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?
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
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
I’ve receive many emails from women who are planning their move to Jakarta and will be an Expat Housewife themselves. They send me many questions and although I love to personally reply to them with my own advice, I think it’s actually better to refer them onto other Expat Housewives in Jakarta. For anyone new to the city, I suggest you look into the below: Continue reading
It’s the new year and what that usually means for Jakarta, in the world of expats, is that many old friends have left the city to go onto their next assignment (or are sent home) and many new expats will arrive. I have already met so many new faces this year and have seen new families around my condo. One of the things that I really enjoy doing as an expat housewife is helping new fellow expat housewives to assimilate into Jakarta, and make sure they they too, love their time here as much as I do!
The most common questions that I’ve been asked by newbies are, “Why do I love living in Jakarta so much?” and “How have I achieved this level of happiness?” To help answer these questions, I am going to focus my posts on providing advice for new expat housewives into the city. Please bear in mind that this is my personal advice only, highly based on my own personality, preferences and experience.
I am going to focus this post on families that are similar to mine, where there is a working husband and a stay at home expat mother. My first form of advice for any new family moving to Jakarta is to choose the area that you live in very wisely. It can “make or break” your time here and will have a huge impact on whether or not you will be happy with living in Jakarta. Continue reading
I was recently contacted by a reader who is moving to Jakarta at the end of the year with her young family from the USA. As you can understand, she is slightly nervous for the move. Jakarta can be intimidating for an outsider coming in. Especially if you are a mother and have never been to Asia! There are many concerns raised by newcomers and the most common themes are around health, safety, schooling and, nannies, of course!
Today I wanted to answer a common question about searching for a nanny and pembantu (maid) before arriving in Jakarta. When I was planning our move from Singapore to Jakarta, I had a 20 month old toddler and a newborn baby. Being used to having a live in helper (nanny) in Singapore, I was very eager to find another one before I arrived! But I waited and I’m glad I did.