Things I’ve Learnt in the Past 2.5 Months

1. Jakarta is crowded.. really crowded. 15 million people in 62 km2 does not a good city make. But it truly is the city that never sleeps.

2. Busway is just as crowded… But surprisingly convenient, reasonably clean, safe and frequent (According to my calculation, at least one bus every 10 minutes, which is not bad at all).

3. People cannot queue… My dad argues that it’s the crowd mentality, where because there is such a huge crowd, people panic and jostle to the front. But I noticed that even when it’s just me waiting for the busway, the next person will stand next to me instead of behind me. And will innocently cut me to the bus, even if clearly s/he knows I was there first.

4. Payday is somehow always a sunny, clear-blue-sky kinda day.

5. Living with parents again after 8 years of full independence requires negotiation skills, diplomacy and patience of the highest level… from both sides.

6. I’ve forgotten the beauty (and the beast) of being back within the grandeur of Indonesian extended family.

7. While I’ve heard Indonesia being described, by foreigners & Indonesian themselves, that Indonesia is the smiling nation, I still think they (we?) need to smile a lil bit more. Especially to the doormen, security guards, drivers, maids, cleaners, and the likes.

8. To some people, a mall excursion requires a level of makeup and hairdo that I usually reserve for a night out. I’m afraid of what these people do for their evening plans.

9. My marriage plans are everyone’s business… literally.

10. People are shocked that someone from my upbringing/educational background/international experiences/socio-economic status* willingly takes the busway to and from work. Listen to me people: From London to Paris to New York to Singapore, from the red double-decker bus to the Tube to the Subway to the MRT, if it’s 5 PM, it will be crowded. Jakarta’s Busway is not immune to this rule.


15 responses to this post.

  1. That’s more than most of us learn in a year! I totally agree with the smiling to doormen point.


  2. Posted by aidila on August 23, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    I concur with points #5 and #6. Especially #6. Suddenly the consequences of my actions do not just fall on me. It’s a very strange feeling, and a stranger thing to negotiate.


    • Posted by asti on August 25, 2009 at 10:44 pm

      Hi aidila!! Thanks for stopping by! Does your comment mean you’ve left Brisbane and are now back within the grandeur of your Malaysian extended family? And yes, it is very strange indeed and it just adds up to the existing problem of dealing with reverse culture shock! Hope you’re well πŸ™‚


  3. Posted by yonna on August 26, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    Welcome home πŸ™‚


  4. Posted by yonna on August 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    #6 and #9 are related each other. if you wanna always be rescued from lingering questions come out from their mouth is never spend time more than 2-3 hours with them. the longer you there, the more the questions-judgments-curiosity they will :mrgreen:

    …..and this is effective for in-laws too πŸ˜†


    • Posted by asti on August 29, 2009 at 7:58 pm

      Indeed, #9 is the “beast” part of #6 lol

      I’ve learnt to switch to what I call my “stand-by” mode.. where the red light is on, but the receiver/decoder/transmitter is not… automatically, one of the following phrases will come out at regular intervals “amin”, “inshAllah” and “doa’in ya om/tante/pak/bu/bude/pakde/etc” until it is safe for my brain to switch back on πŸ˜€


  5. Welcome home :);. All the best!!


  6. Posted by yonna on August 31, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    Yeah, everybody feels the same way, for example me, everyone is asking the same question “when will i have second child?”, “poor syira, she’s alone and needs younger sibling” etc.

    My stand by mode (or mood maybe? hehe) is just put a smile on the face or “amin”, “insya Allah”, “iya”, etc :mrgreen:

    I think mingling with persons who almost never talk about personal life is one of the alternative solutions. It’s annoying to be in a conversation with those who love talking about personal life and people’s business. My, my… πŸ™‚


    • Posted by asti on September 20, 2009 at 2:51 am

      yes, yes, the questions never stop, do they? it starts with, “when are you going to graduate?”, then “when are you going to get a job?”, then “when are you getting married?”, then “when are you going to have kids?”, then “when are you going to give child #1 a sister/brother?”.. and so on and so forth.. *sigh*

      it’s best to just do the “salaams” with the aunts/uncles/grandparents as quickly as possible, then make a quick escape.. works best if you’ve prepared the get-away car beforehand πŸ˜€


  7. hahahaha… πŸ™‚


  8. Posted by yonna on September 28, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    Yes, I found a comprehension that being attentive is not always about asking anyone else’s private life, just throw smile and smooches (to girls) and standing next to her while drinking and eating or watching something amusing in front of us are enough, more than enough to make us comfort each other.

    I applied it to all people, and the result is good so far πŸ™‚


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