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Indonesian Expatriates Dot Com Will Be On, Very Soon September 8, 2008

Posted by finallywoken in Being Expat.

Dear all,

It’s been a quite long time since our last post. Not that we have abandoned this site, but because both Andie and I are ‘cooking’ and preparing the new website for us. At the same time both of us have moved to our new houses (a.k.a blogs) respectively and have been busy tidying up and developing them. So we sincerely apologise for long delay.

The new website is still under construction and we will let you know when we are ready to receive guests – you’d be the first to know!


Rapid Cost of Living – What Can We Do? Juni 19, 2008

Posted by Jun in Being Expat.
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The recent hike in fuel prices has undoubtedly increase the cost of living. Maybe not as much as what they are experiencing at home in Indonesia, it is still making a dent for us who live in foreign countries. Not only affected those who are in foreign countries, it also have direct impact on those who have to support their family members on their home countries.



Big cities all around the world have become more expensive for expatriates with family members. In the Philippines, cost of living has increased 5% to 8% since beginning of the year.

The global cost of living study has comprised that London and Moscow are the most expensive global locations for expatriates, while 3 of the top 5 most expensive cities are in Asia; Tokyo, Seoul and Hongkong. 

The weakening of USD compared to Euro also contributes significantly to the changes in the most expensive cities for expat list compiled by FinFacts.Ie. This list does not account for cost-of-living savings accrued to local citizens through government-subsidized housing, health care, and education, differences in taxation, and many other factors irrelevant to expatriates. Cost of living may be much higher for expatriates than for local residents in a developing country, especially if expatriates expect a standard of living similar to a developed country. With the rising cost of fuel and gas, the impact of rising cost for basic goods and services are going to be stronger than ever, coupled by the poor performance of USD. 

How are we as expat deal with it? What sort of lifestyle changes are we most likely to conform with? We would love to hear your opinions and tips on saving whilst living away from home country. 

For more information on survey done on the topic, please visit City Mayors website.



Indonesian Society Abroad Juni 3, 2008

Posted by finallywoken in Being Expat.

When we land in our host country, one of the first things we do is to find and make new friends. And no matter how fluent we speak the foreign language, most of us will be glad if we could meet up with other Indonesians. It would be very easy to do so in cities like Singapore (half of the country population is Indonesians anyway) or Perth, or cities with historical link to Indonesia like Amsterdam, where everywhere we turn we practically could bump into another Indonesian.

But what if we live in not-so-popular country, like me, for example, who happen to live in Aberdeen, Scotland? (lebih…)

Living in Beautiful Brussels Mei 21, 2008

Posted by finallywoken in Being Expat.
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The article is written by
Rima Fauzi, the blog owner of A Chocoholic’s Piece of Mind

Brussels is the city I used to hate but now have come to really love. When I first got here I hated it because of its tranquility and ‘old fashion-ness’. It wasn’t really fair because I constantly compared it to New York City and Jakarta, two cities where I lived before, cities of which are abundant with night life and modern fun. Plus at the time, I was still in my mid-20s and wanted metropolitan fun all the time. After a few years, having grown more mature and calmed down a bit, I have come to really appreciate this lovely city. I have been to most corners of the city, many times, but I never get tired of it.


Compared to shopping areas in the Netherlands, where most of the shopping districts are all modern, or Germany with its malls, Brussels is something totally different. It has a very cool vibe, and a lot of personality. There are no malls here, only maybe three or four shopping centers (small ones, equivalent to the smaller plazas in Jakarta, not big malls) You can see what it’s like to shop in Brussels from the pictures shown here (click photo to enlarge picture and captions)

Old Buildings and Churches
Belgium, at least the French Speaking parts and Brussels, which I am writing about today, are quite old fashioned. It embraces old architecture and old buildings which is why I fell in love with it in the first place. I love old buildings, and although it doesn’t have as much as Paris, Brussels have a certain charm that has made me fall in love over and over again each time I go sight-seeing in the city.

I haven’t seen much modern architectural designs in Brussels apart from the European Commission building (which scarily resembles an upside down cross – what the Christian conspiracy theorists calls ‘the anti Christ Building’ – the headquarters of all evil, unity of a number of evil Satan worshiping nations, just as – what they claim – the bible had prophesied) – click photo to enlarge picture and captions

Well, I can’t say much for the Satan worshiping nations (because it’s top secret and I’d have to kill you if I tell you), but the building does kinda look like an upside down cross, doesn’t it?

But, au contraire to the beliefs about being the epicenter of evil, Brussels actually has some of the most beautiful churches in Europe. Here are several well known Brussels churches, although there are so many others too (click photo to enlarge picture and captions)

We do have several landmarks in Brussels besides the European Commission “Berlaymont” Building. These are some of the most beautiful old buildings that has also become landmarks in Brussels (click photo to enlarge picture and captions)

Art Nouveau Building
Some of the most beautiful art nouveau buildings are located in Brussels, which is not surprising, considering the Father of Art Nouveau Architecture and Design, Victor Horta was a Brussels native. (click photo to enlarge picture and captions)

Besides old building landmarks, Brussels has other kinds of landmarks, unconventional ones, with interesting histories behind it. The most famous one is the Manneken Pis, a boy who people said peed on a fuse of a bomb an attack on Brussels, thus saving Brussels from the attack. The peeing boy was immortalized into a cute little statue you can see on the third picture below. The second picture is a building called the Atomium, which was initially intended to remain for six months in the World Fair of 1958, but then became a symbol for not only the World Fair, but of modern architecture and Brussels. The monument stayed the same for almost 50 years, undergone a renovation in 2004 (replacement of the metal panels on the atoms, the old panels being auctioned off) and finished last year. (click photo to enlarge picture and captions)

Café and Restaurant Culture
Brussels people, or Bruxelloises, love to sit in cafés and drink coffee or beer. Besides some of the finest and most delicious restaurants in Western Europe, Brussels is also famous for Seafood – especially Mussels. Brussels have many cozy restaurants, cafés and bars that are usually filled with people, especially during summer. (click photo to enlarge picture and captions)

Let’s not forget the cartoons in Brussels. Brussels is truly a cartoon city, with many buildings painted with cartoon murals. I think it’s a very cool thing, certainly gives a unique edge to the city, and very good for tourists who love to take pictures of themselves and the comics. (click photo to enlarge picture and captions)

That is about it for this edition of Beautiful Brussels, there are other interesting stuff about Brussel I will share with you again next time. A bientot! Tot ziens!

*credits: Most of the photos were found on the internet (dansaertstraat and e3000 on flickr, galenfrysinger, tom galvin, brusselsdailyphoto, erasmuspc, trabel, milnerscom’s blog, brussels pictures and many more. Please contact me with your details/website if you see your photo here, so I can mention your name or site in the credits as well)

Rima Fauzi M.A.

“What-if” Syndrome of Expat Life Mei 13, 2008

Posted by Jun in Being Expat.
Tags: ,

It is finally coming. I will be getting my spouse visa by the end of the week. I will need to get my one way ticket to the Philippines. Not that it is a bad thing, I am ready to start a new life. I have quitted my job last month. I gave my two month’s notice in March. Somehow, I have not done anything to prepare for my trip. Thankfully, we only need to be in the Philippines for six months, then we might be moving to other countries again. I am enlisting to nomadic lifestyle club! 

It has been a while since I stayed away from home. The last time was in 2000 when I went to Adelaide for school. So many doubts and questions are engulfing me right this moment. 

Have I spent enough time with my parents to make sure they will not miss me as much? Have I settled all my finances? How much should I bring? What if I get sick and my mother is not around to make me chinese herbal tea? What am I going to do there? Should I get a job? Should I become a stay home wife? What if we have to move to some weird-ass (pardon my language) country again? Can my parents come and visit? What about chinese new year? Can I come home then? What if I want to eat sambal? 

Moving away from home, is like moving away from my nest. My comfort zone. It is so hard. As it is nearer, I am feeling more and more restless. 

How do you cope with moving our of the country? What did you find is the hardest thing of the whole thing? 



Working in Riyadh April 29, 2008

Posted by finallywoken in Being Expat.

My friend in Surabaya is thinking about taking a job that will relocate him to Riyadh. It’s a daring and scary move, and my friend is looking for some more information about Saudi Arabia in general and Riyadh in particular. Basic stuffs from the living cost, the daily living activities, the rumours that there are many rules applied in everyday’s life, etc. He has been trying to email the Indonesian Embassy staffs in Riyadh but has not got any responds yet…

If you know someone who now is living and working in Riyadh, kindly please drop email to pixeldyne@yahoo.com.

Thank you, folks!

Embracing the Foreign Food Culture Maret 31, 2008

Posted by finallywoken in Being Expat.

Imagine the first you arrived in a foreign land, you didn’t know where to go to get food, everything looks strange, and in some cases, you don’t understand the language! What did you do? Either heading towards Chinese restaurants, or fast food chains. Right? (lebih…)

Driving in a Foreign Country Maret 28, 2008

Posted by finallywoken in Being Expat.
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Ok. I have to admit. I had my first driving license in Indonesia when I was 17. I should have been 18, so yes I cheated a little bit. On age part. But then I didn’t take the test. That’s a big cheating. Just like most of people, I was suckered into the corrupted system, just pay and go home. Bam, new driving license.

When I lived in Sydney, I did not have to drive. First, the campus was only 5 minutes walk. And second, hmm, don’t really need one, really. I actually did a long drive in New Zealand, from Christchurch to Queenstown. It was lovely and quiet, we drove on the same side of the road as in Indonesia, so there was no problem of adjusting.

But now I live in UK, I have to have a UK driving license, after a year living here. (lebih…)

What’s in A Name? Februari 27, 2008

Posted by finallywoken in Being Expat.
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I have received an email from an Indonesian lady who recently has just got married to a Scotsman. She was asking me, referring to my post in my original blog (What’s in A Name?), if I successfully add my new last name, officially, in formal documents, like passport or any other IDs.

But before that, it’s a good thing to ensure that her marriage is legal in both countries – UK and Indonesia.


Living in A Foreign Country… Is It Always Better? Februari 26, 2008

Posted by finallywoken in Being Expat.

This article was originally posted in Finally Woken on 29 October 2007.

I received an email from my friend the other day. She’s one of the few Indonesians who could hop on the plane and fly to the US when she’s fed up with what she’s encountered. Which means 1) she has money, 2) she has passport, and 3) most importantly, she has her visa ready. Nevertheless, she said that she’s so jealous to find out that I’ve been living outside Indonesia for several months now. She said that I’m so lucky, and is sure that I’m having a good time. That I must be relieved to get out Indonesia, or Jakarta in particular.

This is not the first time I received such comments. Several friends commented the same thing. Some even said I’m not meant to be living in Indonesia, that I’m better off somewhere else. Funnily enough, only my colleagues in L’Oréal reacted differently (when I said Scotland, they looked at me like I was out of my mind and said, “It’s really cold up there!”. Which means they know exactly where Scotland is – a plus point because most of Indonesians don’t). In general, the reactions I’ve received so far is a mixture of amazement and jealousy, that I finally can get out of Indonesia.

Really? Is it true that everything is better outside Indonesia?