The Expatriates’ Mother Network

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

Why I love condo living

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

How to survive your expat marriage in Indonesia

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

How to raise healthy children in Indonesia

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

Goodnight Jakarta, We Love You!

Last week hubby and I represented Australia to our school for UN Day. We taught fun facts about our homeland and introduced traditional Aussie food and slangs. Most of this information was new to our own children themselves, who are all born in Asia, and have never even lived in Australia!

Our kids are a beautiful blend of many cultures, derived from their ethnicity (they are Latino / Eurasians), their cultural upbringing (having parents who are Australian) and their surroundings (growing up in Expat Land). They speak 3.5 languages (!) and have a peculiar American/Asian accent, that definitely does not sound Australian!

I sometimes wonder, is this expat upbringing confusing for my children? Am I doing them more harm than good by not raising them in one consistent home and culture? Continue reading

Here I Go Again…

I want to share a common emotional roller coaster ride I’ve been on recently in Jakarta, as an expat mum. My beloved nanny of two years, suddenly quit her job and left immediately, even without saying goodbye to our kids.

She recently had two months off to get married and after returning to work for a couple of weeks, she resigned. (To add to the drama, she’s asked to return again after a few months of quitting!) Continue reading