Friday, September 18, 2015


 One thing I’ve noticed since being here in Jakarta is the grand difference in nationalism from what I saw in Bosnia and Herzegovina. There, in the Balkans it seems ethnicity is the most important thing, people are their ethnic background first, Bosnians second. Yet, here in Indonesia, pleasantly, they seem to be Indonesians first and then whatever religion or ethnic background second. To be honest, I don’t really know the history of Indonesia but I’m not sure if they have ever had long standing ethnic tensions, like in the Balkans. Indonesians were more subject to colonial rule, which I suppose under one oppressor unites all the different factions (though it didn’t work long term for India, but that’s a different story).

A good example of this pride in being Indonesian could be seen last Friday, when I went to a Bon Jovi concert here in Jakarta (that was mad fun, standing a crowd of thousands of Indonesians singing along to Bon Jovi, they knew every word). Right before the main act, the reigning Indonesian Idol winner came onto the stage and began singing the Indonesian national anthem. First, there are words (big difference from Bosnia, where they can’t agree on which language to use or what words to put so their national anthem is just music). Second, and the biggest surprise, EVERYONE in the stadium sang along and they sang with great joy and pride (similar to as I see at baseball games in the USA). 

It was heartwarming for sure!

That is one nice change about being in Indonesia; they see themselves as one country, one people, good for them!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Refugee Picture

Since seeing the picture of the little boy washed up on the beach, the dead 3 year old, I have been very disturbed. The picture greatly affected me, I saw it via social media last Friday in the am, sitting at my desk and I was in tears. I had to go to the bathroom twice during the day just to sob in private. Even now, I can't look at the picture without tearing up. It breaks my heart. And yet I wonder why does it affect me so? I think in large part, because the little boy could be my little boy (my 2-year old), the way the child is laying there, that is how my son sleeps.  Maybe it is the idea of that poor little thing being alone, being so innocent and having his life taken away by such a cruel fate. And than I wonder about where is the little boy now? In Islam, we consider the dead as sleeping, waiting for the day of judgement. Yet as a mother, I would like to think that somehow the little boy is with his mother and brother up in heaven, and that she is comforting him, holding him, hugging him. 

But still the image disturbs me, makes me so sad. Why is that? What would you say to a person mourning the loss of a child, I neither knew or ever met? Is this just an oddity in me? My make-up?

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Reached Jakarta

Still taking some time to settle in, Jakarta is very much the opposite of Sarajevo in many ways:
1. Huge city, tons of traffic!
2. Tropical and warm
3. Not as Westernized 
I'll be honest this email won't be much in glowing, we still don't have any of our home stuff besides that which we packed in our suitcases, finding and making friends is tough, there is a deep lack of community in the Embassy, getting around is tough, they don’t have public transportation that is easy to use and the cost of things over here are much more expensive than in Bosnia.   To top that off, for me, I was dropped off into the deep end of the pool work-wise and unlike in Sarajevo where my predecessor was amazing and the team close, here I was left with next to nothing in instructions and the person who was supposed to train me, less than enthusiastic about the job.  

The kids and I are adjusting as best we can. We have a nanny and a driver, both a must in this country, as one can’t drive in Jakarta (unless you want to take your life in your own hands). But not being able to get around freely, even walk around, makes connecting with the city and its people just that much harder! Here, I definitely feel like an outsider (which wasn’t the case in Sarajevo).
But then I think it will get better, we will figure things out and before you know it, two years are up, or on the flipside, if we never really like it, it won’t be hard to leave and move onto our next assignment.

One thing we can’t complain about is the housing, while smaller, it is in a luxurious apartment and the view from our 10th floor is amazing. The building has two pools and a playground, which the kids love, and the staff at the apartment complex is incredible, without their help in navigating around town and in the culture we would have been a lot worse off!

Someone told me to help stay positive I should think of things I enjoy about Jakarta.
Three things I like about Jakarta so far:
1. The weather, nice and warm!
2. Reminds me of India, good memories there.
3. Wide availability of Western goods, especially food!