July 8, 2010

Angel Celebrities

Okay it is time for a blog post. We have been in Jakarta for nearly a week and no amount of Facebook updates or Tweets can do justice for the amount of thoughts wrestling about in my head. I need to give form to these thoughts despite the exhaustion I feel sitting in this dark room as Blind Pilot sings to me, taking me back to my happy place. Realizing that I need a few connections to normalcy and routine. It is funny how we dream of change, only to realize that our habits and routines are what define us.

Where am I? How am I? We are still in the hotel. Mairin and Kaia in one room, while Skyelar and I are bunking in another. Easier to get everyone asleep. I haven’t been alone with my wife in almost a week. Yes, it feels weird. We spend most days sitting in traffic going to a mall to buy the things we need to set up our house. The kids scream, whine, and spit, while Mairin and I do a bit of the same.

I hate shopping, and that is what I have been doing for nearly a week. But this stuff is apparently vital. Who am I to argue? Here is what we have bought so far:
  • A washing machine
  • A stove
  • A sofa
  • Bed sheets
  • Towels
  • Various kitchen goods (Pots and pans, knifes, etc…)
It felt like a lot more as I was lugging it around today. The house paint is nearly completed, although the cream and brown colors we chose have a strange purplish tint and don’t look anything like the latte and mocha look we were going for, but then again I realized I spent more on ice cream tonight than I paid the entire crew of five who are painting our house at night, (they work in the day at school) paid for their entire dinner. It is all relative.

Jakarta is huge and bustling and green and wet and alive. I love it. The girls are like celebrity angels here. Everywhere we go people want to rub their cheeks and pet Kaia’s hair. The owners of the pizza place we have been going to, sat with us tonight and chatted, as they sent their kids off to buy Kaia a birthday present. The people here- they smile. They wave. We smile. We wave. It feels nice to make superficial contact with other human beings. It is chaotic. It works.

Internet should be hooked up tomorrow and everything else will be delivered as well. We hope to move into our house this weekend. Being in a hotel room with two kids has been difficult, although I saw a group of three kids in town today aged three, five and eight crossing one of the busiest streets I have ever seen. They live there on that street, alone, and dirty. Who am I to complain that the staying in the hotel hard?

Image by imchaudhry

So there you have it! I complain from my throne of privilege that my kids are tired and out of sorts as we drive about town in an air-conditioned car buying things that will make their lives easy and pleasant. My wife and I are exhausted at the end of the day, but I can sit back and type away my fatigue before I fall asleep on a bed with crisp white sheets. I don’t know much about Jakarta or Indonesia yet, but I know in a city of 11 million I am blessed to be able to do that.

I have the next few years to explore this fantastic place. I cannot wait to get started. If we could only get our home base established soon. I always think about how lucky I am for the things I have, and Jakarta is a place to constantly remind one of their blessings. First week has been good, looking forward to some quiet alone time at home.

No matter where you go or live, it takes a while to establish a house into a home. What do you do? What makes your place a home?


  1. Pictures! Lots and lots of pictures! Scatter some toys across the floor and call it a day! :)

  2. Anonymous3:36 PM

    When I moved to Australia....I think it's best to stop comparing where you are now to the places that you have been. Keep as many belongings as you can, even small things like a movie ticket you've had for three years, and add meaning to it, rather than making it take you back to a former life. You have your family with you and that's just about the most important thing you could ever have. I've heard that Jakarta is similar in some regards to KL, and if it is then as you've already noticed, people there will treat you and others with respect and humility. Jakarta is a fantastic gateway to the rest of Asia, so make sure to make the best of it.
    What helped me the most when I moved? Making new friends, and talking to them about the big move, and having them help me out when everything seemed to be getting out of control.
    Mr. R, I hope your following weeks and years are as good, and better, than your first one.
    -Nick C.

  3. Karen3:53 PM

    Wherever we go I create a space that has a little bit of us around it…… alas you do need the functional contraptions to get by, the duvet covers the pots and pans!! And perhaps in our privileged lives and our days of consumerism we go along with a little more than needed. But we do so with an appreciation of how lucky we are that we can. Not something others always do.

    The rest might be added with a few pictures, a pebble from a beach or a drawing on the fridge. It’s important to create a little space for yourself too, where you can retreat to in moments of need.

    However, the material objects aren’t what make a place become a home. It’s when you’ve filled it with love, laughter, even tears and friends and family. Gradually those shared or stolen moments placed in your memory of a happy event within that new place, evoke the same feelings/emotions you felt at that time as you walk in to that now empty room. Then it becomes a home.

    We name things too…. My stepson Jamie came for an extended holiday, just as we moved in to our new apartment in March now the spare room is Jamie’s room. A feeling of comfort perhaps that soon he’ll be back, that he’s been and when I enter it I can still imagine him snuggled under the duvet as I bring him in his morning coffee or when I look at the chair I see him and Tim battling it out on Call of Duty. That room is no longer soulless and I see it differently than just the spare room.

    It’s the love we get from our family and the joy of those moments shared. Not what they were doing, just that they were there and those feelings come no matter where the surroundings if we’re lucky enough to have experienced them.

  4. Thanks for the comments guys. I hear what you are saying and all the things that you mentioned: books carpets, toys, pictures are on the way. In the meantime, I think Karen is right we have to jump right in and start creating memories.

  5. Fascinating sharing and reflection. In many ways, it seems now may be the most productive time to process these new experiences and share them. As I am studying online identity development (specifically of doctoral students / emerging researchers), I am somewhat present to the most amazing experiences that people have and am finding that when people process this "stuff" in a way that shares while part of the process of meaning making, then this can become even more powerful.

    I look forward to reading more. Make sure you enjoy this along the way, as you may not be able to repeat it.