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Family . . . Virly and Dan Trotter with their children Taaliah (4 months) and Zachary (8). PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Moving to Oamaru has been a culture shock for Virly Trotter, but she talks to Ashley Smyth about why she feels lucky to be here.

Indonesian-born born Virly Trotter loves adventures.

The eldest of three children from a small village in East Java, she describes herself as ‘‘the weirdest kid’’ in her family.

‘‘I’m the only one who speaks English, and I’m really interested about western life, living overseas.’’

Mrs Trotter moved to Oamaru almost three years ago with Australian husband Dan, whom she met in Bali, and their son, Zachary, who is now 8. Their baby daughter, Taaliah, was born here, and is almost 5 months.

Mrs Trotter moved to Bali for work after finishing school, to use her English, and also support her family as the eldest child. Mr Trotter was working in the mines in Western Australia and travelled back and forth from Bali.

‘‘We sort of had, like, a long-distance relationship,’’ Mrs Trotter said.

When Zachary was 2, Mrs Trotter decided she had had enough of being on her own in Bali with a baby, so the three of them moved to the Gold Coast, where they stayed for about four years, before moving to Oamaru.

Mr Trotter’s mother and her husband, as well as his stepsister were living in the North Otago town.

‘‘First we just came here for a holiday, and I thought, ‘Ooh, I like this town’. It’s nice, quiet, so much different from where we used to live in Australia,’’ Mrs Trotter said.

‘‘We were living in Surfers Paradise . . . The amount of time we spent on the road because, traffic — picking up from school and drop-off — was a nightmare.’’

The move to Oamaru came a few months before the first Covid-19 lockdown in 2020, and the family felt lucky to be here.

‘‘I mean Oamaru is one of the safe places to live at the moment, so far, compared to other cities and other countries. I feel pretty lucky we decided to move here, actually.’’

So far, Mrs Trotter’s family in Indonesia had not had Covid, but they were struggling financially, and government support was non-existent over there, she said.

Oamaru reminded her of her hometown, with its ‘‘cruisy and relaxed’’ vibe, and was a great environment for her children to grow up.

Shortly after arriving, she started working in the Whitestone Cheese shop, from which she was on maternity leave, and had to learn all about cheese ‘‘from zero’’.

‘‘I love working there, I love learning. As, you know, my background, we don’t grow up eating cheese, so I have to learn. . . in order to explain to the customers, because that’s what you do, basically.’’

She has developed a love of good cheese, particularly blue, and said she was ‘‘curious’’ when it came to all food.

‘‘I pretty much eat everything . . .That’s why I found it very interesting to work with Whitestone Cheese, because then I can learn and taste all of the cheese.’’

As a Muslim woman, modesty was important to the 33-yearold, who chose to wear a turban in public — a decision she made about three years ago. She preferred it to the hijab.

‘‘I just like to wear it . . .I want to be modest and fashionable at the same time. That’s why I like to wear it my way, with my turban.’’

She would get often get compliments and people asking how she did it.

‘‘I say to them, ‘Yeah, it’s good, especially when you have, like, a bad hair day’.’’

There was a small Muslim community in Oamaru, but no mosque, Mrs Trotter said. They rented a space for ceremonies, such as Eid al-Fitr, which celebrated the end of Ramadan, and also for Friday prayer.

She was teaching her son about her faith, but said when he was 17, the choice would belong to him whether he wanted to be Muslim.

‘‘We can’t force someone to believe what we believe; we just teach.

‘‘Also, with my husband, I just tell him what I believe. He’s not Muslim.’’

Mrs Trotter was also learning Arabic, so she could read the Koran.

In her spare time, she runs a few different Instagram pages for a bit of fun, as an outlet for sharing family life, and as a way to experiment with videography.

‘‘I’m passionate about editing video. I love making video. I find it refreshing,’’ she said.

On her own page (@virly_trotter) she shares tutorials on things such as how to wear a turban, which she thought could help people, such as those struggling with hair loss.

‘‘Maybe I can help them a little bit, at least.’’

Another Instagram page Sugar and Smiles (@sugarrr_and_smilesss), showcased another of her creative outlets — chocolate bouquets, cakes, and other edible treats. She made them more for friends and family, but thought it could possibly turn into a business venture down the track.

Sweet treats . . . Virly Trotter loves to make chocolate bouquets for friends and family. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

While there had been an adjustment period for Mrs Trotter, with the different cultures, food, and Oamaru weather, she was getting used to it.

There were no plans to leave, for now, although they would maybe consider a move to somewhere like Christchurch when ‘‘everything is a little bit normal’’.

‘‘It’s just nice to live close by the international airport, where I can just jump in if anything goes wrong with family back in Indonesia, or Australia.

‘‘At the moment, we still enjoy living in Oamaru. Everything makes sense for now.’’