Visiting Local Markets in Amsterdam

Usually, it started out with a conversation like this:

+ “What are we going to have for lunch?”
– “I don’t know. Can’t think of anything.”
+ “Me neither. Let’s go to the market, then.”

Or this:

+ “What are we going to do this weekend?”
– “I don’t know. Can’t think of anything.”
+ “Me neither.”
– “Visit the market?”
+ “Sure.”

While traveling, visiting local markets (and grocery stores) has always sat on the top of my bucket list. I love people-watching and local markets are the best place to do this while sipping a cup of freshly-pressed orange juice or having a bite of that delicious Kibbling (fried cod) sandwich–topped with onion sauce.

Amsterdam is vibrant with local markets.

Some of them, like the flower market (Bloemenmarkt), Waterlooplein flea market, Het Spui book market (Boekenmarkt) and the ever-popular Albert Cuyp Market can be pretty packed with tourists–but even then, I still find the whole experience entertaining.

It’s all about the music in the air, the clinging and clanging of goods and utensils, the explosion of scents and colors, and the murmurs on the stalls on the left, and on the right: everything is so alive, so vibrant, so attractive!

My favorites to visit are actually the neighborhood markets–smaller local markets in different residential areas where locals get their fruits and vegetables, fish, meat, and bread. The one closest to where I was staying the last time was the Ten Katemarkt in Amsterdam West (the hip foodcourt De Hallen is nearby!), and the other one I love is the Noordermarkt on Saturdays–when they have their farmer’s market.

Some tips before visiting the local market in Amsterdam:

  1. Find out what kind of market you’d like to visit. There are book market, flower market, flea market, fabric market, art market, vinyl market, and many more.
  2. See the opening days/hours. Some markets closed early (or completely closed) on certain days. You don’t want to be disappointed!
  3. If you don’t have enough time to explore the popular markets, find a neighborhood market that is closest to where you stay. You can always get some food there.

You can find more information about the local markets in Amsterdam (location, opening hours/days, and what they sell) here and here.

Personally, these are some of my favorite things to see (or buy!) when I visit Amsterdam’s local markets:

  1. Heavily-decorated vintage plates and cups.
  2. Old pins.
  3. Beautiful fabric.
  4. Delicacies from a country I’ve never visited, served from a food truck.
  5. Watercolor postcards or canvas paintings.
  6. Home-made jam, tea-mix, or spices.
  7. Potted plants!


When I’m alone, I can spend hours in these markets: standing in front of different stalls, sniffing the fresh produce, reading the labels on jars, running my fingers through vintage dining utensils, and admiring the naturally artistic way the sellers move behind their counters.

It reminds me of the feeling I have while I am sitting by the beach, gazing at the rolling waves licking the sand.
It’s strange how I can always feel somewhat calm in the midst of such a bustling environment.

Hanny Kusumawati

Musings on Love & Sacrifice

I published this illustration on Instagram yesterday, and it seemed like the message resonated with a lot of you. Thus, I decided to post that illustration here, along with a chapter from my interactive playbook, Break, Hearts.

I used to think that love is synonymous with ‘sacrifice’.

I could still remember the pride that was swelling inside of my broken heart from being able to say: “I’ve sacrificed so much for him!”–as if by sacrificing more, I had won a nonexistent competition to prove my significant contribution to the relationship; while the other party contributed much less. So, I sacrificed more to show how I can love more and to be loved more. I hurt my feelings to protect other people’s feelings.

Only in the past few years have I realized that love is not about sacrificing something–or someone. It’s not about succumbing to anything–or anyone. We don’t have to choose who or what to be sacrificed to be able to love (and to be loved).

Love should be a win-win instead of win-lose. A relationship is not a matter of mutual sacrifice. It’s about being able to compromise. And yes, it took me a long time to understand the difference between the two.

When I love from a broken heart and hurt feelings, I came from the mindset of lack. Therefore, when I have to share the love inside of me, it has to feel like a sacrifice–because now that I’ve shared it, I ended up with less.

When I learned how to love from a heart that is full and content (because self-love has become my top priority), I realize that loving could leave me with a whole functioning heart–not only a fraction of it. It’s not a sacrifice. It’s a pleasure. There’s so much love inside of me to give; I can’t help but sharing it with the people I love.


Excerpt from the interactive playbook, Break, Hearts.

There are times when picking ourselves up after a heartbreak feels almost impossible. We feel as if we’ve lost ourselves. We feel as if the version of ourselves—the one when we were in a relationship—is missing. Strange. Because we cannot lose ourselves, can we?

But, the truth is: we can.

At certain stages in our lives, we can lose sight of our real selves. It is particularly for this reason that we have the term ‘self-discovery’—a journey to rediscover ourselves. But how do we lose sight of ourselves in the first place?

Most of the times, by pretending to be someone else.

We pretend to be someone we’re not to please others or to receive their approval. Some of us play this role for so long to the point where we start to believe that we are whom we pretend to be.

Fake it until you make it, they said.

This is precisely what some of us are doing.

We are pretending to be the version of ourselves that—we believe—will be approved by others more, will be wanted by others more, will be loved by others more.

For this reason, a lot of us enter a relationship by pretending to be someone we’re not. We are doing the things we don’t typically do, behaving the way we don’t usually behave, and tolerating stuff we often won’t tolerate.

We are obsessed to find out what our significant other like or dislike, want or do not want. We believe that if only we knew all these, then we can present ourselves as an ideal partner. We are not confident that appearing as our true selves will interest our significant other enough.

Thus, throughout the relationship, we keep molding and readjusting ourselves to please our significant other: craving for their approval. The problem started to kick in when we were tired of putting on a show and realized that we have turned into the person we are not.

In such uncomfortable situations, our real selves sometimes appear, to the point that during fights or argumentations, our significant other might say: “It feels like I don’t know you anymore.”

Which, to this extent, might be valid.

On a day-to-day basis throughout our relationship, we might have presented ourselves as someone else. Someone we thought would better suit our significant other. We’ve been wearing masks.

However, who is it that our significant other truly loves? Our masks or ourselves? If we appear in front of our significant other unmasked, do we think he or she would still recognize us—let alone love us?

At the tipping point when we realize that we have repressed our true selves only to please our significant other, a word makes itself visible: sacrifice.

We feel as if we’ve made sacrifices throughout our relationship. Sometimes, we ask, “Why am I the only one who make these sacrifices?”

But here’s a hard pill to swallow: love should not feel like a sacrifice.

Sacrifice means one person gets nothing while the other person gets everything. If it feels unfair, we are right. It is unfair.

The more we sacrifice, the more we got frustrated with our relationship, with our significant other, and ourselves. The more we sacrifice, the more we’re losing ourselves.

The thing I’ve learned throughout the years is this: in a healthy relationship, we do not need to make sacrifices.

We compromise.

Hanny Kusumawati

I Don’t Feel Like A Writer Anymore.

Since I was little, I have always wanted to be a writer. I grew up reading Blyton, Lindgren, and Hitchcock, wanting to be just like themhaving the ‘superpower’ to create a parallel world and transport people to experience different lives and undergo different adventures. I spent my teenage days writing stories. During the weekends, I typed and typed and typed, only went to bed at around 4 or 5 am with a jittery feeling of not knowing how the story will end.

When later in life some of my short stories and travel narratives got published in an omnibus by two of Indonesia’s major publisher, I was so proud. It was like an achievement in itself: a dream come true. When I caught a glimpse of those omnibus on the shelves of a bookstore, I thought to myself, “Now I can really call myself a writer!”

But here’s the thing: I don’t feel like a writer anymore.

I posted a question on Instagram a few days ago as I was pondering about this issue, and I’m so relieved that some of you are kind enough to let me know that you are also facing the same dilemma and even share your struggles.

Have you ever felt trapped by the label you gave to yourself? Have you ever felt as if you’ve outgrown the label?

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Have you ever felt as if you've outgrown the label you gave to yourself? For instance: you have always thought of yourself as a blogger/writer/vegan/runner/director/manager/mother/daughter/traveler/entrepreneur/(whatever label you've glued unto yourself), but at some point in your life, you feel uneasy because either: 1. this label doesn't suit you anymore/doesn't portray who you are now, or 🎈 2. you feel like a fraud (not being honest with yourself) by carrying this label, or🎈 3. you feel trapped/suffocated because you've outgrown that label and you want to do more/expand, or 🎈 4. you don't like the way people associate this label with a trait/strereotype/certain group, or 🎈 5. you used to think you ARE this label, but now you realize that you don't want it anymore 🎈 I am pondering about this question today (both personally and professionally). I am planning to write a post about it this weekend to share how I feel/think. So, if you have ever experienced/felt something similar, I'll be happy to hear from you! What kind of label you've outgrown in life? Which label would you like to strip away? Why?

A post shared by Hanny Kusumawati (@beradadisini) on

I didn’t know when the label ‘WRITER’ started to bother me, but it must have been getting on my nerves for the past few years. Not that I am not into writing anymoreon the contrary, I am still writing and I can’t stop thinking of future book projects (something is brewing for the end of the year!). However, oddly, these days the ‘writer’ label I have glued unto myself feels somewhat suffocating. When I have to speak in front of an audience or delivering a workshop, when the organizer introduced me as a writer, I feel like a fraud, a liar.

“But, why?” you might ask.

I don’t know. I can’t precisely pinpoint the reasons: maybe because I don’t feel like I have been productive. Maybe because I have experienced the feeling of ‘being a published writer’ and now that I have known the feeling I was no longer curious. Maybe because I wanted to do more than ‘just writing’. Maybe because I’m a little bit bored with this whole ‘writing thing’. Maybe because I have just started expanding my creative expressions to drawing and filming. Maybe because that label feels too limiting and doesn’t give me enough room to experiment in life.

Whatever the reasons might be, it’s not about reasoning at all. It’s more about how I feel; no matter how irrational it might sound.

The thing is, lately, I have learned to trust my feelings and rely on it more. I mean, who am I to call myself a ‘writer’ when I don’t feel like one?

Only then it dawned on me that I was the one who gave this label to myself. Even if the label was attached to me by someone else (publisher, workshop organizers, etc.), I was the one who decided to embrace the label, voluntarily. Thus, I actually have the power to ditch the label when it no longer suits me. I can bid the label farewell. I don’t have to walk around carrying the label on my shoulders when it feels too heavy. When I decided to drop the label, I don’t have to conform to what other people might expect from that particular label.

So, I decided to do it today: to drop the label and not to think of myself as a writer anymore.

I was feeling a bit scared, actually: should I do this?

But then I realized that this is a label I created or embraced for myself. It’s only a label. Just because I decided not to call myself a writer anymore, it doesn’t mean that I can no longer write. Maybe, I can even write more and better once I am done associating myself with the label.

I am having fun trying to find a new label that might fit me better at this stage. Some of you might say, but what’s the point of ditching a label to attach a new label unto yourself? Why can’t we just be humans without labels?

To which I would say: I am trying to get there. To be who I am, no labels attached.

However, for practical reasons, I still need to label myself with something (new). At least for myself, so I won’t feel too lost. Then, of course, to introduce myself to potential clients during meetings or networking events. (Do you know that since I quit my job and work independently, I haven’t printed my name card because I still couldn’t decide what I wanted to put as a title?).

So, after listing down the things I’m doing now (personally and professionally), plus listing down the things I would want to do in the future (personally and professionally), I am happy to attach a new label unto myself.

I am a creator. A creator of experience in life, a creator of content in the digital world.

I think, for the time being, I like the label. It fits me nicely like a new pair of jeans. Surely, just like a new pair of jeans, it’s still a bit stiff (and, you do know that faint smell of ‘the store’, don’t you?). I would need to wear it more, so I can wash it and crack it a little bit to make it even more fitting. Oh, and in the next few days, I will also need to adjust my bio/profile here and in other social media platforms. Indeed, more work and adjustments, but it’s okay.

So, here I am, with my new label, intending to create more playful and meaningful content (or experience) on and off the Internet. When it comes to work, I could say that I help my clients to do just the sameand during workshops, classes, or retreats, I am basically sharing about the same thing.

On another note, maybe I’ll also get tired of this label one day and granted myself a new one in the next 3, 5, or 10 years. Who knows? However, I guess that’s the point.

Life is about forever rediscovering something new about ourselves. It’s about growing and evolving. And why should we feel bad about retiring an old label? We’re not supposed to feel bad when we’re retiring a piece of clothing that has become too tight or too worn out for us, aren’t we?

With that being said, maybe I can start designing my name card and get them printed out next week.

Hanny Kusumawati



PS: If you could drop a label that has burdened your life lately, what would that label be, and what would you embrace as a new label?