Ending Jakarta Chapter

I’m enjoying a cup of coffee at Periplus coffee shop waiting for the boarding call. What a week! I’ve been working from home in Kupang since the start of the pandemic last year but our rent contract is expiring very soon. I had to return to Jakarta last Sunday just to pack up and send our things at the apartment back home to Kupang.

There is no reason to extend our lease because we don’t know yet when to return back to the office and renting for a home and apartment in Jakarta would require you to pay up-front the rent. It’s such a big a commitment. I’m just hoping the housing market will be regulated by the government just like in Australia that protects both the landlord and tenants.

It was such a grueling experience to finish all the packing in a few days time that I had and I wouldn’t have gone through the week successfully without a few who had helped me. The first person, of course, my wife who shared my frustration when packing. I was frustrated for not knowing what to pack and how to manage all the packing, while she was frustrated for not being able to do anything from Kupang. It was a brave and bad decision to come alone to Jakarta to manage all the packing and shipment. For economic and safety reasons, it’s a logical decision, though not necessarily the best. Dede, my long time friend at work, helped with all the information about medical check up as part of the travel requirements during pandemic and let me keep some of the stuff at his rented boarding house. Ria accommodated all surplus supplies that my wife had prepared for our stay at the apartment and, finally, Sigit, our IT man at the office who helped with my laptop and even helped me moving the stuff to store at Dede’s place. I’ve been blessed with these people.

We stayed at this apartment for two years. Renting an apartment in Jakarta has not been an easy ride and professional for our four years in Jakarta, compared to when we rented an apartment in Surabaya. The first unit we stayed, the agent was all helpful in the beginning but then non-responsive after we paid all the rent payment. The second agent was the worst. They nicked the rent payment and it seemed the landlord had to bear the cost. It was a weird arrangement that we had to transfer the funds to the agent’s account but not to the landlord’s account. Indonesia desperately needs a strong regulation on renting market given the sheer amount of money involved. The last experience was dealing directly with the owner, it wasn’t that bad, but not the best either.

We did have a nice memory of this last unit we stayed. We had access to the common area and the security has improved a lot. We did have more spare time to enjoy morning stroll and exercise in the morning that ended with some coffee at the nearby coffee shop or McDonald. It was fun as Papa came to visit us twice, and our family from Kupang had a chance to pass through when we all attended my cousin’s wedding in Bandung.

What I missed from the place would be the view from the balcony and the moment my wife and I spent together in this apartment. My wife enjoyed washing and I loved the smell of newly washed laundry. It reminds me of Japan.

Leaving this apartment feels like ending another chapter of our life, Jakarta Chapter. What I’m thankful of this four year stint living in Jakarta is not only the memory of the places, the work, the luxury of accessible public transports and entertainment but the friendship that I found in people at work. Before, office colleagues were just colleagues, but something about the current work and the team that I’m working with that I value more. Maybe as you age you tend to appreciate all the things around you more easily. The team is my next family, I do care about them and I could feel their genuine care of each other. Of all these four years living in Jakarta, I think this would be my mostly treasured gift.

Well, see you again Jakarta, if there is still another year to go to work here.

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