First Sunday in Jakarta and thoughts on chores

It was a busy, “normal”, family Sunday here in Jakarta. We didn’t have a helper or a driver, so we were just on our own. I did more chores than usual, but somehow I enjoyed it. Living like a normal family. 🙂

We started the morning walking to Sofia’s soccer trial. It was Jakarta marathon day so we decided to walk instead of taking a cab. The SCBD area is closed on Sunday mornings for people to jog/walk/bike.

a group class. it was quite interesting to see local women, mostly Muslim with their heads covered doing aerobics.

after half hour’s walk, we finally found the venue for the game. It was mainly boys so Sofia was shy and not very engaged. I know it must be scary to join a new group, so I kept encouraging her until the end of almost 2 hours of practice/game. The coach and I had a quick chat after it was over. It seems that many kids were away due to school break so there were not many girls yesterday. In a normal week, there are 3 other girls. Sofia is more motivated to continue because of this. I hope she enjoys playing soccer in Jakarta as much as in Manila. It’s a good sport and she has invested a lot.

we got home just before lunch. Hubby already cleaned and cut the vegetables and was still assembling the girls’ bed, so I cooked lunch and cleaned up afterward. Then I took Sofia to a playdate, her first friend in Jakarta, a Korean girl that is super kind. She spent 3 hours at her place and had a blast.

I took Lizzy for a quick visit at the market in the mall that is 50 m away from our place. Super clean and nice for essentials.

Lizzy has a trial mandarin online lesson, which she loved!!! What a relief.

I prepared a vegetable soup with tofu and egg, baked sweet potato, and scallion pancakes for dinner. Cleaned the dishes and the table.

I used to think that doing chores is a waste of my time, an opportunity to do something that gives me more pleasure. But honestly, I enjoyed doing it yesterday as it is quite nice to do those things for the family. A meal prepared by me, as simple as it can be, is more special for the family than one prepared by the helper. In Chinese culture, cooking for family/friends is a way to show love.

A newsletter that I am subscribed to just wrote about doing chores:

 I spent most of my life dreading chores, but when I stopped seeing them as a barrier to a life well-lived, and instead as a crucial part of it, they felt less like a burden to me. The appeal of fast-forwarding until they were done, or being rich enough to never do them again, disappeared. At their best, chores remind me that life is worth living not because it grows and grows and grows in a linear way, but because it’s cyclical: always starting over, ending, and starting again. Fall always reminds me of this, too. Appreciating this has been one of the more profound shifts in my perspective. I used to feel a lot of pleasure from imagining that everything was going to be perfect in the future. Now I feel grateful that pleasure returns again and again in small doses, and that meaning is available to me through the cycle itself. Bad things always end, and good things always come back. It can be a lot less complicated than we make it..”

4 thoughts on “First Sunday in Jakarta and thoughts on chores

  1. I love this post! I have tried to enjoy some of the simple pleasures of chores more in the last few years. Taking the time to enjoy the smell of the dishsoap, or I might put away freshly laundered clothes more slowly because they’re warm right out of the dryer.

    I love the quote you include, especially the last line: “It can be a lot less complicated than we make it.” Isn’t that just so true of life in general?!


  2. Couple of questions- do people speak English there? Or what language do you communicate with people in when out in stores, etc.? I thought in Indonesia most people actually speak Indonesian, but I guess I’m not really sure! And I assume it’s a different money currency? Is it hard at all for you to adjust to that? I always have the worst time converting the currencies in my head when I travel!!! I always feel so out of sorts in grocery stores, etc. because the price tags just don’t mean much to me, and I always have to be thinking/ trying to see if it’s a good price or not…. haha.

    I love that quote at the end. I really do like the idea of not focusing on chores or other daily requirements as being some big “burden”. Looking at them as part of a full, rich life seems soooo much nicer!! I will have to keep this in mind. I generally don’t mind household chores, and we have never had a cook or a helper or a cleaner or anything, ever, believe it or not! So it is just a part of our life, and we all chip in and split things up, between me, my husband and the boys. I really don’t mind, but sometimes certain things can be a drag- like I really don’t enjoy the whole process of grocery shopping, because it’s just hectic and busy usually and takes a long time. But I’ve tried to look at it as me providing food for my family, I guess in a way like female lions go out and hunt for their cubs! haha. Not really, but you know what I mean. lol.


    1. They speak mostly local language called bahasa, some people speaks English too but not many. Fortunately everyone at work speaks English. The exchange rate is 15k per dollar so quite a calculation for daily purchases. I’m slowly adapting to it and use Manila prices as reference.


  3. I’m glad Kae asked you about the language being used as I was curious as well! I am glad that you found a great Mandarin teacher after your bad experience with the first one!

    That is a great reflection on chores. There are chores that I don’t mind doing and find soothing – like meal prep, folding laundry, etc. But then there are chores I absolutely loathe and don’t do – like cleaning! I like projects like deep cleaning our fridge, but that’s about it. But my husband would rather clean than pay someone to clean so that is how we handle it for now! I keep waiting for him to get tired of cleaning but he doesn’t value his free time to the extent that I do I guess!


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