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Your new local habits in Indonesia

Hello everyone,

Living in Indonesia is a great way to immerse in a new culture and lifestyle.

Have you embraced local customs since you've lived in Indonesia? If so, which one(s)?

Did local customs change the way you see things, appreciate life or organize your daily routines? As far as the language is concerned, did you learn new expressions or words and do you use them?

What do you like most about the lifestyle in your host country? Are there any local specificities you are still struggling with?

Thanks in advance,

Priscilla

Handshakes are different here.
In the UK a man shakes another man's hand with a level of power, but a handshake is soft here, very much as a man would shake a woman's hand.
Non Muslims salam, a soft handshake.
Muslims salim (pro - saleem), a light handshake with the hand then being taken softly to your own chest.
Children do the same to adults, but they take your hand to their forehead or kiss it.

This could be a fun topic!

The most difficult, and yet most likely the most healthy local custom for me to adopt was to accept time as a suggestion, and not a mandatory requirement.  For me, being an ex New York City boy, 9 AM means 9AM.  It does not mean 9:15 or 9:30AM.  Promptness, or being right on time is almost at obsessive levels in the West, which no doubt contributes to great stress. 

Here in Bali, time is a suggestion more than a mandate.  In fact, we euphemistically refer to time here as “Bali time.”  The best thing I did for myself many years ago was to take off my wrist watch and put it away.   

Speaking further of “taking things off” that would be shoes and socks.  My feet have never been happier since moving to Bali.  Not wearing shoes or socks…ever, is the best thing I’ve done for them…and they are very happy too…no calluses, corns, bunions and all those nasty maladies brought on by constraining shoes and their sweat causing environment.  When out of the house, open sandals provide sufficient protection from the ground…and keep the feet well aired. 

A third change for me would be eating habits.  Here in Bali, families never sit down for meals together.  Eating is not a social event in Bali.  One eats when one is hungry, and one generally eats in more a snacking sort of way than feast like “full plate” meals.  Noon does not mean it’s lunch time and no more “dinner will be served at 5PM” sort of thing either.  What I’ve found over the years is that this tends to eliminate over eating.  Aside from what is generally a healthier diet with the Balinese (lots of vegetables and fruits), this lack of eating by predetermined schedule has a very noticeable effect, in that obesity is not an issue here.  Of course one can find some very plump Balinese here and there, but in Bali, this isn’t anywhere near as commonplace as down under (OZ), or in the US.

Anyway, those are three local habits that I’ve adopted, and all three have been very beneficial.

Just as Indonesia has many languages there are many different customs. Never believe that you really understand what is going on. know people by reading their expression.

We close the doors and windows in the house at 5.45pm before Mahgrib and then re-open them at 6.10pm. My wife and her mum from Java do this to keep stray spirits out of the house.

My wife refused to have any windows at the back of the old house because that was the graveyard side. 100m away, but still on that side.
I went along with it because she wantd it, not so much accepting the cultural norm as understanding it.

We cant stay at various hotels or apartments due to the location of graveyards and probably not at Batavia Apartments again due to a moving door and an empty room....

Sigh. What makes it worse is around Pancoran where I live there are lots of real small graveyards hidden behind walls and warungs etc so there is always something going on in the neighbourhood.

Very Javanese. 
Expats should be aware of the culture when it comes to graves, even if it seems odd to us, the Javanese take it seriously.
I tend to accept the oddities for an easy life.

As a South East Asian, our cultures are almost similar.  I like the Indonesian language and some of their expressions, more expressive than the ordinary Malay which is just spoken soft and monotonously.
I hav many Indonesian friends working in Malaysia and it is nice talking to them in the same lingo.

Ubudian :

This could be a fun topic!

The most difficult, and yet most likely the most healthy local custom for me to adopt was to accept time as a suggestion, and not a mandatory requirement.  For me, being an ex New York City boy, 9 AM means 9AM.  It does not mean 9:15 or 9:30AM.  Promptness, or being right on time is almost at obsessive levels in the West, which no doubt contributes to great stress.  .

100% correct.
In business, time is important, but not in smaller businesses here, and hardly ever in non business stuff.
You simply have to get used to 9am meaning sometime near 9, or 9ish, or 9.30, or 'this morning' (unless it's raining and the visitor is riding a motorbike, then it means, "tomorrow").

You'll get the hang of it, but it isn't easy.

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