Many people who meet me are alway surprised to hear that I love living in Jakarta so much! Every city has its challenges and I think that the ability for someone to enjoy a city is more about that person, rather than the city itself. I can go on and on about all of the fantastic things that Jakarta has to offer (follow my Instagram @the_expat_housewife_of_jakarta) however, if you’re not ready to love Jakarta and give it a chance, then you may not enjoy the city to its full potential.
So how do you learn to love Jakarta as much as I do?
- Firstly, don’t expect Jakarta to be anything like your hometown or your previous postings! I have let go of all expectations and live for now. This may sound harsh, but lower your standards! This is by no means a way of putting down Jakarta. It’s simply saying that as an expat, a guest in someone else’s country, do not walk in here expecting so much! The city doesn’t owe you anything. You need to find the beauty of what it is and be grateful for it’s own uniqueness.
- Adjust your lifestyle to this city because it’s not going to work the other way around! Work with what you’ve got and take advice from other expats who have the same expectations, budget and priorities as you do.
- Have good friends who you can trust, to share your highs and lows with. They will be your rock in Jakarta. Limit your time with expats who are constantly complaining and are negative about their time here. They will suck you into their hole of misery. Instead, try to find a group of friends who are genuine, uplifting and empowering. Life is too short for bad company.
- Do not let traffic deter you from getting out and doing things! Be more flexible with your outings, such as mid week adventures and early mornings. Avoid Indonesian public and school holidays.
- Get good household help, even if that means going through staff a couple of times until you find the right fit for your family. And if you don’t, suck it up and take care of your own family/home by yourself…I know, game changer!
- One of the BIGGEST CHALLENGES as an expat housewife is maintaining a happy and healthy marriage. Hubby is working late and you’re left feeling lonely, taken for granted, and isolated in a foreign country. Ouch! This one cuts really deep. You miss your husband and his companionship. I think it’s important to make time for each other and schedule in date nights, both on your own and with other couples.
- Get out of the city (and country), doing regular trips and staycations. Trust me on this one! This is the key to keeping sane in Jakarta! If your budget or time doesn’t allow for this, it is still possible to drive/train out of town to places like Bogor and feel refreshed!
- Don’t take things personally! When things go wrong, just remember that no one is intentionally trying to hurt you! Shit happens everywhere. It’s easy to blame your mishaps and focus your frustrations on Jakarta, but is it the real root of the problem?
- Acceptance. This is your life now. You live here now. Accept it.
- Finally, the most important point…stay fit, active and healthy in all aspects of your life. Go outside to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air! Keep your emotional health in check by seeing a counsellor. Stop being angry (it is a choice!) and enjoy your adventure in Jakarta!
This is my advice, what do you think?