Thursday, June 08, 2006
This is our friend, Clemence. I had to take this picture because she was making fun of my cellphone. It's true that my phone looks old and battered and dirty, and ever since I dropped it off the fourth-floor balcony I've had to use a rubber band to hold it together. But my phone takes pictures - great pictures such as this one - which means it's cool. End of story.
Like many of our new expat friends, Clemence is extremely smart and educated. She works for a major international agency, speaks 137 languages, and generally drafts at least one multinational declaration before breakfast. We met Clem online on the Jakarta Expat forum, and she gave us lots of tips on housing, etc. Then she showed us where the good bars are, so her friendship has been truly invaluable.
For expats, Jakarta can feel kind of like a big college dorm. The experience of being foreigners abroad tends to erase barriers, so it's easier to make friends than it is back home. You already have so many things in common. And if you run out of stuff to talk about, you can always trade horror stories about the traffic. I actually loved living in a dorm, so it all works for me. It's living in the" real" world that's always been a bit of a puzzle.