If you follow me or my friend Christa, you’ve probably heard about the joint project we recently launched, Diasporia. Essentially, Diasporia is the space where Indonesian women share their personal experiences living in other countries. The highs and lows, the struggles and the success.
This project had been a year in the making before we finally launched it (the reason, life get in the way, while overused, is unfortunately true in our case). Christa shared her side of the story on why and how we started this on her blog, so I guess I’d also share mine and why I feel so passionate about Diasporia.
What started it: The struggle in the new place(s)
Christa and I share similar timelines when it comes to moving to a new country. I moved to Sweden just a few months after she moved to the US. My first year in Sweden is marred much struggle and anxiety. First, it was the bureaucracy that got me frustrated. Then there was the job-hunting that put quite a severe dent in my self-confidence (there’s nothing like countless rejections to make you start doubting yourself — ‘Am I not good enough?’ was probably the question I asked myself at least once every day during that dark time). The hardest struggle though, is the ever-present loneliness that I’m still struggling with.
I talked with Christa somewhat regularly during those times, mainly because we coordinated a project called Stories from the West, where we share our experiences as a newcomer in our respective country. At that time, it was also my effort to discover something, anything about Sweden that I could love, that could make living here a bit easier. It wasn’t a successful effort in that regard, but what it did was bringing me closer to Christa, united in our struggles as migrants in the new countries.
We talked about this, and realized the problems we had were quite common for fellow migrants. Everyone who moves to a new country is bound to struggle, whether in their career, social life, or something else. Chatting with Christa always left me feeling a lot lighter afterwards, and I guess it was similar with her. We thought, what if we create a place for fellow Indonesian women to share their stories and struggles?
And so Diaspora was born.
So what is Diasporia, actually?
Right now, it’s a blog where Indonesian women can share their stories, experiences, and tips about living abroad. We want this to be the space where Indonesian diasporia can share their experiences, be it about social life, career, culture, relationships, language, or any other aspects of living abroad, in the hope that they find consolation, support, or insights in reading similar stories. Living abroad is not all roses. There’s so much to learn, things to adapt to, and you always have to put an extra effort to build a life in a place that’s far from your homeland. We want to highlight how these women strive and thrive.
- Studying and finding a job in the Netherlands by Vira Cania Arman
- Living and working in NYC by Dita Anggraeni
- Building a life in the Netherlands by Lorraine Riva
- Working and living in Hong Kong by Indityaputri
I love how we get a glimpse into their challenges and effort, but also the lives that they’ve built thousands of miles away from home. It’s truly inspirational and motivating. And as we continue this, I’m expecting to see more stories from other parts of the world, from Indonesian women from all walks of life.
With these as well, I’m hoping to highlight how Indonesian women strive and work to create a good life abroad (and succeed at it!). All too often we see/hear the stereotypes of Asian or Indonesian women being ‘bule hunter’, materialistic, submissive, or something else that makes me feel deeply uncomfortable. And here on Diasporia, we get to see those stereotypes being broken by Indonesian women who are independent, aspirational, and nothing short of amazing.
I have a lot of fun working on this with Christa (even if it took a year to launch this!), and I hope you will enjoy it too. If you’d like to follow the stories, you can find them on the website and Instagram:
See you there! 🙂