So who am I talking to?
Profile: Rachel, husband Sean, Sonny (8), Tex (5) and Lola (3)
Originally from: Melbourne, Australia
Arrived in Bali: January 2015 (and previous to that Singapore for 2 1/2 years)
Home in Bali is: Canggu
How long do you plan to stay: Another couple more years.
What made you move to Bali?
Whilst living in Singapore we would have a Bali holiday every time Sean had some time off work.
We loved Bali so much and it was a dream to live here. Originally, we thought we would try a year here and see how we go. Sean still commutes for his same job to Singapore every week.
What do you normally do back in Australia?
I am a social worker and have been for the last 15 years. Most recently I was working at the Family Mediation Centre where I specalised in family divorces and family violence.
What is a typical day here for you and your three children?
I take my oldest to the Australian school in Seminyak and my younger ones go to the Garden Early Learning Centre in Canggu a few short days a week. I try and exercise and go for a run and sneak in some yummy lunches at places like Milk & Madu, Quince and Peloton. Busy after school with kids doing swimming, art, soccer and gymnastics. Twice a week we like to go to the beach and have picnic dinners.
I’ve also been able to set up a small business here (Silk Case) with another friend. It’s run and dispatched from Australia but we make the pure silk pillowcases and sleep masks here. I work on that a few days a week too.
Tell us about your food experiences living here
We live in Canggu and it is full of great food options. We love it! My husband and I are surprised at how many restaurants open and close within a few months – there is so much competition.
What do you think about the locals?
They are lovely and great with children. We all love to watch the Balinese ceremonies that we see a lot – there is always something going on in our local area. It is a wonderful culture for the children to be exposed to. I am actually trying to learn a little Bahasa Indonesia at the moment too.
What are you enjoying most whilst living here?
It has been a welcome change to Singapore where we were exposed more to the corporate world and how materialistic it can be. I am glad the kids can see how there are all walks of life and how there are people who don’t have much but are still happy.
What have you least enjoyed so far?
Grocery shopping! It is very frustrating having to travel to many different stores to buy your weekly groceries. Other main frustration is not having an address so you always have to ask any visitors coming over to bring things with them! Curbs my online shopping though!
What do you miss back home?
Ha- the supermarkets! Every time we go back home you will find me checking out all the supermarkets! My mum still sends me screen shots of the Aldi catalogue to see if I want any of the specials!
Of course I also miss family and friends.
Have you experienced any “culture shock’?
The only time was when we had only been living in Bali for 2 months and they were observing the day of silence called Nyepi. We didn’t have much of an idea other than knowing we had to stay at home and keep quiet. It was a huge surprise when the local Banjar came to visit and tell us off 4 times! It was hard keeping quiet with 3 kids and my daughter Lola was only 1 yrs old then.
How has it been being part of an expat community?
It is different here to our expat experience in Singapore. Back in Singapore you lived in a communal apartment block where everyone knew everyone. Our doors were open and kids were running in and out. You would also meet up at the apartment’s park and swimming pool.
Bali started off a little more isolating but with kids at both school and preschool you connect with a lot families and meet a lot of people.
What is the best thing you have done while you have lived here?
For my husband’s 40th birthday recently we all went to Sumatra to see Orangutans in the wild – the best adventure imaginable! It was an absolute mission to get there – 6 hour full on jungle trek with 3 kids but worth every second. Our two guides were amazing and seeing the orangutans so close up in the wild gave me so many goosebump moments.
If you had to describe Bali in three words what would it be?
Sun, surf, coconuts!
What tips do you have to those looking at making the move to Bali:
Have no expectations, there will be times when you just have to let it go. Be aware we are living in a developing country and understand that you have to make allowances for things that you might have been used to making back home.