Last night I found out that Bugilsnews displays Indonesian Expatriates Forum (IEF) link and its widget on their site. With a few thousands of subscribers (I was told they had 10,000 readers a couple of years a go and it was when Bugils Group hasn’t been crazily expanding – to how many bars now, five, six? – like nowadays, so the number might be bigger now), having the link there will hopefully spread the news about IEF.
Despite what people think – especially our Indonesian friends and family back home – that life is glorious, the future is bright, and everything is nothing but sweet love if we live abroad, being away from home is always a lonely (and most of the times, shocking) journey. Only people who are in our shoes, or have experienced the same thing would understand what we are going through. Like eating live squid in Korea, for example. Or wondering why they invent a very cold fridge in Norway that freezes the veggies right away. Or finding new friends.
Andrea Martins, the lady behind ExpatWomen sent me email, congratulating me for having my story “On Life, Being Busy and Moving On” chosen as the story of the month. Reading my entry again today, I realize that back then I wasn’t ready to loose my friends back home and to accept the reality that I am not there anymore, and everybody has moved on. And perhaps a little bit upset because no one seems to miss me – which is actually untrue, some genuinely do. Sure we are still close, but we’re not a part of each other’s life on daily basis like we used to. I should dedicate my energy to enjoy new friendships with new friends in here. And once I shifted my paradigm, the gray could above my head has slowly disappeared.
I am grateful that I am entitled to a service that helps people settling smoothly and – hopefully – quickly into a new location. They conduct a settlement course which covers basic things like school, bank, shopping, hospitals, employment, and so on. They have an extensive library of resources on cross-cultural experiences, information on the local area and overseas location. They have staffs ready for one-to-one meeting should we feel the need to address a specific subject. They host a weekly coffee morning for partners – which provides not only coffee, tea, and juice, but as well as scones in many flavours. The event is held at its own coffee room in a plush, castle-like, building. The building functions as a hotel, and the restaurant is rumoured to serve a nice Sunday brunch. Gym is located on the separated wing, for employees and their families. It widens my network and help me to find new friends. I am lucky because not all workplace provides such thing.
Since we experience a culture shock together, my friends will turn to me and ask about local food or surrounding restaurants. And I to them when I need to know where to find a good hairdresser or buy particular things. Everyday we learn about new things about each other.
So, who’s up for trying the original Sticky Toffee Pudding?