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August 3rd 2013
Published: August 3rd 2013
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Out for dinner at the mall
After a 12 hour flight to Hong Kong plus a three hour layover and then another 55 min delay on the final leg of the trip over to Jakarta, I have made it here safely. It’s been a packed week here, buying items at the malls to furnish my two bedroom apartment, orientation and getting myself familiarized with the culture and language. At times the amount of information and things to remember can be overwhelming, but with the help of the other newbies and assistance from our host families, we are managing well.

The school is only a 20 minute walk from the apartment or you can take an ojek (motorcycle taxi) which takes your roughly 3 minutes. Ojeks are definitely an addicting way to get to and from school especially if you are running a little late! I hope to buy a peddle bike though as it’ll save me a little money and since I’ll be wearing athletic wear every day, I thought I’d take advantage of the opportunity to exercise. If need be, I know there’s always an ojek I can catch.

The area in which I live has been developed by the Lippo Group made up of a number of VERY rich business people. The founder of the school at which I am working is one of these business men. Him and another man co-founded the SPH School. His partner has passed a few years back, but together they had a vision and a dream to educate Indonesians, more so in particular with setting up Christian education.

This school system is divided into three ranks and every school that these men have established fall under one of the following categories:

1. Sekolah Pelita Harapan International

2. Sekolah Dian Harapan

3. Sekolah Lentera Harapan

Sekolah means school. Pelita, Dian, and Lentera all mean light and Harapan means hope. The difference between Pelita, Dian, and Lentera is the following:

1. Pelita means a spot light, a large bright light – a very large light

2. Dian means lantern – a medium light

3. Lentera means tea light – small light

The Pelita schools are for those who are among the elite, the wealthy families in Indonesia. They must pay to send their kids to get an education. At these schools all instruction is in English and these students are the ones who will become the future leaders of Indonesia. These are the kinds of kids whom I’ll be teaching.

Next are the Dian Schools. Students who attend these schools come from middle class families and some instruction is in English. These students are able to go off to college and get a further education.

The Lentera Schools are for the poorer families. These schools are in high demand because the education given is better than that at the local government schools. Parents see this kind of education for their kids as a way to get further ahead in life.

The founders had a vision to build a certain amount of schools in each of these three levels so that many have access to an education.

The Lippo Group has also developed a group of hospitals known as Siloam. These hospitals have state of the art technology and doctors from all over the world working at them. The rich pay whenever they use the hospital services but the poor pay very little and are still able to access the same quality service as the rich. It is also their dream to have more medical care accessible to everyone. After hearing about these visions and how the school has expectations of their students to give back to their communities in tangible ways, it makes being a part of this organization so exciting.

I have quickly learned that Indonesians love their malls – love to shop. In fact, I was told that there are more malls here per capita than any other country in the world. Going to the mall is a popular family outing and a great way to escape the humidity. Since it’s Ramadan right now, the malls are extra busy as this Islamic Holiday is comparable to our Christmas – lots of sales and discounts everywhere. Their fasting period is also coming to a close. We are not allowed to drink or eat out in public. You are allowed to eat out, but for instance you can’t take your starbucks drink out of the café with you. Once it’s six pm and the call can be heard over the speakers from the mosque, the fast is broken and they can eat and drink. The really committed Muslims won’t even swallow their saliva. It’s been crazy, as I’ve shopped in the malls around dinner time and going out for dinner with people myself, you will notice people with their food already ordered and in front of them ready to be eaten once the fast has been broken for the day.

I have picked up some basic words in Bahasa Indonesian. My communication is still very limited but I bought an Indonesian-English and English-Indonesian dictionary to help me out. I carry it around and it has come in handy at the grocery store. I also bought some cue cards to write down some of the common words I hope to learn and a way to test myself.

Life is certainly comparable to North America in terms of how much things cost. You’d think perhaps that everything would be cheap…..let me tell ya it’s not! Some things, yes definitely are, while others are over the top. For instance, items that you could readily purchase at a dollar store will cost you about 5-7 dollars here. As a whole though, it’s very similar. Grocery shopping can be a challenge as prices for the same product will change depending on what store you go into. Therefore keeping a running record on where to buy what item becomes a little tricky. Identifying the import brands are easy but trying to find the similar item but with an Indonesian label becomes a little difficult as you’re not sure how it compares. You basically just need to buy the smallest of its kind and try it out – trial and error until you’re satisfied. The other day as I was picking up more groceries, I stumbled across tim tams. I knew there were other flavors, but Indo has many more than what we can find in Canada. I asked the others I was with at the time if they knew what a tim tam slam was and since they didn’t I had the honor along with one other to introduce it to them.

After the first couple of days I threw out the idea of a doing combined dinners. The idea was well received and it’s now titled the “dinner club”. There are about five of us who are interested so now we just need to schedule it. It helps us to cut down on costs and we’ll waste less food than if we all bought/made our own dinners . Other than a family of five from Ontario and myself, everyone else new are Americans. In fact, there are a lot of folk from Oregon and along the west coast. I’ve already been called on saying “eh” habitually a few times 😊

Most of us are in the apartment buildings where as the families have their own homes closer to the school in gated communities. It has been rather hazy this past week and I’m told it should clear up soon. From my apartment window I apparently face two volcanoes which makes for a beautiful sunset. I do face west, but haven’t seen any volcanoes yet. I have a two bedroom apartment that has been arranged by the school. The kitchen doesn’t have hot water so I have to be creative if I do want any . There is an electrical box in the bathroom that runs an electrical current in the water which makes for hot showers. The hot water doesn’t last too long though. There is in suite laundry, but no dryer as the humidity dries things up quickly. We have been given a drying rack and that does the job nicely! I have created a video - a tour of my apartment for you to view . The apartment is a working progress, there are still things I need to get but nevertheless it’ll give you a good idea about where I live. In the video I mention the maid’s room…every apartment and home in Indo has one. This is where the maid would stay if you decided to hire a maid to live with you. It’s common for expat families to do this, but my maid would just come for a few hours and then go home again. She would also likely be hired out by a few other single people in my apartment building. I have to wait till after the holidays to find a maid so for now I’m stuck cleaning and buying groceries! Haha, naw, it’s not bad at all!

A couple other things that happened this week/what I did/learned:

- Swam at the school’s pool one day after work before heading home

- Since we’re right near the equator, the sun sets and rises the same time every day. I was super excited to hear this knowing I won’t have to wake up and go to work during the winter months in the pitch black!

- Participated in a professional development workshop

- Had my first Indo spa experience: had a cream bath plus a pedicure * Could get used to this lifestyle 😊

- Experienced a bathroom flash flood. Karissa and I had a cleaning experience that went sideways….Click on the link below and read for yourself

We are entering a 10 day holiday break. I have been talking with some people and we’ve booked a trip. I really wanted to go somewhere around here especially since I’ll be coming home in October. Since it’s Ramadan, everything is more expensive and many are travelling, but we did it anyways. Three of us are flying out tomorrow afternoon to Lombok on a three day, two night trek up Mount Rinjani. We’ll be coming back again Thursday but I’ll post again once I’m back. Wish you all back home a wonderful long weekend!

Here is the link to the video clip...I had to load it onto Youtube. I hope it works! The footage is taken sideways so you'll have to adjust your heads -sorry about that, but I have to run out the door and catch my flight so I don't have time to figure out how I can switch it. Here it goes:



3rd August 2013

So good to hear from you Janis! Sounds like its been an adventure already :) Here in Vancouver we finally broke our month of sunshine with a bit of rain, still warm out though. I wonder when you get a rainy season? Looking forward to the video tour of your place :) Have a wonderful holiday!
13th August 2013

Hey Jo! I heard! I'm sad I missed it :( BUT it's warm here too...haha. The rainy season starts in October/November till about April - basically similar to our winter but when it rains here it pours for like 10 min and then its over....How are you doing? How's Dan? How's School? Skype date soon? Miss ya buddy.
3rd August 2013

Good to hear from you
Hi Janice, Thanks for the newsy update and giving us a glimpse into your new life. I love hearing about countries through other people's eyes. I'm surprised to hear that things aren't that much cheaper there. How awesome to hear more about the organization you are working for. What a wonderful group of people to desire so much for the people of their country. The school system they established sounds great too. I look forward to the video of your apartment. What a great idea to form a dinner club. It's nice to eat with others and then be able to go if you need to. I have dinner with Miedema's once a week and it's a wonderful experience. Often I just eat, help clean up and go. Sometimes I stay a little longer, have a coffee, chat or read some books to the kids (especially if David and Genevieve are busy). I'm so excited because I have a new great niece or nephew coming in about 3 weeks. Renee is due then. Had a great time hanging out with all the Bosmas over dinner last night. Got attacked by 4 "tigers" - the 2 oldest boys (4 years) are really strong. Then they got the idea that pillows over my face would be great! Opa and I squashed that pretty good. Ellie, the youngest, was full of laughter and Avery (2 years) and I actually played together a bit. Kids sure bring joy to my life. I'm glad you're settling in well. I hope you're enjoying your trip and look forward to hearing from you afterwards. Love, Angela
13th August 2013

Angela! Ahhh, that sound awesome :) Yeah, kids are cute...especially the young ones. I hope everything goes well for Renee and glad to hear Avery is warming up to you now. Hope all is well, Janis
13th August 2013

I looooved this blog Jan- especially the part about Tim Tam Slams!! :D I'm so glad to here about all that is going on- it seems like you have it made! jk haha :) The spa treatment sounds phenomenal and jealous that you are ALREADY traveling!! I can't wait to hear about your adventures up the mountain...I'm sure you'll have a much different view then the mountains in BC!
13th August 2013

MEG! I know right?! I thought of you actually when we did were being taken and I could only remember the ones we did at Joffre Lakes...haha. How's Ontario? How was Alyssa's wedding?!!? Hope all is well bud, Janis

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