Saturday, February 21, 2015

'Stranded' in The Netherlands

Hoi allemaal!

Hoe gaat het met jou?
Getting through something new or being that 'new thing' itself is never easy. How eyes look at us as something different might be hard to be unnoticed, and how people treat us differently, might as well be difficult.

The Netherlands, well known as the land of the tulips, is something very far far away from my mind. I lived in Indonesia as a little toddler, all I thought was playing, sleeping, screaming, singing and dancing. Having the chance to live and study there, never ever crossed my mind before.

Destiny cannot be denied. One day, my dad was asked to live there for a couple of years. First, it was very hard having a long distance father-and-daughter relationship. We went chatting through video chat, and I, as his little girl, always talked to him everything I thought of. We usually have the night prayer together through the video chat, and it was very rough that times.

Years flied away; and afterwards, my dad invited me, my mom, and my little brother to live together with him. I didn't really understand about 'being new' that times, all I  knew was the blond-and-brunette-haired-kids walking down the road; I actually didn't really mind seperating away from my classmates and got very excited. I mean like, meeting the blue-eyed-kids, how was that not cool enough?!

We literally went there; in a little city named Enschede. It was very quite and peaceful; you won't find any kind of traffic jam. We lived in the second floor of a townhouse, the preparation for me to go to a new school also went smoothly.

Then went the day I was going to the class for the first time. It was a national school, so we didn't use English there. You know what the problem was? I never spoke and understand Dutch before.

Everyone was staring at me as the principal brought me in. I sat next to a beautiful brunette little girl, who is still my friend right now, and I didn't speak anything that day; they wouldn't understand me anyway.

I was considered as a naughty little kid. I literally kicked little boys away, and make problems with many seniors. Although I don't speak Dutch that time, I don't know why the little me was so brave and careless about the world; and I kinda miss being that kind of kid. Little kids fearlessly live in their imaginary world and just didn't care about people's opinion. Why don't adults just do the same and stop living in pressure?

Slowly but sure, the teachers could handle and control me. They took me to a private class every after-school-hour, and taught me slowly about new Dutch words I should learn. My classmates also talk to me with basic words and got the way I learned; they didn't force me but coached me indirectly. As a result, I could understand Dutch in approximately one year!

How the people there has a way of thinking, has some positive sides in my opinion. They don't do the 'work over family' things. When it's time to go home and leave the office, they just go home. And when they're with their family, business and work things should be asided.

People usually use bicycle there; which is enviromental friendly. I remember how my dad usually take me to the forest regularly; we cycled there and faced cows; peacocks. What an awesome experience, something I don't find here in Indonesia, the place I live now.

About the school, they don't force children to learn. They coach. I mean, the teachers used games and stories as medias for the kids. They don't make them to memorize deep theories or learn complicated boring math; they used the tricks children will like. For the history, they make it as an interactive story telling where children were taught to be courageous with their related questions. And for the math, they also focus on the story that makes the children think and count. With colorful and beautiful drawings; children will be more engaged and be more excited to study.

I was not afraid to ask that times; and express myself those times. I went into a story telling competition; I sent letters and drawings to a national magazine. They support us and our ideas; and once my teacher said that talents are God's gifts. I know I was not that talented, but I got confident by how they didn't break our mentals into pieces. 

I could feel the difference of kids in Indonesia and in the Netherlands. Little ones in the Netherlands are not afraid to perform. When there's a stage and someone is asking the kids to sing or dance, no one will resist it because performing and expressing themselves was always a pressure!

 I am very shy and quiet now, but do you know that I sang and danced like a fool in public places before?

About friendship, I am always amazed by how sincere and welcoming the Netherlanders are! At the first few months, I was a loner, but thanks to my teacher people started talking and interacting with me, the black-haired-asian-kid. How their parents also warm-heartedly talk to me; always made me feel loved.

They have a cultural 'Koningin's Dag' day, which means Queen's Day. It was the birthday of their previous queen named Queen Maxima. Everyone will be wearing orange that day, and people go to the centrum, the center of big events, to sell their recycled or unused things. More about centrum, there's a traditional market which only opens on weekend days, for limited hours. I always loved the fish and chips there!

In the Netherlands, they have four seasons : zomer, winter, herfst and lente. It means summer, winter, fall and spring. It sometimes take a while to adapt from one season to another, but the diversity makes it colorful; we have different experiences and perceptions through every season. Different themes, different point of view.

 For example, the spring was being interpreted with 'getting newborn again' because of the eggs that hatches during the spring. Summer is getting related with long vacation and having fun. Different spirit every season made me excited to welcome the new one and I never got bored!

How I love how God 'stranded' me there, and how I love how much I learned from being an outsider. Not every start of something new might be okay, not every start migh be a 'smile'. Sometimes, it's just the motivation and the will to fit in that counts. As long as we try to start first, people will approach us and things will just go. 

Just as simple as that. :)

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Fluffy Furry Friends!


I am a little exhausted with the assignments; so I thought of writing something that refreshes my mind. But don't worry, I'll be okay! I kept reading my post about architecture, saying that it's okay to fail as long as I did my best.

I really remember that time when I was a loner, and I didn't have anyone to talk to. No one to share what I went through, and no one actually cared about me back then.

But not really everyone to be honest. My mother knew I was stressed, and she thought, a little furry friend for me wouldn't hurt. We went to the pet shop, and found little noisy creatures. They sounded like, 'wheek!', and eventhough they are noisy, they were ultra cute. I immediately fell in love with them; and brought home one little piggie.

It was a 'she', and I named her Pippie for her little peeps that were so lovely. (and I miss her little peeps until now).

Pippie was my first pet ever, and this guinea pig was really scared and fragile at first. She kept running away from me, it was because she does hate strangers.

Eventually, we became close and she made my day a lot better than usual. I always ran upstairs after arriving home from school; and this little cavy will 'wheek' and ask me to feed her with carrots and cucumbers. Slowly but sure, she started to open her heart to me and I sometimes even chat with her about things that bothered my mibd. You may think I'm crazy for talking to my pet, but you will feel that close bond too when you have your own little friends.

One day, she surprised and shocked me because, all of a sudden, she delivered a little baby and it looks precisely like Pippie was pasted into a newborn one!

I was confused, I never had the experience of taking care of a baby pet before. I called my mom who weren't home that time, and she immediately went home to see the little adorable cute creation.

But what I really regret was that I wasn't able to take care of it. The baby won't eat, and passed away about three days later. This really made me down, and so did Pippie. She didn't want to be forced to eat as well and one week later, she passed away too. I tried to take Pippie to the vet and gave her medicines, but she just didn't want to eat. I know she was so depressed by the loss of her baby. See? Even guinea pigs have feelings and they give love too. I learned about a parent's love from her., and it made me grateful for having a strong and caring mom. The one who delivered us and loved us so much, would sacrify anything for their love ones.

I was so frustated at first and didn't want to have more pets for a while.

One year later, I thought that I should give it another try, and I will do my best to take care of guinea pigs this time. We went to the pet store again and I immediately fell for this little cutie.

 She was the cutest one and took my heart away. At first I wanted to name her Hazel, but after discussing it with my mom, Milly was a lot cuter and easier to spell. Say hello to Milly!

Like Pippie, she was realy scared of me and didn't want to be touched. But time was amazing, she got used to my smell who always bring her food and she opened her heart too. She wasn't a brave little one, because everytime I let her run in a space, she eventually jumped back to her cage. She wasn't brave enough to explore the world outside her cage, and I could feel that I was similar to her. I was also not scared to try and explore new things; which I learned from Milly.

After a while, the same event happened. She delivered a little baby; and I don't want to do it wrong that time; I cleaned her cage as soon as possible and was breath-taked by the beautiful little baby piggie.

 It was a 'he' this time, and I named him Kyle for my favorite game character's name. Kyle was the bravest and the naughtiest piggie I ever met! His energy was full of curiosity, and he always ran surrounding his cage until he was exhausted (which he never was) and he has the loudest 'wheek' of the others.

When he was hungry, he called me by his wheeking and when I arrived, he was usually standing at his cage like this.

And this little one was the closest to me; which I always cherish until the moment I type this. His bravery and energy encouraged me to be cheerful; and just bother for good things (for Kyle's case: cucumbers!)

His spiky hair melted my heart away; and my little furry boy always welcome me when I am at home. I could never forget the way he reacted to cucumbers (the cold ones from the refrigerator). He would jump and 'popcorn' (popcorning is a way for guinea pigs to express their joy) and it made me smile too.

Having pets definitely made my life a lot better and they fulfill my head with positive thoughts. I mean, how could you not fall in love with them? How could you not feel responsible for them, and how could their happiness not make you feel happy too?

Nothing feels better when you watch someone/something you take care of with deep love grow and turned into something strong and independent. And you will be speechless when you know it actually loves you back. :)