Thursday, January 25, 2007

Jakarta,Thursday 25th Jan 2007

So much has been accomplished in such a short time.

We both have phones that work and we have arranged to have the hot water service fixed at home in Brisbane for a fraction of what the Real Estate agent had organized. What bad luck that one of the hot water heaters burst the day the new tenants moved in!

We have also found a house and signed a lease. It was the first house that we looked at and is brand new in a lovely, quite area. The living area is a little small but the rest of the house makes up for it. There is a great pool which the owner is going to fence for us and a flat, large backyard for the kids to play in. The house is smaller than what we had at home, but is still big enough for us. In Jakarta is is standard to pay the rent upfront for the ENTIRE LEASE PERIOD, yes that is correct, three years rent upfront, in advance! You could build a house easily for what we are paying for three years rent. All curtains, improvements and repairs are our responsibility as well. I am crossing my fingers that we will be able to get broadband, the owner and broker kept telling me that the house could receive it, but I am sure that they had no idea what I was talking about.
We consider ourselves very lucky to find this house. We were the first ones to see it so had the first option on it, which was great as other people who also saw it on its first day were prepared to sign up for it. Our budget is considered small for an expat, apparently some of the banks and big multinationals budget for around US$6-8000 per month for rent. We had less than a quarter of this to spend.

The girls started school yesterday and Ben had his first day today, and all are loving it so far.
Chelsea has a lovely lady teacher, Miss K and Georgia has a wonderful male teacher, Mr F.
Ben goes from 8am to 11am five days a week, while the girls go for a full day of 8am to 2.10pm.
Both the girls have made new friends straight away. Chelsea was very excited this morning as she had swimming for sport today. I will start working there next week. Until we are settled I will work 5 days a week during Ben's hours. Eventually I would prefer to work 2 full days, and have the rest of the week free.

I have tried a new tropical fruit yesterday. The hotels buffet has a marvelous selection of fresh fruit and I want to encourage the kids to give everything a go. You should of seen me trying to smile and swallow the most horrendous thing...a piece of "Salak also known as snake fruit. The unpeeled fruit looks like a ball of snake skin and the peeled fruit looks like a large clove of garlic with a black seed in the middle. It was sweet, salty, bitter and sour all at the same time and tingled on my tongue. I was very proud of myself that I didn't heave it all up at the restaurant table.

We are looking forward to being able to cook soon. It is too expensive to eat at the restaurant every night and the apartment has extremely limited facilities to cook with. It is fine for lunches and breakfast, but a portable hotplate and a small microwave isn't much use for family meals.

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