Top tips to transition


Everyone walks really slow here. This is probably because it’s either super hot, no one is ever in a hurry or because they’ve just eaten. Or of course a combo of all. If you can’t beat em’, join em’. Just go with it and you know you’ve adapted to the pace and lifestyle when kids start over taking you!


The weather can switch from being super hot, humid, windy, rainy or flooding. None of this is necessarily bad mind you, just be a boy scout, be prepared. What do I do? I bring an umbrella, a fan and change wherever I go. The umbrella is mainly for the sun and light rain with no wind. My combo of umbrella and fanning myself walking home to be a winner. For other times, find cover and wait it out. As for change, it’s for all those times you just cant beat the weather, cave and catch a trike, even if you only need to walk for another 15minutes…

My kit

Depending on how big my bag is, it contains a variety of just in cases:

  • Hand sanitiser that attaches to your bag – because more often than not, there is never any soap (or water) available.
  • Umbrella – get one you can wrap around your wrist, because when you don’t bring a bag, you can attach your hand sanitiser to it, at least I do, because my pockets are tiny.
  • Fan – to keep the flys, cigarette smoke, heat and boredom away.
  • Toilet paper – you can buy roll-less rolls, which I found amusing and highly clever.
  • Kleenex – yes, they are referred to as kleenex as suppose to tissues.
  • White Flower – for pesky mozzie bites. It works, if you can get the oil on the bite.
  • Biogesic – (panadol).
  • Bottled water – you end up drinking a lot. Sometimes when you’re thirsty, but mainly because there’s not much else to do.
  • Vicks – helps with breathing and masks the smoke around you. Also really good when you have a cold.
  • Mints – for the times you need something sugar free…
  • Plastic bag – you never know when you’ll be offered to take home an entire bucket worth of freshly picked kangkong. 
  • Notebook – for those words you learn and names you’ll forget.

Me want food

It’s bloody hard to have a semi healthy diet here. Unless you don’t care what you eat, you have to resist the urge to eat the crap that is available everywhere. I’m sure it’s very different if you can cook at home though! But in saying that, we’re lucky enough to have a handful of healthy-ish options. Carinderias, BBQ and an organic farm at our beckoned call. For now, we limit our rice in take to minimal to no amounts, getting back into having fruit for breakfast and not buying snacks (we also have a tiny fridge that doesn’t allow for room which helps). Key thing is though to not let it overwhelm you, because I know I am. Give time to find eateries, market stalls and places to eat and shop. Don’t feel bad if you have to eat crap food, just don’t get addicted!


Just avoid them. Well no I guess you can’t. But we made the mistake of spending four nights in a row in malls because we had to buy stuff for our house. It’s draining! If possible, limit your time in malls to the bear minimum.


They get into everything. No matter how sealed or not sweet something is, you’ll be mistaken.  Keep bench tops clean, use chalk and wash everything. Put all your food in the fridge or just eat it.

Give yourself a break

Any transition is challenging. Not everything is urgent. It took us two weeks until we have ourselves a break. Bad move! Let yourself settle and and make the time to just breathe. I have tendency to do too much too soon. And now I’m paying for it. Take a break even for one night.

And if that fails…

Just keep singing 🙂

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