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A lesson on adaptation

Updated: Sep 14, 2020


This blog is a personal dedication to a man named Ruud De Leeuw. A late husband of our beloved aunty, Jeanne who just passed away last week. A couple of days back, I was honoured to attend his intimate funeral at Crematorium Weert. 


I met this man for the first time about three years ago, just after we moved to Weert. Beforehand I heard a lot about him, his migration story from Indonesia. As a young boy, his family moved around to follow his father’s duty as a Dutch military man in Indonesia. After Indonesian declared its independence in 1945, as a half-Dutch family, they had to relocate to a Japanese concentration camp where he lost his brother. This circumstance was a lot to take in for a child, his life was altered in a large scale. 

A few days back at his funeral, I learnt that he was the eldest in his class when he first started school in the Netherlands, 3 years older than the rest of the students. There was a lot that he had to catch up on with the new life, education, friends and so on. After his rocky road growing up, he opened a new chapter in his life as a teenager; living life like any other Dutch teenager; young, free and happy. He had a happy and fulfilling life, surrounded by the people he loved. 

Last year, he called me up and asked me to help him connect his new iPhone with his Mac. He was an eighty over years old who loved apple products and even subscribed to apple fan magazine called iCreate. The man never stopped learning until the very end, learning to adapt to new things, even technology!


I may not know the man as well as others, but from where I am sitting, a lesson that I could learn from him is adaptability. His capacity to change and adjust from the different episodes of life with climactic changes. He made the big alterations in his life, how he conduct himself to fit into the society, etc. But the man held on to the thing he loved dearly to the small things from his past, the food. He grew up Dutch, but an Indo at heart and his belly regardless of the bitter-sweet relationship he had with his birth country, Indonesia. 

Selamat jalan, Ruud. May your soul rest in peace...

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