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Meet the Brown family living in Seminyak, Bali


So who am I talking to?

Profile: Emma, husband Mitch and daughters Quinn (6) and Pippa (4)

Originally from: Port Macquarie, NSW,  Australia

Arrived in Bali: August 2012

Home in Bali is: Seminyak

How long do you plan to stay?

When we first came to Bali we said we would stay five years and that will be August this year. Now we will play it by ear and see what happens with our business.

What made you move to Bali?

After working 7 days a week for 4 years in our pub in Australia (we also lived on site) we decided to lease the business out and go on an extended holiday to Bali for about 2 or 3 months. After a month of being here, we started to get itchy feet and thought lets look for a business in Bali. After looking at about a dozen or so businesses we came across our business now Lucky Day (a local Sports Bar in Seminyak). Before that we had been to Bali a few times, first for my father’s 50th (13 years ago), then on our honeymoon and then family holidays after my first child was born.

What do you normally do back in Australia?

I am originally from the Hunter Valley and I have always worked in hospitality. Before coming to Bali, my husband and I ran a pub in Grafton NSW where we also lived on site for 4 years.

What is a typical day here for you with your two children?

My day starts at 6:20am when my alarm goes off. I take my daughter Quinn to school and my pembantu (housekeeper/nanny) usually takes my other daughter to pre-school as she starts later at the Spice school . Then I go straight to Lucky Day and do a couple of hours of work there and then Mitch and I usually go for lunch. We go out for lunch nearly everyday because it is so cheap. It is cheaper to buy it than to make it. Then school pick up, homework and cook dinner. I usually cook 4 nights and 3 nights we get take away. My daughter Quinn does after school activities twice a week and she also does Pro-Education on a Monday and then sometimes on a Friday her class would go out to bounce (trampoline centre) at the Canggu Club.


Tell us about your food experiences living here.

During the week we will go to the beach and get a local meal like Nasi Goreng, Mie Goreng or Cap Chay for about 60k ($6 AUD).

It is cheaper to eat out than to make meals, for example a Spaghetti Bolognaise would be cheaper to buy at Ultimo. Having said that I like to make my own meals and know what is going in it, especially because I have young girls.

My number one favourite restaurant in Bali is Mamasan and I love eating out at all the other great restaurants and hotels. Every Thursday night, Mitch and I go out for dinner or go to the movies or do some shopping at Beachwalk.

With our restaurant food at our Lucky Day pub, we try to bring Australia to Bali. Of course we have some Indonesian favourites that we do really well but we do great chicken schnitzels, steaks and ribs. That is probably what sets us apart from other places and the feedback we get from emails and Tripadvisor says ‘our local but in Bali’.

What do you think about the locals?

I had been to Bali about half a dozen times before moving here permanently and I saw the people to be so embracing and have a beautiful culture. Of course I still think they are beautiful but since living here I do feel sometimes like they have a chip on their shoulder because Westerners are here.  However, we always respect their culture and twice a day our staff do offerings at Lucky Day where we have two small temples. We pay a local lady from the Banjar (like a local council) who comes and delivers the offerings every morning to the pub.

Once or twice a year, we have a big ceremony where we have Babi Guling (traditional pig roast) and the local holy man comes and blesses the staff.

What are you enjoying most whilst living here?

Definitely the lifestyle! As opposed to working 7 days a week and living on site where everyone knew what you were doing. It was very hard to spend quality time together and hide away. Here in Bali we don’t live on site and we have an Australian Manager and now an Australian chef who have taken on some of the responsibility for us and that makes our life easier.

So now Mitch just goes in the morning, has most of the day free and then doesn’t come back until about 5 o’clock in the afternoon. He works 5 nights a week and he gets Thursday and Sunday night off. So Thursday night we have a date night and Sunday afternoon or night we do something as a family. So for example, last Sunday we went down to the beach and the girls built sandcastles while we caught up with friends.

What have you least enjoyed so far? 

Seeing the beach pollution and even seeing things like the daily offerings being dumped in the gutter along with other street rubbish. People are also quick to judge about the bad things they hear in the news and the media and how they say no one should go to Bali. Especially having a business in Bali it affects us and it puts a bit of a dampener on things.

What do you miss back home?

Food! For example, I went back to Australia in February and I loved eating the summer fruits. I miss peaches and nectarines and when I went back I had a big feast! I hadn’t had a peach in like 6 years!

Have you experienced any “culture shock”?

One of the biggest learning curves we have had in Bali is through running our business. I didn’t think there would be such a big divide between locals and Westerners. We have come across many situations where we have been treated differently. We have definitely made mistakes along the way!

How is it being part of an expat community?

It has been great and very welcoming. I feel like support has always been there. I haven’t had any trouble making friends. The friends I have found have been more through the school. I also enjoy working at Lucky Day because I get to meet so many other people and we do get some expats that come in and I get to catch up on what they are doing.

What is the best thing you have done while you have lived here?

More family time and I have definitely got more time on my hands. More time for me as I am not doing all the washing, ironing and cleaning. I also lead a more healthier lifestyle here and I don’t eat as much rubbish. I wasn’t one to exercise back home and now I exercise a lot more. I now have the fitness to climb Mt Batur and Mt Agung and do the Bali Tough Mudder!

When it comes to doing things for my daughters like school assemblies or picnics I can go to those whereas in Australia I probably wouldn’t be able to.

If you had to describe Bali in three words what would it be?

Food – Family – Experiences

What tips do you have to those looking at making the move to Bali:

In regards to setting up a business here definitely do lots of research and get a good business advisor and lawyer. It can take 6-12 months to buy a business. One thing I have learnt is to definitely be more patient.

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