time of the year for Jakarta and it’s quite pleasant to be out and about. Whilst many malls will be busy, restaurants are empty during the day (they are very busy at night once break fast has started). Outdoor locations and recreational spots like parks and The Zoo are also quiet so its actually a good time to visit these locations without huge crowds. I also enjoy the simplicity of having a free agenda and no pressure with no school drop offs or playdates to rush to.

The end of Ramadan is Idul Fitri or Lebaran (25th June), the most important day in the Islamic calendar. If you have household staff members working for you, they are entitled to a mandatory two week period of paid leave. Many expats dread this time of the year because all staff members are on holiday simultaneously! Although some staff members may choose to work, the majority will decide to take this time off. It’s like our Christmas and New Year’s eve. This is the week where many workplaces shut down and people are on holiday mode so I think it would be very unfair of us to expect our staff to work during this festive season.

Most Indonesians will return back home to their province and leave the Big Durian for the week. The few days leading up to Idul Fitri is mayhem. This not the time to travel or be on the road! The streets are jam packed with literally 10 million Indonesians on their commute home. The roads are actually quite dangerous and many traffic accidents can occur during this time. I highly recommend to stay away and if you have staff members returning home, allow them the care and courtesy to travel before these few days to avoid the chaos. My nanny spent last year on the road for two days straight, crammed into a tiny bus full of people with no air conditioning and no water! She was terribly ill at the end the journey and she said a few people actually died!

This is when Jakarta becomes a ghost town. The streets are empty, shops are closed and no one is around. This year, we are happily staying in Jakarta once again for the third year running. We really love Jakarta this time of the year! It’s quiet, calm and there is no traffic! It’s our special family time in Jakarta where we wind down and enjoy the simple things in life like lots of television, take away food and pool time! I know many expats are afraid of the idea of staying in Jakarta during this period, fearful of the unknown. Basically, nothing really changes here, except no one is around. The shops only closed for the full day or two during Idul Fitri. Groceries, taxis and other services are readily available as usual afterwards. Tourists spots like The Zoo, Tamin Mini or Ancol are jammed packed with local tourism after Idul Fitri, so I recommend not going to any of these spots unless you like wading through huge crowds! Many Indonesians love to picnic and will use this time of the year to enjoy the outdoors with their family.

I must admit, the thought of having no nanny and maid made me really scared this year because it was so difficult last year to manage it all on our own (the kids were so young then) but I’m now looking forward to reconnecting with my family. It is my opportunity to take away that mother’s guilt that I constantly have for having a nanny in the first place and parent my kids without any outside distractions. The house will be messy. The dishes will be crusty from sitting on the sink for too long, and we’ll probably lounge in our pajamas all day but we’ll soak the stillness of the city together and remain grateful for living in Jakarta.

Below is a helpful website that I found that explains this Indonesian holiday, their traditions and salary requirements quite well  Public Holidays Indonesia

A Seaside Stroll


Last Friday was a public holiday (again!) so we decided to get out of the big smokey Durian and go somewhere we can walk around with the kids. Explore our city some more and force myself to get out of our condo.
My husband suggested Ancol Beach City. We haven’t been there before and I was eager to go somewhere outside of a mall. Ancol is easily accessible, located in the north side of Jakarta. Its a small island that you pay a toll to enter and there is A LOT to do there! There is an aquarium, water park, amusement park, cable car, zip lining, a really fun looking photo gallery (called Alive Museum) and Eco Park with animals and lots of greenery that I would definitely love to explore again next time. Now, just as a waiver, it is still in Jakarta so don’t expect it to be like Tokyo Disneyland with everything brand new and modern but its a nice spot for families. As an expat living here, I think its one of those places that you need to give a fair chance and go in with a positive attitude.


On Friday we decided to go for a short stroll only and wasn’t cut out for an entire day there, mainly due to the heat. So we went for a walk along the beach where the pier is. The pier itself is in a heart shape with a local cafe at the end (we decided not to stop at this one) and a spot where lovers (obviously those without kids and have time for such things) put their padlocks on for ever lasting love. We really enjoyed our walk. It had a nice friendly vibe to it with lots of families and young Indonesians spending a day out at the beach, taking photos and selfies with their selfie sticks. My tip is to bring scooters for the kids and perhaps go in the afternoon when he sun isn’t as strong.


There were also a lot of Indonesians swimming at the beach however we decided not to swim at this beach. Our kids were happy enough to play in one of their many playgrounds and enjoy a small train ride.


By this time, we were dripping in sweat and hungry, so we decided to drive to Pluit, which is about half an hour away. I love Pluit! It’s so different to central and South Jakarta. The houses there are huge, like mansions in Beverly Hills with their own private jetty and big power boats! My most favourite thing about Pluit is the boardwalk along the ocean.
We had lunch at my favorite restaurant there, The Jetski Cafe. I highly recommend this restaurant for kids and any visitors that you may have. The location of the cafe showcases another side of Jakarta that is rare. Wide ocean views, shaded outdoor dining with cute wooden love swings, delicious seafood and a place to walk! Every time I go to Pluit, I feel refreshed and recharged. Its quiet and I feel like I’m in a seaside harbour town, far, far away from Jakarta. Its honestly a beautiful spot for expats who are losing their minds in traffic and the business of the malls here. Jakarta is so under rated!

Making Friends in Expat Land


One of the best things for me as a mother with young children is being an expat at the same time. I think that if I were to have my children back in Australia, I would have struggled to make other mummy friends. My best friends had their children a lot younger than than I did, so there would be no playdates with them. I also think its more difficult making friends as an adult outside of work or university. Most women already have their core group of friends from childhood and they are not in the market for new friends. Yes, as a new mother I would have been set up with a local community playgroup but the demographics of that group may not be compatible for me. Also, I think that mothers are simply too busy to make new friends in Australia. They are washing, cleaning, cooking, juggling school runs, and making a living to pay the bills.

As an expat however, its the complete opposite. Especially in Jakarta. The market is saturated with other expat woman who are looking for new friendships! Continue reading

The Advantages of Condo Living in Jakarta

A few days ago I embarked on a life changing event that occurred within the walls of my condo complex. I stepped foot into my gym for the second time since living here (I’ve been here for three years) and joined a “Body Combat” exercise class. I was absolutely blown away by this class! It was challenging, professional, very popular, and so much fun!

This realization has revolutionized my life! I can now exercise without leaving my condo and avoid sitting through the infamous Jakarta traffic!

This little find has once again solidified my decision to live in a condo rather than a stand alone house.  Continue reading

Beautiful Bali!


For those who know me, I try to avoid traveling as much as possible. It’s simply too difficult and stressful to leave my haven (and household staff) in Jakarta and globe hop with three young kids. Last week however, we spontaneous decided to go to Bali during school holidays. We literally had 1.5 hours to pack and leave for the airport! I’m surprised we even pulled it off, considering my nanny wasn’t even there to help me!

Living in Jakarta, we are so lucky to be located right next to the tropical paradise of Bali. Continue reading

The Expat Soul Sucker


I’ve been silent for a while and the main reason is that I’ve been having an incredibly difficult time in Jakarta. Ever since our return from our vacation in Australia, three months ago, myself and all three kids have continuously been sick. It’s been an endless episode of fevers, coughs, tests, nebulizers, antibiotics and trips to the Doctor.
During my lowest point, when I had a flu and was bed ridden for 5 days, we coincidentally had to fly out of Indonesia to renew our visa. This came at the worst possible time because I felt so weak, was in pain and couldn’t imagine having to fly with three young children as well.
It then got worse with my two youngest kids falling ill when we arrived in Singapore. Miss 2.5 was so sick, the Doctor wanted to hospitalize her! I thought my head was going to explode from the stress! But, like all mothers in this world, my super powers kicked in and I took care of my family. We all finally recovered towards the end of our trip and had a few days of walking around Singapore to enjoy everything that the beautiful island has to offer.
I have to tell the complete truth here. This was the first time that as an expat housewife in Jakarta that I actually didn’t want to return to Jakarta. Having previously lived in Singapore, it just felt like home to me. I met up with old friends and when you are an expat, there really is no better feeling than seeing old friends again. It makes me feel like I belong somewhere and the home sickness goes away. I feel like I’m ‘normal’ to have a friend that I’ve known for a longer time than the term of our current expat assignment.
Singapore was also easy in the sense that I already know the country and how it works. I understand the culture and the system. Know which shops to go to and what food to eat. I knew where we could walk to and where we could play. All of this made me feel so warm and safe. I never feel threatened in Jakarta. That’s not what I mean at all. It just feels natural to be in a city that you’ve already lived in versus the feeling of settling into a new city. Mind you, I’ve been in Jakarta for three years now but I’m still learning my way around this big city!
Every time I move to a new country, as an expat, I get a little bit more exhausted. I feel like I’m diving further away from who I was, (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing because I’ve grown so much with this experience) but I feel like the old me is slowly slipping away. It’s hard to explain and I’m trying to process this myself. The only way I can truly explain is that I miss the old me. I miss being in my comfort zone and I miss stability. This expat adventure is so exhilarating but at certain times can also be so soul suckingly challenging.

The Perfect Mother Daughter Date. A Coffee Review of Sophie Authentique

img_0033Miss Two Point Five, has been feeling unwell the last few days, so I decided to keep her out of school and observe her. It was a great opportunity for us to spend quality time together without being distracted by her brothers. I decided to go to Sophie Authentique on Jl. Cikajang. Now, this isn’t going to be a review about the food or coffee. That was great and very delicious. Instead, I am going to focus on my experience there, as a mother and daughter duo.

Continue reading