Commodities you can’t enjoy in the West

Somehow here’s an understanding as if West was the best place to live. I don’t know where this myths originates from, because my life has never been as spoilt as I have here in Indonesia, with a scholarship and just a bit more.

Somehow I ended up renting two homes. One just close to the university campus for travellers, friends or myself to crash in. The other one in the centre of the town, not more than a 5-minute walk away from the main street – a 2 bedroom private house with a rent of 320 euros a year. Yes, a year.

While in the campus room, I reach for my phone from bed each morning to send a text message to a fruit lady. Fifteen minutes later my freshly pressed mango, strawberry-tomato, avocado-chocolate or banana juice is waiting to be picked up.

The other house has no fruits around, instead a morning iced coffee rests on the living room table, delivered by the neighboring stall. Together with service – 17 cents.

When hungry, all you need to do, is to keep your ears open, as once in a while some music passes the house. Every Indonesian knows by heart what’s the rhythm of the barrow selling ice cream, soup or a bit more decent meal. When you hear, let’s say, Lambada, you better get up and stop the man with the barrow to enjoy a delicious dessert – no need to even leave the house.

Cooking at home in everyday life is as exclusive as a multi-course night at a restaurant in Estonia. Of course local street restaurants aren’t fancy places where one should walk in wearing high heels, on the contrary these are cozy little huts with no queues, homemade food and casual forms of etiquette. Menus are hanging on the streets, so just ride through the town and stop at a preferred rice with coconut sauce.

I also have my own laundry lady who washes my clothes, irons them, folds them neatly and brings them back to me. I study djembe under personal supervision and could afford a massage a few times a week. Things that were so far out of reach in my hometown.

To keep the post in balance I need to tell that here are things you can’t afford that often. A 2 euro bottle of beer and a 25 euro bottle of wine bring along a long moment of thought before I consider opening my wallet.

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6 thoughts on “Commodities you can’t enjoy in the West

  1. Ok, for you with money from “outside” the life is easy.
    But what about those people who you pay 320 euros a year for a house, or the fruit lady you pay 17 cents?

    • Well, let’s start from the beginning. The money was from Indonesian government, a very poor scholarship just to survive, nothing more.
      I actually wrote a paragraph first about what out of these things an Indonesian could enjoy as well, but I deleted it being worried of making a mistake.
      But the idea is not about how cheap it is in Indonesia, but about the proportions. For example in Estonia I couldnt afford renting a house, though I could afford going to bars a few times a week. Here it is the opposite – having a house is relatively cheap compared to drinking a beer.
      Also many relatively poor Indonesians can enjoy certain things (like not cooking themselves from time to time), but eating “out”, whereas eating out in Europe is luxury.
      I think my life in both countries is like a life of a poor student, only here the life of a poor student is much more comfortable.

      • Thanks for clarifying this! :)
        I have not been to Indonesia, so of course I do not know how things are there. It does sound like a very good life! I am sure you do not regret being a “poor student” there.

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