We met at an art exhibition in Jogjakarta, Java in 2011.
From the very beginning this was not meant to be a holiday fling, there was something special about this boy that gave me butterflies. He was smart, creative and selfless. I knew that it wasn’t his skin colour or his accent that attracted me but rather his heart and his personality.
Our love knew no borders and to this day it is still hard to comprehend those put up by either ones government. I understand why the laws are there but that doesn’t make the pill any easier to swallow. These borders make it harder for us to stay together unless we commit to the inevitable and get married. But what if we aren’t ready to get married yet? What if we want to see each other on a regular basis and go about life normally?
Relationships are hard. Cross Cultural Relationships are even harder. How are you suppose to make it last if you don’t speak the same language, follow different religions or live in different continents? What is the one thing that holds it all together? I would really like to say love, but I know there is much more than that.
There is no rule book to follow and if it all turns to poo what are you meant to do next? Do you keep trying even though the distance seems only but a road block put up to test the relationship?
Isan and I are fortunate as we both have the ability to speak one another’s language. Isan has lived in Australia and I have a bachelors degree in Asian studies majoring in Indonesian language and culture. In saying that there are still times when it is evident that we were raised among different cultures. The arguments I use to have with past partners (from Australia) just seems frivolous now in the scheme of things. What is the point of arguing over whose turn it is to take out the garbage when you need to reach an agreement on where to raise your children.
Rhonda and Ketut make it look so easy, but really what will happen when Ketut pops the question? Will Rhonda convert to Hinduism to be able to live in Indonesia on a partner visa or will Ketut move to Australia to be with Rhonda. Don’t know who Rhonda and Ketut are? This montage of tv advertisements for Australian Insurance company AAMI below will enlighten you of these 2 characters.
I think most couples would choose to live in the more developed country as it is perceived that their future will be brighter. I know Australia will provide a financially sound future for Isan, better healthcare and education but I still cant help feel guilty that the move might take a small part away from him; his sense of belonging.
Since returning to Australia I have been able to catch up with some long lost school friends. To them my life seems so interesting and exciting but the funny thing is I would swap what they describe ‘as their boring life’ with mine in a heartbeat. I long for the day when Isan and I can work 9 til 5 and come home to talk about our day over dinner every weeknight. I crave the chance to enjoy an entire lifetime of Sunday sleep-ins next to Isan with our dog Kawan catching the morning sun at the foot of our bed.
In the end no matter how hard it has been or will get, this relationship has taught me how to be grateful for the little things. Grateful for the internet and skype, grateful for the support I have received from friends and family and grateful for you the reader who keeps reading our story. This gives us the motivation to keep pushing on, no matter what lies ahead.
I am one lucky little duck. So many wonderful things have happened this week that I am very grateful for. Like inbali.org published another one of my articles yesterday.
I can’t wait for you all to read it. It was lots of fun to write, especially when I made reference to my own personal experiences and memories. Below is a screenshot of a snippet of the article but if you wish to read more head on over to inbali.org.
As of last Saturday I also arrived back on Australian soil and was welcomed home by this sweet surprise from my Mum and younger brother, Phil (aka Philby).
The treats were definitely scattered around my room, I even found a chocolate bar hidden among my shoes.
My Mums partner cooked a roast lamb for tea that night (thanks Bill it was bloody delicious!) and my Mum and I caught up over a bottle of wine.
For those of you who have been following this blog for a while now , you will already know that my partner, Isan and our puppy, Kawan are still in Bali. Both are waiting on visa’s and paperwork to be approved so that we can start a life together in Australia. The time apart for the next few months will be hard but the silver lining is I am surrounded by my family again in the warmest community in Australia. Here is the proof,
Treats brought round by my neighbours to welcome me home.
I hope to use this time to myself to re-access certain areas of my life and plan for the new future ahead and to oh…… hopefully make time for more blogging.
Do you think now that there is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc high school reunions aren’t as interesting as they use to be? I mean you can discover whether your fellow classmates are married, what job they have or do they have children without having to change out of your pajamas or even prove you invented post-its.
In retrospect, what have I accomplished in the past decade that others will find interesting and will give me something to talk about at my upcoming 10 year High school reunion?
I think back to when I left high school and what I had planned for my life, never would have I entertained the thought of how it is at this very moment. During my senior years of high school I actually took Japanese! I only picked up Indonesian as an extra subject at University and now it is the governing factor that is determining the choices in my life. Ohaiyo Gozaimasu and Domo Arigato have morphed into Selamat Pagi and Terima kasih inside my head.
Last week I discovered an email I wrote over 9 years ago, after my first week at University. The said email was so hilariously bad, I almost didn’t read it all. In saying that, it allowed me to see how many good transformations I have made since then. Honestly now looking back on the person that wrote this I cringe. I was guilty of trying way too hard and was too worried about what others would think of me. I was too precious for my own good really and those who went through High School or even University with me will (hopefully) see the more grounded person I have become today.
Well its been at least 2 weeks since I last saw you all and boy has it gone quick!
Everything is fantastic, couldn’t have hoped for anything better in the country town of Armidale. I am not the furthest away from home, I meet someone the other day from Melbourne- how crazy is that?
O WEEK was massive and to say the least, a little more crazy than I expected.
The first night, Sunday night was a quiet one for me. After being in the car for 6.5 hours with 2 small breaks in between, then arriving at my place of residence (my address):
EARLE PAGE COLLEGE ARMIDALE 2351
I had to unload the entire car as I brought too much stuff!, then being bombarded with too much information and meeting a gazillion people I was buggered. Most people stayed up too we hours of the morning partying and getting pissed, but I just couldnt manage it I was way too sick. I managed to get alot of sleep though and missed getting up early for “BOOT CAMP” as they forgot about me in my room, YES!.
Monday involved an “official welcome’ by the Dean of the University of New England. This was my first experience of walking form college(my room) to Uni, its about 2kms and is up a steep hill. It takes me about 20mins one way. Its so much easier to walk back but hey its all exercise and I can really feel it working in my legs. Some days I am lucky and I can get a lift with someone from college, but most days (so far) I’m not.
At night time we had a round of “Fresher Games”. Freshers is what the first years are known as, as the older students didn’t come till later in the week. The games were
- KNIGHTS, CAVALIERS, MOUNTS- This involved a girl pairing up with a boy and music would play then when it stopped we were told whether to ‘knight’- jump on th boys back, ‘cavalier’ be swept of our feet or ‘mount’ sit on the boys knee. If you didnt do it quickly enough you were disqulified. It was lots of fun but I cheated and stuck to one of the boys, Blake from my floor. We were in the top 5!
- MUSICAL CHAIRS- A little different than usual. In this version you weren’t allowed to have any part of your body on the floor, which nearly led to a few injuries but was tons of fun.
- SHOE GAME- Throw one shoe into the middle of the floor than pick up a different shoe and find its owner. This was not as good as I hoped as I ended bumping heads with another girl. Actually one from my floor (TOPA- top floor, Building A) Kate, one of my good friends now. There are actually only 6 first year girls and 11 first year boys, and in total including the older years 14 girls to 20 boys. It’s all good though cos everyone is really nice and I have nothing against anyone on my floor so far.
TUESDAY we had a BBQ Breakfast- this was the start of the many ahead (in all of O Week we had 5 BBQs. I do not want to see another sausage for a very long time!) Just before lunch time we headed over ‘up top’ to the Uni for “Academic Advising”, a bit like the Careers Market we went to in yr10 and 12 at UWS. I am doing a Bachelor of Asian Studies and I chose 4 subjects- Indonesian 101(beginners), Japanese 201(Intermediate), Linguistics 101 and Social Change in Asia. Later on in the evening we ahd a trivia night, this is when I realised how crazy my floor is, even though they are really nice and I get along well with them they are a bunch of drunks! This night I was really homesick as I kinda felt out of place as I missed you all, my friends. Yes I did shed a little tear, but its all good now!
WEDNESDAY was enrolment day when I had to finalise all my chosen subjects, it was good only took about an hour. Also they had like a big market of all the activities and clubs I could become involved in. Some were a little strange, quite nerdish eg. the medievil club, WHAT THE!. Again for dinner we had a BBQ but this time it involved all the other colleges, there is 6 in total- Earle Page(mine), Duval, Drummond and Smith, Robb, Mary White and St Alberts. I am so glad I got into the one I chose, its much better all round. We had to stay in our falcultys (mine is ARTS) and go around and introduce ourselves to people from other colleges- so I went up to all the good looking boys!
Later that night we had a Traffic Light Party. You were green if you were single, Orange if you were unsure and Red if you were taken- I wore Green but no luck! Actually the night started of really bad and boring! My friend Kate, I told you about hooked up with some guy from another college (Duval) and left me alone for a while. I found another girl form my floor, Jo she comes from Broken Hill on a sheep station. I actually lost my money ($10) and she bought me a drink, because the party was at our sponser pub “the newie” New Engalnd Hotel. I later found some of the boys from my floor and spent the rest of the night with them. They are great, a little silly when it comes to alcohol but fun.
And that’s enough of that! Many lessons learnt since then.
Past Simone wouldn’t have shown this old email to the world. If I had stayed the same person as I was in High school I probably would have deleted it and never spoke of it again; too afraid at what others would have thought of me. I have to admit, I did remove a few super embarrassing lines but ultimately it’s still as it was 10 years ago- spelling mistakes, cheesy emoticons and all. Hats off to you as well if you got through it all without wanting to slap my former self, I couldn’t even get pass the first paragraph!
So on the 18th of October when I attend my 10 year High school reunion I will not have an awesome job to boast about, pictures of my children for you to ooo and ahhh over or even a house for you to admire but I will have become someone for the better. Someone who won’t sugarcoat her life story, who will be busting a move to a spice girls track and sinking a beer or two with an old classmate, whether we were close friends or not.
Cheers to being proud of whatever you have accomplished in life, even if its not how you planned it would be.
P.s. Isan will sadly be unable to attend the reunion as my plus one. We are still waiting on his visa to be processed.
Pasar-pasaran is back…and I won’t be in Bali to see it. Its also my sister in laws (the girl in the photos below) birthday that same day, double sad face. If you see her, as she will be attending, wish her a special pasar-pasaran birthday- it will make her day!
A few months ago I attended the first pasar-pasaran, you can read about it here. It was such a fun day and comes highly recommended.
This time though the craft markets will be held at night under the roof of Hubud. Has anyone been to this place? It sounds amazing and something I would have made more use of if the budget allowed it.
Here are some photos from the first pasar-pasaran post held in the gardens of Warung Sopa, Ubud to encourage you to attend the event.
It’s a great community event which allows Indonesian artisans to come together and showcase their wonderful handmade goods. So if you are in the Ubud area around the 7th of November please do consider attending. You ill be supporting local up and coming designers and it will be a great opportunity to buy some unique Christmas gifts.
Now most you all know that very, very soon I will be packing up my bags and heading back to Australia. I have finished my studies, Isan and I have had our trial ‘marriage’ period and for now the future looks brighter for the both of us down under.
In saying that, it will not be the end of ‘Don’t forget the rice’ in fact it is only just the beginning. This is just the start of our little life together and so we are looking to send the blog to some new exciting heights.
Yesterday I announced that the blog was taking on sponsorship and advertising. The post can be found here. We know we are only small and starting out but we believe in the blog and its message so much that we couldn’t just sit by idly. The blog now has a Facebook page, which you can show your support and like via here. You can also follow us on instagram, twitter, pinterest and bloglovin. By allowing us to become apart of your daily feeds you will become privy to regular status updates, extra photos and all the funny little things that go on in our daily lives.
We have no plan and we are just making it up as we go along. Remember we started the blog so that hopefully others could learn from our experiences, mistakes and achievements.
At the moment we are super busy with visa applications, preparing for my move, wedding plans as well as Isan’s work, all the while looking after 3 dogs. This is why I can eat white rice everyday and not have to go to the gym.
My return ticket back to Australia has been purchased and I’ll arrive mid October. Just in time for my Mums birthday and my High school 10 year reunion. Isan and I both wish we were leaving Bali together, but it’s the way it is and we will just have to deal with it. We are both adults and have spent time apart before. The distance will be hard but nothing compared to a life time we will get to spend together.
Thank you to our family and friends and all our awesome readers for your constant support and for joining in the fun so far.
-Simone and Isan
Writing about Indonesia and sharing all the skills and knowledge I have learnt about this country is my passion. It is what makes me jump out of bed in the morning…..most days.
I have big dreams to make a difference in this world and I hope this blog is just the start of that. My goals have been listed here and someday soon I will be able to achieve each and every one of them. Everyone in this world has a special gift that the world needs and I believe this is mine. The world is my oyster, I’ll just have it served with a side of sambal please.
Don’t forget the rice is beginning to make waves in the blogging world and so therefore we are moving on to the next step and inviting sponsorship and advertising to the blog. Below is the sales pitch found on our ‘let’s work together’ page which can be found here as well.
Interested in becoming a part of a cause that’s looking to close the gap between misunderstanding and cultural mis-guidance? Want to sponsor a new up and coming blog hoping to teach its readers about the real Indonesia? If so- mantap! Your wonderful brand/business/blog can be advertised on Don’t forget the rice.
Don’t forget the rice is available across various social media outlets to help put your business at the forefront of a growing international targeted audience. Our readers are more culturally aware and therefore enthusiastic to support brands that are helping to lead Indonesia to the forefront of the business world.
We have only been operating for 4 months and already we have reached a total of 7000 views. Recently, due to a new charge in promotion we have reached over 6000 impressions and 3800 unique visitors in the last month alone (Aug 2014). An impressive increase and one we want to keep striving for and beyond.
We have a loyal international following with the top 10 countries being,
- New Zealand
We’d love to work with your brand/business/blog to help us achieve our goals on showcasing all Indonesia has to offer. Your sponsorship will not only benefit your business but also my partner and I. Our goals for the blog is to provide an open platform for positive and constructive discussion and to be seen as role models for cross-cultural relationships.
What are we offering?
- Sidebar Advertisement
- Sponsored posts
- Twitter and Facebook mentions
For all more information on all advertising and commercial inquiries please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Indonesia is going through a new period of change and growth. We hope you can join us for the exciting times ahead.
-Simone and Isan
As you may all have read here my fiance, Isan and I are planning on getting married next year… twice. The first ceremony will be in the Hawkesbury area of NSW, Australia and the second in Jogjakarta, JAVA, Indonesia. If we could, we would get married now but money, visa and time constraints aren’t on our side.
We could always run away, get hitched and be done with it but that just wouldn’t feel right to us. Our family and friends have supported Isan and I from the very beginning. We want to be able to show them that all the long distance, constant ups and downs and the masses of money spent was worth it. We want to be able to celebrate both special days surrounded by them all.
When Isan and I make the relationship ring bound official (the only time when Facebook official gets trumped) I will walk down the aisle in my Aunts wedding dress from 37 years ago. A sheer miracle it is still in good nick and a fateful wonder that only a month or so ago my Aunt was going to donate the frock to the local op shop. The dress is perfect for our vintage theme as she tells me it was made to resemble my grandmothers when she tied the knot in 1957. I can not wait for that kleenex moment.
Here is a sneak preview.
And here is the gown as my Aunt wore it on her wedding day in 1977.
For me the dress is far too gown and not enough frock so my Mother and Nanna (super seamstress in her hay day) will be working together to alter the garment. I plan on keeping…secrets. So you will just have to wait, like Isan until the big day.