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Practical Information for foreigners, expats and expatriates moving to Indonesia - find out about housing, schooling, transport, shopping and more to prepare you for your stay in Indonesia

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expatriate information for Indonesia

  • You now purchase cigarettes singly, not by the pack.
  • On the street you avoid running over cats when previously they were the target.
  • You can no longer reverse a car without the parking man's assistance.
  • You charge your mother-in-law transport money to take her to a place you were already going to.
  • Your most prized possession is a plastic whistle.
  • You want to import a metal whistle.
  • You take your shoes off in the office and put on flip-flops.
  • When you arrive at work you clock in then go out to buy and eat breakfast.
  • You spend an extra 2 hours in traffic per day to avoid paying Rp 3,000 in toll charges.
  • You spell everything phonetically.
  • Your children have to earn their own pocket money on a street corner singing.
  • You can't drive without sounding the horn.
  • You no longer pay any attention to someone sounding the car horn.
  • You laugh at the local humor on television.
  • You charge your housemaid 10% interest per month on any loans.
  • You think it is normal for a household of 5 people to use 45 kg of sugar per month.
  • When another expat talks to you in English you answer in Bahasa Indonesia.
  • You understand Indonesian politics.
  • You go to morning prayers.
  • You need to set the alarm to wake up for morning prayers.
  • You want to study Arabic.
  • You prefer to eat spicy instant noodles for breakfast instead of cereal and milk
  • You put chili sauce on your pizza
  • You have occasionally bought a week's worth of shampoo in single use packets
  • You have a favorite Lux soap commercial (nudge, nudge, wink, wink)
  • You get on a public bus that has a clearly marked sign "near or far, Rp 700" and you try to haggle the fare down to Rp 500 on the grounds that you aren't going very far-all to save yourself 2 cents.
  • When dressing up to go to a wedding, you reach for your silk batik shirt instead of your suit and tie.
  • Your favorite restaurant is a table covered with a plastic tarp by the side of the road.
  • You need to ask your babysitter what your child is saying, because you aren't sure if it's meaningless baby talk or Javanese.
  • You can identify the food sold by each passing food vendor--without getting out of your chair--by the different noise the vendor is tapping noises they make as they wander through your neighborhood.
  • You swear each morning that no death is too good for the roti man
  • You think nothing of asking complete strangers how much their watch costs
  • You can't understand why your Mum doesn't want your new recipe for fish head curry
  • You know exactly which pair of flip-flop sandals is yours from the 75 pairs outside your door
  • You still think Mrs. Walker is the landlady at the Rover's Return
  • You apply to be a contestant on "Famili 100" because winning a box of Supermie and a tin of paint would be cool
  • You can filter the black sludge in the bottom of your kopi tubruk through your lips until it's dry, without getting a single grain in your mouth (or your lips wet)
  • You are embarrassed to ask whether meat-free soya Bacon Bits are halal
  • You buy cabe rawit by the kilo, and beras by pallet-load
  • You think the guy in the white coat on the Vegeta commercial is a real doctor
  • You own more than three articles of Mickey Mouse clothing
  • You try to bargain a discount off the price of your cinema tickets
  • You wonder what you ever used to see in the Rolling Stones
  • You think the air smells funny in Singapore
  • You no longer get mad at the maid for leaving the mosquito door open, even though you told her 17 times a day for four years to "SHUT THE F****** DOOR!!!!"
  • You think filter cigarettes are girly
  • It no longer puzzles you why the maid buys 3 different kinds of coffee - one for you, one for visitors and one for the driver
  • When someone gives you a present on your birthday, you thank them and open it a couple of days later
  • You always pay your water, telephone and electricity bills at the post office, but you have no idea where the post office is
  • You think "Femina" magazine borders on the pornographic
  • When your fellow foreign friends come over, you turn on the AC and wear two sweaters
  • Every door, cupboard and cabinet in your house has a lock, and is kept locked.
  • You think it is waaayyyyy cool to put Winnie the Pooh stickers on a 500SL
  • Your hair is jet black, and always will be.
  • Your daughter thinks skin whitening cream will turn her into Britney Spears
  • Your passport/ID photos are twenty five years old
  • You feel the safest place to store your car is in the front room, locked and with the alarm activated.
  • Everyone on your TV set carries a microphone
  • Every other programme/advert features a precocious brat with woolen headwear
  • The rest feature overweight pre-pubescent girls
  • Your favourite TV programmes all feature the dialogue "Uh. Ooof . . uh uh UH uh UH . . nyeehah".
  • Co-incidentally, so do your favourite movies
  • You think it. s cool to smoke in a swimming pool
  • You think it looks waaaayyyyy cool flicking the fag end into the pool
  • You find nothing wrong at all with throwing bottles out of car windows
  • You think Michael Learns to Rock are innovative
  • You wonder why no one has ever heard of them outside of Indonesia
  • Your hopes and aspirations in life all revolve around Nokia
  • You are willing to pay a fortune to get your fat, talentless kid on TV
  • You have no idea at all what this is about


Humorous insights to life in Indonesia contributed by Dave Cook, Tungin Cik, MS, and Austasia

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Housing and schooling information for expats in Indonesia expatriate website for Indonesia Indonesian language translation of article

Practical Information for foreigners, expats and expatriates moving to Indonesia - find out about housing, schooling, transport, shopping and more to prepare you for your stay in Indonesia

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