The truth about living in another country

This thought start tickling my brain after I failed on my driving theory exam (while all of my friends can pass it easily).

I drive since I was 17 years old. I drove every day when I was in Indonesia. I loved driving (in Indonesia) but I can not drive here.

I still have to take driving lesson and pass 2 exams : theory and practice here in my new country and I even can not pass the theory exam. I felt sad.

I have to pass this exam otherwise I only can bike or take public transportations. Well, I just want to drive.


Since I moved, there are some tests that I have to pass.

On the first year, I had to pass integration exam. I passed. 

On the second year, I delivered my second son and I am a mother of two in a new country. (I see this as another life test), I hope I will pass. 

On the second year (still), I learn driving. I don’t pass (yet!). 

In order to live in a new country, I have to be ready to learn again about myself and get adjusted with the new life.


Learning a new culture will influence your soul, your emotion and your view about yourself. 

Adjusting with a new life will give a deep impact in your mind and your soul.

Moving to a new country is mostly about digging your soul to the core and taking the best of it and shaping it. It is about you, yourself, how to be a better you in a new country. 


Is there any other truth other than we will shape ourselve into a better person when we live in a new country? 

I have read in that there are 4 stages on adjusting in a new culture :

1. Everything is Just Great

This is the wonderful “honeymoon phase” when everything looks wonderful and the newness of the new country is exciting and pleasant. I feel excited about being here, and the new opportunities that are waiting for you. When I go to the stores and visit, I impressed by how different is, and by how things are done here.

The truth is I didn’t feel this when I moved here with my family 2 years ago. But indeed I felt this when I studied here back in 2005 and 2007. So I skip this part. I jumped right away to the stage 2. 

2. Hostility

Problems may start occurring because of language and communication difficulties, or because of differences between the native culture and the new culture. At this point, usually people may start to feel impatient, irritable, frustrated, anxious, sad, or discontent, and to think that this new country may not be so wonderful after all.

Yes. I felt this right away.

Have 9 months old baby boy with me, moved to another country then soon I was pregnant.

It was very easy to feel irritated by everything surround me. It lasted for about a year. 

First thing first was learning dutch and was looking for a broaden social network. I went out with my son every single time I had chance (: when it was not raining). I contacted many people as I could and made an appointment to meet up. I joined a lot of activities. Yes, I brought my son everywhere with me. 

I even contacted my good friend  (she is Dutch) “Do you know someone who has a small boy like my son? I would like to meet her.” I contacted her friends and had a meet up and we become friends. Yes, I am that active. 

Most friends I have are Dutch and I need to meet a lot of Dutch people. That’s the way how I learn about this country and that’s how I start a new life. 

After 7 months since we moved, my son goes to the daycare for 2 times a week. I can have more time to study and for my self. That was a good decision ever! 

3. Understanding

At this stage, you will begin to feel more “at home” and able to get around, both physically, with the language, and emotionally. Things are starting to make sense now, and I don’t feel as lost or bewildered by the way things are done here.

I start to find myself again. I start to regain my own power. Thanks to Margreet (she is the owner of the daycare) because knowing that my kids are in a good hand, 2 times a week during the day, makes me feel good. 

I understand the fact that this is not an easy process. I surrender. 

It feels like a process of dating someone new. It takes a lot of meeting, a lot of talking, a lot of understanding and also seeing the true skin of each other. 

I understand that I have to start a new life. 

4. Acceptance

At this point, I have a better understanding of the new culture and realize that it is neither all good or all bad. I start to feel that (maybe) I “belong here”.

That’s the reason I start “Sekar Catering”. 

I love eating. I love cooking. I love working. 

I need to work for myself. My soul needs to grow as a mother, a woman and a wife. 

A lot of ideas in my mind and I need that to be done. Thanks to my family and friends who always support me. 


Moving to a new country gives a deeper understanding about myself.

I never thought that I am an ambitious person but I am and I accept that.

Felt lost, felt frustrated and even had burned out in the first year, didn’t stop me to learn, to develop myself, “I can do this!”.

It is a learning process every single day, as a mother, a wife, a woman, a friend, a daughter, a daughter-in-law, a sister-in-law, a neighbour, a caterer, an acquaintance, so on so fort.

My eldest son is in playgroup – peuterspeelzaal now. I am also in the parents committee- ouders commisie in the school. I feel honoured to be chosen. It makes me feel “being accepted”. It is very important part for me, as Sekar.

And also there are two major decision that gives myself back to the core.

I’m working again.

My husband said “Don’t waste your time applying a job. I know you. You only want to work under a company if you get inspired by its vision or get inspired by the leader. Other than that you are much better if you start your own company like you did in Indonesia”.

He is right.

….and I’m doing sport in the gym again. I feel better and I feel more relax even when I don’t pass the driving exam.




Is there any other truth other than we will shape ourselves when we live in a new country?

You will have a new you but still you, yourself. 


For those who will move, this is my advice:

Go out. 

Get lost.

Get “a date” with your new country.

Find yourself back. 

Have yourself back. 


I can do it. 

You can do it. 









Thank you so much for all my family and my friends !!

I feel sooooo happy to have you guys.

I feel like home here.

Love. Xx


9 thoughts on “The truth about living in another country

  1. denaldd says:

    Waah, selamat Mbak untuk Sekar Kateringnya. Ikutan senang baca ini 🙂 Sukses selalu yaa.
    Kalau pengalamanku, justru aku kebalikan dari poin2 yg sudah disebutkan diatas. Sejak awal aku sudah ngasih pengertian ke diri sendiri bahwa aku harus menerima segala sesuatu yg baru di negara ini. I started from zero., menerima diri sendiri tanpa label apapun. Aku sejak sebulan pindah sudah cari2 kegiatan selain sekolah bahasa Belanda, ikutan beberapa vrijwilligerswerk, samen spreken atau koffie met taal di Bibliotheek centrale Den Haag ataupun yg dekat rumah, pelan2 akhirnya dapat kerja, ikut acara2 yg diadakan Bibliotheek, lulus ujian (masih ada satu yg belum ujian sih). dan memang dengan segala kegiatan tersebut akhirnya aku ga merasa kangen dengan Indonesia, membunuh home sick. Aku setuju sekali dengan apa yg ditulis Mbak Sekar, keluar cari kegiatan dan bertemu orang2 baru. Jangan membatasi lingkungan pergaulan dengan sesama Indonesia saja.


    • Sekar Nareswari says:

      Makasih !!! 🙂
      Ikut buanyak kegiatan lokal itu berefek banget….
      Yang agak beda, soalnya waktu pindah, aku ngerasa siap, soalnya pernah sekolah disini “ah, aku udah kenal Belanda”.. ternyata…tinggal sebagai pelajar, dan tinggal dinegara orang sebagai ibu anak dua itu bedaaaa ya hehehehe. Jempalitan emosiku. Hehehe. plus aku ambisius biyanget.


      • denaldd says:

        Dan lagi, banyak kegiatan lokal yang gratis. Lha sudah difasilitasi oleh negara dengan kegiatan gratis, ya kita manfaatkan dengan sebaik mungkin tho yaa haha, mumpung😅 kapan itu aku ke zwolle Mbak, mampir centrumnya thok sih tapinya keliling2, karena setelah dari Groningen. Memanfaatkan tiket kereta murah haha.


      • denaldd says:

        Pakai yg group samen reizen. €7. Jauuuhh bener emang. 3 jam. Beuhh, pegel duduk di kereta. Untung aku sama temen yg enak ngobrolnya, jadi ga kerasa. Soalnya penasaran sama Groningen. Nah karena ada fasilitas tiket murah, dimanfaatkan sebaik mungkin haha *harus bisa mencari celah di negara serba mahal ini 😆😆


      • Sekar Nareswari says:

        Tolong dong aku dijelasin itu apa sih benernya samen reizen? Sering banget itu student indonesia pake… tapi aku ndak paham caranya gimana sih. Piye nek cuzzz whatsapp’an ??


      • denaldd says:

        Aku yo asline ga paham Mbak hahaha. Iku sing ngurusno koncoku😆😆 mereka ada grupnya di FB, dan karena FB ku wes tak tutup, jadi koncoku sing mesti ngurus kalo kami akan pergi bareng2. Aku tinggal kasih nama dan nomer OV yg personalku.


  2. hez says:

    Oi mbak,, duh baca tulisanmu ini, aku langsung ke stage 2 dan masih ngendon disitu! meh winter, doesn’t help my situation. mualese puol keluar rumah – adem 😦
    still haven’t find myself


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