Ria: Life in a Big Tent
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Indonesia, etc.
I’m Ria, originally from Vilnius, Lithuania. I was selected to participate in Darmasiswa scholarship program in Indonesia for the 2014/2015 study year, because of it I moved to Yogyakarta. Before moving here, I was working more than seven years in advertising (for advertising agencies and as an advertising project manager in multiple Lithuanian companies). Nowadays, I write this travel blog, I also accompany tourists, and I am searching for new opportunities in both Indonesia and Asia.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I started writing my blog recently when I saw that I have many things to share about living in Indonesia and traveling in Asia. Working in advertising required me pay attention to details, so many things that I’m writing about, others maybe don’t see or think about :). At the moment my blog is still in the creation process but soon, I hope to add all my stories and advices for those who are planning to travel and live in Indonesia or travel in Asia.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
Since I started my blog not a long time ago, there are so many topics that I want to write :) But at the moment these are my favorites :)
- How to know if you stayed in Indonesia too long
- What story hides Vesak day lanterns?
- Indonesian discoveries
Tell us about the ways your new life in Indonesia differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
Indonesia was my first Asian country that I visited in my life, so here there were many differences: people lifestyle, behavior, habits, food, daily life, country itself, etc. :)
For some of the things I really needed to get used to — like using squat toilet, bathing under cold water and with a bucket, rainy season. Other things looked differently as well but were too little to have some problems to adapt to them :).
I came to Indonesia with open eyes and heart, so I accepted everything that I saw/got/experienced here. Because of that I think I didn’t have cultural shock.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Indonesia? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I think I was prepared more than enough :D. I don’t know why, I imagined that here people do not use things that we use in Lithuania. So I brought many medicines, hygienic stuff and other things. If I could go back — I would’ve taken so many things which in Europe even cost more expensive than in Indonesia.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
There are many stories, but probably for me quite funny situations is when some Indonesian men who I met for the first time, who don’t speak English, but know how to ask if I’m married and have kids :).
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Indonesia?
- You will need to be patient with Indonesian people and their lifestyle, the way how they manage things.
- I would suggest to respect Indonesian culture, religion and don’t judge people.
- Relax and take everything easy, like not everything will be so easy and not everything will depend on you.
How is the expat community in Indonesia? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
I became a member of several Facebook expat groups in Indonesia but till now I didn’t participate in any activities or met any expats, so can’t say much :).
How would you summarize your expat life in Indonesia in a single, catchy sentence?
Indonesia is a wonderful country and it is worth to discover it, no matter how much energy things sometimes can take from you.