Close

Dealing with homesickness in Indonesia

Hello everyone,

Being an expat in Indonesia can turn out to be a wonderful human, social or professional adventure... with potential moments of nostalgia and homesickness along the way.

What are your personal tips to prevent homesickness?

How do you deal with such feelings?

Are there shops or stores offering products from your home country in Indonesia? Or maybe venues with music and ambiance from your homeland?

Thanks for sharing your experience,

Priscilla

Home sick?  Hmm, I'm not sure about others, but I have never once felt "home sick" at all.  In fact, I've never been back to my prior home country since moving to Indonesia.

This is home for me.

This was a minor problem for me as I moved to a wife, soon to be a wife and kid, and a ready made family as Javanese families stick together like glue.

However, there are still times I crave for an English conversation where I don't have to watch my idioms and slang; that requiring a trip to a tourist spot from time to time in the hope of finding someone from God's own Yorkshire.
I dropped lucky last week when I met a bloke from Leeds, so I immediately dropped back into my local dialect, totally forgetting how to speak the Queen's English; yours becoming 'thine' in a manner Shakespeare would have recognised.

The other thing that got me a first was a fixation on baked beans, peasant food in England but desired just for a taste of 'home' from time to time. Central Java doesn't have baked means unless you go to Jogjakarta, so I did once a month or so just to buy beans in a well known French supermarket there.

There was one other thing I missed, the Pennines (Anyone from the real world will be aware of them, as will some from Lancashire). As luck had it, the place I moved to was close to a few large mountains (Volcanoes in actual fact, but still high up and cold), and countryside similar in many ways to the 'tops' in the old country. I use to ride up there from time to time just to get cold and see a view not so far removed from the a place where you catch your death of cold if you go without a hat, so leaving Mary Jane alone in the world.
(That'll confuse anyone not from God's own Yorkshire, but leave proper men singing).

Time has passed and other than the craving for sheep farms and talking 'propper' instead of namby pamby southern rubbish, I have not the slightest jot of homesickness because Indonesia is my home.

Hi Priscilla,

Both my grandfather and my father were Expats, my grandfather worked in India and my father worked in Singapore. My sister is also an Expat and has been for most of her working life and even though we often live in the same country, it is never at the same time. So I guess the urge to travel and work overseas runs in the family.

When I graduated from university, I received a plane ticket to Singapore and some money, and spent two months enjoying the high life in Singapore and Malaysia. That basically changed me. I mean two months in what felt like paradise at the time, who would want to go back home to look for a job? However, I did go back home, began my new job, and I kept pestering my boss to relocate me to Singapore, which after 6 months he finally did. After that, life was never the same again.

My mother had passed away when I was a teenager, and I am one of four siblings, but was never really close to them (I am a lot closer to them now). As a young Expat living in Singapore and working around the region, I did make my annual trip back home, but it was more one of obligation rather than need. And later, when my company transferred me back home in 1986, I applied for an English Teaching job in Indonesia, something I had seen in the Times Educational Supplement. The salary was Rp8 million a month, and my application was accepted on the condition that I obtain a TEFL Certificate. So I paid the deposit for this TEFL course in Bournemouth. Then, my father showed me an advertisement for a Mandarin Course in London and said he thought it might be more interesting. So I forgot about the TEFL course, and did this one year Post Grad Diploma Mandarin Course.

Since then I haven't looked back. I have not once felt homesick in my entire life. I see life as an adventure and have always considered living overseas as like being on a permanent holiday. I have only returned home on rare occasions; when my father passed away, when my best friend got married, and for the occasional holiday. But I haven't ever felt homesick or missed anything back home. I actually remember as a young man working overseas, hearing one of my colleagues say how he missed his mum and felt homesick and wanted to move back home. I really couldn't understand.

Now I am planning to make a trip back home to let my wife and children see where I come from and for my kids to meet their aunts and uncle. I'm doing it for them. Just got to get round to booking a flight....

Regards,
Hansson

HI. There are stores that sell international food in Jakarta but not all kind. If you are looking for buckwheat than i can tell you for sure it does not exist  here :). During holidays some expats go for vacation back to they countries. Try to find some friends that u click with ( not necessarily from you country ) Find something to be busy  whith ( if you housewife).
  Good luck.

lena palha :

HI. There are stores that sell international food in Jakarta but not all kind. If you are looking for buckwheat than i can tell you for sure it does not exist  here :). During holidays some expats go for vacation back to they countries. Try to find some friends that u click with ( not necessarily from you country ) Find something to be busy  whith ( if you housewife).
  Good luck.

There are, but they're expensive and only offer a short tern gap in yearnings for a taste of home.
I generally suggest getting into eating local fodder as quickly as possible, trying to forget the 'taste of home'.

The same goes for holidays. They're fine for short term migrants likely to stay a year or two then move on, but generally a bad idea for long term people as they have to start again when they return.

The idea of joining clubs and activities is very good as they allow you to find a place in society, something that makes the place feel more like your home, rather than a place you live at the moment.

I get home sick around Christmas and birthdays because back in England  they were both big things to me and my family. I miss the atmosphere and excitement of Christmas I experienced in England because how social it becomes which is something I haven't been able to recreate here.

Otherwise once over the initial shock of change and culture I only think of my family in England not much more and focus with getting on with things here.

I don't think its so much homesickness but rather missing the food, it took me ages to find quality bacon and i still cant find extra mature cheddar (anyone here knows they only have mild or the chemical stuff pretending to be cheese).  There are some western restaurants that actually sell proper western food but normally you have to pay high prices for this, although my favourite HOLY SMOKES sells good american bbq at a reasonable price, and im normally  found eating there. 
I do cook my own food so i get to eat whatever i had in the UK if i'm desperate, but the ingredients aren't always the same, especially the bread.

I do recommend places like Farmers Market for pork and other normal food supplies ie baked beans and bolognese sauce, and i  know some of the other shops sell pork sausages ( at 360,000 idr for 8 sausages though, i nearly died when i found out how much) and what they count as specialist foods but as i live here i have learnt to love the local cuisine

happy hunting for extra mature cheddar.. if you find it please let me know, i miss it sooooo much

Quality bacon,deli quality ham and good mature cheese are the  things I miss and cant find. Also Christmas is something I really miss.

Good bacon and sausages try ya'udhas in menteng or kemchick kemang and for cheese, Kemchick again but the price  might be harder to swallow than the food.

Thanks. Will check out.

lukereg :

the price  might be harder to swallow than the food.

That's true.
Losing the homesickness thing is good for your wallet.

It might be interesting to have a woman's perspective on this topic as it seems most of the people answering are guys married to Indonesian women, myself included.

I am from Wales and miss some of the Countryside but not the weather.
Home Sick ?  For the UK !!!!
You must be Joking.
No; Once an Expat always an Expat; and this one, and most from UK I suspect, do not have much in the way of Homesickness.
Homesick for other countries and places I have worked, lived Yes; Quite a bit but. Hay I can not be in them all, all the time.
I am very Grateful and Glad to have been to and experienced such places and call each one home. Well most of them.
No Less Jakarta; a great place - apart from the TRAFFIC; got to be the worst in the world! But you cant have everything and it is going to improve with the new Rail system and associated road improvements. Well it can't get worse. LOL.

Hi Priscilla,

I am dealing with the opposite issue, that of being homesick for Indonesia. Having been away for two months now I am counting the weeks till I go back again. I don't really miss any "thing" in Europe when abroad for a long time, I just miss seeing some of my family. Everything else they can keep.

Regards

I agree with Ubudian, no homesickness.  I do return to the states to visit family once a year.  The one thing I have done to stay in touch is to get a Magic Jack last time I was back there.  If you activate it in your home country with an area code close to home, not only can you call home while here in Indonesia, family and friends can call you by just dialing your number.

CDRJohn :

The one thing I have done to stay in touch is to get a Magic Jack last time I was back there.  If you activate it in your home country with an area code close to home, not only can you call home while here in Indonesia, family and friends can call you by just dialing your number.

Handy.
Google hangouts dialer will also allow free calls to much of the USA and (correct me if I'm wrong) Canada.

Do not forget SKYPE and Facetime plus FB Messenger offer FREE or in certain cases very cheap methods of not only chatting with Family Friends at home or elsewhere, but also VIDEO conferencing. They can call landlines (no video of course & normally with small charge) or Free, plus Mobiles, Laptops/desktops etc. that will normally support Video and normally free if configured appropriately.

I use Skype and Whatsapp to call family and friends in the UK.

Hmmmm, The only time I feel homesick is when I go back to the U.S.....If I didn't have to do it, I would probably never leave South east Asia.

Draco2023a :

Hmmmm, The only time I feel homesick is when I go back to the U.S.....If I didn't have to do it, I would probably never leave South east Asia.

Well said. That's exactly how I feel too.

I agree.:)  We do miss snow though.

Everyone is missing different things. My daughter and I we miss cold weather. But you can easily get refreshed at the ice rink in Bintaro . Another way to pretend that it is cold outside - switch 2 AC on, get wrapped in a blanket and enjoy hot herbal tea. :)

lena palha :

My daughter and I we miss cold weather. But you can easily get refreshed at the ice rink in Bintaro .

A snow world appears at various shopping centres from time to time. You can get info HERE
I suspect you'd enjoy a trip to their main venue or one of their outside events.
Travel light using thin thermals rather than borrow their coats. Gloves and a warm hat are essential.

http://yulitawidya-cintasangpelangi.blo … barat.html

http://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-aNSbIjTFDyM/VdvORHIIEwI/AAAAAAAAB5s/eAV5zi_ByqQ/s1600/FB_IMG_1440465087870.jpg

I went to Bx yesterday, but the nearest I get to the ice was the floor above the rink where I ate a kebab, one of the food types I miss from back in the UK.
Doner kebab outlets take care of that craving very nicely.

Homesick....I can't relate much to be honest. I was kicked out from the country by my mom when I was 17 to see the world and I rarely return to my hometown. I had fair share of my memory across SEA where Indonesia is my latest entry to my bucket list. Rather than thinking of the past....I usually cook some familiar dishes / snacks to relive my childhood haha

Shawn_Chang :

I was kicked out from the country by my mom when I was 17 to see the world

I wish my mum had done that.
I started my expat life far too late, but I had a little fun as a greasy biker before I grew up. I think I was 40 when the growing up started, maybe 45.

I suppose 'homesick' depends as much on your thoughts of 'home' as much as your thoughts on the place you are at the moment.
Personally, not counting the terrific Indian food and bits of Yorkshire, especially the 'tops', I don't much care about what was home, very much seeing this country as my home.

For me at least, there is no homesickness, so not a lot to deal with, save the lack of great Indian restaurants here.

Fred :
Shawn_Chang :

I was kicked out from the country by my mom when I was 17 to see the world

I wish my mum had done that.
I started my expat life far too late, but I had a little fun as a greasy biker before I grew up. I think I was 40 when the growing up started, maybe 45.

I suppose 'homesick' depends as much on your thoughts of 'home' as much as your thoughts on the place you are at the moment.
Personally, not counting the terrific Indian food and bits of Yorkshire, especially the 'tops', I don't much care about what was home, very much seeing this country as my home.

For me at least, there is no homesickness, so not a lot to deal with, save the lack of great Indian restaurants here.

I agree on the Indian food, Fred. It's not easy to find one here. Makes me feel that I'm spoilt for choices when I was in Singapore and Malaysia.

New topic

Expatriate health insurance in Indonesia

Free advice and quotation service to choose an expat health insurance in Indonesia

Moving to Indonesia

Find tips from professionals about moving to Indonesia

Travel insurance in Indonesia

Enjoy a stress-free travel across Indonesia

Flights to Indonesia

Find the best prices for your flight tickets to Indonesia