Some things that I still don’t get used to it and a few things that I enjoy it

A few years back when I was a student, I thought I have enough experience with so called Dutch Culture. Apparently living as a mother and a wife, giving me more insight what is the real Dutch Culture… I am now an immigrant, official one. 🙂 I experience what so called un-dutch-able, like the tittle of a book.

1. The chat and the greetings

I love to have a chat. Everybody loves to have a chat, especially with people that are close to you and with other nice people.

In here, people LOVE to have a chat. I seriously write it with big letters. I find it interesting that people really do have chat with the cashier in the supermarket. Not everyone but sometimes I see it. They can have a talk about how good the product is, how lame one product is compared to another, how great the supermarket, etc. Sometimes I do it as well. It is quite nice to do it. Also people love to greet to each other. When I pass someone on the street, we don’t hesitate just to say “good morning” or “Hai” with a smile. A very small gesture that I don’t see it easily in my home country.

People also really have a chat with their neighbour. It is just a casual chat which probably I never had it in my home country. It is just like “oh, the weather is nice”… and the conversation goes along with that, probably only max 5 minutes.

People in Indonesia love to have chat also… but what is the difference with people in here ?

In here, people really make the chat as the main activity. In all activities we do, the chat is the main point. People can have a chat with the same group, without any other activities other than having conversation, sitting on the same chair, only have a small snacks-coffee or tea for more than 2 hours but this is usually happening when you have a chat with older people… if we have a chat with close friends, it will be more relaxing.

In Indonesia, the chat is the sparks among us. We can not have a chat for more than 2 hours without having any other activities and sitting on the same chair. At least for me, I can not and so far I’ve seen…my friends are also not able to do it.

In my culture, the conversation can take place in front of television where some people maybe watch tv, others play games on the floor, the other eating snacks sitting on the chair, but we can have the same conversations… or not. No one care. As long as we are together… it doesn’t mean we have to have the conversation all the time, together.

In here, in the party, people choose to have a chat first, rather than just jump and dance together !

In Indonesia, people choose to dance first, having a crazy moment together, taking picture, laughing for no reason, eating a lot… and having a real conversation when everybody is tired.. 🙂

Both are fun and interesting for me… 🙂 as long as we are with great friends and family then nothing can beat it.


2. Sleeping in the afternoon or siesta

In Indonesia it is normal to have siesta or having relax time during afternoon, usually it is around 3pm until 5pm.

In here it is not normal to have siesta. My good friend said that maybe Holland is not that hot… because siesta also happens in Greece, Italy, Spain and in other countries that are warmer than Holland. I think that makes sense.

In daily life, I can have siesta when my son sleeps in the afternoon. But when I gather with my family here, I miss the siesta moment. A moment that I can just go back to my room, to rest my mind and my body for a couple hours, cuddling with my son and have a moment together with my husband. Sleeping in the afternoon is just not common here.


3. Snacking

I know…I know.. I always mention this.

Eating culture in Holland is not about eating, it is about having a chat with each other. We start together, we finish together. Meanwhile we have a chat… and that can take for more than 2 hours and continue with coffee-tea time and of course another hours of conversation. It can be fun if we are with close friends who have the same interest like us.

In Indonesia, eating culture is really about eating. For sure, we have a chat… but mostly also about the food. We start together, finish together but not more than 2 hours. After having eating together usually we will move to another room. Some will stay sitting on the same chair, others will move to front terrace and have a drink, others maybe go out… As long as we meet up together, doesn’t mean we have to be together all the time.


4. Waking up as late as I want

This part, I really enjoy it ! We don’t have to wake up early, as long as we can be responsible in our schedule of the day than it is enough.

When in family holiday, the parents can wake up later than the children. The children will play, meet up together… wait for their parents wake up. It is nice, he ! 🙂 No one will criticise us like “you are a female, you should wake up early…bla bla bla”.

This part, I think I can live with it.

Oh ya, and I can take shower just once a day or once every two days… no one care… of course when it is -2 degree celcius it is better not taking shower too often. 🙂


5. Breakfast time

While waking up as late as I want is the best part I enjoy a lot here, the breakfast time with a big group still I have to get used to it.

We start breakfast together, means we have to wait the last person who wake up to get ready to have breakfast before we start eating.

While in Indonesia, breakfast will be served around 6am-7am, and people can take breakfast at anytime they are ready and might be the last person won’t get the best bites.


I still have more things that I have to get used to but those I mention are the most new habits that I find most interesting to share. I enjoy living here, I find the people are more sincere, maybe that’s why having a chat is important stuff to do. They really want to exchange news with each other… or maybe because the life is not that messy in here. The government really pay attention to its people and almost no corruption compared to Indonesia. By that reason, people may find it relaxing to have a chat for soooo long time. Maybe.

While in Indonesia, life is so busy, messy, a lot of competition, so not sure with everything, and by that reason, people find it relaxing to have massage in a good spa, not talking to everyone, just be quiet at home, and sleeping in the afternoon is a luxury, etc.

But maybe I think it is not about just habit…

The Netherlands has a king and queen. That makes everything different. The traditions, the culture, are also built by royal tradition. I think that influences everyday’s life.

I will live here, for the rest of my life. At least that’s the plan. So, I will get used to some of the habits that I find awkward. I think no matter how long I live here, I will feel like an immigrant… of course.. that’s undeniable. I’m an immigrant and I live in a country where the language is soooo difficult. 🙂


When I listen to a song by Sting “Englishman in New York”… That’s exactly what I feel here. Here is the link.



“I am an alien, I am a legal alien…”.



My friends and I when we have picnic together.

Bahri is from Indonesia. Cuoc is from Vietnam

We are legal aliens.







Having a BBQ in our house. 🙂







I love living here… but sometimes I really miss Indonesia. 🙂

Have a nice day, everybody !!



Sekar Nareswari-Steenwelle


8 thoughts on “Some things that I still don’t get used to it and a few things that I enjoy it

  1. mamakarti says:

    U will lived there for the rest of your life?? Wow…im still not realized that you are is not Indonesian citizen right now.haha!.we do chat for just few months ago..right?.and i still feel that someday we’ll do chat in indo again,!.thats not a good idea, i think we have to chat for 2 hours…with coffee & cakes in your new hometown ya? : D miss u so much sista!


      • mamakarti says:

        Aiiihhh….dirimu iki rajin banget membesarkan hatiku…: D, anyway thx ya, ngerti banget kl aku kudu disurung2 biar termotivasi terus…wakakakkkk!


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