Experiencing the Greatness of Life

Time passes by so quickly and I can’t believe that I’ve lived in this country for 7 months. That means, I’ll go back home in 2 more months and I can’t wait for it! Despite the homesickness, I’ve been living my life to the max. And sometimes I’m worried that I probably have too much fun. But I never regret it; because I’ve learnt and experienced so many things on the way. I feel great about living here. It provides me so many opportunities; from conferences, summer camps, til volunteering — everything is possible. I don’t need to worry about visas in order to visit most countries in Europe. I can do whatever I want to expand my horizon. Freedom is the best thing and I cherish it in every moment! The next thing I need to do is to figure out how to make it happens (read: money! :D).

About a week ago, I was invited to a meeting/discussion in Amsterdam by an Indonesian friend who was born here and lived here for most of her life. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss what kind of contribution we could make for Indonesia’s development. The meeting itself was dedicated for young Indonesian people who were born and raised in Holland. Even though I didn’t belong in that category, I’m glad that I was invited and be able to attend the meeting! I’ve met a number of Indonesians, either “pure” or mix, who have lived in the Netherlands for too long (2nd or 3rd generation), but amazingly still set their hearts for Indonesia. I really did feel like we were in the same boat — the fact that I have lived in foreign countries since I was born made me feel like I had some kind of unique connections with them. Finally, I could share my stories, feelings, and frustrations about Indonesia open and freely that might only be understood by those who were born and raised abroad. But despite all the frustrations about Indonesian government, situation, diminishing culture, and poor attitude/mentality, we all still care about our country, background, and roots. This is perhaps the difference that I can point out between Indonesians in Jeddah and Holland (those that I encountered in the meeting). Most Indonesians in Jeddah who were born there have almost completely devoted to Saudi Arabia. They are raised with Saudi culture and way of life. They have a Saudi mindset and mostly speak Arabic at home. When they are married, they just couldn’t bother to speak or teach Indonesian with their children (some of these children have pure Indonesian parents!!). Well, there’s nothing wrong with that — and I don’t want to talk about nationalism or that kind of stuff because I question my own nationalism :D. But I do feel sad of how they act. I’m not saying that you can’t find any Indonesians or half-Indonesians in the Netherlands who have completely forgotten about their country of origin! I just don’t feel there’s a presence of energy or passion for our country within the (2nd or 3rd generation) Indonesians in Saudi Arabia. Or maybe I haven’t met one yet.

Anyway, I had such a GREAT time last month. My two Dutch friends and I went to Den Haag to explore the city and its surroundings as part of our organisation’s upcoming event. Besides all those usual city tours around Den Haag, we also did something different (at least for me!). Never in my life, I cycled more than 35 kilometres in one day! It was tiring and energy-consuming, yet it was fun, environmentally friendly 😛 , and at the same time surprising! Thankfully the weather was AWESOME that day; it was still cold but I could see the SUN shining so brightly!!!! (very rare in the Netherlands by the way — which explains why I barely wear my sunglasses here). After touring the city, we made a trip to the most famous beach in the Netherlands, Scheveningen, which was only 5 kilometres away from Den Haag (a reasonable distance to cycle). The beach was okay, I still prefer Gold Cost for sure (of course!!). By the time we were in Scheveningen, we were quite hungry already. So we decided to go to a pancake house recommended by the VVV. The pancake house didn’t look that far away on the map, so we cycled, cycled, and cycled until we realised that we were getting further and further away from our actual destination! We were lost and ended up in a wealthy town called Wassenaar. This is a town where many “extremely rich people live” (quoting from my friend), including most ambassadors as well as the Crown Prince of the Netherlands, his wife and children. We didn’t actually reach the centre of Wassenaar, but we already saw many huge houses with large fields/backyards. I don’t know why, when I was a kid, I always loved to see those huge houses. I just loved to see the architectural designs. Ever since I arrived in this country, I barely see huge houses. Unlike in Saudi Arabia where EXTRA huge houses are scattered everywhere, most houses here are very small, due to limited and crazily expensive lands. Passing through a neighbourhood in Wassenaar was quite refreshing. Very quiet, very green, and peaceful 🙂

Cities in the Netherlands that I have visited up till now are Amsterdam, Delft, Den Haag, Nijmegen, Rotterdam, and Tilburg. My impression of these cities? They all look similar. Amsterdam surprises me with its Red Light District, condom shop (lol… selling condoms in different shapes, e.g. Eiffel Tower shape, Big Ben, carrot, etc), and other weird shops you can find around the city. The canals in Delft remind me of those in Amsterdam; they’re just too identical. Rotterdam is boring and not too impressive; a big city with a huge seaport where you can find many tall and modern buildings. It’s so much like Eindhoven, except Eindhoven is a much smaller city. Delft is so far my favourite city — very classic, medieval-like, and a typical Dutch city where a famous painter Johannes Vermeer was born and lived. I just looove to walk through its small street, look at the architectures of the buildings, and visit small cute shops there. I have been there twice in a month and somehow Delft always made my day! 😀 (I really wanted to upload some pictures…. but my photo gallery is not fixed yet hiks hiks. No time to fix it!)

Oh, I can’t wait to go home. This time I’m very excited to go back because I will visit my homes: Jeddah and Jakarta!! Oh, how I badly miss the foooooods. Not only that! I will also explore some parts of Germany, go around Dubai for few hours, meet up with some friends in Singapore, and finally reunite with my sister in Kuala Lumpur (and my bro is coming with me! Yay!). So it’s going to be a totally exciting and money consuming holiday!!! hehehehe. I just hope I won’t be broke by the time I go back to Eindhoven…. hff. I’m gonna be in those cities for one month (very short time, if u ask me), then I’ll be back by the beginning of August. I planned to do a summer course in Eastern Europe or participate in a conference in Switzerland before the uni starts again, but then the money thing is a big problem for me 🙁 . I still even borrow money from my parents for the flight ticket… meeheee… I have to pay back first before I do those activities. Hopefully, I have the chance to do one of them next year!!! Ganbatte!!

Thank you, Allah SWT for giving me the most wonderful experience in my life 🙂

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6 Responses

  • sounds like u’r having an amazing time! savour it!! : ))

  • Dessy

    Kyknya seru banget Mel!!! I’m soooo jealous! Btw kok loe bisa gk perlu repot2 ngurusin visa to go around various countries in Europe??

  • Argh! Menyenangkan sekali!! So, kapan ke Jakarta nya?

  • you have a very wonderful life, mel! 🙂

  • wiza

    its too bad that you wont stop by in brissy!

  • mel,

    love this! i can feel the happiness & the crazy spirit of life!! 😀

    believe it or not, mel, I am now in Jakarta for good hahahah I just got a job — have just finished my first week! Wish me luck!

    Re the nationality question, being a non-Indonesian Indonesian (if you know what I mean), I find that I am a lot more nationalistic than a lot of Indonesian Indonesian that I’ve met. Most of them are very west-oriented, thinking the west is the land of utopia and total cool-ness. And they haven’t even been there!!! Blame Hollywood, blame TV, blame the colonial mentality. It’s just saddening, and worrying.

    But it’s a depressing serious topic, and I’m on TGIF-mode.. so I’ll stop there 😀 😀 Tell me when you’re in Jakarta!!

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