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: Sarah, the Stylish Aussie Mom
Today we are meeting Sarah. Sarah is Australian and moved to Jakarta with her daughter and husband. She writes about fashion, expat life, traveling and parenting on her fabulous blog Midnight Visitor. Sarah has an impeccable fashion sense and I’m sure all of you will enjoy reading about it on her blog.
So, here’s Sarah’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?
We are Anna (aka Miss D), John and Sarah from Sydney, Australia. We are an expat family of three. We lived in Melbourne where Sarah got her MBA in Monash University and John worked in a multi-national company.
When Miss D was a baby, our family moved to Sydney and has been living there ever since. We actually fell in love with Sydney because of its beautiful beaches and warmer weather. Sydney is also closer to the Gold Coast and Sunshire Coast, which are our favorite holiday destinations during winter time.
One day, after we move back to Australia, we might move back to Melbourne when we retire to join our extended families there.
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?
Indonesia is our first post abroad, although we have traveled often in both of our working lives. We never thought we were ever going to visit Jakarta as a tourist spot back in Australia. Bali is much more well- known in Australia. Many of our friends have visited Bali before, not Jakarta.
The hardest thing for us as expats in Indonesia is being away from family and friends. Other than that the language barrier, the traffic jam, and the pollution all take their tolls.
We raised 4 beautiful chickens back in Sydney. Leaving them behind to come to Jakarta is one of the hardest things for us, especially Miss D. You can read our chicken story here.
Some days, on a gloomy rainy day like today, we wonder why we are here, in a strange city in Jakarta. But, most days, we try to live a normal, balanced life.
Do you want to see our emotional feeling about the city of Jakarta? Have a read of this poem we wrote: our city.
3.I love your blog Midnight Visitor! Why did you decide to start a blog? What’s the best thing that has come from blogging?
‘Midnight Visitor’ is the title for the first published article that our daughter Miss D wrote in 2011 (Book tittle is ‘King of The Trees – Young Writers Award 2012′). We use this title as our blog name to celebrate her achievement.
Besides, we believe ‘Midnight Visitor’ is quite a proper name for our blog. Blogging is something we often do at night when we have time to reflect, after the day’s work has been done. After all, we blog to celebrate our life’s adventure, we do not wish to run our lives by blogging itself.
Please come to have a visit when you have a moment and join our family’s adventure with us.
Living in Jakarta
1. What three adjectives would describe Jakarta the best?
Crazy! Crazy!! Crazy!!!
Oh, is this only one word? OK, crazy sums up it all for Jakarta for us.
2. What’s your biggest Jakarta Love and Jakarta Hate?
We love the tropical fruits. They are yummy! We hate the smelly air in Jakarta. If there was one thing we could bring from Sydney to Jakarta, it would be fresh air. We miss fresh air so much. Compared to Jakarta, Bandung has a much nicer environment, fresh air and cooler temperature. We love to have weekends away in Bandung.
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?
Working, talking to family and friends, and raising a decent kid pretty much consume all of our time in Jakarta. One of the reasons we started our blog is to keep in touch with our family and friends back at home, as well as to share our passion for writing, and other sweet things in life, such as food, fashion, and travel. This seems to work just fine and we are totally enjoying the experience.
4. For a first time visitor coming to Jakarta, what would you recommend they try out that is uniquely Jakartan? A specific food, activity, or place?
Jakarta is not an easy city to live in. If you come for a short visit, there are many places to go and see. Why not try some popular tourist spots in Jakarta? We love Taman Mini and Taman Safari.
5. If someone was to move to Jakarta shortly, what would be your biggest piece of advice for them?
If you plan to stay here for some time as an expat, then be patient and give Jakarta a bit of time. Stay strong, keep the family together and go with the flow. Things will be fine.
On the brighter side, to pay the price for living in a harsh city like Jakarta, our expats are being pampered in many ways as compensation, such as beautiful housings, and good services (read maids, nannies etc).
6. What’s the one thing you wish you had brought or brought more of?
Vegemite. It is a special Australia food product. Miss D grows up on Vegemite and toast every morning. Most Australian kids do.
1.What have been your biggest challenge raising your daughter in Jakarta?
Miss D is a great kid and we haven’t had much hassle in raising her at all, Jakarta or back home. She enjoys singing, reading, swimming among many other things. She is so busy every day that we can hardly keep up with her.
2. How do you feel raising a family is different here than in your home country?
We don’t have the support of our families here in Jakarta. We do have our families coming for short visits, and we go back to Australia to visit as often as we can. But it is not the same.
3. What’s your favorite activity to do with your girl while in Jakarta?
Crafts, drawing and swimming.
4.What are your favorite places and things in Jakarta for You
- Clothing Stores: We love the many factory outlets in Jakarta, there are some in Mall Ambassador and south Jakarta.Restaurant
- Resaurant: The Orient8 at the Hotel Mulia Senayan. They serve mainly French and Oriental dishes. Price is reasonable consider the quality of food, environment and service.
Traveling in Indonesia
1. If you could only visit one place in Indonesia while in Jakarta what would it be?.
2. Bali or Lombok?
3. Yogyakarta or Jungle Trekking in Sulawesi or Krakatau?
Let’s move on to the food section,
1. What food do you miss the most from back home?
Quality meats (fresh and juicy with reasonable price tags!). We midnighters are meat eaters.
2.What is the one Indonesian dish that everyone should try?
Jus Alpukat. Technically, this is not a dish, but we love this fruit drink so much that we think everyone should try it. Why not try our very own recipe at the midnightvisitor’s website. For a healthier version, omit the Chocolate milk. Mrs D had one at an Indonesia restaurant recently in Citoes, Cilandak and she loved it.
3. Could you share a short and sweet recipe for an authentic Australian dish that is easy to make with ingredients found in Jakarta.
½ cup plain flour
½ cup rolled oats
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup desiccated coconut
75 g butter
1 tablespoons golden syrup
½ teaspoon bicarbonate soda
- Preheat oven to 170°C.
- Combine all dry ingredients
- Melt butter, and stir in golden syrup
- Mix the bicarb soda with 1 1/2 tablespoons water and add to the golden syrup mixture.
- Pour into the dry ingredients and mix together until fully combined.
- Line baking tray with baking paper, drop tablespoonfuls of mixture, flatten slightly with hand.
- Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown.
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.