Hey there !

I’m Yvonne Eschweiler, but I’m pretty sure there are many Yvonnes out there who go by the name “Vonnie”, guess that’s an Indo thing, huh ? My dad is the Indo one, I always use him when people ask me what my ethnic background is, when the cops put “H” behind the section “Race”, I have to educate them that the “H” stands for Human, lolol, I usually tell them what it should be “Other” and not “H”. Eschweiler is German and there’s the mutt in me, dad’s family’s history goes back to the Dutch East Indies, Indonesia nowadays and once upon a time there was a German who was sent from Bergisch Gladbach, not too far from Eschweiler, Germany, how funny (my name) to Amsterdam to work for a trading company…He ended up in Batavia and history was made in the bedroom between the “Guling” under the “Kelambu”, you know in those days…to keep the damn mosquitos away from you while you can have more comfortable sleep under tropic temperatures. So old man Eschweiler played around with one of his “Baboes or servants” and that’s how there suddenly was an Indo EUROPEAN 9 months later, I don’t call him an Indo Dutch because he was German and the other part was a “Native”, not Indonesian, because it wasn’t there yet, according to my dad all of those who were born to a European father and “Inlandse or Native” mom born in the Dutch East Indies were called “Indo European or Eurasian”, but hey, throughout the years s Dutch guy got involved and so on and on until we play it simple and call ourselves “Indo”, at least I do…My great grandparents are Indo Dutch with the remaining German blood lines from and both were born on Sumatra, great grandfather in Belawan and great grandmother in Padang. My opa was born in Buitenzorg which is Bogor, Indonesia now and my oma who was born in Malang moved in 1957 to Dordrecht, Holland and in 1959 the moved to Bellflower where my dad was born in 1961, daddy married his high school love Rositta in 1984 the year when I was born, the year of 23rd Olympic Summer Games in Los Angeles and the year of Van Halen’s “Jump”, yes proud Indo here and I always educate people if they answer “Indo what/who”…Yes, Indo, like the Van Halens…. Opa and Oma never spoke about the Dutch East Indies and my dad raised me with “Don’t bother asking them” which I respected…Any Indos recognize similar situations like mine ? My mom is Puerto Rican, mix that with an Indo and the result is me, “Feisty and hot”, that’s what my “Abuela”, my oma from mom’s side always tells me to tell the guys before they start dating me, beware, beware, lolol. Being a multiracial child growing up in Socal with so many other people with a different ethnic background , I was born and raised with family values, both my Indo and Puerto Rican background can share two exact the same things we have in common which are “Food and Music” ! I remember growing up with parties we had at both sides of the family, food, music, music, food, laughter, arguing, gossiping, envying each other, blaming the Indo uncle he was flirting with the Puerto Rican aunty and vice versa, the not showing up from the oom and tante because whatever might have said or done and then suddenly after 4 or 5 months they make up again with the Indo/Puerto Rican pack and all is forgiven, I bet you Indos reading this you all have that family member who screws up big time and then you have this other oom or tia or tio telling you NOT to talk to them or avoid them or one of your cousins break up a relation and then there’s her telling you she will STOP talking to you if you continue talking to her ex….But at both sides of the families it was always a Happy Ending… My dad wasn’t too much involved in the Indo thing, he considered himself American which I respect and he doesn’t speak Dutch at all, understands it though, my opa and oma raised him in English and they only spoke Dutch when it was a no no for my dad to know what the conversation was about. It was after I visited Holland for the first and only time back in 2006 when I started to look more into my identity, there’s me, considered to be a Latina in The US but in Holland I was right away put in the category “Indo”…Ofcourse, where else than Holland, right ? But us Indo girls came in all sizes and shapes with different color of eyes, hair, skin…It was so much for me to dig in and especially when I visited the Tong Tong Fair/Pasar Malam in May 2006, some Indo please help me explain and agree with me when you arrive at that big tent and you go inside, the sounds, smells and people…it does something to you, I got sentimental and on the other side it was such a nice feeling to experience that all, seeing all the opas and omas talking to each other talking about their lives back in the Dutch East Indies, watching the shows on the main stage, experience both Indo and Indonesian stuff under one roof, I loved it… Ever since then I started to educate myself about my Indo Roots on line and thank God there’s a shit load of stuff. I’m kind of a private person and I don’t do social media, that’s right, I still have an old skool Nokia N-6, still has a freakin’ awesome Carl Zeiss 12MP camera though ! I’m an outdoor person, like dude’s stuff, motor cross, Formula-1 racing, Go Max Go Max, that’s how I met Michael Passage at a Red Bull Event who was wearing a SoCal Indo hoodie and I was more than happy to write my story of being an Indo in Socal. I work at an animal shelter in Whittier, trying to manage the place and trying even harder to find a right place with the even more right owners for the poor putty’s and pooches. The only real Indo recognizable Indo thing my dad has is that he eats rice with a spoon and not a fork and there is always “Krupuk/Shrimp Crackers” and “Sambal” within his reach at the table PLUS the dude puts “Sambal” on top of any sandwich he eats, you name it, he does it, anyone recognizes this ? Michael also told me about his get togethers where other Indos meet in SoCal and about the Holland Festival every last Sunday of the month of May, I love it ! So going back to the beginning of my story, I think I can’t or blame the cops when they put the “H” behind my “Race” because it’s kinda true because my mom is Puerto Rican… Thank you for your time reading my little IndoRican story !

Vonnie Eschweiler