It's very crowded, traffic lives up to its reputation, and the pollution is rough. I've lived in Beijing before as well as spent time in Bangkok, but Jakarta really beats them out in these two categories. I think what really is a game changer in the traffic and pollution categories is public transportation infrastructure. Beijing has it's subway system and Bangkok has the sky-train: these really make a significant difference.
Housing in Jakarta is pretty nice. I'm in government owned housing temporarily which is a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom apartment but the living room and dining room are spacious and it's walkable within 5-10 minutes to work. Later, I'll be moved to one of the many sky-rise apartments in this city. In both cases, the housing is nice and a significant step up from where I was at in DC for the past year (renting a room in a basement).
The embassy community in Jakarta is very large. Spent the first couple days getting acclimated and doing various tasks related to in-processing: HR related forms and tasks, begging IT in DC to close my account so the Jakarta Mission could open one for me, security and health briefings, and courtesy meetings with senior management within AID and the embassy.
One perspective that has changed for me is my attitude toward doing rotations. For Junior Officers with AID, our first tour is actually classified as a training position. Depending on the post/Mission, there are varying ways this is implemented. Some have first tour officers work directly in their functional area throughout their entire tour to improve their skills and knowledge in that field. Others will do a mix of work in their functional areas combined with rotations throughout the Mission in other offices. The ADS Chapter on USAID's Foreign Service Career Officers has more in-depth information.
At first, I was inclined to want to stay in my functional area to really develop and show off my capabilities in that work. However, after speaking with several senior leaders in the Mission, I was often advised to consider really taking advantage of this opportunity to work in the other functional areas and gain breadth of knowledge of how USAID Missions operate. This would allow me to better understand development and provide insight to make me a better leader in the future. So now, I'm planning my rotations but keeping in close contact with my home office. While rotating to various offices, I'll continue to perform minor assistance/acquisition actions. I think with the experiences I've had in DC and BKK so far coupled with the new rotations throughout the Mission, I'll be well-equipped as I progress through my career. We'll see.
And now, just a few pics from some places I've passed by in the brief time I've been here.
|Interesting bar name.|
|The statues in front of the luxury malls Grand Indonesia and Plaza Indonesia.|
|Fashion show within the mall.|
|I like to call these "snake-fruit" due to their appearance and texture.|
|Nice presentation for displaying bananas.|