It’s been exciting times for our little family but I don’t know why I haven’t been blogging at this space at all. I have some books scattered around me and different things on my task list. I sneak to the computer and let my son sleep alone. He’s fast asleep, perhaps he’s tired. I didn’t see him much today, I’ve spent the whole day in campus working on my long-delayed Teaching and Supervision Plan – so happy that it’s done, one thing off my task list. When I got home, his daddy said he was clinging to daddy all day, wanted to be hugged and wouldn’t let go, but when I got home he was cheerful again and we played together (that’s what his daddy said). My son’s so funny and silly and likes to show off his new “talents”. He’s so interested to come inside different drawers and cupboards (it’s empty), and put different things on his head and shake his head to test whether the thing will fall or stay. Everything is so interesting to him, especially we are now living in the middle of grazing areas for sheep. Sometimes his father brings him to touch and see the sheep up close.
We’ve also just come back from Oxford, stories and pictures on next posts!
After a week in Wageningen, blogger Nadya Karimasari concludes that not all stereotypes about this small, rural town are true. But some definitely are.
Wageningen, despite being the location of the best university in the Netherlands, is not always known by strangers. Before I came here, my non-Dutch fellows had said things along the line of: “It’s so quiet, there are more cows and sheep than humans in Wageningen. But it’s a great environment for your baby, it’s very child and family-friendly.” And one of the characters in the Indonesian box-office movie Negeri van Oranje, about student life in Holland, partly filmed in Wageningen, says to his friends: “Wageningen wouldn’t suit you guys, it’s going to be very boring for you as there’s no party life here as there is in Amsterdam.” Interestingly, a colleague who teaches at the Sociology of Development and Change group told me he chooses to commute from Amsterdam to Wageningen three days a week because he says he meets more interesting people there.
I have only been here for one week, but I can safely say that some of these stereotypes are not accurate. Firstly, I haven’t seen any cows. Secondly, I’ve seen some sheep grazing, but I had expected to see a lot more farmland. And thirdly, Wageningen is full of student apartments, more than what I had imagined. This means you see students everywhere and there are parties where students go to de-stress, although, of course, not as many as in Amsterdam.
But Wageningen is undeniably different from the parts of the Netherlands I am more familiar with, such as Den Haag and Amsterdam. It is a rural side of Holland that was out of my radar. It amazed me when I had to go to Arnhem to exchange money. On my way there I saw lines of luxurious (for Dutch standards) farm houses with their large lawns. It was like a beautiful sight from the past and very different than my earlier experiences in the Netherlands. I still remember very vividly the very first time I set foot on Dutch soil, at Schipol in August 2010, when I saw two women in punk attire unabashedly kissing for what felt like a very long time. At that time, same-sex marriage was still mostly a taboo, except perhaps in the Netherlands. I couldn’t believe how my first experience was confirming the stereotypes and I said to myself: “Here I am. This is the Netherlands.”
At work I have also encountered some quirky situations that I think are typical of a town like Wageningen. For instance, a staff member in de Leeuwenborch told my friend, in all seriousness, “I can only fix this computer tomorrow. If you want me to do it today, you have to pay.” Of course it was his Dutch sense of humour. My friend didn’t understand it, but he and I laughed. Dutch peculiarities. No matter which part of Holland I am in, it’s always the Dutch people who make me feel at home.
Before leaving for the Netherlands to start her PhD, blogger Nadya Karimasari had mixed feelings. She’s excited but also having a lot of anxieties over unsettled matters.
On March 1st 2016, our visas were finally approved. After receiving the news, I took some time to be alone, lie down, and stare at the ceiling, ‘this is finally getting real’. I am going back to the country where I discovered the art of learning, now with my husband and one-year old son.
For the last couple of years, the closest encounters that I have had with a lot of great minds in my field of study was reading and studying their works. Now, I am going to meet them in person, perhaps sit in their classes, ask questions, and have discussions. I am going to have a desk and space of my own, where I could fully concentrate on my project. I am going to have the leisure of not having to think about making ends meet, I only need to immerse myself in creating good research. I will finally be free from noises of the crowded city where I have been living. I imagine Wageningen to be so quiet and peaceful, hence providing a conducive environment for studying as well as for my child’s formative years.
I feel casual but underneath I have some anxieties. Our arrival is actually two weeks late but it’s the earliest we could get. Our visas were slightly delayed. The NWO scholarship is designed for a single person, so bringing a family is a bit more complicated because I had to send an ‘additional income’ statement. Other than that, I had to negotiate over additional day care support. Also to be noted, had I known better I would do the legalisation process earlier on. It was time-consuming, cumbersome, and extremely expensive. The legalisation of our documents (birth and marriage certificate) will only be settled two weeks from now, but considering all things, I choose to have it sent via airmail instead of waiting.
By the time you will be reading this blog, we will be flying our way to the Netherlands. Hopefully we will arrive safely and see you there.
I used to put my baby to sleep in the dark. Today I realized that he can sleep with lights on, as long as the air is cool and he got a bit of warmth from attaching his body to mine. I got a lot of reading done while he’s sleeping, one of my hand fluttering a thick paper (a.k.a. fan) to him. It’s definitely going to make into our new routine, a sweet addition to our other established bedtime routine:
a massage every single day at 6 pm (occassionally several other times during the day too) until he’s around 4 months (by that time we moved to Australia and it was winter, so I wasn’t sure about leaving him bare for a couple of minutes to massage him, and I don’t want to use oils that has a warming effect because it gave him heat rash),
then we changed the massage routine with bedtime storytelling (his dad would read two books every night at 6 pm before sleep, I would borrow the books from the library),
and then, after he got to the age where he eat solids three (and then four, and five) times a day, he would eat dinner at 6 pm, drink, wash his hands, play in bed and when he feels sleepy he will lay his head on my body and sleep by himself. Starting today I can read at this time. If I want to take a break from reading or go out of the room, I can do it when I’m sure that he’s already in a deep sleep and won’t wake up if I go for a while.
Okay, that’s all for today. Hopefully enough for a restart of blogging after being away for quite some time. I’ve been travelling and legalising documents, etc. Tomorrow we will go to the Dutch Embassy in Jakarta. Finally … we will go to the Netherlands soon.
House-hunting over and done with! Finally I found a place to stay, for family, per direct, no waiting list, no broker fee, and most importantly, everything is perfect. The house, location, everything. Long gone was my horror of staying at the attic (which is considerably common in the Netherlands), at a faraway noisy location, in a house with a refrigerator too small or interior too hoarder-y.
There’s a lot of room offer for single, but finding a house for family is a bit challenging. Some options are available, but I am glad I took my time to make a decision. After all, my family is going to stay there for more than a year, so why settle for anything less than perfect?
Of course it takes some luck to meet the perfect thing. My advise is not to panic, no matter what. Perseverance, persistence and patience eventually paid off. After spending almost my entire online time (which is very limited) on house-hunting, I couldn’t be happier. Now I couldn’t wait to showcase the house to my husband and son 😀
First project ticked off my list in 2016! Woohoo, finally!
I’ve been working on this project, on and off, for almost a year. I started a couple of days before I gave birth, and now my son is almost one year old. If you’re curious, I’ll let you know about this project later, when I could show you the final product.
Soon, I’ll let you know what else I’ve been up to, for instance, lately, I spent almost all of my limited online time to search for a house to rent in the Netherlands. But that’s for another post. Right now, I am ready for the next short-term independent project that I am planning to do this month.
What about you, how’s new year been treating you so far? What’s your plan in 2016?
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:
Row row row your boat:
“I’m free!” said baby:
We’ll surely miss crawling on the well-trimmed green grass: