A morning visit to Kalibaru

Sometimes it’s easy for me to forget where I am and take all I have for granted when I’m working from home and trying to find a balance between working and spending enough quality time with Samudra.  I take him to as many play dates as I possibly can and make sure he gets out into the sunshine for walks in the morning and afternoon whenever possible so he can run around with kids from the neighbourhood and in the kampungs outside our complex.  I also have a beautiful group of friends here with kids who are also expats, so we spend time in lovely homes with lots of toys for the kids, going to the malls and indoor play centres, swimming in water parks and having fun together.  So it’s easy to forget that I am in Jakarta and there are millions of people living in poverty all around me who do not have such opportunities as we do.

I used to see it every day before I had Samudra, as I would wander the streets of Jakarta in the heat, attempting to make small talk with my limited Indonesian to the locals and taking photos almost every day, attending ceremonies and witnessing the beautiful culture of Indonesia.  I would walk down narrow alleyways in kampungs where people live in such confined spaces and privacy is unheard of.

How life has changed… but thanks to our work and my beautiful husband, I still get to meet beautiful people and help to share their stories with a wider audience so people are aware.  We are currently working on a small project for the wonderful Rachel House in Jakarta (I will share more on this in the near future), so we had to make a trip out to Kalibaru, Cilincing, in North Jakarta.  It is here that you can glimpse the ‘real Jakarta’ with the long rows of market stalls, bustling streets with loads of people and kids running around, narrow alleyways and a much simpler way of living.

While Putra was filming, Samudra and I had a little wander around and met some local kids and they ran around together kicking balls and playing with Samudra’s animals, and we also walked along the canal before we stopped to watch some men scooping up masses of rubbish that is thrown into the river daily.

Life here is not easy for so many people, but even in the poorest areas, there is such a beautiful sense of community where people will help each other out however they can, and people are always standing around smiling and laughing with their friends… here they may not have the ‘luxuries’ that we take for granted, but there is life.. and so much character on these streets and everyone has their own story to tell… this is the ‘real Jakarta’ and it’s always great to get out amongst it and remember why I fell in love with Jakarta and its people in the first place..

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Men going to work to clear up the area in Cilincing, Kalibaru

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Kids playing by the rubbish filled river in Kalibaru

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Scooping up trash from the river

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Drying out fish in the sunshine

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Samudra making a new friend on the bridge

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Men paddling to clear rubbish from the river

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The water looks toxic and this looks like such hard work

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Beautiful local kids

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Samudra getting some camera lessons from his bapak

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Samudra making some new friends out on the street

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Cheeky boys having fun together

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Clothes hanging to dry in a narrow alleyway

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Cruising on the back of a motorbike in the back streets

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Samudra playing in a home with a new friend in Kalibaru

Giggles at The Fun Factory!

Hey there! remember me? I seem to have disappeared for far too long, so much has been happening, play dates, dinner dates, work, work, work, Ramadan and Idul Fitri came and went and my little boy turned TWO (more on this later)… and in all this time I haven’t managed to pick up my camera! Not even ONCE… aaaaaaaah.  My soul feels like it has been sucked up!  I have been trying to savour the fun moments rather than capture every moment, so only have some terrible phone pics to share with you now.. things got too exhausting to write, too many distractions amongst the fun and to tell you the truth I was hanging to get out of Jakarta to take a breather… (more on that later too) and to revitalise my soul.

At the beginning of the school holidays in Jakarta though, we had a super fun play date with some lovely mummy friends and kids at the Giggle at the Fun Factory at FX Plaza.  I haven’t been to this mall in forever.. I used to love going there to visit the Mazee market shops but once they were removed there seemed to be no reason to go there again… until a play date was organised at Giggle Factory.  What a great place! Although a little on the pricey side, it was almost glisteningly clean, the toys weren’t held together by tape and falling over like many other indoor play centres in Jakarta… there were clear playing areas for babies and toddlers and then for slightly older kids there was some climbing equipment and swings.. and a super fun indoor water play area to splash about in.  It seems to cater for younger kids than at Lollipops etc and that’s probably why all the equipment is in such good condition… no manic kids running around crazily breaking things in excitement of being let loose with their nannies.

So I highly recommend this venue if you want to catch up with mummy friends while the kids play, or of course to spend some time with your precious little ones.. there’s lots to keep them entertained and it’s overall a very sweet place!

I promise not to neglect this page for so long again in future… stay tuned…..

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A fun spontaneous catch up with lovely friends

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Loving the dinosaur – Rooooaaaar

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Checking out the indoor water play area

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Watching balls float by..

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Time to get wet!

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Fun water ball play area

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Cute little slides and tunnels for kids to explore

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Little Zoo for little babes

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Ball pit for colourful fun

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Watch me mum!

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Learning to swing on his own

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Little bikes and a track for laps of fun

Giggle, the Fun Factory

FX Lifestyle X’nter, Level 5, Jl. Jendral Sudirman Pintu Satu Senayan, Jakarta, Indonesia

 

 

Weekend Escape to Bogor

A few months ago I saw an advertisement for a Mongolian Camp in Bogor that sounded really cool but when I looked at the pictures I thought it looked too hot and barren and so put the thought of visiting it from my mind.

Well, thanks to my sweet husband and him actually having a day off work at long last, he decided we should go away to Bogor for a night and it turns out he had booked the very same place I had seen months before. Following directions on Waze we made it through winding streets out of the city of Bogor and arrived at The Highland Park Resort Hotel late at night. We checked in at reception and were then quickly picked up with our luggage in an electric golf buggy and dropped off at our accommodation with Samudra asleep in my arms. I was so happy when we opened the door to our ‘Mongolian tent’ which was actually made of brick and saw our big bed, tv, couches and attached clean bathroom to our lovely circle shaped room. There were sheets draping from the roof making it so cosy and welcoming and I felt instantly relaxed. I put Samudra down on the bed only to wake him accidentally in the process and he was ecstatic to find where he had woken up! He ran around the room squealing with happiness and climbing on the bed and couches we also lay out as extra padding on the sides of the bed incase Samudra rolled off during the night.

Morning came and I was excited to go exploring and so we left bapak sleeping and headed outside and were shocked to see our room was actually right beside a pool and waterslides coming down the hill and there were two play areas with equipment for kids to climb all over. Of course Samudra was in absolute heaven and wanted to get straight into the pool. After a delicious breakfast of pastries and nasi goreng we splashed around in the pool, enjoying it mostly to ourselves, and I felt like a big kid riding on the water slide and Putra almost broke his back speeding down the big yellow slide! but wow! it was so fun.

Just as we were relaxing into the serenity of the place and went to shower after swimming, a bus load of kids arrived and the speakers started blaring loud music and I was reminded that Indonesians love noise and love travelling in huge groups together and so all hope of an afternoon of peace were shattered, but that’s ok. We decided to take a walk up the hill to go exploring through the upper camp which was lined with round mongolian tents and these appeared to be made of fabric rather than the concrete room we were staying in. It seems that the place has really changed since the first photos I ever saw of it and there were beautiful trees and pathways and a stunning backdrop of Mount Salak in the distance. It turns out that this property is set on 11 square acres and we soon discovered out the back they had just finished building an area of teepees that people can stay in. Soooooo cool! Seriously, this is the cutest place I have ever stayed in Indonesia… and what a fantastic find! It would be great to go there with a group of friends, or a big school group and there are tents that fit large groups so it caters for everyone. There was a huge work ‘Family Gathering’ function going on back at the mongolian camp, with games set up and everyone laughing and having fun which ended up adding to the fun atmosphere of the camp.

I highly recommend this place if you want a little luxury weekend escape from Jakarta with the kids as they are sure to love it!

Check it out at www.thehighlandparkresortbogor.com or call on +62 251 848 5777.

ENJOY!

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Samudra was so happy to see the ‘neigh neigh’ ride outside our room

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Walking through the camp behind the pool

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Signs to different sections of the camp

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Samudra loved running along the pathways

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View from the top camp area

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Loving running outside

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Playing with bapak in the park

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Eating donuts for breakfast..

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The view from the breakfast balcony

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Taking a dip with Samudra

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We had the pool all to ourselves in the morning..

Discovering the new teepee camp area

Discovering the new teepee camp area

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So peaceful below the mountains

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Taking a walk with bapak

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What a super fun adventure we had!

Lazy Breakfast at Komunal 88, Kemang

Over the years I have been watching with amazement at just how quickly and often Kemang changes with buildings going up, new businesses opening, closing again, buildings being knocked down, apartments being built and the face of the area never seems to stay the same. There has been one building that has been intriguing with circular artwork shimmering in the sun and only a couple of months ago I noticed that a new cafe had opened there.

Due to its position near the busy intersection on Jl Ampera Raya and Kemang Selatan Raya I had never managed to stop and check it out until recently and WOW… seems that this little cafe, Komunal 88 is the place to be in Kemang.. We decided to try it out for a lazy Sunday breakfast and got inside to find that it was completely packed with quite a long waiting list.. so with grumbling stomachs we decided to just pick out some bread and croissants and maybe come back another time. As there is very limited parking space you need to leave your car and keys and they park it somewhere down the road, so as we waited for the car to be returned, we sat outside and starting eating the croissants we brought. I cannot tell you how delicious and fresh and melt in your mouth they were.  We had been waiting so long for our car to be returned that a table became available and so we decided to stay and headed back inside.

I love the industrial looking interior of this cafe and the vibe inside is really great too and boy is it busy! So after munching down on some baked eggs and delicious potatoes and running into some friends there, we left with full bellies and big smiles.

This is a great little place to hang out but better you ring and reserve a table if you plan to eat there!  Give them a call on 021 7194673.

Komunal 88 – Ampera Six Building, Jl. Ampera Raya No. 6, Kemang, Jakarta

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Outside the super popular eating spot

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Great interior and atmosphere at Komunal

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Baked eggs for breakfast

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Loving a long lazy breakfast

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The pastries are so fresh and delicious

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Great communal eating at Komunal

Burgreens Eat & Go, Tebet

So I think I have just found my favourite ever food here in Jakarta, located beside the lovely park in Tebet at Burgreens Eat & Go. I have been reading great reviews of their cafe in Bintaro but time has always escaped me and I have yet to make it there to check it out.. but even better that they have teamed up with Organic Cafe in Tebet which is a little closer for us to travel to, and now I want to eat their food every day!  After a lovely morning in Bogor, we headed back to Jakarta and straight to this cafe to fill our grumbling tummies and the food was so delicious.  Starting with vegan sweet potato chips, followed by vegan spinach nugget skewers and finally a trio of mini burgers – with spinach, red beans and mushroom patties inside, I really wished I had more room to try more off the menu.

As a vegetarian in Jakarta, apart from Chinese food or a diet of lots of rice, tempe and tahu, it’s difficult to find anything really fresh and delicious to cater to our tastes.  There used to be a Loving Hut vegan cafe in Kemang but I think that Treen and I visiting or ordering delivery every day wasn’t enough to sustain them being open, so Burgreens is a great find! I am already dreaming of having them deliver to my doorstep, but what to try next? It all looks so appealing to me!

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The trio of mouth watering mini burgers

Burgers Eat & Go Tebet at Organik Club

Jl. Tebet Barat Raya No.49, Tebet, Kota Jak Sel., Daerah Khusus Ibukota, Jakarta, DKI Jakarta 12810, Indonesia

Kuntum Nurseries, Bogor

It’s been so crazy busy with work for weeks now that poor little Samudra has been indoors without any fun day outings or playgroups and I have been feeling incredibly guilty about this.  It can be tricky trying to work full time and plus find quality time to spend with the little love of my life, so lately I have been trying to at least get out for a quick walk around the complex early in the mornings so that we can spend some time being silly together.  Weekends have also been full of work and so I put a ban on doing any work at all last Sunday and decided we would have a family day together with no interruptions.

We packed up the car and headed off to Bogor late on Saturday night and miraculously the roads were relatively traffic free and we reached the city within an hour, ate at a delicious Sundanese restaurant and booked ourselves into the Izi Hotel.  This hotel is only 6 months old and so everything is still new and not quite finished, and the price is very reasonable for a simple and clean room.

It took us less than 10 minutes from the hotel to reach the Kuntum Nurseries early on Sunday morning and what a lovely little place this is for kids to explore.  We ate tempe mendoan for breakfast in a simple cafe amongst the trees before walking along to Kuntum Farmfield which is a really lovely, large property, with animals for the kids to get up close to and feed.  Samudra is obsessed with animals at the moment, buying books on animals, playing constantly with the zoola animal app on my phone, playing with animal toys and walking around making animal noises all day long, but getting up close to the real thing is a totally different story.  It took him awhile to warm up to being so close to the goats, rabbits, guinea pigs and cows, and touching them initially really freaked him out, but after awhile he was super happy to be there, even if watching from a distance and throwing the food at the animals rather than getting close enough to feed them.

When we had walked around the property and finally discovered the horse rides, Samudra was thrilled! He went for a quick tandem ride with his bapak and wouldn’t have wanted to get off it wasn’t getting so hot from the sunshine.

I recommend heading here for a sweet little adventure with the kids, but make sure it’s early in the morning before the sun gets unbearable and the hoards of kids arrive creating havoc around the property and in the animal enclosures.

What a lovely Sunday morning we had together and a great way to escape the city for some fresh air and a much needed break from the home office.

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Enjoying some tempe mendoan in the fresh air

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Feeding the rabbits

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Still a little wary of the rabbits

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The rabbits are too full to eat any more

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Time to feed the guinea pigs

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Milk for the calf

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Too afraid to go close to the calves alone

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Getting closer…

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Finally touching the calf.. for a split second..

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Come closer so I can touch you again!

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Inspecting the funny looking birds

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Checking out the quack quacks…

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Yah for horse rides in lovely fields

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Riding with bapak

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Can I have another fun horse ride?

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Running around in the open space

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Back to the rabbits to say goodbye

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Thanks for a fun adventure with the animals

Samudra and his BFF….

I have been very fortunate since having Samudra that I have met so many beautiful mums and kids in Jakarta from all over the world.  Once I returned with him from Australia at around 8 weeks old, he was only really exposed to local kids in the complex and there were definitely hundreds of them!  I took him walking every day and for hours on end as it was the only way to stop him crying and therefore to keep myself from falling apart as I was in a sleepless haze all the time.  I met hundreds of local mothers also but the language barrier made it difficult to have any meaningful conversations or to be able to ask for any advice.  They would hold him while all the local kids would surround him and call his name and want to touch him.

At around 5 months old I started to take him to BWA Playgroup (British Womens Association) even though he couldn’t yet crawl and just lay on the floor while the bigger kids played and sang songs in a circle around him.  I felt I really needed to be around other mothers to find out what I was supposed to be doing and to be able to share experiences and have a conversation I could actually follow without stumbling with my terrible Indonesian language skills.  I found this place wasn’t quite right for me although I did meet some beautiful mums there.

Over time we found our way and met really lovely mums who had babies around the same age and it’s been so precious to watch them growing and changing together.  Although the mum’s have fun catching up, the kids have always been in the same space but not really played together, just exploring on their own and having fun.

Samudra is like a completely different child when he is around different groups of kids.  If they are older than him, he is loud, confident and full of life, but if they are the same age, he is more reserved and plays alone.

In saying that, ever since Samudra and Zoe first met at our Monday playgroup, they have been bound together in their special little friendship. Before they could walk, and all they could do was crawl and sit, Zoe would follow Samudra everywhere on playgroup dates and they would sit with their toes touching. They graduated to Zoe trying to cuddle Samudra every time she saw him once they could stand and started walking, which always had Samudra in tears. Now that they can run, Zoe has cooled off on her affections, and it’s Samudra who is always chasing her and trying to kiss her cheeks. They play rough together, laugh together and keep us entertained watching them grow together.

I can’t wait to see their little friendship grow this year and watch them changing and developing their little personalities more. Such a super cute little friendship they have.

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Catch me if you can!

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Come follow me…

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Getting ready for mischief..

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Time for some wrestling..

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Affectionate grabbing.. eek

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Hey get up… I want to run some more…

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There’s no escaping Samudra

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These two are so rough with each other and loving it..

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Exhausted babies and loved up mummies

Splashing at Playparq Bintaro

Friday night was a disaster trying to get to see the Ogoh Ogoh parade in Monas for Nyepi, missing it due to traffic and ending up in the car for 6 hours driving at slower than a snails pace from the city to home again in the rain. The traffic wasn’t moving, the car fuel gauge was blinking on empty, Samudra was crying, and it was a completely stressful way to end the week.

Waking up on Saturday morning there was still slight rain but I decided I still wanted to take Samudra to Bintaro for our pre-arranged playdate with some lovely mums. Once we arrived at Playparq Bintaro, the sun was beaming down and it was pretty crazy hot which was perfect as I knew Samudra would never get out of the wet play area once he discovered it. This Playparq is so huge in comparison to the one in Kemang with so much more to keep the kids stimulated and to get them to burn some energy. Upon entering there is a huge climbing area with multiple slides, some coin operated rides for babies, a small trampoline and this leads down to the water play section.

There’s also a big indoor cafe so you can escape the heat, and also an inside play area for kids, but as per usual, Samudra was more interested in playing with the brooms that the cleaners had left leaning up against the wall.

This was a fun catch up with a couple of mum’s and the kids loved splashing in the water all afternoon, with Samudra passing out in the car 5 minutes after we left.

Thanks for a fun day ladies and after Friday’s nightmare, I DO LOVE YOU AGAIN JAKARTA!

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Wishing I was a little kid and could sit in this tiny pool

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Wow! Look at that fountain

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waaaaaaah so much fun!

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Lovely Captain Azzam

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The boys going for a swim

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Having fun on the waterslide

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Playing with the water sprinklers

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Rangga so happy in the fountain

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Cheeky monkey

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Loving the water

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Perfect! A horse ride for Samudra

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Samudra’s not sure he likes the trampoline..

Yummy Mummy Playgroup Easter Fun

Although it’s not yet Easter, we decided to have an Easter themed Yummy Mummies Playgroup last Monday for the kids.  After searching everywhere I couldn’t find any Easter eggs for sale anywhere or anything rabbit or easter themed so little Samudra had to go without (hello mum guilt).  Strangely it only took us one hour again instead of two to get to Simprug which was great, and meant that Samudra had a chance to explore the playground downstairs at Botanica before playgroup.  These apartments are really lovely but still unfinished so the playground is brand new and looks like it’s never been used and the pool looks so inviting in the sunshine!

Once inside we had a great playdate with a house full of little boys and one token girl, Amelie, who was visiting with her mum from Malaysia.  The kids loved colouring in the easter themed rabbit pages, having an easter egg hunt and filling their faces with chocolate and pancakes and fruit.  This was the most amount of kids we have had at a playgroup and it was really fun and great to meet some new friends here in Jakarta.  We missed our little friends Milady and Zoe but look forward to catching up with everyone again next week.

I really love going along to this playgroup whenever we’re free and feel blessed to have met such lovely mums and bubs over here.

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Discovering the play area at Botanica

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Leap frog!

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So happy he found courage to go down the slide alone

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Oscar & Riley enjoying a train ride

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Yummy Mummies.. fun on a Monday morning

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Oscar’s first day at Playgroup

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Meeting lovely Jonathan for the first time

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Carlton & Leighton colouring in

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This is how you hold the crayon..

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Let’s go! Easter colouring in

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Smiley Riley in his cute Dr Who T-shirt!

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Ash doing some colouring

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Fun times with a house full of boys!

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Curly Carlton being entertaining

Kampung Kids in the Park

After a beautiful morning of swimming at Pondok Indah Water Park on Sunday, we arrived home to find some of the kampung kids waiting at our gate and playing in the park across the road, wanting to play with Samudra.

I didn’t feel up for a house full of chaos and kids so suggested we all go to the hidden park in the complex a little further down the road.  The kids had never been there before and were so excited to see the slide and climbing equipment and kicked around Samudra’s ball on the grass.  One of the parents opposite the park has put the play equipment there so attract kids to come and play so his son would have friends to play with, but I have only ever seen the little boy once when I have been there so I hope he’s found somewhere else to have fun.

As we were kicking the ball around I caught some movement on the ground out of the corner of my eye, and when I stopped and looked down, I noticed that the ground was covered in frogs hiding in the grass! It completely freaked me out as I didn’t want to squash any, but Samudra had just noticed them too and was chasing frogs around screaming so I decided it was best to leave them in peace.

So we headed home, with the kids singing Indonesian songs and giggling every time I looked at them and as soon as I got inside with Samudra he passed out after a morning of swimming and afternoon of running around with his friends.  It was the perfect end to a beautiful day in Jakarta.

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The kids were so excited to see this slide

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Enjoying the swing

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Kids going crazy enjoying themselves

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Love these kids

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Being cheeky

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Making new friends on the walk home