Dear Newsbreak Family,
How are all of you? I hear things have been a little hairy, but exciting, especially on the reproductive health issue and the book projects. Congratulations to Ms. Gigi and Ms. Chay for completing the election book, I hope to get a copy soon and see pictures from the book launch of your interns in full gala wear.
It’s less than a month before I leave JG, and it’s quite an emotional moment for me. It’s like breaking up with your abusive lover, but you know it has to be done so you just enjoy it while it lasts before your grand exit. I’m happy to announce that I’ve accepted a job at the S in Hong Kong (just today!) and will be moving there in late August. It will be double what I get here in Jakarta, but the rents and cost of living will be insanely high and the people vaguely racist, but I am excited to experience the city!
Before the big move, I will likely spend my last week in Jakarta in Bali, finding enlightenment, and then back to the Philippines for real where I intend to show you all my new and improved tolerance for alcohol. Let us share the proverbial burger.
The waiting game was quite tense for me, like itching to know if you’ll get a presidential pardon while on death row, which is why I spent last night boozing at the JFCC’s monthly free-flowing bar parties. I met, in the following order: a funny Australian man named Robert who talked to me at length about carbon emissions, a World Bank guy named Tom who invented the word volkspanger (oh, Riziel, how was Berlin? Kwento!), a drunken lesbian named Olivia who said she would “love me,” two Indonesians who had worked for the Voice of America and said I looked like “the lady from Al Jazeera” (I didn’t clarify if she was a reporter, anchor or an Iraqi he saw fleetingly in a news clip), the Singaporean editor of Forbes Indonesia magazine, a Sri Lankan (to whom I expressed condolences for the tragic tsunami of 2003. And I had already taken four margaritas at this point), and an Albanian working at the United Nations who later creepily texted at 2 a.m. asking if I was asleep. It was such a multicultural experience, I felt so one with humanity.
The past few weeks have been quite an improvement on the desk because we have new slaves — three interns from the C as well as new permanent copy editor from the same city (who, by the way, can speak Swahili. Not that this skill will help her here.) — and I’ve quite enjoyed playing their lord and master. I kid, but it’s nice to have brilliant people helping us out.
MJ had initially offered me a position managing the F desk if I had renewed my contract, but the frustration that comes with the fact these writers actually …, among other mind-numbing occupational hazards, might be too much to handle. When I told her I was going to Hong Kong, she pouted at me rather testily.
So in the next three or so weeks I will be packing or discarding all the useless junk I’ve accumulated while here. I think I’m at a point where I’m in love with Jakarta simply because I’m leaving it, and all the potholes, the sewage, the gargantuan rats and the scary transvestites lining the road are suddenly all the more charming. I’ll probably reflect on what I’ve learned in my time here, but that’s probably for another e-mail. Hopefully I’ll see all your pretty and handsome faces in no time at all!
Miss you all!
Worrying about shipping logistics,
Love always, Kristine