Chatting with Bali Mum Jen Tighe
From Oz to Japan, and Singers to the Island of Gods, international Honey Jen Tighe tells us all about what it’s like to live a life of Bali bliss as mum to three and owner of GoodLivingAsia in this month’s Hello, Honey!
Hello Jen, tell us about yourself and your family?
I am an Australian country girl who spent all her “education years” in Sydney, and then after a short stint working in Sydney, spent a year traveling around Asia, Africa, and India. I think this is where my husband and I got a taste for the excitement for the potential of living abroad, to be able to really get an understanding of the people, the culture and to have have enough time to explore the country properly. After an amazing year in Japan, we spent a few years in Hong Kong, where we had our first daughter. Singapore was where we rested for a lucky seven years; we finished our family here. Singapore was a wonderful country to bring up small children, and we loved our years there.
Why did you decide to move to Bali?
After all those fantastic years in Asia, we found ourselves longing for a change of pace, and my husband was keen to spend more time together as a family whilst the kids were young. So we decided we needed a sea change and to slow the pace. We had spent many wonderful holidays in Bali and knew that it would give us exactly what we were after: a slower pace of life with a vibrant culture, coupled with all the fantastic western luxuries like wonderful International schools, gorgeous villas and a plethora of restaurants.
What are the biggest differences from being a mama in Bali compared to being a mama in Singapore?
Having a husband around in the daytime was the biggest change. We are working together on our villa rental site, GoodLivingAsia, so we spend all day together. Oh, and he loves to cook so I am spoilt at dinner time now!
The next would be family time. I seem to have more time to spend with the children one-on-one in Bali. I guess I dropped the crazy daily schedule I had accumulated in Singapore so I don’t find myself driving to 1000 different activities/playgroups every day like I used to.
Shopping in multiple supermarkets – there isn’t really a one stop shop here so I find myself running between the western deli, local fruit market and corner store!
Saying “don’t drink the water”!!!
Talking to my children about farming. Our villa is surrounded by rice paddies and animals. We have a pig, 2 goats, 7 cows, and a lot of ducks all on our gang (road) to our house.
Changing from chicken rice in Ghim Moh for our Sunday night dinner to Nasi Goreng from our local Warung.
What do you think your kids will learn from their experience living in Bali?
Surfing! They have surfing lessons weekly.
Bahasa Indonesia – they study this in their school and are better at it than me!
Some real life lessons. I volunteer in the slum school at Denpasar, so I talk to our children about what they have, compared to what the children that attend the slum school have. My eldest daughter, India, will come with me once a month to the school and this will be a wonderful learning experience.
Where food really comes from. I think in Singapore they thought food came from Cold Storage and didn’t realise there was a whole farming process beforehand. They now see rice being planted first-hand, grown, and harvested right outside our villa.
What’s the hardest thing about being a Mum in Bali?
Every Mum needs a coffee or wine and a whinge with her best friends or her Mum every now and then, and when you move countries, you inevitably leave behind (only by a few hours) those you love most. So Skype can get a decent work out from me! Oh, also wine is expensive here!
What do you love most about being a Mum in Bali?
I love the feeling that we are on an adventure together. There is no feeling of Groundhog Day here. There is always a sense that we are learning together and growing closer as a family.
Thanks for chatting with us, Jen!