Being an Expat in Bali

Easy to fall in Love with Bali

Jeroen Franken Bali

It is easy to fall in love with Bali. The weather, the nature, the friendly people. And the special atmosphere. Even my partner Rose who is an Indonesian from Jakarta feels things in Bali she never has felt in other parts of Indonesia. The colorful Hindu culture with its many ceremonies, the daily offerings. It can be overwhelming. It can give people a new sense of spirituality; its not strange so many yoga and meditation is practiced and taught in Bali.

Living in Bali, being an Expat

There has been a lot of research on how expats adjust to their new home. Especially by internationally operating companies who want their employees to succeed in other countries. Usually they talk about the 4 stages of expat life, or something similar.
First you have the "Honeymoon Stage", where everything is new, exciting and nothing can go wrong. You are in love, you are on an adventure. You explore and discover.

Opening your Eyes

But then, something like a culture shock stage may come. The reality about your new life settles in. You find that people think and act differently from what you are used to, you don't understand the language, and your new hosts laws, morals and religion. You may even experience homesickness. This is, I think, the most important stage of being an expat in Bali; when your Honeymoon is over. You will need to adapt, learn new values and traits, and of course the language.
I have seen expats in Bali, who never adjusted to their new home. They got stuck, and started to blame Bali or (some of) the people on Bali for their own misfortune. Frustrated people, losing their respect for local traditions, and some are very vocal. It is sad to see. Especially when you know it can be so different.

With a little Help

But, many people "make it" on Bali. They learn to deal with their frustrations because of cultural differences, adapt and enjoy. The Honeymoon becomes a solid marriage.
Of course I have encountered many problems of my own, and I had to learn the hard way, sometimes. I admit to have been frustrated, even cried at times. But things are going well. I have support from my partner Rose, friends and business partners; local and foreign. Our businesses are growing, and we can employ many locals.
I guess I am in a "stage of expatriatism" where I feel confident to say I am "At Home in Paradise".

I am grateful for the opportunities Bali has given me, and the people who I work with, local and foreign.

UP