Shower, I say (in Indonesian).

Wayan nods.

I flick hurriedly through the pages of the dictionary whilst I stand in the bath demonstrating. ‘Long’ I say, pointing as I say it to the shower lead.

I search frantically for shower head holder. It’s not included in the concise dictionary.  I settle for to hold.

So we have: shower long to hold.

I add the Indonesian for to buy.

Should be enough right? You get what I’m getting at don’t you?

Wayan says something. I recognize the word Nyoman – his sister in law who lives behind us – who speaks an iota more English. I run around to her house and explain that I’d like Wayan to buy me a longer shower lead and then drill in a shower head holder over the bath. It’s not rocket science.  Don’t ask why I’m not doing this myself. I urgh, have no clue where to locate the parts, there not being a Homebase in the vicinity and who’s going to put me in charge of a drill? And we’re paying Wayan and all he’s doing currently is draining the pond every day and filling it up again. I stopped him from burning the rubbish – his only other job – and installed some expensive recycling bins, which get collected weekly, so he doesn’t even have this job to do anymore. (The only waste we now have is compost and this gets fed to our pembantu’s pig. How’s that for green?)

Anyway Nyoman says something like ok, ok, sorted.

I go home.

Five minutes later an out of breath Nyoman arrives. Not Nyoman who lives behind us who I’ve just spoken to but Nyoman a man, husband of our landlady. It’s confusing I know.

‘Is there problem with shower?’ he asks.

‘God no,’ I say, ‘tidak problem. Just um, we need longer lead for shower (you get in the habit of dropping pronouns after a while) so if people want shower in  bath they can have one.’

‘Aahhhhh ok,’ he says and disappears off.

Ten minutes later Made arrives (not the old nanny, the landlady) and says, ‘What’s the matter with the shower? Is it broken?’

I bury my head in my hands.

The time has come to learn Indonesian. Or at least a little bit more than shower. Hold. Long. To buy.

There are two alternatives but not prepared to go there: learn better mime skills or learn DIY.



One thought on “Learning Indonesian

  1. annelie says:

    hi there,

    I was jsut wondering if you had recived my e-mail re your contact for the Grazia article.

    Still loving your blog!


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