Welcome to life in Jakarta! You know without a doubt that you are living in Asia and probably love the hustle and bustle of the big city. The problem is when there is so much hustle and bustle that your are forced to sit still for hours on end while waiting for the traffic to move. There is solution to the traffic problem. No, I haven’t found a way to make the traffic move. Instead you must solve it the other way, that is refuse to regard it as problem.

Think of it. If you read an advertisement offering a lifestyle where you were guaranteed at least two hours a day to sit and do nothing, you would think it sounded too good to be true! If you live here, chances are you’ve got it!

Here are some suggestions on how you can make the most of this opportunity.

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1. Study the Culture. It is right outside you window. Don’t begin to take for granted the scenes that most people only get to see in the National Geographic. When the panorama ceases to impress you, imagine your Aunt Minnie is visiting you and sitting beside you. Yes, Aunt Minnie, that was a family of five on that motorcycle. Yes Aunt Minnie, I think they have a helmet law here but is not enforced. Yes, Aunt Minnie, they still carry things in that quaint method of two baskets on a stick. No, I don’t think it can be approved upon.
2. Read. Now, I know this sounds obvious, but you can use this time to discipline yourself to read the things you do not really want to read but feel you should. Only bring in the car what you would not read unless there is absolutely nothing else, such as that article on the economy that your spouse enjoyed so much. You will devour it if nothing else is available.
3. Read for Pleasure. This is my favorite! I am often dissipated when the ride is over. the only problem is that you may arrive at a business meeting with your head and heart still in that can’t put it down novel.
4. Learn Indonesian. If you have a driver you can not only study your vocabulary words but work on your pronunciation. Do not worry that his accent may be less cultured than your teachers….everyone understands him, right?….you can work on the accent later.
5. Learn Anything. Obviously not just languages can be studied in the car. Bring along information on any subject. With lots of time to go over it again and again (and again) it will begin to sink in.
6. Exercise. Do you remember the discover of “isometric” exercise a few years back-the revolutionary idea that it is not a necessary to flying your limbs to and fro to flex your muscles? Just tightening the muscles exercise them. “Kegel” exercises are especially discreet to do in the car if you have not heard of “Kegeling” you probably have not given birth in the last twenty years. You probably have traveled in an airplane to get here and are aware of the gentle exercise that flight attendants anchorage you do on the planes. These are good for the car as well.
7. Knit, Embroider etc. The folks back home might appreciate those socks and sweaters, even if you cannot bear to touch the yarn without the air conditioner on high. A friend of mine supplied all her family back in Canada with their winter woollies knitted whilst waiting for traffic to move. Any needle work can make your time in traffic productive or relaxing: think of it as the equivalent of your time in front of the fireplace on long winter nights.
8. Write Letters. I prefer to type mine but have changed to hand written letters because those were the only ones that were getting written at all. Surely everyone owes a few letters at any given moment.
9. Eat. This comes under the heading of ‘forcing’. I do not suggest eating pastries or anything else that is enjoyable to eat in a proper setting. Skip breakfast and grab a potassium filled banana to eat in the car.
10. Get to know your children/spouse. Too often these days each family to relate your day’s activities or discuss recent events. My husband has not spent so much time with the children in years as he derives to school with them. Keep plenty of games and ideas on hand to keep young children occupied. You probably all have played ‘I spy’ until you are sick of it but it works for awhile.
11. Listen to Music. How often do you have time to sit and listen to a symphony of your favorite musical? If you have a cassette player in your car, or if you must use a portable one, this is your chance to relax favorites. Radio station 103 FM is very relaxing to listen to.
12. You will have to think of this one yourself. I have finally arrived at my destination. Happy journeying.

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