I never thought that moving abroad would result in gaining more friends than I had before I left. I thought my journey as an expat would be lonely and that I would struggle to find like-minded people. Instead, I have met many soul mates and genuine connections from various backgrounds and cultures. When I became an expat, I became a part of a dynamic network that would grow even stronger and larger when I had a baby.
As an expatriate mother in Indonesia, my life support system is my fellow expatriate mothers. I connect with these women through WhatsApp messaging, Facebook and social meetings. The most surprising part of this friendship is that they do not necessarily live in Indonesia and I haven’t met most of them face to face, and probably never will. And yet, these women are behind me, and will undoubtedly cheer for me, offering round the clock support, 24/7, no matter where I am in the world. Wow! Continue reading
I went through a stage where my children were constantly sick and down with some kind of bug. Initially I thought the causes for their ill health were environmental, and as an expat mother, I felt guilty for exposing my children to a foreign country that could potentially be harming their health. So, I did some research, spoke to several doctors and asked my friends from around the world about their experiences with childhood illnesses. I concluded that what we experienced was normal. They all suffered from the same kind of illnesses. Continue reading
Having a family with three young children, I dream of living in a house with an endless backyard. I imagine my children’s feet stomping on the grass and laughter filling the air as their sunlight-kissed bodies explore their tropical surroundings, while my husband is grilling on our outdoor BBQ and I’m sunbathing on a lounge relaxing the afternoon away. Of course, the reality is very different to this, but it’s my fantasy! Continue reading
Ok I’m going to be real now. Is it all worth it? I’m sitting at home alone and thinking. I’m missing all of my friends. I’m listening to songs that remind me of my friends back at home who I continue to love but unfortunately it’s been so long, I know they’ve moved on. I want to pick up the phone and call them or send an email to say how much I still love them, but time has passed and it’s probably just going to be awkward. Continue reading
I find that being an expat couple introduces an entire range of complexities into our marriage. The lifestyle encourages certain issues that are quite unique to this situation and the positive aspects can quickly become detrimental…
Expat marriage crisis no.1: The honeymoon stage is over
My enjoyment and excitement for being a happy, unemployed expat housewife quickly died when I realised that managing all household duties for our family was extremely difficult and boring! Although back at home I was completely happy to cook and clean while working, doing it full time was entirely different. I found that becoming the ‘Trailing Spouse” placed an unspoken pressure on me to lift my game in order to compensate for all of my free time. Continue reading
My son finished drinking his milk and yelled out to his nanny, “Finished!” I have tirelessly taught him to take his cup to the kitchen when he has finished his drink, so as soon as I heard this I walked into the toy room to address the issue. I asked him why he expected his nanny to get his cup. “It’s the nanny’s job!” he replied. This kind of attitude is not healthy and I felt guilty as a parent.
What is a healthy expat child? For me, it’s a child that is well-rounded, grounded, independent, emotionally secure and physically healthy. This is not easy to achieve in Indonesia. My children are living in constant contradiction to what I think is healthy. The “expat bubble” cushions them, and they are never truly a part of the real world in which I grew up. I feel like everything and everyone is working against me on this issue. Each time I try to push my children toward a certain lifestyle, their surroundings pull them back. Continue reading
Dear expat friend, what can I say? You came out of nowhere and have now left so suddenly! But before you leave, I wanted to say….
Dear expat friend, thank you for adding me to that Facebook mother’s group, before I set sail on my new expat posting. You were a friend of a friend, and we hadn’t even met. That little gesture eased my nerves and ensured that I had an immediate network of support. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, or how much I would need this group of women, but you knew.
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. Continue reading
Reflecting on 2017 and my whole time in Jakarta so far, this year was a great year! I feel like I’m genuinely at home and will try to make 2018 an even better one!
The first year in Jakarta was a blur because I arrived with a 20 month old and newborn baby from Singapore. It would have sucked no matter where I was, because I had two babies and quickly fell pregnant again! I hardly had a chance to sleep, let alone get to know my new home. Continue reading