It is now seven weeks later. Back in the Netherlands and it’s snowing! I am going to write a sentimental story here so be prepared haha. Many people in my surroundings notice that if i am seven weeks back then I have already landed in the Netherlands, but I wish I could agree with that. It is becoming difficult to be back and that feeling keeps increasing. I notice that in the little things. At first it felt like I was still connected to everything that happened in Ubud, and it seemed like Ubud was around the corner. Now it really feels like a place on the other side of the world. Everything goes through here in the Netherlands and also in Ubud, and when I get pictures of the dogs they look completely different than in my memory. In my memory they are puppies and now they are teenagers! Time has flown so fast. Life here in the Netherlands, is normal again and I noticed yesterday that I am already thinking about what I should do next week instead of what I have to do on the day itself. Yet I am glad that the loss is not a negative emotion that is in me. It is a loss in the form of gratitude. Grateful for the people I have met who are all beautiful personalities, thankful that I have seen such a beautiful nature and environment and have been closer to nature than ever, grateful for the fact that I have forgotten the whole concept of money at some point, grateful for all the experiences that I have been able to gain and most of all, grateful for the family that I have been able to set up and have been able to enjoy with. But I also feel other emotions. Emotions of sadness when I look at how society works in here. People who have headphones on and have no conversations with each other. They all run somewhere because they have to be there. People who say ‘why, and how are you going to do that?’ to each other when someone suggests an idea or a dream. Or people who are making plans a week before to paint their walls and see it as a new start. And a few expressions of creativity but that is very rare. Doing things because you have to, and not because you feel like it. And people who buy stuff to experience that satisfying feeling of ‘something new’ for a moment. Getting rid of the daily grind that has become a loupe by now. The people are burned out here, and they are blowing each other out. Who puts anyone on fire here?
Yet I am glad that I now see these things more than before. I see what I can fight for, and where I can make others aware of and hopefully inspire others. I will always say: make that trip to another country for a longer period, because it makes you look at your own country differently. I see the Netherlands now in a more critical way and I can also see what we can all work on together. The Netherlands is a very progressive country, woman-friendly, has a good care system and offers almost everyone good opportunities to study. And therefore, indirectly this opportunity for me to make this trip, which is fantastic. I was often shocked in Bali where I met people of my age who wanted to study so badly but it was simply not possible because they had no money. Children who are tired of learning, here in their seats in the classroom and do not want to go to school because they have to, and in Indonesia, children who want to learn so much that they keep whirling around you until you teach them something and record everything you say as sponges. What is that with that must and want. And why do we have to do things in the Netherlands? And why can’t we do things because we want to do it?
Hinduism is very noticeable in the way of life of every Balinese, and everyone is very thoughtful, calm and patient. Patience is also a very nice thing in Bali. And that is a nice feature to me. Because everyone is so patient, nobody gets mad at each other, and nobody feels a pressure. Julian sometimes joked with me: ‘You’re not stressed, are you?’ and what I have learned from him is: if it does not work today then it will succeed tomorrow. Something that goes completely against my upbringing. It was therefore very special to note that I have experienced almost no fear of failure during the execution of the project. I never doubt the project would not be okay, because it would be okay. And if not, we found another way to make it work. I have completely let go of things. I let go of things the way I wanted to, because every day it was still different, and something came up one way or another. Yet this was sometimes difficult, because everything was always being moved to tomorrow and we sometimes really had to finish things. Sometimes frustrating, but in the end, we just laughed at it. Because sometimes things just go the way they go. Yet I have run into things of myself. Because I sometimes started to live completely in the moment and adapted myself to the quiet life style, I often forgot things that I had to do, so I ended up getting problems. I often had the feeling of ‘uh oh, I forgot’, instead of ‘this we will do today’ moments, so I felt in my regular pattern, being a follower and going into the shadows. Although, this has not been at the expense of the project, and together we have achieved so much within a short time. What a fantastic project. And so happy I did this with my friend Merel. This adventure. Without her, I don’t think I would have had enough confidence to take this step. The best thing I take with me is that we were able to inspire others with our project. Think of the teachers who know more about their pupils, have started looking at their pupils differently and see the value of creative resources to get stories in sight. Or Reza, who became more aware of his role in society and striving for more equality in Indonesia. The whole experience in Indonesia has meant so much to me as a person. I see more than ever before the value of Social and Cultural Development work, because I really experienced how it was to see people’s faces that were appreciated for who they are for once. And to see the pride of their faces and to see them confidently. And to see people moved and come closer together through these shared feelings.
I still cannot say that it was our project because it was ‘OUR’ project. And with us I mean: everyone who helped with this. Rina, Made, Ayu mi, Mang Ayu, Chanti, Diego, Dewa, who respected us and gave us the insight that fun and having fun is incredibly important. The students from Sjaki – Tari – Us, who are so pure and loveable. Julian with his humor but a soft-boiled egg on the inside and Iluh with her heart in the right place who have behaved and guided us. They are two beautiful personalities, with all the goodness of the world and also trying to use this goodness to make the world a better place. Incredibly admirable how they deal with the culture differences, and never forget their purpose. Keep learning things and go to Sjaki-Us every day with energy. And Thijs who told us at the beginning of our project that we can do this and gave us the opportunity to take on this challenge. And Toinette. The most fantastic companion you could wish for! She made sure that we dreamed, but that we also made these dreams concrete again. Together with us she has shaped the project and encouraged us in such a good way to continue that we never doubted giving up. She gave us the confidence to handle it with both hands, but she also gave us the confidence that sometimes you cannot do more, than just what you are doing. And that is sometimes enough too.
And Merry who inspired us with her thoroughness and probably being the strongest female Balinese is in Bali. Ibnu and Ayu who adopted our children and are the sweetest and most inspiring people I have ever met. How happy I am that Lulu and Luna ended up with this family. Never thought that these two creatures would mean so much to me. I miss you very Lulu and Luna and cannot wait to see you again. I meet you every night in my dreams! Reza who received me with a smile the first day in Ubud. You are so smart, and I hope you can travel again soon. Maura, incredibly smart and really an example for me. What do you know a lot about the world and what do you have a good heart? Aanvi, thanks. I am grateful for meeting you, you are so cool. Milotte, I miss you and I’ll see you again in the Netherlands soon. But not too fast because you still have many adventures to experience in Bali! And sooo many other people I met and made me smile. Efnu, thank you, you are one of the funniest persons I know, and especially the humor you have with yourself is the funniest. You were a good asset to the family. And your cooking skills were also an asset. And captain Makan a.k.a Fiona. So happy that I met you at that time, you made me laugh again. And you inspired me to do a master’s degree in fashion and social issues. But first, I will be saving some money and book my next flight to wherever I want to go. Because my eyes are open now and my world is bigger than before. Even at the end of the world, there are people that I love, and I know they love me. The greatest gift I could ever wish for. Ubud, see you ❤
Warm hugs from a cold country,