The lonely expat housewife of Jakarta

Being an expat housewife has its own set of challenges (and many pros!) Many of my readers have contacted me about this topic, so I thought it was time to be brave and write about it.

The main reason why I think it’s difficult as an expat housewife, is because of loneliness.

I was lonely when I first moved to Jakarta because it was very different to what I grew up with. I was a mother of two young children, which can be lonely as it is! Then to add a relocation into the mix, made it very daunting. I had to pick up and start all over again, building new relationships and setting foundations from scratch. All while I was sleep deprived!

I was lonely because my husband immediately started his new job and I needed to build a new home. He trusted me to do this. I had to find new household staff members (as if it was normal for me!) and unpack. I didn’t know where to store our coffee mugs or where to position the crib, let alone knew whether I made the right decision about hiring strangers to help take care of my babies!

Now that I have settled into my city, I am sometimes lonely because I feel the burden of taking care of my family on my own. Yes, my husband helps out and is present but I feel the pressure of being a mum. I am alone in my own thoughts, trying to do the right thing each day. I am planning, organizing, delegating, problem solving and questioning my every move.

I am lonely sometimes because I manage our household staff and my husband will never understand this burden or dilemma. He just won’t ever get it, no matter how much I try to explain. So I don’t any longer. I deal with it alone.

I am lonely sometimes because my husband is being the man that I love, working hard to keep us happy. To better our future and exceed our expectations. And for that, he is working a lot. He is traveling, studying, pursuing his dreams and trying to balance his work life with us.

I am lonely sometimes because of traffic. It isolates me. And holds me back.

I am lonely sometimes because my friends keep on leaving.

I am lonely sometimes because I missed that play date due to my baby being sick, again. And I can’t go to that girls night out because my nanny has quit.

I am lonely sometimes because everything is different here and I miss my home. I miss my old life and the little things that made me happy, like the sounds of my boots on the pavement. And listening to breakfast radio in the morning, how much that use to make me laugh! I miss the coffee that I had, on my walk to work. Don’t even talk about my old job! That is just too much. I miss that life even more than I thought I ever would.

I am lonely sometimes because I am constantly dealing with my loss of identity, as the ‘Trailing Spouse’ who is no longer financially independent. Destiny’s Child would be ashamed at me….”the shoes I’m wearing?…He bought it!”

I am lonely sometimes because I am bored. And I can’t commit to things because the prospect of leaving is always there.

I am lonely sometimes because my friends back at home have moved on and have learnt to live without me. My parents are getting older, my nieces are being born, and here I am, away from it all.

I am lonely sometimes because I want to pick up the phone to talk to someone and I have no one to call. My fingers are sore from messaging.

I am lonely sometimes because I don’t know what the future will bring. I don’t know how long I will live here for, where I will move to next and, the scariest thought of all, when I will actually go home.

All of these things make me lonely sometimes. And I know you’re lonely too. And that’s ok. Let’s be lonely together. xoxo.

6 thoughts on “The lonely expat housewife of Jakarta

  1. I’m an in-country expat…I live in America, and my husband and I moved our family to a very remote cattle ranch. We are 2 1/2 hours from the nearest town and 1 hour from our nearest neighbor. Definitely some loneliness going on here at times! I really enjoy your blog. Many of the sentiments you express resonate with across continents.


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