Tag Archives: Family

A special visit …


My sister came to visit me! For the first time since I have gone overseas to teach, someone from my family came to visit and I can’t describe how exciting it was. It is just so different speaking to them on skype and showing them pictures or videos to actually being able to show them around in person. Carla, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for coming all the way out here, on a tremendously long journey just to come see me and I am so glad you enjoyed yourself.

Carla arrived on the Sunday before we finished school so I felt so grateful she was able to come in and see my beautiful school and meet my class and see me working in my job. I think she might have had this rosy tinted view of me coming here and hearing of all my holidays around Asia to what sounds like amazingly exotic places, that my work was perhaps a pretty light load. I think she got a real reality check into how busy my day is and how much there is to do as a Kindergarten teacher. She said it was hard for her to keep up her enthusiasm and energy as well as a smile all day! I love my job but it is seriously hard work. I wouldn’t change it for the world but I work really hard and I am glad Carla saw me in my work environment doing what I love to do!

Then once school had finished, we travelled to the Gili Islands. Carla is a little (understatement of the year) of spiders/ ants/ cockroaches and actually anything that moved. She did try to deal with her phobias well but I guess she had to since Indonesia is TEAMING with insects. We arrived in a monsoon rain and got soaked looking for some accommodation.

I guess the first place wasn’t such a good choice because Carla found seemingly a zoo of creatures. We moved the next day and Carla like the new accommodation much better.

The Gili Islands are so beautiful and relaxing and it was a great few days there. Carla even tried a try dive and I was so happy she did because I love diving and wanted her to experience it. She was so excited to see turtles which are so numerous in the waters surrounding the Gili Islands, you can and we both actually did see them snorkelling not that far from the shore.

We enjoyed good food, some great books and some serious chill time .. I heart the Gili Islands!

Carla tried to pretend she wasn’t burnt … but once I took this photo, even she had to admit it. LOL. That’s what happens when you paste yourself with coconut oil in the Gilis. I told her this is serious sun, but did she listen? No!

Still at least she is smiling 😀 We ate lots of wonderful food, and we had a lovely meal on one of our last evenings. I had this goats cheese salad which was so YUMMY!!!

After the Gili Islands, it was off to Singapore which Carla liked very much because there were no insects! LOL. We had a great time and were fortunate enough to be able to meet up with my good friend Kerry and take the (very expensive for what its worth) Jewel Cable Car ride. Pretty enough I guess. We also wandered around Sentosa and had lunch at the beach with them. Carla was braver than I and held a snake for a photo opportunity and claimed ‘Snakes don’t bother me at all, just ants, spiders, cockroaches etc’. Hmmm, I’ll call on you next time I see a snake in my house! Carla to the rescue! We stayed near Clarke Quay when we were in Singapore and our hotel was lovely.

Considering this post has been in my saved drafts for about a month, I’ll just add photos here because otherwise it might never get published … Oops. Carla, thank you so much for coming to see me and I hope you had a lovely time! Much love x

Enjoying a very expensive and TINY cocktail!


Am I achieving a little more happiness?


Okay … so it’s been about a week since I posted about the Happiness Project, a book I found truly inspirational. I think I read it just at that time in my life when I needed to. I guess I haven’t been totally dedicated to making the changes in my life immediately but I have made some changes which are going well. I know I can’t possibly achieve all I want to achieve in a week so here’s to appreciating what I have achieved (No. 17 of my goals) …

Well I can definitely say I’ve worked hard on No. 14 Be more aware of the food I eat. Try to ensure I eat at least 3 of my 5 a day. Which I fail miserably to do so now.’ and No. 4 Make my house here in Indonesia more inviting. i.e. BUY furniture. My house is ‘minimalistic’ (or empty). My sister is going to visit in March so that’s another good reason to get goin gon this .. PLUS I can go shopping!which is wonderful!

I went on a big shopping spree and bought a gas stove and rice cooker as well as bits and bobs for the house. It feels great to feel like my house is finally getting sorted. I’m pretty lax in getting things organised (obviously since I’ve lived in Indonesia for over a year now and I’ve just got this sorted but I think this means I can say I’m also working towards goal No. 7 Don’t put off tasks … persist with nagging ones‘. It also means I’ve been working really hard to cook healthier food (which also means I don’t have to eat the pretty gross food in the school canteen -a total plus). I’ve sorted out fruit salads for snack time and pasta/ vegetables for lunch. I already am feeling the benefit. I feel healthier, I feel better about my eating habits. I feel happy knowing I’m making these changes and I’m motivated to keep going with it.

I was actually talking to two work colleagues today who agreed with me that buying and cooking good food makes them feel like a real adult. LOL. I guess I’ve felt I should for a long time and have known I should be eating better and looking after myself more. Now I am and I really feel good about it. I also went for an amazing massage this afternoon with my friend, Kim and it was so relaxing. After sitting on tiny chairs made for children all day and hunched over my computer doing work most evenings, a massage is good for my body and I’m definitely going to keep having them more regularly.

I’ve also been working hard on No. 9 ‘ Strengthen friendships both back home and here. I’ve been a little lazy in replying to people and keeping in touch from home and overseas. NO MORE! And I got so tired last term, I ended up not doing a lot so I’m trying to cultivate and strengthen my new friendships in Jakarta. ‘ and again it’s been great to do so. I’ve been out with Sinead, a wonderful friend who works at a Singaporean International school here and is just an amazing woman. I’ve caught up with Kerry and Darryl who are wonderful, wonderful people and also Kim, a really nice colleague and also a good friend 😀 It’s so easy to get caught up in work and just do not much after school, but I have really felt the benefit of maintaining and strengthening these friendships. This is a goal I need to definitely keep up with and it’s also one I am again motivated to do so because I know the benefit is worth it.

No. 6 ‘Exercise more regularly. Increase my stamina. Get back to Muay Thai. Gym it. ‘ is going well. I’ve been gyming it with Mel and it’s really fun going with her .. I’m easily bored and going to the gym by myself is honestly depressing. I find it hard enough to pound the treadmill anyway but with no conversation, no music, only the sound of my bored feet working furiously to keep up a pace, I’m beyond it. Nope, you definitely need a friend to gym with. I’m so impressed with Mel’s motivation. She goes rain or shine and she really helps keep me motivated. Sometimes, I’m exhausted but then I get a text from Mel and I think, ‘Go on then!’. I’ve also reorganised my Indonesian lesson so I can get back to Muay Thai with Rick. Looking forward to it. Watching my video of my fight really made me remember just how much I love Martial Arts and ow much I enjoyed Muay Thai when I was going last term.

I haven’t really gotten much more sleep and it’s affecting me already. Being tired in the morning and having to rev up the energy and enthusiasm working with 4 year olds is hard. Its not good. I know this is a goal I need to keep trying to improve on. I just find it hard to wind down in the evenings. I am at school so early in the morning and it’s a very long day and I definitely feel the need for some serious chill out time in the evenings. Still, having gone through my goals in My Personal Happiness Project reminds me of the successes I’ve had already and has helped remind me of things I still need to work on. Having set the goals has already helped me resolve to make changes.

Am I a little happier? I guess that’s hard to judge. It was a long week back last week and I’ve had to cover members of my team which meant even harder days. I didn’t do much at the weekend which I always find frustrating. But, having reflected on what I have achieved, I can honestly say the changes I’ve made are impacting on my life … in positive ways. Having reflected has given me strength and resolve to keep up the good work I’m doing and make changes in my life that I haven’t yet really done but want to do.

I can definitely say my kids in class bring a smile to my face every day and remind me of the simple pleasures and discoveries which as adults we forget about in the stress of being a grown up. Seeing their excitement in observing (and touching sneakily!) the snails I brought in made me appreciate the wonder of life for them and that just because we are adults, we shouldn’t forget these things. Seeing their enjoyment in reading the ‘secret password’ each day and the pure excitement in realising there’s a new word to read when they arrive at school makes me grateful to work with such curious and genuinely interested learners. Seeing them running towards me and hugging me reminds me of unconditional love that I am lucky to receive.

Just before I go, I want to mention how happy my sister’s achievements in the past few weeks has made me. Carla is an amazing woman, such a lovely person and unfortunately I think the grind of life has worn her down a bit of late. However, she has really motivated herself to work hard on her goals including applying for Nursing and her driving test as well as booking flights to come see me and more of the amazing world we live in. I am so very proud of what she is doing. I love you Carla!

What makes you happy guys? What changes could you make in your life? Would you make any?

Till next time … Kiels x

The Happiness Project – I am inspired!


Okay, apologies for the length of time between the last post and this one, we had our Christmas Holidays and I was all over the place and without decent internet connection. I will post all about my holidays shortly but firstly wanted to talk about this amazing book I read during my holidays!

It’s called ‘The Happiness Project’ by Gretchen Rubin. I’d actually seen this in bookshops here in Indonesia and debated whether to buy it but without being able to take off the plastic cover, I couldn’t flick through it and I am one of those people who need to do this to figure out if a book is for me.

I saw it again in a bookshop in the Gili Islands and having flicked through it, I convinced myself this book could be okay. After beginning it, I realised this book is AMAZING! I am genuinely inspired. So I guess a quick summary of it would be that a woman decides although she is happy, she’s not appreciating her life enough. She decides to create resolutions for each month of the year such as ‘get more sleep’, ‘stop nagging’, ‘stop expecting praise and recognition’, ‘laugh more’, ‘start the day singing’ and ‘clean out my closet’. Each month she has 4 resolutions and every month she adds her 4 new resolutions to her previous. Gretchin Rubin writes very well with really thoughtful and insightful comments and it really made me consider the things I could be doing in my life to make each day a little happier.

There’s actually a great website about it … http://www.happiness-project.com/ which I’m fairly sure started out life as a blog … that was one of her resolutions .. on there is some great great links and all kinds of cool articles that I’ve started going through and I’m sure it’ll provide me with tons of interesting reads over the next few months.

SO I’ve totally been inspired and I created a LONG list of  things I’d like to do in these next few months. Not sure how I’ll organise them yet, it’s been a bit hectic returning from holiday and straight back into the swing of things at school but I’ll list them here as I’m sure having then in digital cyberspace will help ‘cement them’ into reality and help me stick to them once I begin.

Okay so the long list goes something like this.

1. Rather aptly, Begin my Happiness project with a little research and lots of thinking!

2. Get more sleep. I don’t want to be as tired this term as I was last term. Getting up at 5.45am means I cannot be getting to bed at midnight anymore!

3. Sort out my clothes/ wardrobe. I have a ridiculous amount of clothes (and half I don’t like or they don’t even fit anymore)

4. Make my house here in Indonesia more inviting. i.e. BUY furniture. My house is ‘minimalistic’ (or empty). My sister is going to visit in March so that’s another good reason to get goin gon this .. PLUS I can go shopping!!

5. Personal Growth  – in this blog, in my Indonesian language lessons (which tailed off rather by the end of the extremely tiring last term) and Cooking (which is currently at total beginner level … I don’t even have a gas stove here, I literally have nothing to cook with, that’s how much I cook!)

6. Exercise more regularly. Increase my stamina. Get back to Muay Thai. Gym it.

7. Don’t put off tasks … persist with nagging ones, if I can do a task in 1 minute, do it now!

8. Try to stop gossiping so much. As much as I love it it’s pretty mean and not worth it. I’d like to try to give this up.

9. Strengthen friendships both back home and here. I’ve been a little lazy in replying to people and keeping in touch from home and overseas. NO MORE! And I got so tired last term, I ended up not doing a lot so I’m trying to cultivate and strengthen my new friendships in Jakarta.

10. Work on my novel. It’s pretty sci fi and pretty cool and I’m pretty convinced I have a good idea. I’ve written a good initial draft but need to review and revise. Exciting stuff.

11. Cut people slack. I’m pretty impatient. I expect things pretty much immediately and I need to start giving people time and cut them slack if things aren’t as I want.

12. Show love to those who deserve it more often. Explanatory.

13. Embrace opportunities. I live in Asia. I have the chance to do cool and new, exciting things. I will motivate myself to try to take advantage of these more often rather than work all the time!

14. Be more aware of the food I eat. Try to ensure I eat at least 3 of my 5 a day. Which I fail miserably to do so now.

15. Don’t do things just because I feel I should. I don’t really like alcohol and when I do drink, it’s embarrassing. I am coming to accept I’ll never be a person who enjoys a glass of wine with dinner. I just don’t like it. That’s me. I’m picky about food, especially meat so I’m not going to force myself to eat food just because I feel I should and that I’m being too picky. Why eat food I don’t like?

16. Be wiser with my money. Investment plan started. Check. Debts being paid off. Check. Frivolous spending … um … guess I didn’t really need that gorgeous BATIK shirt I bought at the airport yesterday. Hmm, this one could be tricky to keep up.

17. Take pride in my achievements. I’ve come through a lot to be where I am today. I have an amazing job. I live in Indonesia, Asia. I graduated with a first class honours degree in a subject I love. I am successful in my job and I learn everyday in my job as a kindergarten teacher. Remember the journey and take time to remember the successes in my life 😀

18. Be more grateful for what I have. Living here gives me that opportunity every day. Remember how lucky I am to be blessed with such wonderful family, friends, career and life.

19. Join groups. I don’t know what yet but I’m gonna expand my social scene more here in Jakarta. If anybody has any ideas of groups in Jakarta I could join, please comment and I’ll try to get to them. It’s hard to meet people beyond school here in the suburbs of BSD, Jakarta and joining sporting groups/ activities will help me do this.

20. Only fight battles that are worth fighting. I’ve been lucky enough to have some wise words of advice at times I’ve needed them here in my job and it’s been worthwhile remembering that not every battle is worth fighting.

21. Read more. I love reading. I read ridiculously quickly. I savour books. I will not however read books anymore that I don’t enjoy. I will use the library more to find good books.

22. Smile and laugh more. A positive attitude leads to positive results 😀

23. Don’t dwell on the past. Simple.

24. Spend less time browsing the internet needlessly. This links to getting more sleep! I’m up doing nothing for hours each night just to turn my mind off school and work which lasts well into each evening.

25. Be Kielly. Be proud of who I am and celebrate my individuality!

I’m so excited about beginning this and seeing how all of these little changes will help me. I’m thinking of starting a happiness project at school so watch this space. I’ll update more and tell you how it’s going soon.

Over and out. X

Happy Christmas everybody!


What a wonderful day and how lucky I was to be able to spend it at home with my parents and family. Delicious food cooked by always amazing Mum and Dad made us giggle so much when he put on a winter hat he had unwrapped and looked suspiciously like a pixie. LOL. Sitting now enjoying chocolate treats … great day. Watched the Ab Fab special on BBC1. I thought it was good although mum wasn’t so keen. Got some wonderful gifts including a fab black and pink watch and some really nice makeup 😀

Last year was not such an occasion. I was in the Philippines travelling for 2 weeks with my friend, Angela at Christmas time before I moved to Indonesia to take up my new post. Angela is a great friend who I met in China a few years ago when we were both teaching ESL at the same school. That last holiday was actually pretty great ! Boracay was super gorgeous, a really nice place to spend a few days. We climbed a mountain overlooking Lake Taal and also spent a few days in Puerto Galera. We actually did our first scuba dive there! It was pretty exciting! The beach in Boracay was so shallow so you could wade out in the blue beautiful sea for ages and still be able to touch the bottom. It was a great great beach holiday. On Christmas Day, we were in Manila at a nice B&B owned by a French couple. I remember we ate at Jollibee on Christmas Day itself, quite a different feast from today’s delicious roast turkey dinner 😀 Jollibee is The Filipino alternative to Burger King or Maccy D’s. It was okay I guess. I remember the only gift I got last year on Christmas day was a nail clipper in a pot luck present giving organised by the owners of the B&B. I remember I felt a little shortchanged since I’d put in a whole bottle of Gin!

Anyway, this Christmas has been wonderful, sharing this wonderful day with my family. Watched the Queen’s speech with Grandma. Oh she was so cute watching it. I liked it too actually. I feel blessed to have such a wonderful family who love me so much. I truly love them and miss them each when I’m away teaching. I feel so lucky that they are understanding of my ambitions to pursue my teaching career overseas and I love coming back to see them because I do truly miss their company and love when I’m away for a long time. One of goals this year coming is to keep more up to date with people, especially emailing friends and family. I’m also hoping that continuing this blog will enable them to feel more connected with me 😀

Hello world!


Hello World! It’s definitely time for me to begin a blog about my experiences as I live and teach overseas! Several years almost out of date but I’m sure I can play catch up now. I’m actually just beginning my journey into teaching overseas since graduating from my teaching degree in July 2010. I currently work at a beautiful International School in BSD City, Jakarta, Indonesia.

I teach K1, students aged 4 turning 5 … which I just love. What a simply wonderful age to teach! Curious, intrigued and highly motivated students. My biggest goal as a teacher is that my students enjoy school and I love to see just how excited they are at school and how engaged they are in their learning! I see such confident and successful students and I really feel confident in saying that they do love school! So I feel extremely fortunate to be blessed with such a wonderful class and my amazing, colourful life out here in the hectic life of Jakarta. Even though we are only 5 months into the year, I see such amazing progress in all of my students and I’m so happy for them! Some have progressed hugely in their spoken English language skills having come into the class in August only speaking Chinese and now they are putting together some great sentences and are confident doing so! Some have made such progress in their confidence I almost don’t remember them anymore as the shy boy who rarely spoke at the beginning of the year! Some simply shone during letters and sounds work, ready for the next bit as they discovered their new and exciting ability to read! Wow, what an awesome inspiring event to be involved in!

One of my gorgeous boys always says to me ‘Miss Kielly, I can do it!’. I love to hear him say that! Yes you can! There’s no such word as can’t. My kickboxing instructor at home, a really great guy always said that and I love that ideology. Positivity. Don’t give up. What an inspiring attitude.

I just came home from Indonesia at Christmas and I simply love being here, sharing this family time at Christmas with my loving family and friends (an experience which never makes up for the time I spend away from them … and I wish could). But I also can’t deny that the gray skies and bitter, icy winds aren’t a little miserable. I’ve moved into slow mo at home recently and not done an awful lot since I got back and I’m certain the fact it’s so dark outside both morning and evening depresses my overall mood quite a bit. Yesterday I woke up at 6am and waited almost 3 hours for the skies to lighten so I was sure it was morning and my watch hadn’t just stopped. It was a long time to wait. Finally the gray sky lightened and another gray day began. Then there’s the icy cold. My feet have never warmed up since getting off the flight in Newcastle one chilled morning. When I stepped off the plane, I actually gasped with cold and shock. It’s almost indulgent to say it but I simply love being in a hot sunny climate.There’s something to be said for sunny, hot days every day! I can’t deny that looking up at the sky everyday whilst I live in Asia gives me a thrill that I am here, in life, right now enjoying such wonderful, colourful skies with their heavy drenching monsoon rains which soak in seconds and turn roads into muddy and puddled messes. A sunny life indeed.

I love my job and I love Indonesia. What a fabulous country, full of culture and wonderful, welcoming people and communities. I feel a strong connection, almost an affinity with Indonesia and Indonesian culture shaped by the experiences I have had in my time here, both professional and personal and the journey over the last few years which took me here. One tradition I love the most is the Wayang shadow puppetry. I simply love the Wayang shadow puppets and have spent numerous hours (!) scouting out wonderful traditional Indonesian household things or gifts at Pasar Raya in Blok M. I am also fortunate enough to have kind friends who give wonderful gifts of Wayang to decorate my sparsely furnished house! Minimalistic chic at its best.

Wayang Shadow Puppets - Image from Web

Balinese Wayang – Image from Web

I really hope this site will allow me to share my life overseas with family and friends back home. Despite photos and emails, without visiting, it’s hard to imagine what it’s really like. Until my family come, which I’m really hoping they do (!) then I’ll try to share more of my current life with them via this blog. I really hope I make this blogging a regular thing. There’s a huge IT initiative in my school which means everybody will be producing class / subject blog pages in order for our school to fufill its ambition of creating a ‘digital community’. I’m really happy about making my own blog for K1, it’ll be so exciting to share what’s going on in our classroom. I hope I’ll learn enough with this blog to hit the ground running when I start my blog for class. Different departments have different dates to start their blogs, a phased introduction. At first I was a little annoyed that I couldn’t do my blog earlier but actually perhaps it’s been a blessing. Last term was a very long and tiring term.  Already just a few days into the Christmas Holidays, I feel relaxed and revived, if a little cold back home in Newcastle, UK. Now I feel excited and motivated to do this whole ‘blogging’ thing as well as my other goals for 2012! Feeling excited about the adventures ahead 😀