Episode 17: In Foreign Eyes

My dream comes true,I’ve eventually been to The Netherlands for three weeks. And then,I’ve got to face another problem after my return home from Holland,that is I really want to go back to Holland AGAIN!!! Ha Ha , for second visit, third visit.. and so on.

I’ve already missed Koffieverkeerd at AlbertHeizn,Stroopwafel,I used to bring them into the train while enjoying my trip from city to city with Dutch spoken as back-sound around me,those foreign language I blind with,but sounds interesting in my ears.

Oh yes,I can’t forget the typical Dutch scenery through my train window,when I enjoyed watching pastoral images of this windmill country,flock of black and white cows and and a row of typical Dutch houses along the train’s journey.

These pictures have been recorded in my memory, becoming a beautiful memory I’ve had so far that I can’t let it fade away soon. To be honest, I’m happy and so grateful I got the opportunity to attend this Summer School, Thanks NESO for sponsoring!!

I have visited 10 cities in The Netherlands during my Three weeks stay. They are Amsterdam,Utrecht,Rotterdam,Enkhuizen,Den Haag,Tilburg,Breda,Eindhoven,Delft and Maastricht in the southern part of The Netherlands.

The longest city I stayed is Utrecht, where my two weeks summer school was held under Utrecht Universiteit.A little information about Utrecht Universiteit, it’s the best research University in Holland and the 11st ranked in Europe.Of course, I have a dream to enter this university in order to pursue my further study. I wish I could, someday… ;p

Then,I spent four days in Tilburg,staying at my friend’s house.He’s a nice Dutch friend I met in Singapore,he’s so welcome when I announced him,I’m coming to Holland for this summer course.

It was nice seeing my old friend again after quite a long time separated thousands mile away.I’d like to talk about him either on this entry,I hope he doesn’t mind I mention him here,soon afterward he’s going to be famous (joking..) I had to ask his permission first to write about this.

He is currently studying at one of University in The Netherlands, majoring Medicine. When I first time met him, he was doing his internship for a hospital in Singapore. I like to have a chat with him, sharing knowledge and views each other, in order to broaden my knowledge about the world.

As Dutch citizen through the eyes of Indonesian mate,I envy him a little bit from how wealthy this nation and the Dutch itself compare with me, Indonesian.

I’d like to elaborate then about the welfare for The Dutch. Observing this issue, give me a lesson how unfair this life is, between the first world country and third world country. To strengthen my soul for this fact,I can only say.. just be grateful with what you have and who you are, at least you’re not born in Timbuktu or conflict countries.

As Dutch citizen, studying in University;–he gets some hundreds euro monthly allowance subsidized by the Government.To be noted,they have to finish their study, otherwise, they need to return the money to the Government.That’s interesting,it could motivate you to finish your study soon, isn’t it?

Let’s see how education in Indonesia,a friend of mine is taking Medicine at university in Indonesia,here, he is taking International class,which cost him up to 500 millions rupiah or maybe more.

All I can get from this comparison that how money and how rich you are, is very important in Indonesia,you are the one who pay expensive for your country,vice versa in The Netherlands. Even, when a student completed their internship abroad, they will get some money back from government.

They get universal Dutch health care,the right to work part-time for women,so they will have enough time to raise their kids and earn money at the same time. Friend of my Dutch friend, working as florist, as we know The Netherlands is famous with flower,one of the country’s icon.

I didn’t mean to underestimate a proffesion,Florist is kind of profession that you don’t need to study high and spend your time to be such a nerd, glued to your computer and sleeping on your thick books.

It’s dealing with flowers, but in Holland, you can survive with this profession,you can travel to Bali or Brazil with this job salary.

I just knew the fact is, in the Netherlands they have minimum 4 weeks of yearly holiday,I worked in South East Asia, we only have maximum 2 weeks holiday.

Dutch citizen has more good quality of life. According to the statistic, The Netherlands is among the top ten best countries to live in worldwide. Check this out; http://www.newsweek.com/2010/08/15/interactive-infographic-of-the-worlds-best-countries.html

When I was there,I was so fascinated by a bicycle parking in Eindhoven city.I’ve never seen such this thing in my life. Based on statistic,there are over 14 million of bikes in The Netherlands, the population of The Netherlands itself is 17 million. .. It can be said, everyone has one bike in Holland, do we count babies or infants here.. ??

PArking Lot, EIndhoven

Parking Lot Eindhoven

In Holland, people ride bike whatever their profession,from student to professor. Holland also has many bicycle paths, which make riding a bike relatively safe.

Recognizing the bike paths is easy: they are often painted red and have their own traffic lights.

It was the first time in my life, seeing an approximately 5 months pregnant woman rode her bike. In Holland.

Holland is flat,b icylce friendly,the enviroment courage us for healthy lifestyle, paddling your bike everyday burn more calorie, stay away from obesity.

I like this bike culture, in Dutch Monarchy, Queen Julianna is a Dutch queen who appeared in public riding her bicycle. It showed the down-to-earth manners suggest a simple life style.

Then in Tilburg, I found an interesting container the latter I knew next to litter bin for glass bottles, there are green container for second/unused clothes to donate for charity.

That’s good if we can apply this in Indonesia, we know how the poverty here in Indonesia, where the gap between the rich and the poor is sharp.

Lifestyle in Holland is more my thing, by riding a bike everyday, enjoying the fresh air and simple lifestyle, far away from materialistic and hedonistic lifestyle like in Jakarta.

In Jakarta, it’s important to let people know how many cars you posses in your garage.

I do enjoy traveling by convenient train as in Holland, with that I can use my time to catch up my readings during my train’s journey.

At least, I’d have a productive lifestyle than trapped in silly traffic jam Jakarta sit do nothing in the bus,owing to government’s ignorance in infrastructure.

During my short visit in Holland,I’d never seen this kind of luxury house like I found in Jakarta as seen on the picture.

Oh yes, I’ve seen such this building with great pillar and I believe one pillar cost almost hundreds million rupiah, … in The Netherlands this architecture I can find it in Den Haag, it reminds me of Justice Building, churches or Hilton Hotel.

Check out the row of typical Dutch houses below, it’s very modest and cozy resident

Then, be prepared for the other side of Jakarta picture on the left,

… Slum areas in Jakarta that I believe it’s very inhuman to let these people carry on living in this such places.

Welcome to Indonesia, After all.The poor get poorer the rich get richer!!

After describing The Netherlands through the eyes of Indonesian, I’d like to change the position,- about Indonesia(n) through the eyes of my Dutch friend.

We have spent much time together sharing stories, exchanged ideas about our countries, culture and quality of life, I already took several conclusion how Indonesians from the outsider.

As for my Dutch friend, Indonesia is not a new country for him. He has some Indonesian relatives in Indonesia and The Netherlands, and first time traveled to Indonesia since in young age.He’d even explored Indonesia tourist spots more than me.

He’s surprised with some Indonesian culture,when he made a visit to Indonesian family, they served him variety of food, and sat in living room,having a long chit chat then a lot of food on the table, after that, they asked him to join for dinner.

He told me, It’s impossible in Holland. In Holland, when you visit a friend, here’s the steps, .. make an appointment first, then come to your friend’s place, what do you want, then finish, back home.No snack serving in living room for your guest like in South East Asia. Even, when your parents would like to visit your place, your parents may give you a call first.

Hmm, okay, it’s not very our culture… It sounds so rude for us, if we do as your way.

Apart from this, we like such a spontaneous visit, for example; a surprise visit from your parents come to your place without giving you a call first. It’s the different between Indonesian hospitality and your hospitality.We still keep that collectivist cultures, there, in Holland, you’re very individualistic and respect others’ privacy. For some points, that’s good and I agree on it,however, for another points it’s just a bit artificial, or perhaps,.. unnatural is more appropriate word.

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