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Some changes in our lives

My last post  was written in December at the dawn of summer 2011, which was more than 6 months ago. Besides neglecting this blog repeatedly, I've also deactivated my Facebook account since autumn 2012 as a result of FB fatigue and too many happenings - for those who used to follow this blog might know it began last year already-  and I thought it would help to disappear from the social network for awhile. It does. I feel more relaxed and focus better on solving the matters, which I recap below.

In this month of August,  the city of Sydney is going through its last weeks of winter 2012. Winter of average 15 degr C that is -sometimes even 20 degr- with mostly sunny days. I'm writing from my work corner, at our new house. Yes, we moved to a new place three weeks ago, this time just 800 meters away from where we used to live. We viewed dozens of places for two weeks, did the packing for another 2 weeks, used the movers to remove the big furniture in 1 day, followed by 4 days of husband and Joseph - and Louise- going back and forth removing the rest. Although still  messy, we are happy to get this place. Not only that we have a larger space but also because it is just meters away from the public transport, which makes it easier for me to commute to the university.

Yep, I've been doing my post-graduate research program since two weeks,  taking MPhil for now and working to upgrade it to PhD by winter next year. My thesis' topic is around this blog's, which is on Indonesian language. It means, unlike my bachelor's and master's which were in law, this time I'm within the social science sphere. Without 'proper' background in linguistics/anthropology/sociology, I need to catch up on lots of basic and not-so-basic theories before the upgrade deadline. The good thing is, since I've been working on this multilingualism for the past 8 years I'm now very much in love with this field, so although challenging, I found it exciting at the same time.

My process to get back to the university began in January 2012,  a week after our return from summer holiday in Jakarta. At that time I was sure I wanted to formalize my research and sent my informal introduction to two universities. Both were interested in my topic but one strongly recommended me to apply to the other university. The proposal writing and application began in March, including taking the academic IELTS test (in which I scored 8.5 out of 9, a rather sweet surprise I should say), compiling my rather oldies bachelor's and master's transcripts and certificates, recommendation letters plus that very serious  proposal of 4000 words, all with the deadline of end of April. I got the offer letter two months later which I accepted within seconds. It changed my status.  After 8 years, I'm now again back to the work force which simplifies my identity from the longish "homemaker/trailing wife/independent researcher and writer/ex lawyer" into "postgraduate research student".

My eldest son Joseph got very confused and asked, in Indonesian, "How come you haven't finished your school when you were young? Were you that naughty?"  My daughter, Louise, asked "Mama dan teman-teman main di halaman sekolah juga?/ Do you also play at the playground with your friends?" LOL.

Another change for us: we received our permanent residency a couple of months ago, after a bit more than 2 years living in Australia. It was only weeks before my university application deadline and I was so needing the PR status as domestic research students do not have to pay the tuition fee. Good timing. And for those who wonder how we got it so fast, PR sponsorship was part of the package offered by my husband's office when he was hired.

Change of immigration status was followed by dealing with the authority. You see, unlike in the US, Germany or Holland - the countries we used to live in - in Australia, only PR have access to the local system, such as, public healthcare, local driver's license, public school or government assistance. During the first 2 months holding the PR, we were running here and there to convert our foreign facilities into locals. I do not want to get into detail but Australian government administration is, most of the time, inefficient. Dealing with the American, Dutch or German authorities were very straightforward  compare to the Australian's. Those countries' systems might be complicated but at least theirs work just fine. The Australian web of bureaucracy has lots of holes and errors which often caught us in between. It was frustrating and tiring. After going back and forth to fix mistakes they did with our files, everything is almost settled now.

On the multilingual department, Joseph and Louise are still trilingual Indonesian-French-English. They continue going to the French school. Jo will start the 4th grade and Louise will enter kindergarten next week.  Joseph's routine of learning from the Indonesian school books and reading novels/encyclopedias/biographies in Indonesian does not change. He is now reading a childhood book of mine about Mozart - I brought it from Indonesia when Joseph was still a baby living in Chicago - something that touches me very much as it was one of my favorite books.



Louise is still illiterate and will learn how to read and write in French and English this year. Like what I did with Joseph, I will only teach her to read in Indonesian after she's fluent reading and writing in  the school languages. My daughter loves to learn and I am curious about how she handles multiliteracy throughout her school years.

Having written them down, things we went through didn't seem to bad. But no, I definitely don't want to repeat any of those application or conversion or moving processes, at least not in the next 2-3 years. It's now 9 am, Sunday. Louise woke up some minutes ago, which means the rest will soon follow. I better start the oven for our Sunday breakfast of Egg Avocado. Yummy!!


( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 12th, 2012 03:34 pm (UTC)
It isn't a huge surprise to me but it's definitely great to read you did and do fine. Actually it looks like all of your dreams turning into reality. You've being working hard to get it and you got it :-).

One thing though. You daughter asked: "Do you also play at the playground with your friends?" And you answered by writing "LOL". That's evasive, isn't it? So I wonder: do you? Play with your friends on the playground??? :-).

Aug. 24th, 2012 09:16 am (UTC)
Eeeek .. so far there is minimum interaction among the research students. A bunch of nerds in the same room that is :D.
Aug. 13th, 2012 05:33 am (UTC)
San, nemu dimana itu buku? Di gramedia sekarang ada edisi yang lebih bagus. Once I realize that I need to introduce my son to those composers.
Aug. 24th, 2012 09:17 am (UTC)
Itu buku gw jadul.
Aug. 13th, 2012 06:13 am (UTC)
long vacation
Welcome back, San. Miss you a lot.

Aug. 24th, 2012 09:17 am (UTC)
Re: long vacation
Miss u too, darl :D
Aug. 13th, 2012 09:22 am (UTC)
congratulations and enjoy
Congratulations for so many things: formal status as a PhD student, introducing Mozart to Jo, being able to deal with 'Facebook' (or social media in general) problem, coming back online.. and for another exciting adventure to come!

may the Force be with you.

Aug. 24th, 2012 09:18 am (UTC)
Re: congratulations and enjoy
Thank you, TM :D. Congrats for your newly published peer-reviewed article (although I'm sure it's just your routine :D)
Aug. 16th, 2012 12:18 am (UTC)
So good to know that you're back writing. Love to read more :)))Kiss n hug for everybody.

Miss having chit chat with you here...next, it wont be at Bapindo anymore :)


Aug. 24th, 2012 09:40 am (UTC)
Yeeaah next time we should meet more in the middle. Your current office is way too far from my home. Miss u tooo.
Aug. 22nd, 2012 08:57 am (UTC)
It's funny that you should post today. I haven't been on LJ for ages, and often think of deleting my Facebook. I thought of you as on someone's status, my friend (US Citizen living in Russia) wrote in Russian on her friends wall (Korean, living in Russia) for me about a food name in Korean. (I am UK / US citizen living in Korea). Then another person (Korean citizen) started writing in Korean as well, and I was replying in English and Chinese. The 2nd Korean girl was writing to me in Korean and Chinese. Then Jamie started writing back in Russian. It was quite a nice exchange with 4 languages all of us understanding in 2 or more languages! :)

Hip Hip Hooray to you on the PhD status... I want to do something similar in Educational Psychology but whenever I think about the process I just decide to wait some more and keep my M.Ed for now. Maybe I will become inspired soon!

Aug. 24th, 2012 09:45 am (UTC)
Wow... if you were chatting verbally, people around you must have been very confused :D!!

I just skimmed through your blog and profile. If you do like reading and writing, it will be a matter of time before you take research in Ed-Psych :D!
Aug. 24th, 2012 11:14 am (UTC)
I randomly thought of you recently, good to see you are doing well :-)

What would you like to ultimately do with your Ph.D.?

I'm working on my own language and academic/career goals myself. Right now I'm looking for jobs in public health/global health/health policy. I'm also preparing for the DELE C1 exam to prepare to apply for a master's degree in Spain; ultimately I also want to get a master's or professional doctorate in America in health policy and management, health systems, etc (with a concentration in global health).
Sep. 28th, 2012 12:49 am (UTC)
Hi Reve! I read your blog from time to time and it seems you are planning to pursue a career in NYC? Whichever your path is, I'm sure it will be exciting. Having been living in another country will serve like a gate opener: chances to study/work anywhere in the world will keep on coming.

I have no idea what I want to do next after my study. Now I just take it one step at a time and see which way I will go :D.

Dec. 19th, 2012 01:20 pm (UTC)
Yuhu ini Dinik
San, aku bakal di sydney dari tgl 21 dec -1 jan, ketemuan ya?
Edi Subarto
Dec. 27th, 2012 02:33 pm (UTC)
Wish you Great Holidays & Happy New Year 2013.

follow me on :
Jan. 29th, 2013 06:12 pm (UTC)
Thanks for updating. It is great to hear about your family's successes with trilingulism. The kids grow so fats. Congrats on getting into graduate school! Being an adult learning lets yous children know we only stop learning if we resist it. School can happen at any age. The videos you posted are charming.

My husband and I spent three months in Taiwan studying Mandarin Chinese specifically because we want to raise our children bilingual. You make it seem so easy ;-)
Jan. 30th, 2013 08:58 pm (UTC)
Hi Mags2riches, thank you.
Hope your Mandarin develops well.
It needs effort, patience, persistence and consistence to raise bilingual children. But it is very doable indeed.
Jan. 31st, 2013 09:33 am (UTC)
Congrats for starting PhD
Glad to read this blog again. Hopefully your PhD research will be as enjoyable as your trilingual life mbak. Now I realize that I want to focus on raising Dea before thinking of going back to school ;). Thanks for the inspiration and looking forward to a glimpse of your thesis :)
Jan. 31st, 2013 09:19 pm (UTC)
Re: Congrats for starting PhD
You're welcome. Enjoy your motherhood :D!
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )

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