Monday, February 15, 2021

TALES OF TWO COUNTRIES

February is a special month for me. I have migrated to the Netherlands in 2005 arrived at the Schiphol Airport on 11 February. Seven years later, in 2012, I became a Dutch citizen and took an oath at the Amsterdam City Hall on 23 February. 

I took those two events as crucial events of my life, together with several others.

Migration and new nationality, how does it feel?

Personally, I felt all processes were naturally happening as if they should have happened as a continuation of my life stories. I have met a Dutch partner, I brought my daughter to migrate to the Netherlands, and after several years I felt the necessity to have clarity for my daughter and myself about our nationalities. Both of us have Indonesian blood, nothing can and will change that, but nationality is a choice and we have chosen to be Dutch citizens. 

The Netherlands is a good country to live in, factually. The facts are: 

relatively well-managed basic needs infrastructure (health, education, social welfare, information, election, transportation, etc);

relatively a small country with a small number population in the center of Europe. If I need to experience a new atmosphere, just travel to neighboring countries more or less is comparable with traveling between islands or provinces of Indonesia; 

and many more details and practical reasons for me to stay where I stay now. I am not getting younger and I need to settle. In the Netherlands, I could afford to have beautiful fresh flowers, delicious cheese, and chocolate, the Champion League footballs at the normal schedule (in Indonesia I had to stay awake middle of the night), biking everywhere and anytime, and those little things in daily life which I appreciate.

On more abstract surfaces, choosing a place to live on this earth and feel right about it in my experience is like choosing a partner for life. Nobody is perfect but somehow you feel right when you are with this person. The Netherlands is not a perfect country but I feel right every time I arrive at the Schiphol Airport from traveling. There is a sense of relief that I arrive in a safe and comfortable place. 

And I feel humbled and honored to have the privilege to professionally connect to the country of my DNA. I feel and understand almost everything naturally of Indonesia which for non-Indonesian DNA'ers might be confusing. Too many to tell but you understand what I mean. Great things happen in Indonesia, especially initiated by the younger and newer generation than my generation, and that keeps me going all these years despite my disappointments about several elements. 

In heritage and development fields, I have the privilege to learn from the Western world and to select which ones suit the needs of Indonesia. And I take a look at what elements from Indonesia can be good as lessons learned for the Western world. Many of them, and the longer I live in the Western world, the more I appreciate the positive and unique values and practices of Indonesia. 

So it both sides that enrich my life (plus the sides from other parts of the world, too). 

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