I think all of us at one time or another can relate to the Movie Bad Moms. The first time I watched this I think I cried as much as I laughed. I related to Amy (Mila Kunis) so much, and I swear, our little group of friends here in Jakarta is just like their group!
It never ceases to amaze me how real life this movie is. At our kid’s school, there is definitely an alpha mom who runs the school. She is not my favorite person and acts just like Gwendolyn. She even actually talked about my oldest son to a bunch of moms at the school. If it wasn’t for my son saying no, don’t say anything to her, I think I would have done anything to destroy her. HA! If it weren’t for the PTA acting crazy and getting the group disbanded, I would have pulled an Amy and run for PTA president against her too!
Our school is so interesting. You would think since it’s an international school that the moms would be open. Nope, not one bit. It’s quite a bit like high school with clicks. You have the Indo moms, the Korean moms, the Japanese moms, the Indian moms, etc. and then the group of nannies. They aren’t very open about letting outside people in either that’s for sure.
I realized this, even more, when we met with a new mom at school from Shri Lanka. She just moved here recently from Kuala Lumpur and couldn’t believe how hard it is to make friends. It actually made me sad, and I knew that even though I’m an introvert and it’s hard for me to meet people too that I had to spring into action.
Three years ago when we moved to Jakarta, I remember being the new mom at school, sitting in the canteen waiting for the kids and looking around to where I would fit in with some ladies. Nope, I wouldn’t and didn’t fit in anywhere; there isn’t a group of American moms. Plus I didn’t want to be in just one group. It’s the same reason why we chose the school we did for the kids; we didn’t want them to just hang around Americans.
It took some time, but eventually, I found a tribe of women that I could not live without! Our group is definitely the “bad” moms of the school. We don’t fit, want to be part of any particular group, and try to take in new moms all the time. We march to the own beat of our drum, have margaritas for lunch if we want, let our kids be independent, we let them fail, and more than anything we are a support group for each other and have each other through everything.
Growing up I never really had very close girlfriends, my close friends growing up were always guys, which are why I probably didn’t have girlfriends, girls didn’t like that too much. But moving to Jakarta showed me how important it is to have an amazing support group of women that become your family, your support group. These ladies are my tribe!
It was months later after I made a few good friends that three were off to their next chapter in Australia, Dubai, and Africa. This past year we have already had to say bye to three more friends as they left Jakarta. One off to Sydney, another off to Bali, and then another off to India. This next month is going to be hard as three more of us leave to the U.S., Spain and Kuala Lumpur. We are a global group of women.
It’s funny, when talking to people about moving abroad they tell you all the great things but never tell you how hard it is to make these strong connections and then have to say goodbye, and when you never know. But I know with these ladies we are going to be life-long friends. We have already talked about meeting up somewhere in the world next year to see each other. And I know, no matter where we are in the world, we will be there when another one needs us.
So to all you expats out there, or soon to be expats, the key is step out of your comfort zone. Don’t just look for people from your home country. When you see a new person, welcome them and help them meet new people or answer questions because we were all there once sitting in a canteen lonely, too shy to make a friend.