Kids and Family Life in the Expat Family

We’ve had our house in Kampung Bugis for 18 plus years now. We haven’t always lived in the house, however – for nine years we were back and forth between Papua and Bali as I was teaching in Papua back in those days, but this house, this neighborhood and this regency were home base. It’s where we came to rest on vacations, it’s where my wife came to give birth to our children, it’s where we made plans for life after work.

Hanging out on the balcony today watching the children down on the street running around playing tag, eating jajan, tormenting younger siblings and friends, I suddenly had this feeling of history and connectedness. During my early days in Indonesia, I took an endless string of photos of everything from the simple rituals of making food to the sacred rituals of burying the dead. Looking back on those photos from 18 years ago, the children that I photographed playing their childhood games are now adults, married with children.

So the neighborhood kids are grown up, and my own get older by the day. Today was girls’ night out for my two teenage daughters who asked for permission to go to the local mall for “refreshing” (a term that I find quite humorous and may be local or national –I’m nor sure; it also got my Balinese friend who teaches English laughing).

So we set a time to come home (is this an American thing only, none of my neighbors seem to have these curfew times?), and the girls took off in their teen girls clothes.

Next, my 12-year old son asked if he could go out to hang out with his buddies until 9 which is his bedtime. Then the 10-year-old daughter came up for permission to go out and hang with her friends in the neighborhood. Just me and their mother left. She wanted to go and bake some brownies for tomorrow. I climbed the stairs to the third floor to do some writing and watch the life of the kampung at night. All is right with the world.


~ by drbrucepk on October 25, 2008.

One Response to “Kids and Family Life in the Expat Family”

  1. hi my name is mel, and your story was so refreshing,
    My huband has just been admitted to spinal ward after a surfing trip gone so wrong, our outcome is shocking. we have own buisness and all insurances have laped leaving me with two kids under 3 and not means of income, as we have been in in sydney for 8 yrs but not residents not entirled to any benifits, not that we want them! along with mounting bill. we are in Sydney and beleive we should come and live in bali for a while once recovered to have a breather.? How is the schooling for the kids? can you give any advise on how much living would cost for the year? Thanks Mel

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