I am writing this post to remember my journey 6 years ago when I came to this country, not knowing what life would be in the next 6 years. I came from a big city (Jakarta), I was young and naive. I tried to build a new life in a new world and maybe some luck. I made my way up to where I am now and I am so blessed with all the things that God gave me and entrusted me with. I met such a wonderful guy and when I met him I knew that he was the Mr. Right ( the day after I met him, to be precisely :D). Last year was a milestone, I wrote about my 5th year living in the Netherlands here. And this year as IND (Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service) has approved my permanent residency application just recently, I am honored to write “my 6th year in the Netherlands” journal 🙂
When I knew that I will be living here as an immigrant, I honestly did not know what to expect. There were fears but frankly, I have no idea about the risks. As expats living in one country, they basically will have a circle of friends who are likely to be fellow expats. But when you come to live in a country as an immigrant like me, you do not have an actual length of stay in your mind and that makes you live like natives do. There are no 30% ruling perks for me, or higher salaries like most expats earn because apparently I don’t have specific skills that are scarce in Dutch labor market! The risks are once you live abroad you will be missing a lot of things back home. People you love go on with their lives and you still stuck in the period where you left them.
The first a couple of years I was busy with building my new life here, learning the language, looking for new friends and busy with adjusting myself with the new environment. It was fun, exhilarating and also tiring. There are some phases too in those several years, like ups and downs of job quest and language development process. I think those 2 were the most time-consuming things to feel secure in a new country. Then, of course looking for friends which I gained during the process of assimilating. But as the years go by, and when I feel a bit comfortable with my new life I create, the country and the people, I face another phases, ie; learning new values as I get accustomed with life here and how to combine it with my own values I have got from home (Indonesia).. It has fundamentally shaped me to what I am now..even though I am still a bit confused with these mixes and how to combine it in my life. New values and my home values.
Learn from Don Quixote? Toledo, Spain
This is it. This year I am reshaping myself 🙂 This is my ultimate goal for the coming years. Of course, I am also still struggling with that one particular subject, which is mastering (nuances of the) Dutch language but, it is a constant lesson I am aware of it. A constant reminder for foreigners! I think I finally come to a period where I am consciously aiming for an evolution. You know, I am not busy with collecting friends like I used to do a few years back. I am satisfied with my current friends. The other day I was at a homeopathy doctor’s room, answering her questions during a medical examination and it came to me, a legit validation that I need to start restructuring my life. I burned many bridges and I still think I have made the best decision to take that leap and move to this little country. I feel by living by myself far away from my comfort zone has made me understand myself a lot better because not only I am confronted with so many aspects, also because I continuously have to make life changing decisions.
An acquaintance of mine has been asking me to join her ladies expat club to search new members and doing outings or shopping and so on, jeezz..I have passed that. I do not have the urge to have a lot of “friends” in this stage of my life, I want real friends in its real definition and not just numbers. I will have friends when I meet them not because of those forced gatherings. You know what I’m saying?
This post is a mere note to myself and I sincerely have no intention to give a life speech or whatsoever. So, if I am still blogging for the next few years I will update about how I break the (old) patterns. And of course besides that I’ll blog about new hangouts, cats, stupid pictures and food :p