Posted in life

Public Imagination

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Today is general election day in the Netherlands. Blogger Nadya Karimasari writes a commentary from her hometown in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

As a Dutch resident, I am more interested in the upcoming Dutch general election than the previous U.S. election, which ignited wide global attention. Both have quite an intense process leading up to the election, with figures such as Donald Trump and Geert Wilders occupying public discourse with controversial stances and questionable reasoning.

Today reminds me of how living in the Netherlands has taught me what ‘public’ means. Writing from my provincial hometown in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, with very limited manifestation of the ‘public’, I must say that the ‘public’ is not something to be taken for granted. Public parks, very safe public roads with bicycle lanes, public transport, public education for four-year-olds and above, public healthcare, and other public mechanisms are considered ’basics’ in the Netherlands. Hence, it is quite easy to forget that these are actually quite an awesome public achievement. Different individuals with public imagination have been demanding and working together to realise a better quality of life, not only for the benefit of each individual, but also for the greater good of the general public.

But what constitutes the ‘public’ in the dynamic situation of contemporary Dutch? This is where the matter gets a bit more complicated. The public system in the Netherlands taught me that no matter where I come from, no matter what my religion is, no matter how long I have been living in the Netherlands, as long as I pay taxes, I am part of the Dutch public. It is clear, sensible, and reasonable. But it implies that in order to pay taxes, one must have an income, a job. It means that better job provision for people in the working age should be the next agenda point of the public fight.

We will see whether the Dutch opt to have someone like me join and be part of that fight or not. Would they be strategic and adaptive, as the Dutch are famously known to be, will they embrace and take advantage of the current situation in which the Dutch public is becoming merrier, more diverse and colourful? Or will it be the opposite?

picture source: wikimedia

Posted in Academia, life, Nomad Family, Personal

Summer Break

What’s the thing about summer break? Blogger Nadya writes her observation.

“How was your holiday?” That’s the opening line coming from most of my colleagues these days. The new academic year is around the corner. My next holiday season will be around Christmas and New Year. No wonder people are taking long breaks before summer is over, before being caught up in the demanding, hectic rhythm of academic life.

Dutch people are notorious for being the example of good work-life balance. I don’t know if it’s true or if it is just another stereotype. Dutch people are also known for not having as much stress from work as compared to people from other countries in the world. According to recent estimates, Dutch people in average work 29 hours a week, get around 8.2 hours of sleep every night, and guaranteed a paid vacation.

Holidays are something to be proud of.

Based on my limited observation, for Dutch people, holidays are something to be proud of. Because I am used to how Dutch people perceive summer breaks, I felt surprised when I noticed my office mates from other countries tried to avoid sharing their summer vacation stories. When one of my professors asked about our holidays, the room was suddenly quiet. Everyone started looking at their shoes. I was wondering why. If they were Dutch, they would’ve showed off their amazing holidays right away. They went to Basel, Munich, England, Czech Republic, and Croatia to name a few. Their holiday were really quite something, but instead of being proud, they felt guilty.

When one of my professors asked about our holidays, the room was suddenly quiet.

“I haven’t been working on my research proposal for a long time, that’s why I feel guilty about my holiday,” one of my colleague confessed. “I really don’t get what’s all the fuss about summer break. Apparently, here, summer is such a thing. My friend who went on vacation to the beach abroad was being laughed off by his friends because he didn’t come back with a tan,” added another. “In my country, people just went to see their family and help with errands during holidays, so it’s not a big deal like it is here,” one of them concluded.

I believe such guilt is unnecessary. There’s nothing wrong about enjoying holidays. We should feel normal about enjoying our precious summer breaks. I just wish the vacation continued a little longer.

PS: Summer break for us:

Food glorious food at Ben White’s summer home:

 

Cherry picking:

 

 

Posted in life

Count down

A lot of things are going on my mind right now. I’m counting down the days before we’re finally back for good! Well, at least, me and baby, we’re heading back to Indonesia next week. Meanwhile, Darmanto (my husband) has to extend his stay in Perth until the end of January 2016 to finalize his thesis revision. We’ve just got the final decision today, so pardon my silence for the last couple of days. To extend is actually never in our plan, but alas, things happen. Usually I prefer to be silent when facing uncertainty. Now that everything is certain, I have no better way but to say it plain and straightforwardly. Good luck, D, do your best for the final revision! We’ll look forward to meet you again in Indo.

On the brighter side, we finally have a family portrait in Perth. Thanks to Abdil Mughis, our short-term housemate, who took our picture several weeks ago. We took it a couple of hours before he flied back to Indonesia. The first location was Sir James Mitchell Park, or better known as Mill Point. In here, you can see Perth’s famous landscape of skyscrapers before the Swan River. The second location is King’s Park. I bet it is the most famous park in Perth. I am happy and glad to take these pics before we leave. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have any and baby would not see the memories of us together in Perth. Here’s for the globe-trotting baby:

Smile:

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Row row row your boat:

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“I’m free!” said baby:

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King’s Park:

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We’ll surely miss crawling on the well-trimmed green grass:

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Bye for now, Perth:

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Posted in life

WordPress Weekly Photo: Treat

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Treat.” Treat and indulgence can take many forms, share yours with us!

I have a lot of indulgence, one of which is food. I am a foodie. I eat a lot but I am naturally skinny, so over-indulgence is never in my dictionary (I’m thanking the universe and my genetics for this).

Here, I like to go to the farmers market once in a while to indulge myself in Greek spanakopita, but actually the real reason I went was to enjoy the ambience. I found all food sold in Perth are nothing special and fall pale in comparison to what my husband cooks. Most of the time, I am not at all interested to eat out because he makes authentic, traditional, tasty food at home which never fails to make me drool and satisfy my palate + tummy.

If I really have to eat out, I would choose to go to the Chocolateria to have a cup of warm chocolate, and you could also order any form of chocolate that you could imagine. It actually tastes so good! Another option would be ice cream. Last week on my way home I tasted Chicho gelato at the Twilight’s Hawker Market in Forrest Place. The Strawberry Lime flavor was so fresh! What’s a better indulgence than chocolate or ice cream?

For now, to give a shot or two at the WordPress Weekly Photo theme, I present you a taste of home (see picture). I would let you guess the first picture, while the second is (of course) tropical fruit punch. Cheers!
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