about me / English / Homesick

Living abroad by choice

I have been living in The Netherlands for almost 13 years now. I came to live here due to my marriage. In the Netherlands there is a term for people like me, I’m named import (imported bride/groom).
In the 13 years that I’ve been living here, I began to appreciate things which are typically Dutch (ok, not the cuisine nor the weather but other things such as punctuality, practised democracy etc.). But this doesn’t mean that I don’t miss Indonesia anymore. On the contrary, I miss Indonesia, especially Jakarta very much. Yes, I suffer from a severe homesick please read here, the longing for Jakarta which doesn’t exist anymore.

Many of my Indonesian kennissen (acquintances) feel the need to come home (pulang kampung) every year which they really do. I don’t, I want to see other parts of the world as long as I live. In my point of view, visiting your own country every year when you live abroad, doesn’t really help you to integrate or settle down in the country where you reside. I have an impression that those Indonesians live here physically while their mind stays in Indonesia. Some even wish to be buried in Indonesia when they pass away, which I think a big thing to ask your loved ones. I don’t get this idea well cause most of them are Moslems, Moslems must be buried within 24 hours. A flight from Amsterdam to Jakarta lasts 13 – 14 hours , plus some hours to get the laisser-passer document for transporting corps ready. And not to mention that you’re already dead, you can’t hardly notice whether you are buried in Dutch or Indonesian soil. Last but not least, the relatives, families (children, grand children) must travel to Indonesia to visit their grave.

I mean, they live abroad by their own choice, don’t they?

12 thoughts on “Living abroad by choice

  1. Mungkin yang tiap tahun pulkam itu kangen makanan? Soalnya aku kangen banget makan makanan Indonesia😀 jadi kalo bisa, ya disempetin lah pulang tiap tahun😛 (maklum, nggak bisa masak sehebat mami dirumah)

  2. It’s hard to be apart from your heritage and some people go home every year to console their homesickness.

    I don’t get it either. Transferring dead body involves lots of works and money. I would rather save it for other more useful things.

    Ik schreef een comment aan je homesick post, heb je dat niet gekregen?

  3. Hi Lorraine, thanks for your comment on my blog!
    We go abroad to seek the different….but in some of us the roots stay strong, and I find it very poetic! you mention that your daughter speaks mainly Ddutch these days, do you keep speaking Indonesian to her?

  4. @ The writer mungkin juga. Tapi makanan Indonesia disini udah seperti di Indonesia sendiri, mau beli kulit ketupatpun ada! Cuma kalo alasan pulang tiap tahun kangen masakan mami ya, aku ngga bisa komen lebih lanjut.

    @ Trilingual. You know, I try to teach my daughter the best of both cultures. San, ik heb je kommentaar echt niet gekregen.

    @ Clo,
    De rien! Yes, I keep speaking Bahasa Indonesia to her but she answers in Dutch. How about your son?

  5. Oh iya ya, kalo di Belanda emang banyak makanan Indonesia, tapi disini kan nggak ada, dan secara aku nggak bisa masak, ya terpaksa…

  6. you and I are probably kindred spirits.

    I arrived here in 2001, and I went back to jakarta the first time in 2006. Haven’t been back there and don’t plan to until like next year or the year after. Everytime someone asks me why I dont go back every year, my answer is exactly what you wrote. I feel it’s a bit silly to spend all my money on trips back to Indonesia when there are so many other countries I haven’t been to. I want to see other places, I want to experience new and different things. males deh pulang tiap tahun.. tapi itu tipikal bgt org indonesia di sini..hehehe

    as for dead bodies.. well, my hubby is torajan, and torajans are serious when it comes to their funerals. bodies MUST be transported back and buried in Torajan soil. I told hubby that when he dies, I’ll send his body back. But if I die before him, I want my organs to be donated to science and the rest be cremated. it’s simpler that way.

  7. “And not to mention that you’re already dead, you can’t hardly notice whether you are buried in Dutch or Indonesian soil.”

    After 13 years you must have adopted an extra, Dutch, identity if I go by this quote. If one shares these kind of matter of fact witty and/or funny remarks in a foreign language, you command it for 100%.

    colson/pelopor

  8. Hi Colson,
    Some people here call me a Bounty (zwart van buiten hart van binnen). Deep in my heart, I would stay Indonesian with a Dutchy touch. Won’t forget to speak Bahasa Indonesia, still love to perform some classic Balinese, Sundanese & Javanese dances & wil not dye my hair. Let’s say ik ben niet alleen ingeburgerd maar geassimileerd ?

  9. Hi Lorraine. New comer here.

    I would definitely go home as much as I can if I ever going to move abroad permanently. I don’t care much about the language, the food, etc.

    I miss my family too much. That’s the main obstacles for me, really. We are very close and it’s just hard to be away for so long.

    All the other things, we can find substitute or make up for them. Family … there’s no replacement.

  10. You’re right. Home is wherever a person feels comfortable living and where they have a sense of belonging, but some people leave a bit of their heart at their home country. Even if they were born and grow up in Indonesia, a lot of people still feel the need to go “mudik” to their “kampung” every year, esp. near the Lebaran Day. So I’d say it is just part of our culture.

  11. Hi Lorraine. New comer here.

    I would definitely go home as much as I can if I ever going to move abroad permanently. I don’t care much about the language, the food, etc.

    I miss my family too much. That’s the main obstacles for me, really. We are very close and it’s just hard to be away for so long.

    All the other things, we can find substitute or make up for them. Family … there’s no replacement.

  12. @ Rima, Yes indeed, it’s typically Indonesians. Whenever I meet my fellow countrymen, one of the topics is about cheap ticket to Indonesia.

    As for dead bodies in your husband’s case, ok, he is a Torajan and you know how Torajan tradition is.

    @ Andie, welcome! You’re right family is everything, no one can replace them, not even the in laws. What I forgot to write was there are people I know who get some loans to finance the tickets for Indonesia, every year. Nowadays, I keep in touch with my family with Skype or Webcam.

    @ Elyani, yes it is part of our culture, just like part of Turkish & Moroccan culture. Most of Turkish and Moroccan people here take an extented summer holiday of 6 weeks, some even depart two weeks earlier to their home country (this means 8 weeks, 2 months summer holiday), in order to get cheap tickets. By doing this, they make their children skip class which is forbidden by law here, there is an amount of money (fine) which they are to pay when the education inspectors find out about this.

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