This is a series of interviews of fabulous people who live, breathe and thrive in Jakarta. We will feature expats and Indonesians who call the Big Durian home in hopes to give all of you a glimpse of what life is all about in Jakarta. I would love to have different perspectives on our Fabulous Jakartan Friday (FJF) so if you would like to be featured, leave me a comment or shoot me an email and I would be so excited to hear all about YOUR Jakarta!
Fabulous Jakartan: Ariel, the Fun Greek Expat Mom
Today we are meeting Ariel. Ariel is from Greece and has lived in Indonesia for the past three years. She is is a fabulous expat mom who talks about motherhood abroad and documents her adventures in Handy Mommy by Ariel. Check out her posts on breastfeeding babies in a Muslim country and the controversies behind vaccinations.
So, here’s Ariel’s Fabulous Jakartan Friday Interview.
Tell me more, tell me more
1. First, tell us a little bit about you. What’s your background? Where did you grow up? How long have you been living in Jakarta for? What does your family look like?
I was born and grew up in a small town near Athens, Greece. I studied Communication, Media and Culture in Athens and in 2009, after I’ve acquired my degree, followed Chris, my puzzle-piece (yes, husband) in Kalimantan Indonesia. Since Georgie joined the family we decided that life in Kalimantan is a bit tough for expats with kids and here we are in the “Big Durian” since late March 2012.
2. Is Indonesia your first post abroad? What’s the hardest thing about being an expat in Indonesia? What did you struggle with the most?
Yes, Indonesia is my first post abroad. As I mentioned before I used to live in Kalimantan (Banjarmasin and Pontianak) for almost two years. So, Jakarta is a leap forward to me.
I do remember myself though going through a culture shock. The language, the way people behave, the traffic, the pollution, the mosques, the hot and humid climate, and the spicy food. Everything was different compared to life in Greece.
Once we landed in Banjarmasin, and reached the hotel it took me 2 months to go to the mall nearby without my husband.
3. I love your blog Handy Mommy! Why did you decide to start a blog? What’s the best thing that has come from blogging?
Writing is part of my life and has been a good way to steam off and share things, ideas and opinions. In a blog, you can write something the way you want it to be written and no one can judge you for that. Another thing about blogging is that you get to meet people you wouldn’t meet otherwise. Especially when you are a mum like myself and your time is limited…
Living in Jakarta
1. What three adjectives would describe Jakarta the best?
Jammed, polluted, crazy
2. What’s your biggest Jakarta Love and Jakarta Hate?
Batiks and Traffic respectively
3. How do you find the sweetness beneath the Prickly Surface of the Big Durian? What activities or things keep you happy and thriving in Jakarta?
Let’s be honest. Money and money. (I can think of better places to be happy(er) and “thrive” in).
4. For a first time visitor coming to Jakarta, what would you recommend they try out that is uniquely Jakartan?
The traffic. (On a second thought, the “unavoidable” nasi goreng kampong, is also ok after a long flight from your home country).
5. If someone was to move to Jakarta shortly, what would be your biggest piece of advice for them?
Have a ticket for the way back.
1. What has been your biggest challenge to raise a kid in Jakarta?
Raising kids is challenging enough regardless of geographic location. Now, whether in Jakarta or Hanoi, I don’t think it makes a big difference.
2. How do you feel raising a family is different here than in your home country?
It’s easier here. (Just don’t forget to employ four different maids –per child that is. The idea is to do as the Romans in Rome).
3. What’s your favorite activity to do with your boy while in Jakarta?
Spend six hours in a car, six hours at some mall, six hours to go back home, three hours thinking what you should do tomorrow and hopefully three hours asleep.
4. What are your favorite places and things in Jakarta for Kids
- Playground: How many playgrounds have you seen around????
- Classes: “Kindyroo” at the moment…
- Clothing Stores: Bypassing the fact that they all look the same, Lippo Mall Kemang, has to be the one for me. We live right next door. So save six hours in a cab.
- Toy Stores: Georgie likes all Toy Stores. There is at least one at each mall.
- Snacks: Nasi Uduk
Traveling in Indonesia
1. If you could only visit one place in Indonesia while in Jakarta what would it be?
Maratua island off East Kalimantan.
2. What is the best advise to anyone traveling with kids in Indonesia?
Stay calm, fasten your seatbelts, enjoy the ride and carry an umbrella.
3. Bali or Lombok?
4. Yogyakarta or Jungle Trekking in Sulawesi or Krakatau?
Something less touristy? Floating market at Lok Baintan perhaps…?
Let’s move on to the food section,
1. What’s your favorite restaurant in Jakarta?
Paulaner Brauhaus (Yes, that is a German Restaurant).
2. What food do you miss the most from back home?
Greek Salad (with tomatoes that taste like tomatoes), souvlaki, moussaka
3. You are from Greece, have you found a good Greek restaurant in Jakarta? Pleaseee tel us all about it!
There are currently nine Greeks living in Jakarta permanently. Obviously a bit difficult for a Greek restaurant to survive. However, I have heard of one that is called “HaloNiko” in Jl. Warung Buncit, South Jakarta. Will try it out and come back to you.
4. What is the one Indonesian dish that everyone should try?
Each region has its own special dish. I recommend start with the basics. Nasi goreng and mie ayam jamur to begin with.
5. Could you share a short and sweet recipe for an authentic Greek dish that is easy to make with ingredients found in Jakarta.
- Slice a couple of tomatoes
- Peal and chop a cucumber
- Coarsely chop an onion
- Same with a green paprika
- Some black “Kalamata Olives”
- Add some Feta Cheese
- Sprinkle with a little olive oil
- Oregano and salt to taste
Enjoy your quick and easy as well as healthy Greek Salad with some freshly baked, crusty bread.
Thank you very much for joining us in Stumble Abroad today, just one more request:
Describe what life in Jakarta is like in one sentence.