I’m Not An Indonesian, Not Yet A Scottish Lady

I think the combination of being in a holiday mood, having too many things to do/people to meet/parties to attend, and having crap internet connection at home, makes me abandoning my blog. It has been over a week and I haven’t been bothered to update it.

So I arranged to meet up with Therry at Cazbar yesterday. I thought I would be motivated to write something once I sat down on its wooden chair, had the lamb chop with a non-stop wine supply on the side. But Cazbar’s internet connection was down right after we finished my lunch today, and only bounced back before six, right before the cheese night started, and right before Nonie came to pick me up. So I couldn’t even check my emails, let alone updating my blog there, and must do everything when I got back home. Darn.

Anyway, It is good to be back. Summer has been cold in Aberdeen, and Jakarta is at least 20 degrees warmer, and I enjoy every minute of the heat. I have been pampering myself in the past week, and have been to lunches, dinners and parties I had to force myself to have some quiet nights in to recharge and have some decent sleep in my own bed rather than crashing at Ecky and Sam’s before dawn…

But it’s funny that after only a week I start missing Scotland. I miss the cold (yes, I do!), I miss its quietness and peaceful surrounding, I miss the city’s predictability, I miss its certainty, and I miss its routines.

I went to see my ex-colleagues at Pacific Place because it’s the closest to my ex-office, and the place apparently is very during lunch time, receiving citizens of SCBD. I was going up on escalator to the first floor, walked away from the crowd and found the much less busy one, surrounded by unopened shops, reached the second floor, before I realized what I just did. I avoided the crowd.

I went to Senayan City with my mum and heard the commotion on the main lobby. There was some promotion event in front of the elevator, with only one or two lost toddlers watching the sad guy saying something nobody cared or could hear. Something ticked me off and I felt really mad. I sent text to my friend who knows the owner of the mall, asking why Senayan City becomes a traditional market, with a master ceremony screaming on top of his lung and an ugly echo from bad sound system and speakers. He phoned immediately, asking what was wrong. And then I realized what drove me mad. It was the noise that I couldn’t stand it.

I was in Plaza Senayan last Friday, killing time before going to meet the girls for Nonie’s birthday, and I only managed to keep my composure up to the 9th sales person who offered me an HSCB credit card. The poor 10th guy was shrinking in shock because I barked at him even before he opened his mouth. I felt sorry right afterwards, because I know he worked by commission and tried to gain a new customer. But I couldn’t help it, I wanted to look around without having people in black chasing after me. The perfume lady who touched my shoulder and called me “sayang” (darling) also received my icy look and harsh comments. I wasn’t proud of what I did, but I hate being touched by a stranger, especially the one who shoved a stinky tester under my nose even though I kept saying no.

I arrived at Tabac right at 7 PM and nobody was there. I realized I was back in Indonesia where being late is socially acceptable, so I ordered some lychee martini. It tasted good and I made a mental note to tell this to Tamara, the martini fan. But when Nonie and Ecky arrived we decided to open up a bottle of wine, and we chose something simple, Jacob’s Creek Carbenet Sauvignon. I shrieked in horror when the guy said it’s Rp 500,000. Astagadragon, the same wine only costs Rp 120,000 in Scotland!

Have I become Scottish?

Oh God. Oh God…


  1. Dilligaf says:

    Have I become Scottish?

    Not until you crave Lorne Sausage for breakfast and keep a bottle of Irn Bru by the bedside for Sunday mornings…

    I think you are stil safe!

  2. I already missed the sun and the hot weather, but I don’t miss the crowded and the traffic jam!

    It’s good to walk with fresh air and under the blue sky :)

  3. It’s kind of emotional attachment when we left a piece of our heart there. I don’t event live a month in San Francisco only a frequent business trip there last time, and yet I feel the same way as you do.

    On wine, that’s why, I only get drunk when I’m abroad. LOL.

  4. the writer says:

    I think that’s what they called “reverse culture shock” :)

  5. The crowdedness of Jakarta can make you feel somewhat claustrophobic – if I haven’t been to a mall for a while, going back there would make me feel a bit dizzy because there are so many people and the noise is unbearable.

    It makes me think of traditional market being moved to a fancy building with air-con; it’s called shopping malls but who are we kidding? they way those people sell products and the way the shoppers carry themselves resemble traditional market all the way.

    You shouldn’t feel bad for snapping the HSBC salesperson – most of them are rude and don’t know when to stop even if people have said “no”. More people should tell them to bugger off so that HSBC owner knows such credit-card selling technique is not effective!

  6. rimafauzi says:

    I had teh same experience two years ago when I went back to what was supposedly my home (jakarta) only to find 5 days into my vacation, that my home was brussels and that I miss it so much.

    Fast forward two years, (2008) I still do not have any urge to go back to Jakarta at all. I am actually becoming a true bruxellois.

  7. bonnie2405 says:

    hehehe believe it or not, when we returned last year for a short holiday in Indonesia, I really can’t stand in the crowd. Guess, the NL small size made me immediately panicking when too many people stand around me. I really can’t cope well with the great “macet” anymore. Hubbie did better than me. He could see the fun part of trapped in traffic while I can’t.

    But to answer whether I really miss NL while I’m in Jakarta…well not entirely sure but the problem I don’t miss Jakarta that much either at this moment. I miss my friends and the food but that’s all…hemmm really weird to be stuck between 2 cultures and 2 countries :) oh..if there’s anything more that I miss..I miss reading indonesia magazine and books!!!

    finallywoken..enjoy your time there!

  8. Memento says:

    i reacted similarly the first time i went back to indonesia after 2 years being away – getting bitchy with a lady who cut a queue, yelling ‘oi!’ loudly to a bloke who bumped into me really hard and didn’t say sorry, etc.

    i think the life in the UK has pampered us with the kind and almost apologetic british culture, not to mention how people here really respect ‘physical personal space’ and tend to be much more orderly in doing things 😀

    but jakarta offers GREAT TASTY FOOD, cheap entertainments, good fun and reunions with mates and family. so despite the fact that i always complain about the annoying things, i also always enjoy the (always) short period of time i spend there. 😉

    oh… the food! no british food, drinks or even wine price can really beat that! 😀
    have a great time! :)

  9. Miss Lai Lai says:

    I have to agree with Memento. Jakarta has the best food choices I must say. Indonesia and more. (Mind you I have yet to find great Malaysia and Vietnamese food like back in NZ and Australia).

    Anita, no, you haven’t turned into a Scottish. You’re similar to some of us who have been used to the ‘civilised’ way of leaving overseas, where everyone drives on the right side of the road, signals when they are turning, and politely queue when required.

    But Jakarta is getting better. Give it a break, it grows on you after a while. It did on me for the last 3 years, and I was in NZ for 11 years!

    So yeah, all in all, some compromises are to be done.

    Oh on that Wine!! I hear you!! I often wish I am still in NZ or Aus where good wine can cost as little as $6.99 a bottle if u’r lucky.

    Enjoy your holiday, when are you here till? I would love to check out CazBar and perhaps meet up, but then with current work schedule, I’m afraid to promise anything. hiks.

  10. Finally Woken says:

    @Diligaf: I crave for Irn Bru! I’m worse than I thought. Care to share your stock with me? Send it to EP please 😀

    @Ecky: you’ve been in Oz for one day and you miss Jakarta? Girl, one word: “don’t!”

    @Toni: I think being stingy is part of being a Scottish (ask Diligaf, hehe…).

    @The Writer: yup. No matter how hard I try to adjust as quickly as possible, I’m still experiencing a shock. I just wish it would stop as this is not my first time going back! Would I experience it again when I’m back to Scotland? How tiring!

    @Therry: I do feel bad at snapping at them. I always try to be nice because I was in their shoes and I know it was hard to find a new customer. But then, I’m only human *sigh.

    @Rima: you should go back to Indonesia, then we could meet up. Imagine you, Therry and I go to Caz and sit down next to each other and do the blogging combo. Hilarious isn’t it 😀

    @Bonnie: yeah, I panicked as well, therefore I was looking for much less crowded escalator. Not an easy thing to do in Jakarta since it’s the city with 11 million souls.

    @Memento: exactly, that’s it, that’s the word: Apologetic British culture. I keep saying sorry when I brush shoulders with people, which is silly because they just stare at me or don’t even feel it. And I think I expect quieter surrounding since I’m used to it. I once felt so embarrassed when an Indonesian friend shouted and called another who stood 3 meters away, in a shopping mall in Aberdeen, because people looked at us like we’re barbarian. Must agree with the Jakarta’s food, I have been eating all the time!

    @Miss Lai Lai: Vietnamese food? Go to Vietnam, nothing beats the original! Oh they’re so so soooo yummy, fresh and cheap! But come to Cazbar or Eastern Promise and we’d have a great time:)

  11. Rob Baiton says:

    Why choose? Just take the best of all the various worlds you inhabit.

    I am sure you do that anyway…

  12. Panjisakti says:

    Interesting! Since my “home” is in Yogyakarta, I really need to prove if I really miss it or not, after leaving her 4 years somewhere in Europe. Jakarta (my second home too) is quite different than Yk.

    An appeal for wine-cravers: Why dont you start helping our own badly-lacked-of-budget grapewine research center in KP Banjarsari, Probolinggo? Apparently the Dutch had tried to introduce wine-drinking habit here. Who knows, ours will be much cheaper?

  13. Finally Woken says:

    @Rob: you’re right. So I’m enjoying sambal terasi with ikan asin almost everyday *lol.

    @Panjisakti: exactly, glad to know someone understands my feeling, it’s like lost in between and don’t know how to act or react. I’m used to with the way we drive back in UK every time I have to bite my lips so I don’t have to criticize my parent’s driver’s way of driving:).

    Interesting info about the local wine. Will have to check the place, thank you!

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