I read a lot of blogs and this is probably because I like to see what others are doing and their take on the big things like life. Blogs tend to be personal, kind of like an open journal, that allows people to comment on your life and your experiences. This undoubtedly has pros and cons attached. Some people will take issue with your experiences, the manner in which you process them, and the conclusions you may draw from those experiences. This was certainly the case over at David Goldsworthy's blog when he wrote about his personal experiences as they relate to living in Indonesia and his return to Australia early next year.
The topic was very much one of experience and perception. It was personal. It reflected on stereotypes and the ability to talk about and have others understand one's experiences.
Stereotypes are what they are. I always find it interesting that people believe that the best way to defeat a stereotype is to ignore it. If you ignore it then is somehow ceases to be real or ceases to exist. I, on the other hand, think that the best way to breakdown stereotypes is to confront them head on and prove that they are false. To confront a stereotype we have to raise it and discuss it. Simple really.
On the personal experience front. I often wonder about how people will understand my experiences here. It is one thing to talk about an experience it is another thing altogether for that person (the one you are talking to) to understand the experience.
The wife and I are intending to head to Australia sometime in the future. Probably late next year, and it is interesting for me for two reasons; most of the people I know here are like "why would you want to go home when life in Indonesia is so easy?" and "Australia is a different place to the one you left".
It is interesting that people seem to think the life of a foreigner is so easy in Indonesia (this in itself is a stereotype, is it not?). I am an expat in the sense of being a foreigner living in Indonesia. However, I am not on an expat package that includes all the fringe benefits in addition to a large salary. I work for a local company, on a local wage, and with local conditions. I would guess that whacks me somewhere in the middle of the middle class in Indonesia. This should not be construed as a complaint as these are my choices.
The point though is that the wife and I have the same struggles as everyone else such as budgeting and the like. So, is life easier than it is or would be in Australia? No. In many ways perhaps life would be easier in Australia than in Indonesia. Just one example would be not having to run the immigration gauntlet every 12 months to renew a working and living permit.
The idea that Australia is a different place to the one I left presupposes so many things. I am also a different person to the one that left. I am married for example, I have a kid on the way, my priorities and expectations are different. Time changes many things, not just places but people too!
I am looking forward to getting home. I am hoping that the wife is looking forward to moving to Australia. I am sure that moving back home is not the end of the Indonesian story for me or my family. My wife will always be Indonesian and the Kid will always be part Indonesian and carrying an Indonesia passport until he is 21 at least. I have deep connections to and in both countries.
My experience is telling me that it is both hard to leave and hard to stay. I wonder whether people can understand that dilemma as easily as I can.