You can find yourself stretched out on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and still you have this gnawing feeling. What’s happening? Well picture this. Six months ago, you were still in rainy Amsterdam scrolling your Instagram feed, lusting over tropical destinations. Now that you are here on a beautiful tropical island in east Indonesia you don’t feel quite as content as you expected. What the hell is wrong with you? You scratch your multiple mosquito bites on your legs, You’ve counted twelve new bumps since yesterday. The itching is killing you. Catching Malaria is one of your worst fears, but let’s not think about that.. You look around, gazing at the soft waves of the clear blue ocean and the swaying of the stunning palm trees.
“It’s so beautiful here” you think while having another sip of a banana and avocado juice. This is paradise right? You try to think of what to eat for lunch. You crave Greek yogurt topped with blueberries and granola. How about an almond milk latté and a smoked salmon spelt sandwich? All the organic health foods you crave are not available in this part of the world. Let’s eat white rice and fish again, but you don’t want rice after four months. All you want is a solidg sandwich and a glass of wine. So what is this feeling? The last thing you want to feel is ungrateful. Being grateful is your life’s mantra. it’s what you live by, because life is good. Then it hits you and when it hits, it hits you hard.
Island life is not quite what I expected it to be. Of course I feel blessed and happy to be here, but life has not been easy for us lately. We found ourselves happily pregnant, but we dealt with a miscarriage of our baby two months ago, which left us devastated. Only a month later we found out the hard way that the family members we were working with on our project have been terribly dishonest with us. It has been a bumpy and painful start of the new year.
“The question here: Is this Paradise?”
It’s in my nature to stay positive through rough times, and I always make the best out of every situation, but it left me thinking about all my friends and family strolling through the snow at home in Amsterdam. “Enjoy paradise is what everybody writes on our Facebook. page” “It’s so cold here, you better stay where you are” is another one. The question here is: is this paradise? Will white sandy beaches and swimming in a sparkling ocean fulfill all my dreams? I barely speak the Indonesian language, making it very difficult to communicate. Oh, how I miss a great conversation in Dutch and English. Are we that much happier over here lying in the sweltering sun? I grab my fan cooler because the heat can be unbearable sometimes, and I dream of wandering through the streets of Amsterdam, buying fresh flowers at the Albert Cuyp market, lighting pretty candles at home and enjoying a good bottle of wine with my love Emiel. All these things are not available here, and after four months it’s sinking in. I am a European girl at heart. Always have and always will be.
“Wearing anything too reveiling like what I am wearing in this post is a definite no-no here”
Living in the far east for six months is a beautiful experience, but not easy for most girls from the west. There are different standards here for women. Walking around town alone is very uncomfortable as your constantly harassed by men. Wearing anything too revealing like what I am wearing in this post is a definite no-no here. We shot these photos on a remote island, so there. I was safe from the open-mouthed stares. While dealing with my own challenges here and adjusting to the culture, I try to stay updated with the news on what’s going on at the home front and my beloved country the United States which I consider my home also. The situation of immigrants and refugees from specific countries not being welcome in the land that I love so much has left me shocked and scared for the future. I think and worry about it all. Let’s toast to that while sipping on coconut juice. Not! Of course!
Is this a good time to post another outfit on the blog I keep asking myself. Is the color of my swimsuit important, while thousands of women of all races are marching for our rights on the other side of the world? I want to march with them! That to me would be paradise. Doing something that would help people. I am living in the biggest muslim country in the world right now. Are all my fellow Indonesian folks not welcome in the US anymore? I fear for what’s to come
With all this commotion, I have been finding it hard to shoot any outfits let alone post them. Still I have come to the conclusion that I love to create, and I love to share beautiful imaginary. Things that hopefully inspire you and I hope to continue doing it for a long time on this blog. It’s my passion. In a few weeks, we will be heading to Bali Island, and I am really excited, basically because Bali is so much more accessible, open-minded and so much fun. I can’t wait for this new chapter, and I would love to share this with you guys.
So when you find yourself rushing to work in the cold rain or catching up with your girlfriends over a hot cup off Starbucks chai latté, remember that we can create our own paradise wherever we are. It does not have to be on a secluded beach sprawled out lying in a hammock. Have a cup of mint tea and curl up on your couch on a Sunday. Watch the latest series on Netflix. Go out shopping alone and try on every dress you want without everybody staring at you like you are an alien. To me, that would be paradise right now.
Enjoy winter everyone, I am on my way to the beach again!
Photos shot on Nai island by EJC Maturbongs – Swimsuit by Hunkemöller