The First Three Weeks – Done and Dusted!

It’s just on three weeks since we arrived in our little mountain-top community and to-date it’s been a case of so far, so good.

Following our arrival in our home, which I assume is on the west side of town (since our street name is West 1), we took a little time to explore everything within its four walls.  The girls were suitably impressed – it’s roomy and airy and will serve us well.

After a couple of days of unpacking, grocery shopping and settling in at home, we were ready to get out and about with some exploring and socialising.  We hung out with some of the awesome local families here, playing and lunching and we familiarised ourselves with where everything is (which didn’t take long!).

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Walking out of our street – West 1

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Strolling down the path into town

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Approaching the shops

We even took ourselves off to the club, The Lupe, for Sunday Brunch which is a bit of an institution here, and a nice way to break up the weekend.  After brunch we were keen to get everything ready for the first day of school, something the kids were really excited about.

The road from the shops down to The Lupe

The road from the shops down to The Lupe

When Monday rolled around, their first day didn’t disappoint, they’re loving it!  School-wise, it’s a fairly massive adjustment for me, but for them it’s business as usual – kids are so adaptable and ours have really taken all of their recent life changes in their stride.

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Their first week in this new school environment has seen them gently tested academically so that their teachers can employ the ‘differential’ teaching methods called for by the Primary Years Program that the School runs here.  I have also had a number of opportunities to chat with their teachers and the incoming School Superintendent (Principal) to keep a tabs on how the kids are settling in.  A source of great excitement for the kids has been getting acquainted with the native inhabitants of the school playground…the moths up here are huge!

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I feel as though I’m fitting in ok too.  There are an amazing bunch of expat women up here – mostly Aussies and Americans but I’ve also met Kiwis, Africans, Asians and Canadians around the traps.  I’ve already been nominated the relieving Vice President of the Tembagapura Torpedoes Swim Club so I suspect my diary will start to fill up fairly quickly.

Monday 26 January was of course Australia Day and we trotted down to The Lupe once more with some of the other Expat Aussies here for a special edition Australia Day Sunday Brunch on the 25th to celebrate in advance.  I was REALLY hoping to see some lamb on the menu or even some snags, but alas there was none.  Nonetheless, temporary tattoos were worn, Champagne and Bintang was drunk and suitable celebrations were had.

Last weekend, the kids took part in an intensive swim program to kick off this quarter of training.  Gracie is in the ‘Bronze’ group and swam for 3 hours across the weekend.  Ava is in the ‘Gold’ group and swam for 9 hours!  The coach was flown from Bali to train the kids and as much as they complained about the hard work, it was also lots of fun.  The parental committee runs the swim club, training and associated events in between flying in expert coaching a couple of times each quarter.

The weather has been beautiful of late – lovely warm sunny mornings with crisp, clear air before the clouds roll in for a cool afternoon.  It really is amazing to see the entire town turn white with cloud cover. In the mornings the visibility from our deck of the surrounding mountains is incredible, but most afternoons we can barely see our neighbour’s house!  We’ve had a number of thunderstorms and a couple of fairly heavy showers but mostly just drizzle.  Check out the difference in the morning and afternoon views down the river toward our place…

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The highland climate makes for very good sleeping weather and the girls have been no exception – a pleasant surprise given that they have chosen to share a room ever since we moved out of our home in Oz.  Up here sharing a room means also sharing a bed until our gear arrives.  We were frustrated to discover that our shipment of household goods is still sitting at the port in Cairns, waiting to get onto the next ship to Timika – hopefully this departure will occur within a week.  Once the container arrives in Timika it needs to go through customs which is where delays usually occur.  We assumed getting it out of Australia would be the easy bit but are quickly discovering that there is a fairly wide divide between how things ‘should’ happen and how they ‘actually’ happen up here in Indo!

Late last week, I joined in on one of the popular exercise regimes here…walking ‘The Hill’.  This is the road that runs between our township of Tembagapura up to Hidden Valley and is the same road we take up to the swimming pool.  It has an elevation of around 300m, is quite steep in places and has a road surface made up of various forms of mud, slush and course gravel.  Walkers are also expected to share the road with all sorts of light vehicles and heavy equipment so alertness is necessary!  The views are absolutely spectacular all the way up and after an hour or so of walking (and stopping for photos) we made it and rewarded ourselves with a drink at the Hidden Valley cafe.  Many ladies undertake this walk on a daily basis, so hopefully some of those good habits will rub off!  Here are some of the shots I took on my phone, but they really don’t do the scenery justice.

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So, as you can see, we are slowly settling in and finding our jungle rhythm.  Unfortunately, in saying that, John’s visa is up in mid-February and that means a trip to Singapore this weekend for new visas for all of us.  The best-case scenario is that we’ll be there for four days or so…worst case, well, it could be weeks!  Here’s hoping for a nice little mini-break and then back to the mountain to pick up where we left off with school, swimming, socialising etc.

Until next time…

Sampai Jumpa

(See you later)

8 Comments on “The First Three Weeks – Done and Dusted!

  1. This all sounds very exciting for you all. Enjoy your time in Singapore . Much love – take care. xxxx


  2. Was watching a program on SBS a couple of nights ago about pilots flying in remote areas of the world.Then one of the young pilots came on and he was flying out of Timika Airport .I thought of you all straight away and was wondering how all was going.The places he went to were amazing and the different people he met on the way was unreal.
    Must watch again this week.
    Great to read post and the photos show us the amazing scenery.
    So pleased the girls have settled into school and love it.
    Very slow at Worinda waiting for changeover on the 27th.
    Stay safe,happy and healthy.
    Love to all. Robyn.


    • Thanks Robyn! Yes it has been, and will continue to be, a massive adjustment for us in so many ways, but all good so far! Looking forward to our trip to Singapore. We miss our wonderful Worinda people so much, hope you are all doing well x


  3. Hi Ava,
    It’s Charlotte. I really miss you. Those moths are huge! Your uniform looks cool. My teacher this year is Ms Svane. We do lots of art. Anjali and Harrison are in my class. The helicopter looked cool, I think it must have been really noisy.
    From Charlotte Smith


    • Hi Charlotte,
      Thank you so much for writing to me, I was so excited to hear from you!
      I really miss you too Charlotte 😦 I hope you had a fun school holidays and that you are enjoying being in Grade 2 with Ms Svane. Say hi to Anjali and Harrison for me! At our school up here we can wear whatever we like so everyone looks different. The helicopter is cool – it is really noisy which is why we have to wear big earmuffs. When you get off on the top of the mountain it is really windy and freezing cold too! It is so different to Townsville… I’ll be back there the week before the Easter break so we will be sure to come and visit everyone at school to say hi.
      I can’t wait to see you then, love from Ava xoxo


  4. Hi there,
    I came across your blog whilst doing some research into expat living in tembagapura. I see you have just moved there! My husband has been offered a job there and I’m currently researching. The expat ladies blogs are fantastic!
    Is there just the one international school there? My daughter is in year 5 this year.
    Hope to hear from you,
    Jo 🙂


    • Hi Jo,
      Great to hear from you!
      Yes, we have been here just over a month now and are settling in pretty well.
      I’ll shoot you an email with some of my thoughts.
      Kylie 🙂


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