Going to the cinemas.

I miss the movie theaters in Indonesia!

The movie theaters in Iceland are fine, but the ones in Indonesia are just oh-so-beautiful. Not to mention the much cheaper tickets!

A normal ticket to a movie in Reykjavík would be 6 to 10 EUR, while it costs merely 3 to 5 EUR in Jakarta.

For the luxury movie theater (where they have reclining chairs), it would cost you around 17 EUR in Reykjavík, and only 8 EUR in Jakarta.

The Premiere at Cinema 21 beats the luxury cinema in Iceland by a long shot, because there are blankets on every chair and waiters and waitresses catering to all your snacking needs! (after all, what’s a movie without snack, eh? :D)

 

Even better, CGV cinemas in Indonesia also provides theaters that are fitted with beds!

 

So, any movie-goers who are up for a visit to Indonesia, I’d definitely recommend giving these gorgeous theaters a try.

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 😦

 

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? 🙂

Kartini.

On 21st of April, Indonesia commemorates the birthday of Raden Ajeng Kartini, a national heroine who fought for women’s rights during the late 19th century.

I remember studying history in elementary school and having to memorise her birthday and her contribution to the fight for women’s right to gain a freedom to study and develop themselves.

I have always been so proud of having her as our national hero, since we are both of Javanese origins, and I see a lot of relevance between her struggle on women’s rights and what were happening surrounding me.

My mum was one of the unlucky ones in her time who didn’t get to continue her study after elementary school. At that time, her parents thought , girls didn’t need to study too much as they were expected to get married eventually and have husbands who will provide for them.

Now that my mum has children of her own, she always encourages us to learn and study as much as we can. Every school year break (we didn’t have super long summer holidays like most of western countries, instead, we got about 1 month break from school around June-July, where the academic year changes, and students get to move from their previous grade to the next one) my mum would make us take short courses, such as Intensive English courses, Quran reading courses, traditional dancing, organ lessons… I even ended up in a modelling course once! (I think my mum ran out of ideas on short courses to take at that time)

Yes, my mum is my favourite hero!

Yet, I have to admit, I have never seen any other country that is more “feminist” than Iceland. A country that holds the status of “first country with a female president“, and whose current Prime Minister is a woman too. So inspiring.

So, with Kartini’s day coming up tomorrow, I feel really proud to be a woman. Happy Kartini’s Day everyone!

A place to live.

Recent development on Indonesian immigration law enforced towards foreign spouses got me thinking, about a place to call home.

After having lived in Iceland for more than 2.5 years, undoubtedly I consider the country as my home (well, my second home after Jakarta, Indonesia). One of the many considerations on why my husband and I decided to live here was, “it makes more sense to do so.”

Immigration laws in Iceland is more lenient towards the spouses of Icelanders compared to Indonesian’s. I was granted temporary residency once I arrived in the country, which needs to be renewed every year for the first three years of my stay. Afterwards, I can apply for permanent residency which only needs to renewed every five years.

The residential permit allows me to work for full time, and entitles me to full health benefits. If I have any working experiences in Iceland, should I ever get unemployed in the future, I will be entitled to unemployment benefits.

The immigration law in Indonesia is pale beyond comparison with Iceland’s. At least, it was like that, until now. The new regulations passed by the Indonesian House of Representatives show how the immigration laws are constantly being reviewed and developed in order to cater the needs of Indonesian people and its residents. Though it’s still a long way for Indonesia to be able to come to the same point as Iceland, but at least now there is hope towards that direction.

I have never really given a good thought about where I would like to live the rest of my life. Because I always think it’s still way to early to pick a place to grow old in. But as our little family is getting another member, I can’t help but thinking where do I want to raise our child.

Despite being madly in love with Iceland, there is always a part of me that wants to share bits of my childhood and my first home to our children. I want them to know and experience the amazing place where I grew up, the beautiful people, the rich culture, the unbearable hot and humid weather, and all those lovely memories that cannot be obtained just by few holiday trips every year to Indonesia.

But on the other hand, raising a child in Iceland is so appealing, where it’s so safe that parents would normally leave their babies in their stroller outside shops or coffee-houses while they’re running their errands, where I could leave my car unlocked while parked anywhere, where I don’t fear for my life when walking or driving in the middle of the night (I mean, ever heard of Kapak Merah in Jakarta? /shudder).

There are only few weeks to go until the new little member of our family comes into our life, and I still have no idea where I want to raise our child.

Street food vendors.

Oh how I miss them! And I’m not talking about the regular hot dog stand, or hamburger stand, or even falafel stand, though we do have them as well, but I’m talking about hundreds or more types of food that are being sold in every corner of the city of Jakarta around the clock! (yes,  you read right, most of these street food vendors adopt similar business operating time as 7-Eleven)

Chicken satay, noodles, dim sums, fried rice, omelet, soups, traditional food, international food, you name it, they will have it! On top of that, some of these vendors even travel around residential areas, so if you feel a bit peckish in the middle of the night, all you need to do is listen… and wait for that distinctive sound of wood knocking that most of these vendors use to advertise their products and services.

Once you decide which food vendor you opt for your meal, you can give your order straight away to the chef/cook/cashier/cart-pusher (the business is a one-man-show, mind you), and wait while your food is being prepared and cooked. When it’s ready, be prepared to taste the flavour of home-made-like food, freshly made from the (mobile) kitchen of the street vendor.