The Bittersweetness of Getting Married

Okay… I have to admit. Was never one to want to get married, it was never in the grand master plan. BUT, I did promise myself to always pursue happiness and I sure as heck not gonna pass up at a chance of spending the rest of my life with this wonderful person. Right?

Right… well, now that it’s out of my big mouth I have to go through with it. And man, do I hate bureaucracy. Especially in Indonesia. Let me tell you something. It was bad enough having to deal with the people at the embassy for my tourist visa last year, let alone the whole shebang of compiling documents for this darn marriage.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against marriage, but I also don’t have anything FOR it. I think of marriage as an archaic way of announcing to your peers that you will not commit adultery that most people disregard anyways nowadays. So it’s pointless. True devotion comes from the heart, not from a piece of paper saying that you and your spouse are going hold and cherish and honor each other and take care of each other dogs and all that nonsense they put in their vows these days. Right? Right!

Unless when your spouse holds a different passport than yours.

Thing is, it’s really hard for foreigners to live (and try to earn a living) in this country. Without the proper papers, you’d get kicked out so fast you can’t even say “I do”. AND it’s really hard for a woman that was born and raised in a third world country like me to be accepted anywhere else but another third world country (I know I sound judgmental, but all truth here). So.. getting married we are. Dealing with the stupid bureaucracy I will.

How I made myself better without going through the stress of managing my money

When I started my money management routine four years ago, I did it to get out of debt. At the time I was making around $400 a month with a $600 credit card debt. I knew it wasn’t suppose to be hard to set some money aside to pay for my debt but at the time, it was a struggle for me to get on a habit.

What really got me going at the time though was the fact that I don’t know where my money went half of the time. I could barely remember what I spent my money on but I knew that I can never be as disciplined as writing down and tracking every single rupiah that I was spending because I was just not used to doing it and most probably forget to do it half way through. So what I did instead was the exact opposite. I didn’t track my expenses. Instead I did my budget a couple of days before I got my paycheck and divided the money the good ole envelope budgeting way and planned for everything especially the debt payment. What made it work for me was the fact that I didn’t very little change to my lifestyle. I acknowledge that I enjoyed going out and would want to continue to do so with what money I had at the time and planned for that. I also did something else. I gave myself an allowance. Even after budgeting for going out with my friends and the groceries money. I gave myself an allowance.

When I started, the allowance was very little and it was on a daily basis. So I took 31 envelopes, dated them and put $1 in each of them. Everyday I would take the envelope for that day and take out the money to use however I please. If at the end of the month I still had some of it, I can still choose to use this money however I want to. This allowance habit, eventually changed to weekly basis instead of daily because I developed a bigger sense of responsibility over my allowance money, kept on for a little over a year to the point where I don’t need it anymore and can just track my expenses because it has been embedded into my daily habit.

I think the trick for me was leaving all the credit cards behind and simply not have them in my wallet. If I only have $1 in my wallet I will be careful as to not let anything happen that would require me to have extra money on hand and just go back home straight from work and wait until I have the money for going out at the end of the week. 

Getting ready for a new house

I have been thinking about building a house for myself for quite some time now. A few days back, we made the down payment for the land plot. 

The land we are purchasing is beautiful  It’s surrounded by rice fields and overlooks the Merapi volcano to the north. It’s arguably spacious (534 sq meters ~ 5747 sq feet) so we could have thought of having a big house. 

But a big house was never something I wanted. I always wanted a small house. I always feel that small is cute and later in life, when I lived in a tiny dorm room which was roughly 9 sq meters, I learned that having small space allows you to concentrate on the important stuff rather than the ones that aren’t (like cleaning, for example!) 

I have been scouring the internet for months now looking at (and admiring) small houses designs. Tiny houses and posts from the treehugger about life edited that seems so hip now has got me hooked even more on the idea of having a small house. At this point I truly think that with a little more creative thought put into designing a house that works in your favor, understanding your behavior and how you want your house to look like. 

So that’s what I did. I went to the internet, started my research and designed me a house! In Indonesia building code, doesn’t require much. There’s no such thing as a minimum living space requirement or any restrictions that most developed countries have so I was free to try things I cook up on my own. We do have a bit of requirements of our own though:

  1. Enough room for two people living there without it getting too cramped. 
  2. We want a room. That we can close off. We hate sharing sleeping space with other people. 
  3. It has to be able to accommodate at least two guests sleeping over. 
  4. It has to be able to handle storage (lots of it)
  5. It has to be quake resilient. Or at least the bedroom area shouldn’t have wall storage. 
  6. Has to be able to accommodate dinner parties for 10 people 
  7. It has to have its own guest toilet (I don’t like sharing my toilet with other people) 
  8. It allows access to the outdoors and won’t make us feel like we’re living in an apartment. We do live in a tropical country so no issues with cold weather or anything like that. 
  9. Smart designs that will allow us to use low tech  affordable ideas (since a lot of the transformable furniture that I’ve seen online are super expensive and impossible to get here)

I finished the first design and settled with a raised platform that will have the den/working area/guest room on top of it. The platform itself will house most of the storage, the bed and perhaps part of the pantry. 

The ‘bedroom’ will be a next to this platform and can be completely closed off or opened up with rolling (or sliding) doors. This will allow the house to feel a lot bigger when we have friends over. 

I am quite happy with this design, and feel that’s it’s really gonna work. We do have to deal with the little details of it though, such as in the kitchen. How can we fit in a washer, sink, stove and oven, and a microwave and make it still tiny enough without it looking all cluttered up.. 


Colleagues going mental at you

I wonder how it is with people who lash out at colleagues and say that they don’t care even though you try to tell them that you are not picking a fight with them but only looking for a solution? You finally figure out, after repeating yourself to him a gazillion times that you’re not out for a fight, that his ability to listen has flown out the window (or that maybe his ears had fallen out) and curtly say “fine, thank you” and leave. 

I mean, I can understand people being anxious about their amount of work and everything but why on earth do they have to be such a jack-ass and say things like they don’t care and go apeshit on you? I guess maybe because they’re about to get fired? I mean, for this particular person at the office, that was the case. Everyone knew. Everybody felt bad for him. I felt bad for him. Until he went all mental on me. 

This has got me thinking that maybe -just maybe- even the most gentle of people, people you feel are harmless and you really thought you care about and will stand up for if any injustice is thrashed upon them, can turn into big bad wolves and try to blow up your house (which, honestly, blindsided me a bit). Which means, that either you build a brick house, or you fucking blow back. Or something along that line. You know what I mean. Fire back. Which I absolutely fucking will.

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