Recently I’ve been catching up on some of my favourite UK tv on youtube (namely One Born Every Minute) and to my surprise, the adverts are making me long for England in an odd way. I never really get homesick but it’s funny how advertising can make you miss random things – the eccentric British sense of humour (some of those adverts are just downright weird!), online supermarket shopping, Cadbury’s creme eggs, even the dark cold gloomy days before Spring arrives. I’ve also been away long enough that I’m a bit bemused at some things – breakfast biscuits? Is the nation really gullible enough to believe eating biscuits for breakfast is a good idea?
The longer I’m here, the more things which shocked me at first here seem pretty much normal. I’ve written before about the potential dangers around the house, which are pretty much overlooked by everyone but actually there is a whole load of stuff that I actually think is pretty terrible but I’m just used to it now:
- Our nextdoor neighbour leaves her 3-year-old alone in the house watching her 1-year-old sister while she shops in the market.
- Children stay up late every night playing and watching tv until they fall asleep. Bedtime routines or an actual bedtime are non-existent.
- Nobody wears seatbelts in the car. Nobody has baby seats. In fact most people don’t have cars and just stick all their kids (un-helmeted) on the back of the motorbike.
- Talking of motorbikes, it’s pretty common to see young kids driving themselves to school on one alone.
Made’s always reminding me that as I live here I should adopt the local customs and practices and stop doing things the way I would do in the UK. Ok that’s fair enough, but I do struggle a bit with some of them. Especially when I think they’re just plain WRONG!
My friend on facebook joked yesterday that I was becoming Indonesian but I think in some ways it’s true!
- I dress my kids in long sleeves and trousers if it rains.
- I ask Maya if she wants “more nasi” with that.
- I’m shocked at seeing tiny babies (belonging to foreigners, never Indonesians!) out and about outside.
- I caught myself chasing Kiran around with a bowl of rice the other day, much to my shame
I do feel like my kids are missing out a bit on the British half of their heritage at the moment and I’d love to take them back to the UK for a few months when they’re a little bigger to improve their English. Actually Maya’s vocabulary is a lot larger than I thought it was after quizzing her when we’re reading picture books and she randomly comes out with a little gem like “oopsy baby!” (mishearing oopsy daisy, haha). She also love shouting “Mama stupid!” at the moment when I won’t let her eat another biscuit/crisps/sweet. Sigh.
I’m not sure if I should be doing more to balance out the British half of their heritage or not. We have lots of English books, a decent number of English cartoons and a city of London wooden train set…. Maybe I should be feeding them baked beans or something. Maya quite likes tea – that’s a start. Or maybe I should just go with the flow and let them be Balinese children who happen to have an English mother because this is Bali after all and things are different here…
Photo of random Balinese children by my dad