Category Archives: Way of life

Daily musings of the real life

Behind the scenes

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I am making a conscience effort to blog more frequently. At the moment I am trying to organise all my photos to make posting in the future more simple.

So yesterday when playing virtual cleaning lady I came across some photos intended for previous posts that didn’t quite make the cut. They are just another insight into the life of Isan, Kawan and I.

-Simone xo

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Our Home in Bali

Recently a few friends have asked us to show some photos of our home. Well, actually one friend has been asking us since we moved in and that was over 6 months ago. So here you go all you wonderful people. This is the place we call home in Bali, Indonesia.

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It is a 2 story building with 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom and ample yard space for our puppy and her friends to run around in. We chose such a big house just for the 2.5 of us because we wanted the extra space in case family came to stay. Isans’ sister and her family have stayed many times and even lived here for a little while when Isan had to return to Bandung to help his mum.

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Our bedroom isn’t anything fancy but we are thankful that we have a spring bed to sleep on and a big window that lets in a lot of natural light.

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We actually haven’t been able to make use of all the space in our house as the 2nd floor has some real bad juju about it. We did intend to turn it into a study area as it has large windows and a wooden floor but the bad vibes just got too much for us. We actually were storing towels and sheets in a cupboard up there but were told by some lovely local friends that things like that shouldn’t be stored higher than the shrines in our backyard. Promptly we removed all in storage to another room and now its just wasted space, but I’ll take that over the bad vibes any day.

We did think about moving but because renting in Indonesia usually means laying down payment for the whole year we didn’t want to loose out. So with the use of some local remedies we were able to bring some light back into the house.

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This is our gully style kitchen that we added a couple of shelves to. You will notice there isn’t any cupboard space at all! We have learnt to work around it and it means we never buy more than we need. Lately our kitchen been getting quite the workout via the Indo Food Cooking Project!

We also have a rice cooker, toaster oven and of course my coffee peculator who weren’t in the photo because they were recovering from a big night. Told you I have been cooking A-LOT!

The storage room. Nuff said.

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This is our ‘slashie’ room; it functions as a loungeroom, dining room, study and sometimes as extra space for guests or Kawan to catch a few zzzz’s in the afternoon.

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This is looking into the house from the french doors that lead outside to the backyard.

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As you step through the doors you will see all this to the left and right of you. Our whole house is surrounded by some high cemented walls that keep prying eyes from taking a sneaky peek. Isan and I both feel safer in our ‘compound’ as I am the only foreigner in the area.

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The backyard hasn’t been the labour of love it was intended to be. I have never been one for pottering around in the garden (my mother and brother are) but lately I have been dreaming of what our garden would have looked like if I put a little more effort in.

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The Pelingi (Hindu Shrine). Isan and I are Christian so we do not utilize the shrines, but the owner of the house comes every few weeks and gives offerings to the gods. I once put some biscuits in the offering space when we were having our troubles with the house (on the advice of our Balinese friends), it seem to do the trick. For now Kawan likes to use it for her photo shoots and catching up on her beauty sleep. Her sister, Rascal wanted a slice of the action too. Can you spot her?

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Isan catching a break at our ‘front door’. The bungalow that came with our house (in the left of this picture) hasn’t been as loved either and I know, such a waste! Sometimes we have had lunches out there or I have caught up on some blogging/blog reading but time and money have not been on our side. We moved to Bali as it was closer to Australia and it seemed there were more opportunities for us both. We will not be extending our rental agreement with this house and in saying that at the end of the year we both will be leaving Bali.

I will be returning home to Australia and if Isan gets his Prospective marriage visa then he will be coming too. My mother and her partner gave up coming for a visit so we could afford to send Kawan to Australia as well.

Even though we will not be returning back to Bali after December, Indonesia will always be on the cards. We have lots of plans that involve this wonderful country and therefore the blog will still be fully operational. Isan and I planned to get married next year; 1 wedding in Australia and another in Indonesia, both small and with just close family and friends. My career will always revolve around Indonesia and our children will grow up here.

There will always be lots of stories to keep on sharing.

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Look Ma! I got published.

Hooray!

Hooray!

A week ago something super cool happened to me, something I have been hoping for, for a long time.

I got my first freelance writing gig. Yay! My words are up in black and white for all to see on the wonderful new website www.inbali.org. I feel very blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful writers who share the same love for Indonesia as I do.

So with your best napkin tired tightly around your neck and with a tummy eagerly waiting to be filled I give to you a snippet from my article titled ‘Small change treats: The Top 5 Indonesian Snacks’.

Bakso Mantap

Bakso! Bakso via Surga Kuliner. I am never patient enough to take a photo, its too yummy!

Got an attack of the munchies? Need something to accompany your beachside Bintang? Then you must try some of Indonesia’s favourite snacks, which are easily found everywhere in Bali. If you can, you must try them all, revel in the moment and then go for a 10km run. In other words, if you’re prescribing to a raw vegan diet then Indonesia’s favourite treats are your kryptonite. Otherwise, if you’re a no-holds barred, gotta try everything kinda person, then prepare the serviettes because it’s going to get messy.

To read the rest of the article click here

In the comments section of the website or even here on dontforgettherice let me know which one’s you have tried or wish to try or wish you didnt? I’d really love to hear your thoughts and opinions.

Brother from another Mother: The things most Indonesians find weird about foreigners

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‘If everybody looked the same, we’d get tired of looking at each other’

I love to people watch, who doesn’t? I can spend hours chilling watching the world go by with nothing more than a coffee for company. Cliche much? As an Australian living in Indonesia I am always people watching or being watched by people. My favourite place to people watch is actually at Starbucks in Ubud. It is located on one of the busiest streets in town and has high glass windows that span the length of the entire coffee house.

When visiting a new country humans can’t help but notice the differences between their lives and those of the locals. These differences are what makes us unique and the world a much more interesting place. This post is not meant to be seen as an us versus them rant, but rather a tongue cheek post about the the things I have noticed that Indonesians find weird about foreigners.

Most Indonesians don’t like to be outspoken and this is especially the case in Bali, where some foreigners seem to get away with murder. Live here long enough and you too will start to see the differences from an Indonesians point of view. Below are the top 10 things (from my observations) Indonesians find weird about foreigners. Remember when reading the list to have a laugh at yourself and appreciate the things that make us unique.

 

  1. Foreigners eat fruit for breakfast, most Indonesians don’t. Their bodies are not use to the high fiber content first thing in the morning and they will probably end up occupied the same way we would if we were to eat a spicy sambal. Breakfast is either a simple rice dish or a coffee with a side of cigarette as is the choice with most Indonesian men.
  2. Foreigners use toilet paper most Indonesians don’t. They prefer to wash with water as they believe it to be more hygienic.
  3. Foreigners don’t eat rice for every meal. There is a saying in Indonesia that if you haven’t ate rice throughout the day, then you haven’t ate all. Don’t forget the rice…….
  4. Foreigners like to sleep in too much. Indonesians, especially Indonesian women will wake up at the break of dawn to get the day started. You should try it next time your on holiday here, the sunrises are stunning.
  5. Foreigners eat with both hands. In Indonesian culture the left hand is reserved for the dirty jobs and the right hand is reserved for giving, receiving and eating.
  6. Foreigners show too much of their body. In Bali it’s alright to walk around in your denim cut-offs and tank top but if you venture to any other Islands, say Java do not expect to be taken seriously or welcomed warmly. In the end we are visitors to this country and we should be aware of certain customs.
  7. Foreigners think tanned skin is beautiful. When on holiday here you may notice some Indonesian women driving around on their scooters’ looking like they’re about to hit the slopes. Actually they are just trying to cover up from the sun as having white skin is considered the height of beauty.
  8. Foreigners like to argue too much. Majority of Indonesians are passive people and do not like to make scenes.
  9. Foreigners go the doctor for everything. Going to the doctors in Indonesia is more of a last resort. The locals prefer to try traditional remedies before consulting their GP.
  10. Foreigners aspire to be thin. In Indonesia if you are fat it means you are happy and probably rich.

Indonesia and especially Bali is a melting pot of different identities, cultures and customs. The locals have accepted us warts and all into their Island for many, many years. As long as we all make an effort to be aware of each others cultures and customs we can continue to enjoy each others company despite our differences.

 

Here comes the Sun

Selamat Pagi (Good Morning) from my back yard

Selamat Pagi (Good Morning) from my back yard

I never use to be a morning person. Gone are the days when I would stay out all night with friends and race home to try and beat the Muslim morning call to prayer or sleeping past lunchtime during my college days. Many, many times I tried, but I could never commit to a morning routine. Until recently when Isan and I welcomed a beautiful puppy into our family. Every morning she wakes up to the sound of the neighborhood roosters crowing and makes her way to our door to do the same to us.

Most mornings I will wake up around 6.30, but Indonesians are busy folk and will start their day earlier, around 5 am. Muslim Indonesians have already awoke to start their day with prayer and my Balinese neighbour’s have made their offerings to the gods. Isan and are non practicing Christians and our morning prayers start with coffee and contemplation. We are both big coffee drinkers and love nothing more than enjoying our morning ngopi (coffee time) whilst sitting in our backyard.

Indonesian coffee is known for its thick consistency and strong flavor. I enjoy the strong flavour but prefer not to filter it between my teeth. Last Christmas whilst at home I was lucky enough to stumble upon a $2 coffee percolator whilst op – shopping. I knew I would use it every morning here, so I packed it in my suitcase and now it sits proudly on my kitchen counter right next to the rice cooker.

One of the few luxuries I couldnt give up

One of the few luxuries I couldnt give up

My breakfast choices couldnt be any more different to the choices of the majority of Indonesians here. Fruit is abundant and cheap here, so most mornings I devour a bowl of it or mix it up in a green smoothie. Indonesians on the other hand will not eat fruit for breakfast as it will give them an upset stomach, they wont even drink juice. They prefer to eat eggs, vegetables and you guessed it rice. Sometimes if we go to the market, I will eat rice for breakfast too. It always tastes better when someone else cooks it.

Breakfast date with my puppy, Kawan. Her name translates to mate or buddy in Indonesian

Drinking a green smoothie with my puppy, Kawan. Her name translates to mate or buddy in Indonesian

After I have come to, I will tidy the house and prepare for the day ahead. This includes things like, sweeping and mopping of the floors, doing the dishes, tidying up any mess Kawan has made, making the bed, hand washing my clothes and sweeping the backyard. I’d like to say I do these things every morning as most Indonesians do but I am not as diligent as them, nor do I have as much stamina.

My life here is less of a holiday than one would expect. I chose to live a life that is more in tune with the lives of everyday Indonesians. I am grateful to my Indonesian friends, Isans family but most of importantly Isan who has taught me to appreciate the simple things and be grateful for what you have. Early mornings, when the air is still and the sun is making its way above my frangipani tree is when I think about this most and it is when I can say it’s alright.

What are your mornings like in your part of the world? Do you appreciate the mornings or are you a night owl? What is your favourite Beatles song?

I am looking forward to hearing your replies.
– Simone

How to eat like an Indonesian

The best way to enjoy Indonesian food: with family and friends, especially on Jalan Malioboro, Jogjakarta (btw sorry for showing my feet- more on that in a later post)

The best way to enjoy Indonesian food: with family and friends, especially on Jalan Malioboro, Jogjakarta (btw sorry for showing my feet- more on that in a later post)

There is a saying in Indonesia that if you haven’t eaten rice throughout the day, then you haven’t eaten at all. Rice is the bread and butter of every Indonesians diet and this is the main reason I titled my blog ‘don’t forget the rice’. Almost every meal will be served with rice, even for breakfast and sometimes even for dessert.

There are 4 different words in Indonesian for rice but the one your probably most familiar with is Nasi. This translates into English as cooked rice. The main rice that is available on every menu is of the white variety. I mean you can even order it nicely wrapped up like a burger at McDonald’s.

How you eat your rice is up to you. Indonesians eat their meals with a spoon and a fork or with their right hand. There are lots of variables as to when it is appropriate to use either, but as a foreigner I suggest you stick with the spoon and fork method to begin with. From an outsider it might look easy eating sans utensils but it takes a lot of practice to make it look effortless and dignified.

Eating with your hand is surprisingly satisfying, especially when you have had a long day.

Eating with your hand is surprisingly satisfying, especially when you have had a long day. (p.s. First GIF I ever made…)

When eating your….say, nasi goreng (fried rice) the fork is in your left hand as you would normally and the spoon in your right as your main utensil. The spoon will play the role of knife and spoon, very versatile little fellow and he has probably played knifey-spoony before.

And if you want to impress/flatter your host and/or your Indonesian friends, once you have finished your meal place your fork and spoon as shown in the picture below.

.....................Selamat makan

…………………Selamat makan

Memories of holidays past is always about the food for me. What are your favourite Indonesian food memories? Have you ever tried Durian? I have and I didn’t like it, but Isan doesnt like vegemite so we are even.