“Hello from the other side…”

That song immediately came to my mind when we touched down in Jakarta, Indonesia (after over 24 hours of being in airports and airplanes) as we were quite literally on the “other side” of the world. I couldn’t believe this day had finally arrived!

The IKEA Canada IWitness Ambassadors (L-R: Princess, Stephanie, Liz, Jennifer, Chip) smiling about the fact that our long travel day was almost over! Photo from: Princess Edralin

My first impression of Indonesia when we arrived was a feeling of familiarity. The environment reminded me a lot of the Philippines (my family’s home country), even though it had been nearly 20 years since I was last there.

Aside from that, there were a couple of moments of culture shock for me regarding life in Indonesia versus Canada. I learned that cold weather in Jakarta is 25 degrees Celsius. If only they could experience what cold weather in Canada is like! I also learned that a motorbike is the preferred source of transportation for many people (including whole families!) here. It helps them to get around quicker with all the traffic and the chaotic streets.

So many motorbikes! The street signs and road markers also seemed to be treated more like guidelines for everyone. Photo from: Princess Edralin

I must say that day one was long but also came and went in the blink of an eye.

In between the seven-hour drive to the destination we would be staying at for the week, we took a break in Bandung to have a delicious Indonesian lunch. Here, we met more of the Save the Children team whom we would be working with. They seem like an amazing team and the work they have done in this country so far is fantastic.

Clockwise from top left: Jolanda (IKEA Foundation), Taleen (Save the Children), Chip, Wiwied (Save the Children), Tsania (Save the Children), Aisha (Save the Children), Princess, Nuzul (Save the Children), Stephanie, Jennifer, and Liz. Photo from: Princess Edralin.

After checking into our hotel for the week, we had dinner at a restaurant where we tried the famous Indonesian meatball (called “baso” or “bakso”). It’s not quite the same as a Swedish meatball but still very delicious!

Indonesian meatball (“baso” or “bakso”) soup. Photo by: Princess Edralin

It is now time for bed and I am still adjusting to the time difference but I hope I can sleep as we have another long day ahead of us tomorrow. I can’t wait to share more of this experience with you all. Thanks for being part of this adventure with us!