Indonesia 2016

Guess who got her purse nicked?

That’s right: this supposedly well-travelled, sensible, clever girl.

I paid for my dinner. I put my purse and my cardigan under my arm. I walked out of the restaurant and walked 200m down the road to a roundabout. I went to get my purse for a taxi.

My purse was not there.

I got my phone’s torch and walked back and forth along my journey, looking under cars and in bushes. I asked in the shop beside the restaurant, and in the restaurant itself — and gave the latter my email in case they found it. I told each person, loitering along the way what had happened, and they all searched for it for me.

Everyone was so kind. I had a little cry, and some teenage boys told me that it would be okay. The restaurant owner offered to pay for my taxi to my hotel; I declined. A young man at a little warung (café) halfway along the 200m route offered to take me to the police station — and I agreed. His name is Risal.

He drove me on his motorbike first to one police station, then another. He asked me what I wanted to do and told the police officer. He told me exactly what information I needed to provide (what I had lost, my driving licence ID number, my name and address and religion and company name and email address and insurance company name and all sorts). He sat with the police officer and translated my information and told him what to write.

I wrote him a timeline of events and he said “You know your insurance company might not cover this because it’s basically loss?” And I said yes, because it was the truth.

He even turned his mobile to a hotspot so I could message Matt and my parents.

And when I had a report, in duplicate, signed by the police officer, he walked off and didn’t ask for anything.

I was very British. “Thank you Risal!”
“Okay Jess!”
“You are very kind!”
“Okay Jess!”
“See you later!”
“Okay Jess!”

And he also said something lovely to me as we drove to the second police station.

Me: “Don’t worry about coming in the station, Risal — I don’t want you to have any trouble or any worry.”

No, it is okay, I will come in. In Indonesia… is no problem to help other people. I help you because… I am Indonesian, it is no problem for me.

I couldn’t give him a penny but he was the kindest person I’ve met on this trip — I would have been completely and utterly screwed without him. Thank you Risal.

By some stroke of bad luck, I also lost my debit card a few days ago, and had been getting by on cash from Matt; I’m now going to need a Western Union transfer from my mum. I have plenty of money in the bank, and I only have two more days here, so everything is going to be absolutely fine.

I lost about £70 and my driving licence. But I have my passport and my phone. Those would have been one hundred times worse to lose.

When this happened I did what I have learnt is the only thing I can do in situations like this: I went easy on myself. I’ve booked a really nice hotel in the centre of the city, rather than my previous home stay on the outskirts. I’ve spent the morning relaxing with a book and the Internet. I am not putting myself under any pressure to do anything, and I am slowly and carefully working through the things I need to do. Because I know that if I push myself; if I let my anxiety win; if I am not slow and careful and if I don’t allow myself to spend money and time on myself; I will snap.