a gas leak, kitties and a black out

11454297503_e27946e4ff_hWhen you think about taking snapshots of your life, you wonder what material would interest anyone? In a classic, Nothing Ever Happens on My Block perspective, I returned home from school to find that my stove had a gas leak.

When my helper, Atik, returned from picking up something to repair the leak, I thought, “I could write about the dramatic gas explosions in Indonesia.” Two friends recently had their ovens explode. This is a result of the fact that ovens are lit by matches in Indonesia and the gas connectors frequently leak.

Atik expertly repairs a leak and saves the day.

Atik expertly repairs a leak and saves the day.

In one case, the explosion shattered windows in the front room and caused major bruising due to the impact of being thrown back with such a force. In the other case, my friend’s husband’s hands were burned when he grabbed the gas tank to throw it out of the house. So scary.

Then my attention was diverted to the fresh litter of kittens that were lolling around the back porch. They were even exploring in between laundry like they were in some kind of a Good Night Moon sequel. There are so many cats that wander the streets of our neighborhood.

Good night, kittens. I said, Good Night!

Good night, kittens. I said, Good Night!

I should be grateful due to the virulent rat population which the cats most likely assist in keeping at bay. However, this is the second time a cat has delivered in our yard. The arrival of the kittens is followed by a stay that lasts much longer than is socially appropriate. Plus, most cats in this area have freaky rabbit puffs for tails instead of the usual long sleek ones you see in the U.S. However, my newest yard kittens somehow managed to have the normal tails.

Citronella votives are always the right choice.

Citronella votives are always the right choice.

But then the rolling black-outs happened. All day, throughout the city the electricity had been going out here and there. Yet our school has a back-up generator so I was not immediately affected. This evening they hit my neighborhood again just as the sun was setting. Blackouts mean, not only darkness, but extreme heat in Indonesia. We lit plates of citronella votives that I picked up at Ace once to fortify my mosquito defense.

Okay, if you’ve stuck with this post to the end . . . you’ve learned 3 valuable survival tips for any potential move to Indonesia:

  1. Sharpen your ears so you can identify potentially lethal “shhhh”s that indicate a gas leak.
  2. Don’t feed the kitties, unless you are prepared to spay and neuter at your own expense.
  3. Kill 2 birds with one stone–buy your candles in citronella.

About jaclynfre

Tech integration specialist, recipe adventurer, fast walker, sporadic writer, aunt, sister and daughter
This entry was posted in life and culture and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to a gas leak, kitties and a black out

  1. jee young says:

    Wow, it sounds like liviing in Jakarta is quite the adventure from the liter of kittens, to blackouts and exploding ovens! I hope you stay safe and cool! Looking forward to reading more about life in Jakarta. 🙂

    • jaclynfre says:

      Thanks for visiting!! You are the inspiration for joining SOLSC again this year. I love reading your posts, Jee Young. The blackouts aren’t so common here, but there is a certain bustle of life in Indonesia that has been described by a former colleague as “an amazing race challenge every day.” From the inconsistent availability of grocery staples to a range of taxi driver interactions–you are never sure of what each day will bring–or your reactions to the “challenges.” It’s fun to compare notes with Indonesia’s A+ relative–Singapore. That’s what I like to call your adopted country with its clean water and MRT. 🙂

  2. Donna Smith says:

    Thanks for the tips! It’s so interesting to hear about the different day to day occurrences – things taken in stride – depending on where you live. Can’t imagine a cat having a litter on my porch, and having them hang around.

    • jaclynfre says:

      There are so many cat lovers or general animal lovers at international schools that I feel hard hearted when I say I’m not a “cat person.” But I deeply understand and appreciate the implications of not spay or neutering a large population of cats. One man at my school spent $800 on his own to take some local cats to the vet. He sold homemade cookies for $1 to help defray the cost. I bought some–he is an excellent baker. It’s not easy though.

  3. Janell Prins says:

    This post was great! You’ve been busy writing lately. Enjoying your posts!

    Sent from my iPhone


  4. Tara Smith says:

    We take so much for granted here in the US – so many things that we expect as a matter of course, that are anything but normal in other parts of the world. The gas leak is truly terrifying.

    • jaclynfre says:

      Yes! I often wonder about these dangers and think, “How is it that the US has this figured out?” Is the solution really so far out of reach for Indonesia? And I and the others I mentioned live in solidly middle class neighborhoods with personal staff–my point being that I already feel uncomfortably above my class as an ex-pat and still these infrastructure issues are very real Thanks for commenting!

  5. jhaworthoy says:

    I love reading about your life in Indonesia. My stepdaughter’s boyfriend has roots there and actually went to a private school there for a couple of years so that he could learn the language and culture. I will definitely remember to listen for the ‘shhh’ sound and hope not to have an explosion. That sounds scary. Loved your pictures…and the kitties are cute. Jackie http://familytrove.blogspot.com/

    • jaclynfre says:

      Did the boyfriend attend an international school near Jakarta? Is his family from Java? Will you be visiting Indonesia any time in the near future? A friend of mine from Australia who has lived here for many years said she was drawn to the “chaos” of Indonesia–she loves that aspect of it. Ironically, it was her husband whose hands were burned. She’s recently been rethinking how much chaos she appreciates. Although, there is a beauty in other aspects of chaos–like the jumble of street hawkers, etc. More later. 🙂

  6. isbergamanda says:

    I definitely understand the gas problems one can have! While teaching in Mexico a few years ago, I was trying to light my hot water heater, I took too long, and I caused a mini gas explosion that burnt my hands and all the hair off my arms! Scary!

    Also, if you ever want to come to Venezuela to teach, we have plenty of rolling blackouts too so you would be a pro! We also have the extreme heat that comes with the blackouts and the mosquitos are always a problem. I haven’t found citronella candles yet….


    • jaclynfre says:

      Tempting!! Thanks for the offer! Does Venezuela have a deluxe Ace Superstore? It is ;like Indonesia’s Target (if you’re from the US you know this store). Another popular mosquito control measure is spraying Baygon. An aerosol that has recently come in Eucalyptus scents as well as the original lemon and orange. I also daily apply Soleil, a body spray to ward off mosquitos. I’ve also heard people’s blood types play a factor in how delicious you are to mosquitos. I could go on and on . . . one of my favorite topics to research and rant about. Thanks for visiting. Venezuela sounds like an adventure.Looking forward to catching up on more of your posts.

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