I have two grown-up kids (my daughter is 21, my son is 20) of whom I’m very proud. They were born only 13 months apart, which means the first years were quite exhausting for us parents. I think I was a rather strict mother, educating my children according to principles that I believed in at the time, especially when it came to food: no sweets before mealtimes, we would all eat together at the same table, no running around and no TV during meals and the kids had to taste at least one bite of everything that was served to find out whether they liked it or not. I tried not to spoil them with material things (and yet they ended up with heaps of toys and furry animals…) but never held back with cuddles and kisses. When they hurt themselves or were sad about something, I tried to comfort them with a hug, maybe a little song and a band aid if there was a wound. I tried not to give sweets or other gifts to avoid creating a reflex that would stick.
Before we closed the resort, our dive manager’s wife and their two small children were invited to join us on Pulau Pef and remain here during the lockdown. It’s great to have the two little ones here, not only for them but also for all of us, because they are full of life and remind us to look towards the future and see the positive side of things, instead of sulking about all the negative aspects of the current crisis. And Aisyah and her little brother Samudra utterly enjoy having so many «aunties» and «uncles» around who love to cuddle and play with them!
Indonesians are very fond of children - men and women alike. Back home, men tend to only play with older children unless it’s their own baby. Samudra only just turned 1, but our male employees cuddle and play with him just as often as the female ones. Whenever he waddles around, still a little unstable as he just learned how to walk about three weeks ago, our staff literally competes to pick him up and cover him with kisses. When the kids first got here, I felt like telling our employees to give the poor little fellow a break, but Samudra didn’t seem to mind. He seems used to it because this is just the way he grew up. I’m pretty sure, in Switzerland almost every parent would try to prevent people from grabbing their one-year-old out of their arms without even asking! But here, the parents don't seem to mind.
Almost every day, I see Aisyah run around with some kind of lollipop, chocolate bar or other sweet just before mealtimes. In the beginning, I secretly rolled my eyes every time I saw that and was on the verge of telling the «aunties» or her parents not to feed her sweets so often. But I didn’t, because it’s not up to me to educate these kids. During mealtimes, neither of the kids ever sit at the table. They constantly run around playing and having fun while their parents follow behind, trying to feed them. I was told this is completely normal here, no little child is asked to sit quietly at the table and eat with the grown-ups.
Was I wrong to ask my kids to do that? They would have loved to run around and only come back to the table occasionally to grab some food. Maybe, they would have developed a much more passionate approach to food if they were allowed to eat where and how they liked – I don’t know. I just think that it must be rather stressful for the parents to keep running after their kids with the food. The parents never seem to be able to eat at the same time, let alone have a conversation at the table. But then again, Indonesians don’t seem to attach such a big importance to mealtimes as a social gathering as we do.
Indonesian children probably grow up in a much more relaxed way than Swiss kids do. Is it better for their development? Or is the Swiss way preparing children better to adapt to adult life with its conventions and regulations later on? I have no idea. The only thing I know is that I would choose more or less the same principles again with my kids if I had to start all over. I may have made many mistakes – sorry Annina and Jascha! – but I believed I was doing the right thing. And even though my kids always told me that I was the «only mom who doesn’t allow this», I hope I did ok. It was my style and therefore it was the correct style for my kids and me. And the Indonesian style is the correct one for them. This is how it should be – perfect just for them and nobody else.
Religion being of big importance in Indonesia and influencing everyday life much more than back home, I decided to come back to the month of Ramadan and write about its highlight – Idul Fitri (or Lebaran, as it is also called in Indonesia). This celebration marks the end of the fasting month Ramadan and is the time when Muslims normally visit their family and friends to ask for forgiveness for any wrongs they have committed in the previous year: «Mohon Maaf - Please Forgive Me».
For obvious reasons, this year is going to be different. Many of our Papuan employees, who are mainly Christians, went home to stay with their families before the lockdown started. This is why there are currently more Muslim employees still on the island. They have known for a few weeks already that they will not be able to go home to their families. You may think this is not such a big deal, the whole world is unable to travel and see their friends and families at the moment. But going home for Idul Fitri is a very deeply rooted tradition and the fact that they are not allowed to see their loved ones on this important day is very hard for our Muslim employees. They don’t show it and accept the decision the Indonesian government took in April when it banned travelling anywhere in the country until the end of May. But I know, many of them are very sad.
The exact date of Idul Fitri is unknown until announced one or two days in advance by the highest Imam of the country. It depends on the rising of the new moon and is very carefully observed by religious leaders all over the Muslim world. I’m not sure I fully understand why the date could not be fixed in advance as the moon phases are pretty well known for years to come, but it all seems to depend on when the new moon is actually sighted by the religious authorities. Like so many times before, I’m amazed that this is so easily accepted by everyone. I would imagine that organizing big festivities for one of the two most important holidays of the year does require some time and certainty. Back home, we would want to know the date well in advance in order to allow enough time for all the preparations and also to know, which day we’ll be off from work. Over here, people seem to be more relaxed and flexible. They knew it was going to be the 24th or the 25th of May, and it will most probably be this Sunday. But we will only know for sure tonight.
Nevertheless, our entire staff - whatever the religion - has been preparing and organizing the big day for some time now. Especially the food that will be served, which will not be as elaborate and abundant as back home, but still as special as our current situation allows. If I understood correctly, we will be eating a little here and there almost all day, and I’m already debating whether I should try to get some work out done before it all starts or between meals to make room for more food…
In the morning of Idul Fitri, we will all gather, and our Muslim colleagues will ask everyone for forgiveness as the tradition requires. At home, they would normally start by visiting the eldest family members, like grandparents and elderly members of their friend’s families. But since these people are not here, they asked Maya if they were allowed to ask «Oma» for forgiveness instead, Maya’s 86-year-old mother who is staying with us on the island and who is simply called «Oma» by everyone. I understood that it is very important to respect this tradition with an elderly and respected person.
As I didn’t grow up with religious traditions, I look forward to witnessing Idul Fitri here. Even though the Islamic religion and its rituals are still very foreign to me, I respect the meaning they have to my colleagues and am happy to be part of some of them.
This is what I was hoping for when I decided to take on a job in a country as far away as Indonesia – to get to know different cultures and learn about different traditions. The Islamic tradition is just one of the many cultures we have here on the island. I’m sure I will find out a lot more about the other ones the longer I stay and work here.
How inspiring, I can’t wait!
One of the beautiful things of living on Pulau Pef is the fact that we are so close to nature. There is only the resort and the jungle with all its animals on this island. And with the traditional Papuan style bungalows, you hear and feel nature, because it’s all around you. When I first got here, this took some getting used to as I didn’t have to deal with frogs in my bathroom before and wasn’t accustomed to seeing lizards cross the path in front of my eyes. But now I’m used to being surrounded by wildlife and even miss it when I’m not on the island.
I knew that Mother Nature can be merciless, especially since I witnessed the newborn turtles a few years ago in Australia fighting their way across the beach to reach the sea, only to be eaten right away by the sharks and the seagulls awaiting them. It seems cruel, but it’s the circle of life, and as much as I wanted to protect the cute little babies, I knew they were food for other animals. And that this was the way it was meant to be.
Lately, we’ve been lucky to have various baby animals here on Pulau Pef.
First, it was the turn of our «pets», the Sugar Gliders. They are cute nocturnal marsupials that we rescued in Sorong from a life of containment in a small cage. Now, they live in a big enclosure here on the island and it’s my job to feed them every night. Since I came here, they’ve had babies 3 times already, the last time approx. 2 months ago. First, I found two little ones in the tree log they usually all sleep in. A couple of weeks later, suddenly there were another 2 babies in there. And then, about 10 days ago, they were gone. I don’t know what happened to them, but I imagine the adults ate them, maybe to make sure the population doesn’t grow too fast as they are 8 grown ups already in the cage.
Then, there were the turtles. Shortly before the resort closed, one of our dive guides found some turtle eggs on an uninhabited island that were being eaten by Monitor Lizards. He decided to bring them to Pef and bury them in the sand. As we have many young Blacktip Reef Sharks in the lagoon in front of the resort, we didn’t release the turtles after they hatched, but decided to keep them in a basin and take care of them until they are big enough to be released in the water without immediately being eaten by the sharks. Most of them are still doing fine, but some have died, especially the smaller ones that seemed weaker. I know you may say we shouldn’t interfere with nature, but instead of leaving all the eggs to the Monitor Lizards, we are simply trying to help some of the turtles survive. They will still face a lot of dangers once they get in the water.
Last Sunday, I witnessed what seemed an especially cruel act of nature. Four weeks ago, our two Raja Ampat Ducks had 11 ducklings again. This time, they lasted for a lot longer than last time, when all of the ducklings were gone after just 3 days. Last Saturday, they were still 6 of them, but we found one limping and unable to walk properly which is why its family left it behind. As it otherwise seemed rather fit, we put it in a cardboard box to protect it from the Monitor Lizards and fed it. On Saturday, it really seemed to do quite ok, but on Sunday morning it couldn’t get up on its feet anymore. I thought it was going to die very quickly because it didn’t want to eat nor drink anymore, so I took it to my room to give it some comfort during its last moments. I know you’ll say it’s a wild animal, don’t treat it like a pet! But it just seemed so lost and lonely, I couldn’t resist… It took much longer for the little duckling to die than I expected and I was constantly torn between throwing it in the water to the sharks to hopefully allow it a quick death and waiting for its natural death to come, because I wasn’t sure if being eaten by a shark was really a very quick death. So, I chose to wait and only threw it in the water after it stopped breathing a few hours later.
I know that nature has provided for a perfect circle of life which only gets messed up once human beings start interfering. But to try and reduce suffering a little bit can’t be that wrong, can it? I don’t know if the little duckling felt comfortable with me last Sunday, but I like to think it did. It would give ME comfort to know that it wasn’t feeling so lonely – even if this is very human thinking. But I guess I would probably do it again if I had the chance.
It’s been six weeks since the last guests left the resort and we had to shut down because of Indonesia closing its borders to foreign travellers and tourist activities being prohibited. Physically, we are all doing fine, and the virus fortunately hasn’t reached the island yet. At the beginning of the crisis, some of my friends asked if I considered returning to Switzerland, but that was never really an option for me. I naturally thought my place was here with the team. And since my job is mainly making sure potential guests don’t forget us and keep dreaming about a holiday with us, I am still fairly busy, trying to communicate the beauty of Raja Ampat to the world.
Despite the financial uncertainty threatening our resort, many of us enjoy the quiet times and the fact that we have more free time than during normal resort operation. But it’s not always easy to motivate yourself if there are no deadlines. Especially, if the main purpose of a resort cannot be fulfilled: to provide a relaxing, pleasant and unforgettable holiday experience to our guests!
With renovations, cleaning and finally doing the things we’ve always wanted to do but never had the time, there is plenty of work for all the remaining employees on the island to fill their days. And we still have a clear schedule with a little shorter, yet strict work hours. Just like people around the world working at home, we also had to keep up the structure and the daily routine.
And yet, the prospect of another few months without guests on the island, is not particularly motivating. I sense a certain laxity among everyone, including myself. Not that we don’t want to do a good job, but we are slower, extending the breaks by a few minutes here and there, finishing a few minutes earlier in the evening, etc. We feel it doesn’t matter, because there are no guests waiting.
It’s not about the missing minutes of work or the physical presence. But the energy is missing too, and that bothers me. Anybody who’s met me knows that I am usually a very energetic person. I need a certain speed – even though now adapted to the island rhythm – and deadlines to be productive.
How do we motivate ourselves? Some of us do more sports - jogging, working out, Zumba sessions, etc. Others go snorkelling on the house reef or take a kayak to explore the mangrove lagoons around the island. And we keep up certain routines that we also have with the guests, such as our ‘Happy Sunset’ once a week: we meet at 7pm at the bar to have a drink while watching the sunset and listening to the Pef band play their island tunes. Afterwards, we all have dinner outside from a little buffet prepared by our kitchen team. We enjoy feeling like guests for one evening, sitting at the bar and sipping a cocktail mixed by the boss personally.
It helps to have events like this one and to continue spending time together with the entire (remaining) team here. On normal evenings, it now takes roughly 15 minutes for everybody to eat their dinner and disappear to their rooms immediately after, where they often stay and make phone calls or watch videos. That’s why we also organize a movie night once a week for everybody and various games on Saturday afternoons which are organized by a different department every week.
I’m sure these little events will help us keep up our motivation and strengthen the team spirit. But there’s one thing we can only do ourselves - we have to believe that Raja4Divers will survive as a resort and that someday soon we will be standing at our jetty again with a coconut drink in our hands, welcoming our guests to Pulau Pef.
I used to have mixed feelings towards the Muslim Ramadan, mainly the fasting that is an important part of it. It seemed rather strange to me not to eat and drink during the day but indulge in big meals before sunrise and after sunset. And having worked as a nutritionist, I thought it wrong not to drink anything, not even water, during an entire day – especially in hot countries.
A week ago, this year’s Ramadan started, and the Muslim part of our staff is following it to the letter. And I must say, I changed my mind and am pretty impressed how they do it. How they get up at 4am to have breakfast and pray. How they work normal hours all day without food and drink, but also without tobacco, when some of them normally never take a step without a cigarette in their hand. And how they never seem irritated or impatient, nonetheless. They never mention being thirsty or hungry, only a little tired once in a while.
I sometimes feel guilty to eat or drink in front of them, and I especially feel sorry for the kitchen team, since they are around food and drinks all day long without being allowed to taste it. Not even check the seasoning of the dishes they cook which is why one of their non-Muslim colleagues who likes cooking is doing the «quality control», as she calls it. But I think they don’t mind as much as I do. Because they grew up in this tradition, and it’s just normal to them. Everybody fasts during Ramadan, except for pregnant or breastfeeding women, young children, elderly or ill people or travelers on long journeys.
I was told they already start as children around the age of primary school. But children begin by fasting only half days, which seems hard enough at this age. My work colleague told me that she and her siblings would come home from school very thirsty at lunchtime and were hardly able to wait for the first sip of water or juice they were allowed. But since they were all in the same situation, they learned to deal with it. It naturally became part of their life to control their impulses and to do without certain things for a limited time of the year.
In the western civilization, we are generally not very good at refraining from doing or consuming whatever we please. Even though for Christians, fasting is also a tradition during the 40 days running up to Easter, it is not as strict as for Muslims. The ones that do fast usually renounce to meat, sweets, alcohol and tobacco, but still eat and drink moderately during the day. While this no doubt is already a big effort for some, it seems hardly imaginable for us no to eat or drink during daytime for an entire month.
It might have to do with the fact that meals for us have a much more social component than here. At home, we meet for a meal and sit and chat for hours. The meal is the actual event. In Indonesia however, I noticed that a meal normally is a rather quick affair, much more practical and aimed at satiating your thirst and hunger, than a social thing. So, missing out on meals during the day, while still representing a big physical effort, may not be so much of a social loss as it would be for our society.
In most western countries, religion also doesn’t determine our daily lives as much as in Islamic countries. Many religious activities are just part of the daily routine here and are never questioned, while in laical and individualistic societies, people are not willing to easily accept everything the state or the church stipulate. We like to decide ourselves what we think is acceptable for us or not.
I don’t know which is better and I still don't really agree with the not drinking part, but they are just two different ways of growing up. And even though I am not a religious person, I decided to do «my share of Ramadan» by not drinking alcohol for a month. Maybe next year I’ll manage to skip chocolate as well, but that is going to be really hard!
I often write about the people living and working with me on the island and call them my «Pef Family». You may start to think that this is just a word I use because I miss my real family in Switzerland. Or because I am trying to explain the feeling of togetherness we share here. And you may start to wonder if I’m not exaggerating a little.
They say, a crisis like this one, brings out the best and the worst in people. In our case, I think it’s the best. What does it really mean to be a «family» now? Is it just an empty phrase? In our case, I don’t think it is.
It all starts with Maya’s basic philosophy: treat your employees well and they will give it all back to you. Our staff all have good salaries for local standards, have a paid health insurance and pension fund and get a very generous holiday allowance. Their accommodation is simple, but clean and well maintained and the food is ample and delicious – which, I heard, is not always the case in other resorts in the area. And even now, during the biggest crisis this resort has know in its history, Maya refuses to let people go for financial reasons and continues to pay their insurances. On top of this, she cares about our staff’s families, which is why we started our «Raja4Rice» project.
On the other hand, all employees, including management, currently have to put up with salary cuts of up to 30%, depending on their salary level. And they do that without hesitation and a lot of understanding. Because they know that being able to keep their job in times like this is not for granted. Especially the ones from modest backgrounds are very grateful for working here. But even employees with university degrees and more senior positions keep thanking Maya for continuing to employ them, as sometimes they are the only one of their family who still has a job and who currently has to support them all financially.
It’s now that we realize: we really are a «family», caring for each other, accepting personal losses so that the resort will hopefully be able to survive financially and continue to employ us all. We are all pulling in the same direction. We try to do this in normal times too, but now even more so. Some of our employees don’t have much education but they understand that they are being treated very well here and that this is something they should not give up easily.
I have worked in many different companies during my career so far. Some were great employers, some much less. But I have never had an owner or a management that cared so much about their employees as here. I felt this from the moment I set foot on the island, and it was the main reason I wanted to work here. I think our guests feel it too, this is one of the reasons why many of them keep coming back to our resort instead of trying out another resort in the area.
It’s easy to be a good team when everything is running smoothly. But it takes a crisis to show you what your team is really worth.
Do you remember life without internet? Or do you sometimes wonder what life would be like if we didn’t have internet? Especially in a situation like this with a big part of the world currently working from home? No WhatsApp to communicate with your friends and family. No news apps, news sites or newsletters of any kind. No email let alone Skype or other video conferencing tools. And no social media feed to scroll through!
The latter would probably be a blessing, even though it’s also a way for us to see how and what our friends are doing in times of lockdowns. But life without social media would spare me some incredibly stupid threads of comments to certain posts that I promised myself not to read anymore, but still cannot help noticing and reading occasionally.
Living in a remote place like ours and running a business, the internet is vital for us. Especially, since we don’t have a phone connection on the island. So, WhatsApp and email are our main means of communication with the rest of the world. Even though our satellite internet is VERY slow because we all share a limited bandwidth, we could not function without it.
How do you keep informed about what’s going on in the world? I’m guessing it’s a combination of TV, maybe radio, newspapers, newsletters, as well as news apps and social media. All of these currently give us a daily flood of different info on Covid-19 and how to deal with it. Do you still know what to believe? I get really confused with so many experts presenting conflicting theories. Did our governments do the right thing or act too late? Could we have avoided the big disaster by looking at how China handled it? Was the lockdown necessary? Can masks help protect others or are they useless, as some claim? There are millions of answers to these and many more questions somewhere on the internet. But they don’t help me understand the situation much better. It’s too much information for me to process and form my own opinion. And it keeps changing every day as there are new studies and scientific findings, which doesn’t really help…
Information travels very fast with internet, and this is a blessing and a curse. Of course, we are all free to decide how much of this info we chose to consume. I do appreciate the fact that I have a lot of sources to choose from. And sometimes, it’s really interesting to read comments and follow online discussions on certain topics, I wouldn’t want to miss that. But in situations like the one we are facing right now it can also be stressful to let yourself be influenced by too much information. Panic attacks seem to be a problem at the moment, especially for people who have be staying home for a while now. My health insurance evens sends out newsletters with tips on how to calm yourself down and advising to stop consuming too much negative news.
I’m not the type of person to think we would be better off without internet. Those times are over, there’s no going back. And I love the possibilities of communication it offers, especially with me living on Pulau Pef now. But sometimes I wish, I wasn’t overwhelmed by so much information, so I decided to choose more carefully what to read. Wish me luck!
I'm sorry, this is not an Easter post. Today's text was inspired by a person close to me that told me he couldn’t stay in touch anymore with all that was going on right now in the world. It left me very confused and I decided to write down my thoughts about one of the side effects that the current Corona crisis may have on some of us.
When scrolling through my news and social media feed, reading newsletters or or even texting with my friends and family, there is one dominant topic at the moment – the Corona crisis. It’s normal because it affects everybody’s lives so dramatically. I often sense an atmosphere of fear in everything: fear of catching the virus, fear of dying, fear of losing money, fear of losing our jobs or even our whole existence and mainly fear that the world as we know it will never be the same.
This fear is very real, no doubt about that. But I refuse to give up hope. Ever. What would life be without hope? This may be the biggest crisis humanity has gone through for a very long time, but we will come out of it. We always have! Yes, the world will change. We don’t know how, but it will change. But does it have to be for the worse? Could it not be for the better? Who says, we will all be worse off than before?
It’s always people that make the change. Every single one of us can contribute to making our world a better one. If we give up our hope in people, we will despair. We will allow the negative headlines to pull us down. And we will give up believing in a future.
Now, more than ever, it’s relationships that count in our lives. People. Love. Family. Friends. I believe, these are the only things worth fighting for. It’s challenging at the moment to stay close to our loved ones if we’re not allowed to see them in person. But it doesn’t mean that we should lose contact. Our friends and family need us more than ever and so do we. Our modern world makes it easy to stay in touch via phone, internet or even good old mail. It’s a little more challenging for us on this island, as there is no phone connection and our internet is very slow, but it’s still possible. And far as I know, we are all in regular contact with our people.
I do sometimes fear that we will not make it, that Raja4Divers may go bankrupt and that we may have to give up this beautiful little paradise. But most of the times, I believe that we will manage. We have to, for the people. So many employees and their families depend on us. They are wonderful people who put their trust in us, hoping that we will help them survive. They are like a family to us, we cannot disappoint them.
I refuse to give up hope. Because this would mean to stop believing in love and friendship. And I will not do that.
I wish you a very happy Easter. Stay in touch!
It has only been a good week that our last guests left, but I have the feeling that nature is already claiming back her territory by land and by sea.
All day long, I seem to hear more birds singing than ever. There are new voices that I think I have never noticed before. And they feel louder than before too. I’m no bird expert at all, but just yesterday, two other colleagues mentioned the louder bird singing as well. So, there must be something in it, I guess.
Our monitor lizards (Soa Soa in the local language) are normally very shy and disappear immediately in the bushes or up a palm tree as soon as someone approaches them. Now, you can see them crawling more or less nonchalantly about the entire resort, even around the usually busy restaurant and bar area. It seems as though they feel less stressed by the employees that are still walking around everywhere as we are all busy working, cleaning and renovating the resort. I guess they appreciate the quieter and more relaxed atmosphere and venture out more often.
Lately, it has been raining a little almost every night, so the bushes and trees also seem greener than ever since I came here. It is starting to look like the lush tropical jungle again that makes the island of Pef so beautiful. Before the rain, the leaves were yellow, and many trees were losing their foliage day by day. It was far too dry for a long time, but now even the weather gods seem to have had a heart for us and sent us some rain.
Whenever the sea is not too wavy, I try to go snorkelling at our house reef after work. Even after 8 months on Pulau Pef, it still amazes me how incredibly beautiful the house reef is and how many corals as well as fishes and other animals live in it. Now, it seems as if the schools of fish have grown even bigger and I think there are more juveniles than before. As there are no dive boats nor liveaboards passing by our island now, marine life is much less disturbed than during normal times. I am not sure if fish can hear noises, but they must feel the turbulence of a passing boat. And the divers – even if they are very careful (which most of them are) – are an alien element to marine life. I believe a break from this intrusion will do these animals good.
This little virus is wreaking havoc around the world, killing so many people and making even more lose their jobs or their entire existence. And there may be many more consequences we don’t even know of yet. I would by no means want to insinuate that this isn’t the worst tragedy that has happened to us for decades. But maybe, by forcing us to take a break from our fast-paced modern life, COVID-19 may at least have a positive effect on nature. It would definitely be the only one, but a wonderful side effect of these difficult times we are currently going through.
Due to the Corona virus, our resort is closed and the island of Pef shut down for external visitors until further notice. All tourism activities have been banned by the Regent of Raja Ampat, and we had to put ourselves into self-quarantine to protect the island and our employees. At least the ones that are still here, since half the staff chose to go back home for an undetermined period of time.
So, the island is rather quiet at the moment. And this time it’s not the same as when we close for cleaning and renovation three times a year. Nobody knows when we will be able to reopen the resort. On the one hand, we are all very happy to be here and feel comparatively safe on our remote little island. On the other hand, we don’t know how long we will have to stay here and whether we will still have a job once this crisis is over. The financial loss is huge and for a small resort like ours, this is dramatic.
For now, we are still busy trying to teach our employees how to stay safe, e.g. how to wash their hands correctly, to keep their distance and most importantly – not to mix with anybody from outside the island, not even with their family or friends from the villages. This must be very hard for them as they are used to living in big families, and the ones with relatives in nearby villages used to have them come over to Pef to visit on a regular basis. This will not be possible for an indefinite time, unless they go back home and don’t return until the crisis is over.
This also means that we will not buy any more fish from local fishermen and no fruit and vegetables from the village nearby. Bad news for me since my diet mainly consists of fish and vegetables and fruit… We have rice and dry foods for quite a while, so we are not going to starve, but the meals will definitely be less varied.
You may think: «What’s her problem? She’s on an island in paradise and she’s complaining about the food?!» You’re right, of course. I shouldn’t be complaining. But it’s probably more the underlying feeling that this crisis may take a lot longer than we think, that gets to me. I feel, Indonesia may take a while to fight the virus because it’s such a big country with comparatively few medical resources compared to western countries that are struggling already.
So, what do we do in the evenings, now that there are no guests around to entertain? Dinner is a rather quick event now, and afterwards, most of the employees go to their rooms to watch movies or call their relatives and friends. The first evening, I felt a bit lost, as I like to be around people, and I am not an early sleeper. And there’s no TV or streaming of movies here as the internet is too weak. But I will soon get used to the new rhythm and probably read in my room or have a chat with Maya or someone else that speaks English well enough (as you may remember, my Bahasa Indonesia is still not at a level to have a proper conversation…). Time will tell, and it will be ok.
Having no guests around also gives me more time for sports after work: workout, jogging or go for a snorkel at the house reef. I used to think, our island is small and there’s not enough space to move around. Now, it has suddenly become rather big compared to the apartments and houses my family and friends are currently confined to. I guess, it’s all a matter of perspective…
I never even dreamt of working on a remote island in Indonesia, but life has a way of taking care of itself…