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Meet the Tracy family living in Canggu, Bali

So who am I talking to?

Profile: Angela, husband Tim, sons Clancy (10), Percy (9), Herbie (7) and daughter Kitty (3)

Originally from: Geelong, Victoria, Australia

Arrived in Bali: 12th January 2015

Home in Bali is: Canggu

How long do you plan to stay? 

Another 18 months (end of 2018) because my oldest child will be going into Grade 6 and I want give him a year in primary school in Australia so he can settle in and adjust back to the Australian lifestyle.

What made you move to Bali?

Purely for business. We used to visit Bali 2 to 3 times a year, it was certainly our go-to holiday spot. Having younger kids, it was somewhere we could go and truly have a good holiday and relax. Kids loved it and we loved it and it wasn’t too far to come and coming from Melbourne it was great to get some sunshine!

My husband had a company back home which he sold and he thought this was a great opportunity to live in Bali and do some sort of work. So at that point we didn’t know what that would be, we just wanted to live here while the kids were still young.

Tim looked into franchise type businesses and came across this Liquid Nitrogene Ice Cream shop called Nitrogenie. It is an Australian-based franchise and he bought the rights to Indonesia and he now currently has it in two locations – Seminyak Village and Beachwalk Kuta and we would love to expand it over the next couple of years. It has proven to be a great business because it is something you can expand and once you teach the staff it is quite easy to manage and run. We can still have a great lifestyle here. It is still a business you have to work in but it is certainly not the type of hard work he was used to back in Australia. Hopefully we are going to grow it and the next aim is one out here in Canggu, a busy spot and a great destination.

What do you normally do back in Australia?

Tim had an employment agency, based in Victoria which was a family business with his sister for 11-years and they grew that from a two-office site with 20 staff to a 10-office site with 300 staff.

Pre-kids I had a hairdressing salon for 12 years in our local town of Ballarat where I had 16 staff and it was a great business and I loved my career. Then I was one of these mums when I had the baby thought I would go straight back to work but obviously fell in love with the first baby as we all do and decided to stay home with my baby.

What is a typical day here for you and your four children? 

My children this year changed from a private International school to a home school, which doesn’t start until 9 in the morning. It is lovely as it used to be crazy starting earlier.

So it is the usual morning routine and they are allowed to have a skate in our backyard for ½ hr (we just built a skate ramp at home) before school if they have got ready earlier enough before school. Then Tim and I take them on motorbikes to school, which is about 2.5kms away so about 10 minutes. My youngest Kitty goes twice a week to Kinder (9am-2pm).

During the day, Tim and I will do gym in the morning and then we might catch up for a late brekkie and then he will go into work and same with me, I do some work on my clothing label. The label is called ‘KitnMint’ and it is a junior clothing label for boys and girls, age 2-6. It is quite unique, quirky streetwear. Its very cute! I have always loved fashion and been into my clothes, hair and make up and after having four children and I thought especially smaller boys, I think there is a gap in the market as things are very standard. I just thought while I am here in Bali, why not do it. I said there was three things I wanted to do when I go to Bali; surf, learn Bahasa and open some sort of fashion, whether it is ladies or kids clothing.

Home school (run on the Australian Curriculum) is great for me because I am finding that one-on-one attention is great for my kids. They are certainly not the type of children for mainstream learning. It is a different approach to learning and the teacher will see different methods for each individual kid. There are 16 students (age 6-11) from all around the world who learn at a lady’s home. It is great because my kids are very outdoor kids and after school we do lots of activities. We do soccer, surfing, skateboarding, tennis, AFL, guitar, Pencak Silat (Indonesian Martial Arts) and trampolining.

Tell us about your food experiences living here:

I just love the food here and you can enjoy so many different types of cuisines.

There are some beautiful restaurants that are the prices you would pay at a basic restaurant back at home. I love being able to dress up and have a nice night out with my husband which we would never be able to do back at home. Can you imagine with four kids, a night out was not leaving the house and perhaps opening a bottle of wine and having a chat over a home cooked meal. Babysitters would be too expensive and so would taxis, food and alcohol.

Now we can have a babysitter which the kids love while we go for a beautiful meal and catch up with great friends. I do want to say that when we were moving here I was very worried about leaving family as they are our number one but someone did say to me back home ‘when you move to a place full of expats they can very open-armed’ and I find that is so true. I have never been so welcomed and have had a very positive experience all the way.

Also I think back home you are ‘the hairdresser, their sister, the mother’ whereas nobody knew me for any of that and just liked me for me. So it was almost like starting afresh and it was nice for people to like you for who you are not for what you did or didn’t have. That is another thing I found in Bali, nobody asks and nobody cares about the social standard level which is another thing I love about it.

What do you think about the locals?

Absolutely gorgeous! We have got Hindus in Bali and they are one of the most beautiful people in the world and we are so lucky to be able to live amongst them. I think we are lucky the kids are learning and living the culture of these beautiful Balinese people. We certainly respect their religion and their ways and we really admire how they live.

One of things I wanted us to all learn was the local language. Of course our 3 year-old probably picked it up the quickest because we lived with a little Indonesian girl who didn’t speak a word of English and her and Kitty used to play together everyday. I love learning Bahasa and I am getting more confident now to use it. I started off doing lessons once a week for 20 weeks and now I am doing a sit and talk lesson.

What are you enjoying most whilst living here?

I really think for me family life has been the best because having four kids back home I felt that all I did was cook, iron, wash and run kids around. I didn’t have time for myself so I didn’t feel that great about myself and no time for the marriage, just working hard. It has certainly been the best for the children, husband and for myself.

What have you least enjoyed so far?

Traffic is the only thing I would say. If I could change one thing about Bali it would be the traffic. It just takes a long time to get anywhere and with kids it is a bit difficult to get them places. I have a big car and a motorbike and it can be scary and dangerous when driving.

What do you miss back home?

Family is number one for me. Just seeing them everyday and having those people you can ring and have a cry to or just tell them the silliest thing that happened. So that closeness of family.

Have you experienced any “culture shock’?

I guess seeing how primitive it still is when you go out of the tourist destinations – how basic it all really is. It is wonderful how the culture is so strong, even the young people still have their strong beliefs and practice whereas at home in Australia it got lost a bit in the younger generation. Here in Bali they have an amazing faith.

How has it been being part of an expat community?

I love that side. It was nice to come to a place with people with open arms. No judging, just about you and your family and not what you have come from and what you had. It depends on the person too, as you have to come open-armed and open-minded otherwise it can take a while to fit into the Bali lifestyle.

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

Mid last year we took the boys around the Island which was great to go and see the white sandy beaches. We didn’t book anywhere, just got in the car and went for a couple of weeks. That’s a highlight for us in regards to holidays since we have been here. Bali is so different when you get out of the tourist destinations.

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

Friends – Family – Freedom

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

  1. Work – definitely plan ahead and look at the certificates and visas and really get the proper facts. For instance, my husband found the right franchise for us and worked on it for a year before we got to Bali.
  2. Schools – we came over beforehand and looked at a couple of schools. Factor in the traffic and where you live when commuting to school.
  3. Villas – look around and do lots of research when getting a villa. Do a lot of bartering and know your price in the market. Rent something furnished as it is easier if you move. Knowing your contracts are really concrete, know where you stand as there are so many people who have thought things were included or paid for but when it comes to it, it doesn’t happen.
  4. Expats – come with an open-mind and open-arm attitude and perhaps look into different things that you normally wouldn’t do at home – put yourself out there.

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