Car seat.

When I was growing up, I never sat on a car seat (mind you, I don’t think my parents’ car even had any safety belts on it at that time). When our son was born, we wouldn’t be allowed to go home with him from the hospital if we didn’t have a proper infant seat installed in our car.

The regulations clearly state that children under 150 cm tall and 15 years old who are travelling in cars/lorries fitted with safety devices, must use an approved device for their size.

When the baby and I went to Jakarta in 2011, my husband was fussing a lot about how the safety of our baby (off course!), since it was his first long-trip across continents. He was fussing about the baby might get too hot in the heat, be bitten by bugs, catch an incurable tropical disease.. the list was endless. One issue that stood out the most was that none of the cars in my parents’ house in Jakarta was fitted with infant car seat. When asked whether I was going to bring a seat from Iceland or getting one in Jakarta, I said neither, as I was going to have him in my lap all the time, because that’s what most people do there (I think it is not even regulated to use one)… and oh, the horror look on my husband’s face when he heard that!

After a lengthy discussion on how car seats are compulsory, and how we have to put safety first when it comes to the baby, I decided to bring one from Iceland. I rented an iZi Sleep ISOfix from an insurance company, because I didn’t want our own car seat to be damaged from baggage handling during transport.

Once we arrived in Jakarta, I installed the seat straight away to my parents’ car when my mum picked us up at the airport. Halfway to my parents’ house, the baby started crying and my mum forced me to take him out of his seat. But I got so scared of having him out of the seat, I ended up asking the driver to stop the car while I soothed the baby.

However, it was really hard to stand my ground of keeping the baby strapped to his seat during car trips when he started to scream and cry, because my mum would see it as some kind of torture to the baby. I try to always respond almost immediately when the baby starts crying, but taking him out of his seat and endangering his life is not one of the responses I’m willing to do. But I find it so hard to get my mum to understand this because she doesn’t even wear seat belts when she’s in the car.

Now that we’re only a week away from leaving Iceland to visit Jakarta, again I am faced with a car seat problem. Our son is now using a Kidzofix seat, which I really like but weighs 20 kilograms, so pretty much impractical to bring it with us to Jakarta and having to take it back to Iceland at the end of our trip (hufff!).

So now I’m thinking about buying a seat to be kept in Jakarta, so we won’t need to carry one every time we go there. I like the looks of Maxi Cosi Mobi and Britax Multi Tech 2, because I’d like to keep the baby rear-facing as long as possible, but the thing is, these car seats aren’t exactly cheap. After spending EUR 380 for our seat, I don’t think we can spare an extra 300 EUR for another seat.

My mum and dad have offered to buy us a seat for the baby, but I’m afraid they may get a seat that is too big, or too small, or too recalled (I found a person commenting how some shops actually selling recalled baby items).

Maybe I should just wait until our son turns 15 years old and 150 cm tall before taking him to Jakarta…

Travelling between Iceland and Indonesia.

Ever since I moved to Iceland, I have visited Jakarta very few times. First time was in 2010, with my husband, our daughter, and my little brother in law.

Second time was in 2011, three months after our son was born, and it was only me and the baby who went, as my husband couldn’t leave his work. Now, I am preparing for our next trip to Jakarta, which would be from 9 July to 17 August (yay!).

In this trip too, only me and the baby who will brace yet another 3.5 hours flight from Keflavik International Airport to Heathrow, 6 hours layover, 13 hours flight to Changi Airport Singapore, 3 hours layover, and 1 hour flight to Soekarna-Hatta.

Last year, I only had to deal with a three-month-old infant, who didn’t do much, really. He practically only slept, drank breast milk, and pooped during the whole journey. This time, I doubt he will be that easy.

In 2011, he fit snugly into the bassinet provided in the plane. Now that he doubled his weight and size since then, I don’t think he’d be comfortable at all in it. So he will have to be on my lap (because I was too cheap to buy him his own seat in the plane, hehehe) all the time.

He crawls a LOT now… and he is almost walking.. so there is a HIGH possibility of me chasing him up and down the plane and around the huge waiting areas at the airport during our long layovers..

He’s not potty-trained yet and he doesn’t want to stay still during diaper change.. I can’t imagine how it would be like to change his diaper in the mini toilets in the plane while trying to hold him down from rolling over and getting away.

He’s such a messy eater…  I have to pack extra extra extra clothes for both of us, because there is no avoiding food splatter when he eats and drinks.

He likes to blow raspberry, makes a lot of high pitched noise, and much more noises of random syllables that he puts together.

Huhuhu, the whole plane is going to hate us during our trip 😦

 

Having a baby in Iceland.

As I mentioned earlier, our little family has a new member since last year. I stayed in Iceland throughout the whole pregnancy and labour, and I must say, it was a very pleasant experience.

Being a first time mummy, I didn’t have any certain expectations towards prenatal and antenatal care in Iceland, but if I did, my experience would have exceeded all of those expectations.

Once we found out we were pregnant, I contacted the local health care clinic, and I was assigned to a midwife. She is a lovely woman named Sólveig, who assured me even though we were only scheduled to meet once every month, I could call her anytime if I have any questions. She gave me a pregnancy booklets, both in Icelandic and English so I could practice my obstetrics terms in Icelandic 🙂 Aside from glucose tolerant testing and ultrasound check that were done in the hospital, all of my regular check ups during pregnancy were conducted by Sólveig.

On a Sunday morning, I went to the university to work on a group’s assignment for the last subject on MBA course that I undertook at that time. When I came home at 18.00, I started to feel mild contractions, which I thought was a false sign of labour. I ended up spending the whole evening fully awake, with contractions that got more and more intense by the minute. After speaking to the midwife on duty, calling my sister in law to come to our place to watch the puppy, we went straight to the hospital. The time was 04.00, it was dark and rainy.

After admitted, I was taken to “Hreiðrið“, which was a huge room, with a double bed, a big tub, an en-suite shower, and a changing table. The midwife was offering me various alternatives to pain alleviation, and I got to try them one by one. I had acupuncture,  which helped a bit. Then I tried going into the tub, which helped a LOT. I actually managed to fall asleep while I was in the tub. I stayed in it until the midwife told me to start pushing the baby out, then I asked to be moved on to the bed. I pushed and pushed for what felt like forever, then just when I desperately pleaded to my husband to take me home because I felt tired and that I’d like to keep the baby inside me anyway, the midwife excitedly told me, “you’re baby is born!”. The time was 06.00 in the morning, and the sun had already risen.

And there he was.. our baby, a little bit bluish in colour, covered in white stuff, very wrinkly, and was crying and screaming his little lung out… he was perfect!

The midwife instantly put him on my chest, and started rubbing him with towels. The baby was still crying, so I guessed the birth must have been more stressful for him than it was for me. After spending some time on my chest cuddling and peeing on my face twice, the baby was taken by the midwife for test and measurement at the changing table next to the bed I was on. Then my husband put a diaper and clothes on the baby, right  before the midwife helped us to start breastfeeding. Once the baby fell asleep, he was put in a bassinet, and we were all moved into a recovery room.

The room was big, though not as big as the previous one, but it had a double bed, changing table, and a sink. Both my husband and the baby were fast asleep after we came into the room. But I was still very awake, despite having very little sleep for the past 24 hours.

Close to our room, there is a pantry, complete with bread, cereals, fruits, juice, milk, tea and coffee. I nibbled some of the food there while trying to figure out why I couldn’t fall asleep. When I came back into the room, I decided to wake my husband up to keep me company (evil me!). Thankfully, before he got grumpy because I woke him up, a lady came into our room with plates of food! The menu was fish that day, and it was wonderful.

After eating, I couldn’t wait to get home. I wasn’t sure why, because the room we were in was really cozy (it felt more like a hotel room than a hospital room, to be honest). I was so fidgety, I asked the nurse if we could go home straight away. She kindly told me we had to stay at least for several hours to make sure both the baby and I are good to go. She came again to help us breastfeeding again, check on my tummy, and asked if I had peed yet. When I told her I didn’t feel like peeing, she said I wouldn’t be allowed to go home if I didn’t pee first 😦 A pediatrician came after awhile to check on the baby, and when everything checked out, he allowed us to go home. The time was 14.00.

When we arrived home, I felt so much better as I finally got to relax. I took a shower which felt really nice and we ordered pizza for dinner because we had not had a chance to stock up on food (the baby was born 8 days earlier than estimated, by the way). I talked to Sólveig the midwife on the phone, and she came to our house that night to check on both me and the baby. She explained about how she will be making home visits to our place for the next 8 days to check on our progress. She even helped us bathing the baby for the first time. Here are few things on why I would have another baby in Iceland again:

  • It’s FREE because I am a permanent resident in Iceland. I was actually contemplating on giving birth in Indonesia, but since I quit my job in Jakarta, I was not covered by insurance anymore, and that would mean paying for hospital and doctor’s bills out of our own pocket, which could go up to EUR 2,000 for similar service and facility that I had in Iceland. So, we had the baby in Iceland (yay!)
  • I love my midwife and everybody in the hospital because they were all super nice! They were all very gentle, patient and very supportive to all my decisions and requests during the labour, despite having me talking in mixed languages of Icelandic, English, Indonesian, and even frantic hand signals that happened occasionally 🙂
  • The baby stayed with me all the time. I remember when my youngest brother was born in Jakarta, he was brought to the nursery straight away, and I only got to see him through a glass wall. But then again, this was 17 years ago, so things might have changed by now.
  • The home visits were very convenient. At first, I was a bit nervous of having the midwife visiting us everyday for the first week, because I thought I would have to get the house cleaned and myself showered before accepting any guests. But the first thing she said to me when she visited us was, to put the baby and myself first before everything else. Oh, how glad I was to hear that. So, most of the time during those visits, I was usually in my pajamas, under the duvets (bliss!), in a very messy house 🙂

There you have it, my fantastic experience of having a baby in Iceland. So tell me, wouldn’t YOU have your baby here if given a chance? 🙂

Getting married.

I have been asked about this several time, most often than not, the inquirer refers to the legal process for an Indonesian to marry an Icelander, not my personal exciting adventure of being a bridezilla 🙂

As a disclaimer, I would like to point out that this post is NOT in any way a definite and absolute method for Indonesians to marry Icelanders, this is just what I did when I got married.

My husband and I got married in Indonesia, in June 2008. So please understand that I can’t provide all the exact details on our marriage, because I simply can’t remember all of them.

My parents wanted us to marry through Kantor Urusan Agama (KUA), and we did. We went to a KUA in South Jakarta, asked them for all the requirements and documentation needed and we filled them. All I can remember that both my husband and I had to provide the followings:

  • His passport and my Kartu Tanda Penduduk (KTP) for identification.
  • Official letter of never been married before. I got mine from the local council and my husband got his from Registers Iceland.
  • Photos of us.

Then we filled out several forms, and that was it. Oh, we also had a session with the officials of KUA to learn about what marriage is supposed to be, some kind of pep talk on how married couples need to respect each other and etc. 🙂

We got married at a function hall in South Jakarta, and the penghulu (an official from KUA authorised to marry us) was there as well with all his papers and certificates for us to sign on. After the ijab kabul (our version of wedding vows exchange), we were pronounced married, and we received our marriage certificates straight away.

After the wedding, honeymoon, and hundreds of family gatherings that followed, my husband and I prepared for our departure to Iceland. My husband’s preparation for us moving to Iceland was only packing and soaking up as much sun as he could. For me, I had to:

  • Complete all paperwork needed for me to apply for permanent residency in Iceland. The list can be found here. I had to collect all the documents and translated them to English.
  • Since the process of applying for permanent residency could take up to 90 days, I decided to apply for a short-stay visa at the Danish Embassy.

Once my visa was granted, we traveled to Iceland. Once we arrived, we registered ourselves as a married couple at Registers Iceland, then I submitted my application for residential permit, and I got my residence card couples of months after that.

Now we got the boring stuffs out of the way, is anybody interested to read my epic quest in catching a Viking? Anyone? 🙂

Back on the net!

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I have been a lazy blogger for the past year, and I have no excuse for it! Recently, a fellow Indonesian comrade in Europe happened to message me on the blog, which was left unnoticed (sorry >_<), but managed to track me down through email, and got me logging on to this blog, realizing that my last post was over a year ago (shame on me!).

But once I came across the lovely comments made to this blog, I had a sudden urge to share more of my bits of “living in Iceland, missing my Indonesia” adventure 🙂

Let’s start with what I had been doing in the past year… Our first child was born in May 2011 (yay!), and in August the two of us went to visit my parents in Jakarta, and we just moved into a new house in February 2012… So, it was a busy and exciting year for our little Icelandonesia (or Indoniceland?) family, really.

Still, that’s no excuse for my absence in the blogosphere. Truth is, every time I manage to sit in front of the computer, I always end up doing this, this, or this.

But I have to admit, this is one of the things that I love about Iceland, the internet connection here is significantly faster than the one in Indonesia. So, I blame all of my gaming addiction to Iceland’s fiber optics! (joke :p)

Not only that, almost everybody in Iceland has internet access, which I find amazing, because I can’t even get my mum back in Indonesia to understand how Facebook works. Even the people in the Commissions of the Indonesian’s House of People’s Representative can’t figure out their own email addresses.

So, this high internet usage in Iceland has made everything to be super-convenient for a non-mobile, stay-at-home, job-looking housewife, like me, because all is searchable in the net, and almost everything can be found, queried, and bought online. Actually, I can say the same for Jakarta, almost everybody is hooked on the web now, and online shopping is getting more and more popular.

But, I still pick Iceland for my internet needs, well, mainly because all of my gaming characters are in the European servers 🙂