Having left Abu Dhabi and waiting for a spot in Indonesia to be cleared away for our arrival, life continues in limbo in Ireland. Temporary accommodation, temporary schooling, temporary after-school activities and temporary living makes one look at a move to Indonesia as a positive.
Initially I welcomed the additional time in Ireland, delighted that I was getting to spend more time at home. I would see the lovely sunny days in September and the cold crispness of autumn arrive in the October air. I would get to spend extra time with family and friends. However, there is something about spending your day home-schooling kids that makes you eager to get back into a routine and if that routine comes at the price of having to move country, then so be it.
So with the focus firmly on Indonesia, I started to prepare for the journey and the expatriation to Jakarta in general. As repatriation to Ireland was, after four years in exile, still not feasible, the only option was to keep moving.
The first step of a move is usually finding accommodation and securing school places. In many cases the husbands travels first and is tasked with finding the house and having it available for when the rest of the family arrive. With some help from the company housing agent and a very strict directive from home, this can prove a difficult one to get right.
The second step is finding a school and securing places. Many of the English speaking schools abroad and have long waiting lists so after application and completing an online entrance exam, it can be a waiting game for the letter of acceptance, and until you know what school you’re going to it’s wise to hold on the house, as a two hour school run should be avoided at all costs.
The third step is finding out any specific rules, regulations, habits or rituals which may be relevant to that country and trying to adhere to same. So turning to the company relocation agent and asking “can you give me a list of what we need before our move to Jakarta?” I eagerly waited for the reply, expecting to receive a guideline of what we would need, I imagined the list something like Sudocreme, Lemsip, Paralink and so on, but when the list arrived it read nothing like that. The reply was, “before you arrive you and your children will need to be vaccinated against…. …Tetanus / Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Typhoid , Hepatitis B, Rabies, Japanese Encephalitis ….you will also need to be aware of Malaria and avoid mosquito bites, as the taking of anti-Malaria tablets long term can seriously harm the liver” Hardly the stuff dream destinations are made of.
I looked meekly at my list of teabags, sausages and Sudocreme, I thought maybe I should read a little more about Indonesia and without further ado I booked appointments at the local clinic for our vaccinations. If the sight of enough needles for 5 vaccinations each for 4 people wasn’t enough to make me weak then the bill was. Eu. 645 later I began to wonder should we have taken a risk with the Rabies and Japanese Encephalitis or should we have tried to reduce the bill by vaccinating each of the children with different vaccines, at least that way the whole family wouldn’t get wiped out with the same illness.
On reading all the supporting documentation it would appear that the best way to travel to Indonesia was with a team of A&E doctors and nurses and it seemed that the chances of contracting something life threatening was as likely as getting a headcold in Ireland in May, fairly likely, (while this was not the precise terminology used, it was certainly implied). My concerns were raised but it wasn’t until I read down further to where it described the healthcare system in Jakarta, which in brief says, “If in trouble go to Singapore”.
Just to clarify Jakarta to Singapore is the about the same distance as Cork to Paris, and to think I used to complain about going out to the Kinsale Road to SouthDoc at the weekend!