Tag Archives: Family

Arriving in the Indies

A historical perspective on life in colonial Indonesia starting in 1927.

Johan de WittFrom all accounts the arrival in Batavia during the latter part of 1927 must have been one full of incredible anguish coupled with limitless possibilities for a richer life.

Stories must have run rampant during the ocean crossing about what to expect upon arrival in the Indies and many of these would have been either highly exaggerated or completely fabricated.

Nevertheless, for those passengers on board, the tales, whether tall or not, were none the wiser during this stage of their journey east.

It has become clear through written accounts of the time that for a lot of people making this voyage from Holland, assimilation to the East and its way of life was simply never to become normal.  Continue reading Arriving in the Indies

Indonesia and Me

Northern Sumatra WomanLiving in the United States I feel far removed from the hectic pace and stunning beauty of Asia; especially Indonesia. I shouldn’t complain, I see this more as an observation of the grass being greener since the US has been very good to me but whenever I return to the archipelago of the Indonesian islands I feel a sense of home.

It would be easy to dismiss and say that it’s because New Zealand is so close, I am a Kiwi, but it is a feeling that transcends geographic boundaries and falls more squarely on the proverbial nails head of spiritual connection.

Before I lose you and you begin to wander down the path called “What the Hell is He Talking About” let me reign you back in and explain myself.

Growing up I was not completely unaware that my family, on Mum’s side, had lived in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) nor was I completely unaware that they had lived in Holland for a period. What I failed to grasp however was the importance of the story and the significance such a heritage would, and should, play on the way I see the world.  Continue reading Indonesia and Me


Ocean Beach TotemThe last few years have been something of a whirlwind for me. I left behind the Midwest and the great city of Chicago and headed west; all the way to the coast.  Chicago had been a good place for me to land when I first arrived in the US.

For most of my time there it had proven itself to be a worthy companion and occasional adversary; pushing me to accept challenges head on.  Instilling in me a strength and sense of never say never.  Carrying me on its shoulders until the true meaning of perseverance settled deep into my psyche.

Chicago had provided me with a home away from home.  

It was a place I could be proud of, a city to root for, and a geographic location that for most of the year beats you down with a harsh arctic back-hand. The city conjures up an image synonymous with hard work, adversity, and adaptation.

For the first few years of my residence I had lived with youthful exuberance in this city that embraces the energy of the young. I bellied up to bars and ate Continue reading Grateful


Traveling Kiwi - BruceBack in the days before internet, email, and Skype. Back when a bogus collect phone call home was enough to let your loved ones know you were still alive. Back when postcards had a 50/50 chance of arriving at the correct destination; I got a gift.

In 1986 my sister sat by my side a small furry brown package with large white eyes and a heart that beat out of his chest.

He was as innocent and green to the ways of world travel as I was yet he was now under my care. The responsibility of this however, was lost on me. I was invincible and therefore by association, so was he.

We set out from Auckland on April 12th of that same year prepared to take on whatever the world threw at us.

We were going to have a blast and explore the planet.

My furry friend and I road-tripped through the United States taking on a southerly route. We encountered huge canyons, lone Indians, crazy Texans with huge slices of toast. We stayed in Las Vegas hotels that would Continue reading Bruce

Strong Bugs

Butterfly GigsawOn several occasions as I walked around temples or while on treks through the city or countryside I would be joined by a single excited companion. It would fly its erratic path popping up, down, and sideways as it kept pace with me.

Sometimes it would possess the burnt orange of a monarch while other times it would be a vibrant blue or dark smoldering grey.

Sometimes it would be adorned in uneven stripes; other times meticulous single colored perfectly round dots. On occasion the smooth powdery velvet of its monochrome would be unusually beautiful, enough to render further brush strokes from nature unnecessary.

The butterflies of Cambodia are gorgeous, numerous, and highly regarded.

This was apparent by the many cafes, gardens, sanctuaries, and exhibits dedicated to these delicate and beautiful creatures.

On each occasion as I walked somewhere new I would Continue reading Strong Bugs