Grumpy bum


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Playing with the external flash for my camera I got in Singapore last time.  You can bounce it off stuff!  Like the ceiling!  To make you look pensive and shit! (I'm actually just trying to figure out angles for bouncing in this pic not trying to look thoughtful)

I haven't really been writing on here because I am supposed to be funny, but I've been a grumpy bum the last few days.

For a while, when you start something new or move somewhere new, it's all happy happy.  Everything is exciting.  You leave all your emotional crap and excess baggage (well… not all of it… especially if the boss is paying the charges) behind and get excited about things like the range of instant noodles in the supermarket or the vegan restaurant near your new work that is run by a cult.

You don't think much except about the interesting, confusing things you are seeing around you.  It's like you are in some sort of giddy freefall where Jakarta's dysfunction is a funny television show you are watching with an element of detachment, where every corner turned in a taxi is a flick of the remote to some new channel that grabs your attention, but with which you don't really have to engage.

But then, all of a sudden, your arse hits the pavement and you are scrambling around trying to get your crap back together.  Real life starts closing in, and instead of being some sort of happy-go-lucky observer, you become part of the vortex of chaos that is Jakarta.  And you have to try and function in it. And stuff goes wrong all the time and you can't get the things done that you want to get done.

That, my friends, is called the end of the honeymoon period.  It's when five guys showing up three times to examine your broken air conditioner unannounced early in the morning without fixing it, then telling you they are coming again but not showing up while you wait for them for about four hours, is no longer amusing.  It's when receiving bills for things you have already paid is no longer just a little annoying.  It's when that kind of crap makes you want to explode in a fit of frustrated anger.  It's when you wish you weren't way too old for tantrums. It's even more frustrating because you are local enough now to know that neither anger or being super nice will actually fix the problem at all. 

It's when you have a routine. When things become everyday.  When you go "ugh, I can't look at another packet of IndoMie and I'm sick of the smell of nasi goreng".

And when you hit the end of the honeymoon, you start evaluating lots of stuff.  This evaluating is only expediated by the constant soundtrack of Christmas carols reminding you that if you were somewhere else, you'd be heading in to the holiday season, the most glorious time of the year — all drinking and eating and swimming down the river and lazing at the beach with your friends and your family during those hot summer days that seem to drag on for an eternity…

You also realize that in the freefall, you've lost heaps of the crap that used to keep you "normal".  Like bitching about the NSW State Government… talking about the idiots on Australian Idol and giving them ludicrous nicknames… hearing about new bands from your indie friends… having that parcel of "in-jokes" that you carry around where dropping one word sends your posse into fits of laughter remembering some moment from your shared history. Like the phrase "Kangaroo Minge" (I can almost hear you lot laughing from Sydney and the rest of you scratching your heads).

And you need to start plugging up those holes with new things that might take a bit of time to get a handle on or gather.

And thinking about all of that makes you grumpy.  It's not that your new life is bad at all.  It's just bumpy trying to sort it out.  It's not the same.  Which is what you wanted when you moved overseas, presumably, but it just takes a bit of figuring out and a lot more patience that you have some of the time.

But I know it will pass soon, it always does, and I'm far from being totally jaded on Jakarta yet.  I'm still excited about Indonesia.

I just need to get my shit together! (I'm such a bogan…)

And if anyone walks through the little storm cloud over my head at the moment and gets a bit rained on, apologies!

3 Responses to " Grumpy bum "

  1. Julie Betteridge says:

    I miss you too honey even reckon I miss one of your bad moods that you used to use family members as whipping posts to vent on. We love you grumpy or not mum XXXXXX

  2. Sophie says:

    That is tough, I remember that feeling in orange, the – ok, so this is home now -feeling.. Friends help a lot, but they’re not the same as your buddies back in Sydney. Hope you feel better soon 🙂

  3. Tim says:

    I know this feeling very well Ash.