Yep, on December 29th 1987 I arrived at Soekarno-Hatta airport from London and I've lived here ever since. As for why, only my biographer and psychoanalyst could answer although the following anecdote, which I've deleted from my rewrite of Culture Shock - Jakarta
, may give a clue.On my first night here, my future boss asked what my priorities were. A beer, a shower a beer, I replied. Well, I didn't get a shower that night. In one of the bars we went in, a colleague had a young lady on each knee and one draped around his neck.
"But I'm gay," he protested.
"I'm not," I thought, "I'm not."
In rewriting Culture Shock - Jakarta
over the past few weeks, I've come to realise that there are a few gaps in my knowledge. For example, never having had a full expat package, there are choices I've never had to make and perhaps never wanted to. There's also the factor of having an Indonesian wife and family.
If any of you dear readers are reading Jakartass because you miss the old place yet wonder how you survived, or perhaps wonder why you're still here, I'd love to hear from you, particularly if you can answer some (all?) of the following questions:
- What was your first 'what the ...?' moment?
- How difficult has it been/was it to hang onto your culture?
- What do you miss most from 'home'?
- Have you joined/did you join any 'expat' clubs? If so, which ones?
- Do (or did) you seek out other expats on a similar wavelength to you?
- If you came with your family, how difficult was it for them to acclimatise to life here?
- How do/did your children cope?
- If you have been here for several years, what problems do you still have coping with?
And finally, a question for long-term expats: what keeps you here?
Please leave comments below. These would be appreciated as we don't know when 'normal' internet/email service will be resumed. However, if you wish to email me
I will treat everything in the strictest confidence and full acknowledgements will be made when the book is published.
So pseudonyms are acceptable (but Anon is not).