Thursday, March 15, 2007

Jen's update by remote

What an exciting chaotic day. We are now in the house and are on the hunt for all the odds and ends to organize our home.
The house has no storage what so ever. Each room has a small wardrobe with 35cm of hanging space and a few shelves. The master bedroom has slightly more, but as it is built into a corner, you can neither see it nor reach it.
We are going to put these wardrobes in the kitchen and use them as a pantry and linen press.
We were looking for the modular system of wardrobe fittings to personalize the space. We have a large alcove off our bedroom for the wardrobe area and it is hidden from first sight and as such does not need doors. Open racking would be great for ventilation and allow us to get the maximum use of space. Unfortunately no one has heard of it in Jakarta. I drew pictures and explained what I wanted and everybody thought that it was a great idea, but not available. Where is IKEA when you need them?……
The closest one is in Singapore.
The girls both need new beds. Georgia’s bed is a hand-me-down queen size which the girls are sharing. Chelsea’s was sent to the dump before we left.
The girls were promised (bribe style) new beds and linen for Jakarta. We have found some nice beds which are the ensemble style with a trundle built into the base (great for when their cousins visit…hint, hint).
The beds in Indonesia are as hard as the ground. The first night in our own bed after two months away was like sleeping on the softest pillow!

Ibu Sarinah, our house keeper has started. I think I am going to love having a house keeper, like really love. Today the girls stayed at home while we cruised up and down Fatmawati Raya. All the dishes have been done, most of the washing and ironing done and the beds have been remade to a much higher standard and all the old hair has been removed from my hairbrushes. Ibu Sarinah has also requested another bucket as she prefers to hand wash ladies underwear. We are just average middle class Australians, at home I do everything (except mowing), and here I feel like a princess!

It was fascinating to walk along Fatmawati Raya today. This is a fairly main road that leads to Blok M. It is the home accessories suburb. The shops are grouped in types along each block. The first area is for beds, curtains and carpet, and then we got to the bathroom and kitchen ware section. We also went through the hardware area.
We experienced a plethora of sounds and smell. It was a steamy, hot day and I felt like I really was in Jakarta. The foot paths are mostly nonexistent and if there is one it is heavily grooved from all the motor bikes. There are open drains everywhere which all had very pungent odors in the heat. I remember thinking that you couldn't be a blind person and walk alone in Jakarta.
I have 3 pocket language books and between them and drawing lots of pictures we did well at communicating.
We found a shop that manufactures aluminum clothes stands, beheads etc. They are coming out on Monday to give us a quote on welding up some racks.
We stopped at a large shop called Veranda. It was the most over the top Italian/European style, ornate furniture imaginable. It makes Nick Scali look minimalist! The walls were gilded; chandeliers were everywhere as were fresco's on the ceiling.
Sunday 10th March

Today was the hardware store. The local hardware shops are road side stalls. We went to the American chain of ACE Hardware (this is where I found the stain remover and potato masher!).
GJ has bought all new sockets for our appliances and is slowly replacing them all. An adapter costs about $10, but a new socket is about 20 cents.
We pulled out the wardrobes in our bedroom today and found three holes in the wall filled with live wires. There is no earth in Indonesia, so no safety switches….very dangerous. It is VERY lucky that GJ has a restricted electrical license and knows what to do. He is going to find a special crimper thingy so he can also rewire the telephone points, as they are hanging on by threads as well.

I stopped at Chem chicks, the expat supermarket on the way home and picked up supplies for our first home cooked meal. Sausages and steak with a tossed salad, so typical Aussie but SO DELICIOUS!!!!!!! While we were eating I was looking at the bottle of Paul Newman’s salad dressing I purchased and realized that I paid $13 for it……It was by far the most expensive thing on the table.

We met our new neighbors also, an American couple who have been living in Indonesia for 19yrs. They have one teenage daughter; and their house keeper’s daughter is the same age as Ben and they play for hours together.

Mrs G was telling me about the neighborhood, apparently a lot of ex/retired govt. ministers and generals live here so I shouldn't be surprised to see guards armed with machine guns roaming around. The house next to us is owned by the army, but no one lives in it. Once a week a truck load of army guys come around to clean and air it out and then leave.

The kids are now in week 8 of a 10 week first term at school. Today Chelsea told me that she liked this school the best. “It has a pool and you don’t have to work as hard” was her reasons why. All three of the kids have settled in really well. Ben has even started to talk at school!
The school is getting new pupils every week, they are almost full. Two new teachers start next term. Chelsea will be getting a new male Australian teacher.

I spend a lot of time talking and reading with the kids who are new to English, correcting their pronunciation and grammar as well as practicing phonics. All those years that my mother forced me to attend elocution lessons has paid off. I wonder how many of these kids are going to pick up my Australian accent.

Ibu Linda came over yesterday and helped me tell the pool boy that he didn't have a job. Pak S, who started yesterday, seems great. We bought over our fridges and freezers not realizing that houses are supplied with white goods. The trip over was harsh and they were covered with mould and grime. Three out of the four are now sparkling.

Thursday 15th March

We were recommended a shop in Plaza Kemang that sells good quality DVDs for a very reasonable price ($1). The kids have been having a great time choosing a movie/show each a week. I am not much of a movie watcher; I almost never have the patience to sit still for 1.5 hours or have 1.5 hours with no interruptions from cute kiddies.
I have been buying the latest American TV shows. I am up to episode 19 of Heroes (I love it!!!!!) and have about 20 episodes of Lost and Desperate Housewives to get through. It is great to be able to watch these shows when I want and with no commercials. Comment by GJ. Tell'em about your CD purchase for A$1.00

We had the most magnificent thunderstorm over the right house last night. The walls were shaking from the noise. I have finally convinced the kids that a thunderstorm is the sky having a disco party. They are slowly on the way to enjoying watching storms as much as me. I have only found one piece of my weather station as yet.
I have a great unit which measures the temp and humidity for inside and out side as well as a barometer, a moon phase, sunrise and sunset function.
So the only way I can describe Jakarta’s weather is Very hot and humid out side and nice inside the house if I have any of my 9 A/C’s on.

It is now 4.30 am (yes my strange habit of waking up at 4 am has resurfaced….) and the call to pray has just started to be broadcast of the local mosque loud speaker. I find it strangely beautiful and peaceful. When the house is quite it is very easy to hear, especially on Fridays, Prayer day, when there are a lot of broadcasts. Most of the Mosques have loud speakers on the top of the turrets (I am not sure of the correct name) and transmit calls at different times of the day. It is very hard to describe, its like singing, chanting and wailing all into one. It is a mans voice with incredible range, I am not sure what language it is in.

I have just looked at the clock and realized that Lisa and Geoff’s baby would be about 12 minutes old…..Is it pink baby Ella or blue baby Cooper? I can’t wait to find out!
Then I can’t wait to buy the precious baby a present. I love, LOVE babies, and I love shopping for them.

GJ is enjoying his guest spot on my blog. He rang me yesterday to tell me he had a few comments. I don’t think that I will be able to get him off now he has the password. I might have to change my name to Jen-GJ-Jen QLD.

It is now 5am and I have to try and wake the kids, they hate waking up in the dark.
On the weekends it is a different matter, they are up super early. Figures..LOL

Uploaded By GJ


Pengamat said...

Actually I checked that there is no ground in parts of Western Europe as well (Wikipedia).

But in Indonesia.. yes there is ground.. if you see on the power point there are two pins on top and bottom or both right and left sides of it.. that's ground! (check on the plugs too) =P and just look at your street and check for a ground box thingy =P

Pengamat said...

hmm seriously this many years of living in Indonesia I haven't heard a single morning prayer call from any mosques... I supposed ur living near one (which is not good =P) .. but anyway it's in Arabic.

Laurel Wreath said...

"kids are going to pick up my Australian accent" I had to laugh out loud, because I was thinking the same thing. When you leave they all will be talking Aussie, hehe ;))

I have enjoyed reading your adventures. I hear ya on the IKEA thing! And how scary the wires!

Sounds like you are settling in nicely, I too would enjoy a housekeeper! You deserve to be treated like a princess!

That is nice you have some American Neighbors! I don't think I will look at Paul Newman's salad dressing the same, $13!! Wow. hehehe.

Keep the stories coming, I love it.


Anonymous said...

Hi Jen,
I enjoyed GJ's guest spot. Sounds like you are all settling in very well. Be sure tosend us your address so I can fill you in on what's happening our end.
Deb & Ro