When we move to a foreign land, we all know how important it is to learn the language of its people. Without understanding the language of a culture, we can never truly understand the culture itself . . . and this can make life very difficult.
Mexicans in Mexico will make no apologies for not understanding you if you don't speak Spanish. Japanese and Chinese citizens will likely just stare at you blankly if you don't use their national language. And English speakers in Australia, the UK, and the USA will often just tell you point-blank, "Speak English," if you try to talk with them in any other language.
So, when you decided to come to this beautiful country, you were no-doubt fully prepared to learn its national language, Bahasa Indonesia, in order to be functional and to be received warmly by those around you.
But if you arrived in Indonesia as an English speaker, you were probably quite surprised to find that Indonesians do not seem to be critical of you if you don't speak their language. On the contrary, the locals have a tendency to apologize to you for not speaking English.
Moreover, they never seem to miss an opportunity to switch to English when they encounter a native English speaker.
Of course, this behavior has its benefits for you as a non-speaker of Bahasa Indonesia (albeit 'undeserved' benefits), but it also comes with one great 'disadvantage': it makes it much more difficult for you to learn Bahasa Indonesia . . . which you really need to do if you're ever going to become fully functional in Indonesia and connect with your friends and colleagues.
So, let's look at some of the problems you likely face on a day-to-day basis, then consider the reasons for those problems and some possible solutions:
You're at a small shop. You attempt to converse with clerks and workers in Bahasa Indonesia, but they consistently respond to you in English. You say, "Selamat pagi," and they respond with, "Good morning, Mister." You say, "Terima kasih," and they answer, "You're welcome."
People in the service sector often have very lim