After over three months in Indonesia I started noticing some changes in myself. Some of them are linguistic changes, some are behavioral and others are cultural changes!
Indonesian is a fairly easy language. I cannot have a conversation in Indonesian yet, but I can fluently ask for directions and receive them in Indonesian with total understanding, I can buy stuff, i.e. I know the name of most food products and almost fluent in numbers, takes me just a few moments to translate the number in my head. I can generally pick up words from sentences being said to me to know what we are talking about (in general; sometimes I totally misunderstand what is happening!)
Here I conducted a list of the things that should show you that you have been living in Indonesia longer than you should!
1- You scream “Apa?!” (what?) when you don’t catch what was being said; even if it was said in English or your native language.
2- You shout “AWAS!” instead of “Watch out!” Face it, it is shorter and more fun to say!
3- You repeat words. “I’ll go walking walking…” – Indonesian language has many words that are repeated, and mean a different thing when repeated than when said once. At first, it starts by making fun of the whole thing, along with Google translate when it translates doubled words, and then it sticks!
4- You generally mix up Indonesian words with whatever second or third language you have tried to learn before, in my case that was Spanish! When I try to think in Spanish now, I make up Indo-Spanglish sentences composed of all three languages and don’t make any sense.
5- You say “yea” a lot. Even after your own words! For example “Makasih yea?” (Thank you yea?)…or if someone says something your reply is just “yea yea” and it is more than enough, it is even used instead of “you’re welcome” as a reply to “Thank you”
Indonesians are BIG on the “yea” culture. Tell them anything and they’ll reply “yea yea”, most of the times it means they did not understand what the heck you are talking about but are too shy to ask. Repeat what you said much slower and using simpler words is the key.
6- You see this as something totally safe and normal.
7- You totally believe that a 115 cc motorbike is faster than any car on the road. Which is, by the way, true with respect to Indonesian roads and traffic…
8- You take off your shoes outside the gate of anything. I generally never used to do this unless there is a sign asking for it; in Indonesia it is a must! Even students take off their shoes outside the classroom!
9- You start loving motorbikes more and more, to the extent that you seriously think of buying one when you go back home. Come on, they are so good in traffic, big on saving gas and so easy to park anywhere!
10- You think it is totally fine to have fried rice for breakfast.
11- You know it is cheaper to eat a full meal including meat and/or chicken than buying cheese in a supermarket – if you find any!
12- If you travel between cities frequently, you start knowing your directions using the natural compass (direction of shadow) and mountains; after locating your destination on a map before starting your trip, of course!
13- If you don’t live in Bali or one of the cities that have many tourists/expats in them, you start screaming “Bulai” whenever you see a white person on the street!
14-You are used to saying any number with the word “thousand” at the end. (Check point 15 for further understanding.)
15- You know that one dollar is a lot of money! Heck it is 10,000 Rupiahs! It is a full meal in a local restaurant, with a drink! Multiply that by 10 (10 dollars, you lazy people) and you get a cheap private hotel room, with AC!
16- You stopped pronouncing the “SH” sound, and replaced it with “S.” Most Indonesians cannot pronounce “SH”, so a word like “Finish” is generally pronounced “Finis”…As with point 3, you start saying it just for fun and then it sticks!
17- Your knowledge of Adele songs has increased more than 100%! And you know all the lyrics to “Someone Like You” by heart, because you hear it at least 5 times a day wherever you go!
18- You eat this for breakfast, because that is what is served for breakfast in all restaurants (or it is what they bring me for breakfast at school anyway!)
19- You know about many Japanese and South Korean bands, like Super Junior!
20- You own a helmet, even if you don’t own a motorbike! Having a helmet in Indonesia is a must, as even if you don’t drive a motorbike, you must know people who do, and you do get motorbike rides every other day! You have to have a helmet!
Have you been to Indonesia? Did you notice any changes in your actions or way of thinking about things? Share them with us!