My name is Katrina, and I have been living and working in Jakarta for over 10 years.
Years ago, my sister and I created a blog called “We Love Jakarta” out of our love for the city. So much has changed in that time (we both had kids AND Jakarta got footpaths), but the love of Jakarta has remained the same. Sometimes it is a total mystery what it is about Jakarta that there is to love, but a journey into the alleyways of Jakarta always helps me to remember where the magic begins.
A morning ride will take you past new mothers sitting with their little babies getting the morning sun, past an unending variety of kaki limas (food on wheels) being pushed around the alleyways, past large gangs of children of all ages playing with pigeons and chickens, past men staring into the distance while smoking a cigarette, while others don their Gojek jackets to begin their day, past people living close together, talking together, laughing together, making as much noise as they want, and always taking their time.
No one seems to be rushing around in a panic with furrowed brow, you know, the kind of face that I have on all the time.
I don’t want to deny that Jakarta is a hell hole in many ways and that people are doing it tough. I always recognise that I have some serious white privilege and that is a part of the reason that makes it easier to build a life here.
But I also want to recognise that the people of Jakarta, and certainly Indonesians in general, have a lot to teach me. Lessons about how to be grateful, how to be present, how to care for family, how to laugh with your whole body, how to respect others at the same time as being allowed to take up space.
This blog is a celebration of life in Jakarta.
It was inspired by 3 months of quarantine in my little complex in South Jakarta, as when I stepped out onto the streets, everything felt alive and revived and I was reminded of the spirit of the people who call Jakarta home. Yes, even in a pandemic.
I want to reflect on what I have learned, my explorations into the #newnormal, my adventures in the city, and stories that I hear at home, surrounded by my Indonesian community. I hope you will join me.