Studying Indonesian.

This burning heat- it’s killing me! You get up in the morning and more or less force yourself into the shower to quickly wake up under annoying droplets of low water pressure that are coming down way too cold. But it’s good. It wakes you up, you feel refreshed and ready to start the day.

Until you leave your hut.


“Hi Denise- I’m back and I’ll make you MEEEEELT!”, it’s whispering.

Freshly showered, covered in sweat 5 minutes later, my Indonesian language classes are about to begin.

My teacher comes in and we start by drinking some Balinese coffee. Oh my God! It’s so strong my pupils narrow down as the caffeine kicks in.

Still so hot. Where is the fan, I’m dying!!

He hands me a piece of paper with Balinese and Indonesian words written down. Chinese couldn’t have been worse, is my first thought.

He reads out the words to me while I stare at this Gecko slowly walking around the walls trying to catch a fly, when he suddenly …

“… Alight Denise! You have 5 minutes to study this paper, then we will talk.”

Wait what?! Aaaaargh I know now why I hated school so much. But I’ll try. First day, still motivated!


What ARE those words…

Apa kabar? Baik Baik.

… alright- I can never ever remember this and the page goes on …

“Denise! APAA KABAAR?”

  • “Baik, baik??” I answer.


YES! Nailed it! Indonesian. I feel fine indeed. The rest of the lesson did not go that well, BUT I learned something funny:

Indonesian basically has no real grammar as the verbs are not conjugated. The plural is formed by saying the word twice.  So monkey is “monyet”; monkeys are “monyet monyet”. Hahaha. Awesome!

If you want to say “there are monkeys here in the forest”, you basically say:

Here, tree tree monkey monkey.

Ini Pohon Pohon Monyet Monyet

Hahaahaha I LOVE it! Though I am aware that there might be a more sophisticated way to converse in Indonesian, I was happy with this as it made me laugh a lot.

Indonesian is a beautiful language full of symbolism. “Hati” means heart, but if you say “Hati Hati” it changes to “careful”. You can read it on a lot of road signs. Isn’t that cute!?

In the Indonesian culture you also do not use any negative words. You would never say that a person is bad, for example. You would say this person is NOT nice. This is how the culture is like. Those people are thoughtful, polite and friendly and it is reflected in the way they use the language.

In case you find yourself on the market, make sure to bargain saying “this is not cheap” (ini tidak murah) instead of “this is expensive!” (ini mahal)

A useful list of words while traveling in Bali is provided by Travel Grom. Studying Indonesian comes in pretty handy when you want to get to know the Balinese culture. As soon as you start to use some words in Bahasa Indonesia, people will smile at you even more.

BALI Map beautiful

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