I was wondering around from folder to folder stored in Mabell. I keep so many pictures perfect there. And then these pictures from USD (urban and social development) class, make me pondered how a marriage could change a girl’s life 🙂
On the early spring, when the weather was still bloody cold, me & my friend rode our bicycles to Pijnackerstraat, her place. We brought her a little souvenir, chocolates.
She lived in a very homey three storey house (a very common house in Netherland, first floor for service area, second floor for a more private area and the third floor is laundry area). Small but nicely arranged, her family had so many collectible antiques. I got her contact from my Lecturers who arranged the interview for us.
Here today, i’m not gonna repeating the academic version of my meeting with her, tante Mastricht. For me, it’s a self-contemplation i have from the life lesson she had taught me in our one short talk.
Like “normally” being asked in our society (though we were in Netherland where everybody mind their own business and “such questions” were not appropriate to ask if you just met somebody a few minutes ago) she greeted me with “such questions”. “Are you married?”, spontaneously i shook my head, telling her i’m single. She asked me how old i was (again, “such questions” 🙂 ). And there she began telling me her life (yet love) story…
Indonesian born chinese, she was sixty something and been living in Netherland right after she married a Dutch man, om Mastricht. She was a theology teacher and then decided to devote her life as a full time wife. Nevertheless, sometimes she still gave services to Indonesian church community in Rotterdam.
She told me that she was the family backbone. She financed her family and that made her busy with working hours. That was also part of the reasons why she was never been in a relationship, not because commitment phobic whatsoever (another part of the reason was destiny, maybe it was really just about the right time the right person). Not untill she met Om Mastricht on her early forty. She said yes when he asked her to marry him. She dare herself to take all of the consequences that attached to their commitment.
So there she was, heading to Netherland, once was a strange land for her, with a new status -a wife- and a new life -marriage life-.
A year or so, she was strugling with everything new in her life. The language, the culture, the people, the food, the weather, those are the common stuffs of migration adaptation process, those were also things she had to deal with. And of course to adapt with the man she’s married to 🙂
Compromise, that’s what she told me when i asked her how she deal with her marriage, a cross nation & cultural marriage, for there might be so many differences. She frankly said there’re a lot of compromise between her and her husband, not to mention to compromise with herself. Let’s say: leaving her family to live with the man she married (though every married girl will surely do this, still it’s a bit hard to live like thousand miles away – 16 hours of flight, from your family). And funny how tante & om compromise about the food 😀 She doesn’t like Dutch food and Om also doesn’t like Indonesian food. They simply have the rule of “mind your own food” hahaha 😀 The change of nationality and then her decision devoting her life to her husband, be a full time house wife, don’t you think it’s a big big big decision? the last one, for she never been unemployed before 🙂 But I know some very close friends who sincerely left their carreer when they got married. I might do so (or not? :-p).
But yeah, tante told me that to keep your marriage life last forever, you need to compromise, both of you need to compromise. To bridge the big differences between two cultures is not an easy work to do, she said. She was raised in typically chinesse-java family while her husband was raised in Dutch family. There you see the years of upbringin’ in different cultures have shaped their personality different to each other. Again, it calls for compromising. One of my very best friends who also married to a foreigner told me that it required a sincere heart to accept the differences 🙂 But it’s a must if you really want to make your marriage works and lasts forever 🙂
Well, despite of her story of her first years in Netherland and first years of her marriage life, she proudly said she has the best husband 🙂 Though they don’t have kid of their own, it doesn’t make their marriage life less happy. I know, i saw it! Love is still there with them. I saw it from the way they go side by side. I saw it from her patience when she repeating our sentences to her husband because he almost lost his hearing… I know it from the life insurance Om has prepared for his lovely wife. Don’t missuderstand this part, please. I see him as a responsible husband. Since tante is a migrant and has no family in Netherland, Om thaught that he has to protect his wife even though someday he’s no longer there. So, he bought her this insurance which will cover her needs untill she’s eighty something, though Tante said she will not live untill that long… He just wants to make sure that she will be owkay and protected.
Owh here you can see Om shared his pictures with me 🙂 It’s almost hard for me to recognize every word he said, but tante help him. She repeated what he really wanted to say. They spent so much time together, traveled to so many countries. Om drove her miles away, showed her the beauty of another countries she never see before. I remembered she was so happy telling me that Om made her dream of flying with hot air baloon came true 🙂 And he proudly told me that he stirred miles and miles for tante, and then they got lost out of nowhere, pennyless (was it gulden-less? haha :D) but he made sure that his wife was always safe and sound. Hey, they showed me their picture perfect in one of beautiful fountain in Salzburg! and i’m drolling for Salzburg (the inside me says “one day, with your husband, dear!” 😀 ). Together and with so much happiness they made their adventour last forever though then Om suffered from ilness and could not drive for her anymore….
A picturesque story of Om and Tante Mastricht, my life lesson…
Well..well…I miss my good old time and Netherland so bad, just like this bad English o’mine, day by day it is getting “kriting” :-p