I arrived to my new home in Indonesia with high hopes and rose colored glasses. I am no Pollyanna and I was sure my illusions (delusions?) of life in paradise would soon be dashed….. but I didn’t think it would happen within the 1st week.
I started my stay in one of the bungalows. They are neat, clean & modern. Lacking some personal touches to be sure (no bed lamps, polyester sheets, not enough hooks or storage) but comfortable enough.
Turns out, even though this is slow season, all the cottages were booked prior to my arrival, so I moved into the “Boss” house within a couple of days, which can only be described as frat boy squalor. Now, those of you who know me well, or even in passing, know that the aesthetics of my personal space are extremely important to me, so this move was quite deflating. The bathroom has no roof, so every time it rains or the wind blows the floor gets covered in crap. The upstairs sleeping loft is accessed by a ladder that I am sure will be responsible for me becoming a quadriplegic during a 2 am void. Oh, and there are cockroaches up there. Cockroaches. In. My. Bedroom. Big flying, cockroaches. Fuck me. I am in tropical hell.
Shopping. I love shopping. It is one of my few real skills. I can look at furniture, homegoods, house wares and linens all damn day. I love Target. Costco even. Shopping in Mataram ( the nearest city) which is 2 hours away is a cesspool. The expats call it “shataram”. It took me all day to buy 6 fans & a refrigerator. It took me another day and 40 bucks to get it here. (Sears charges a $50 delivery fee & I don’t bat an eye, but 40 bucks to cover a truck to drive an hour to the port, porters to load it on a boat, the boat ride itself, porters to unload it on this end, a horse cart ride, and then the damn thing had to be hand carried about 200 yards to the “kitchen” and I think “that’s extortion”). Now, I know what you’re thinking “Didn’t this crazy Bule (Indonesian for “foreigner”) know what she was getting herself into?” Why, yes. Yes I did. Sort of. I just wasn’t prepared for how exhausting it would be. The fact that it is about a bazillion degrees with 100% humidity doesn’t help one little bit. Nice for swimming and laying about, but, not so good for running errands.
Yesterday a cow wandered into my compound and couldn’t figure out how to get out the way he came in so he busted down my back gate. The goats have also figured out how to jump the gates. Today a storm bungled up all the outdoor lights, which resulted in a visit from the electrician. The chain on my bicycle broke today as well. Did I mention the cockroaches?
To top it off, my staff think I am the strangest creature: A foreigner who wants to do her own dishes and laundry. (STOP ironing my underwear, please) They are all so deferential and unsure of me. I never wanted children and here I am, mother to 4 teenage boys. Teenage boys who don’t speak English.
I am sure things will be rosier tomorrow. Back to a bungalow for the duration. Or at least until I can figure out alternate accommodation. And I have planned a 5 day trip to Bali in December, where shopping is FUN. I hope to max out my visa card.
To those of you who plan to visit: Bring Scotch. Lot’s of Scotch.