I’m Still Indonesian…

(Intro: We’re fully living back in my country of Indonesia, not just visiting although sometimes I wish we were!)

A couple of days ago I went to the mall in Southern part of Jakarta. Stopped by MAC counter because I need more compact powder and they’re the only one that have my kind of shade, not the way off whitish powder! Anyway, there were only 2 sales associates there, both of them guys. One of them quickly came to my assistance and between telling my 3 years old to step down from their high make-over stool, this guy assumed I might have forgotten my Indonesian language (Bahasa Indonesia) as he started talking┬áto me in English! Weird, because I was talking to him in Indonesian although I did told Lil’ A to get off the stool in English.

This is not the first time strangers started talking to me in English after they overheard my interactions with Lil’ A and I still find it weird.

Yes, I have to admit that I am somewhat Americanized but I didn’t go around talking only in English when I’m here. I’m still very much Indonesian and will bleed red and white if you cut me open. So to have strangers talk to me as if I don’t understand Indonesian is again…too weird. Trying to think positive, maybe they’re just brushing up their conversational skills? Who knows!

Some of my friends who have been living abroad for years still talks to me in Indonesian although yes we sometimes use English word and mixing things up but it’s not for ‘style’ it’s just emphasizing on some words. If you eavesdropped you’d probably hear something like “Hey how are you? Udah lama nggak ada kabarnya? (Been awhile since I hear from you) Hope you’re doing well!

As for writing this blog in English, it’s simply out of necessities, my in-laws doesn’t speaks Indonesian and I want them to be able to read this “digital record” of our lives also to make my blog available for other non-Indonesian speakers besides the obvious reason that allows me to write better in English.

As for me speaking to my son in English, I have my reasons and it got nothing to do with the ‘trend’ of parents here who have their children speaks only in English but not in Indonesian. Lil’ A speaks Indonesian and since he’s living here he’s more exposed to the language. Should we move back to the States, granted I will be talking to him in Indonesian just so he won’t forget them.

If you’re Indonesian have you ever had this experience?



  1. May 7, 2010 / 6:48 pm

    Oh yes, you bet I have!

    I recall one day I just arrived in a restaurant when my cell phone started ringing. Judging from the number shown on the screen, I knew it was from overseas (a work-related phone call) so I immediately answered with “Ima’s speaking” and then on-and-on talking in English with the caller (well, it was from overseas, what do you expect?).

    When I finished and hung up the phone, the Restaurant Manager brought me the menu and started explaining their specials in English! I raised my eye brows and told him that it was OK to speak Bahasa Indonesia with me… LOL.

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