5 Things I’ve Learned Since Moving to Southeast Asia, #5

I’ve neglected this blog. There’s no way around it. Since relocating to Indonesia in July, my new job has kept me moving at a pace that I’ve found difficult to sustain.

These are a few of the things I’ve done since landing:

  • flown to Singapore three times in four months
  • had an overnight retreat with 200 twelve and thirteen year olds
  • met parents at Open House and Student Led Conferences
  • sat in more meetings than I care to count (my new job loves The Meeting; Lunch Meetings; 7 AM meetings; 90 minute meetings; this-will-only-take-a-minute-but-really-it-won’t meetings)
  • traveled to Yogyakarta, Indonesia; Sumatra; and a shockingly deprived area of Jakarta…

With all of this craziness, there are 5 main things that stick out in my mind that have either taught me about myself or reinforced my own beliefs. Over the next week, I’ll post about them.

5.) I’ve become the expat instead of the immigrant, and I’m uncomfortable with that. 

Remember when I posted about the difference between the expat and the immigrant? I’ve finally admitted to myself that I’ve become the expat. This is not a positive thing in my mind. The expat willfully lives in a bubble; chooses to not associate with the local population; does not attempt to master the local language; compares a developing country to a highly developed country and gets frustrated when things aren’t the same; and the list goes on.

That’s been me, and I’m annoyed with myself. I’m taking Indonesian language classes but am a horrible student who never finds time to study (which is ironic since I’m a teacher). Then, I have the nerve to get frustrated when a taxi driver can’t understand what I’m saying when a two year old can communicate in Bahasa Indonesia, the local language, more than I can.

Though Indonesia is a very moderate Muslim country (re: I know where to buy my pork products and wine when the cravings strike), I’ve walked outside knowing damn well I needed to cover my legs or my shoulders a little bit more but didn’t want to bother. My rationale: they know I’m foreign. Whatever.

This has to change.

How quickly (and how willingly) I will make an effort to do so will have to be another post.

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3 thoughts on “5 Things I’ve Learned Since Moving to Southeast Asia, #5

  1. Pingback: 5 Things I’ve Learned Since Moving to Southeast Asia, #4 | (Im)Migrating with a Purpose

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