When I was a child, my Dutch-Indonesian grandmother always answered the question where she was from by saying that she was a citizen of the world. I grew up in the Netherlands, a tiny nation. Mostly I remember the Dutch gray sky. It seemed to be raining a lot and my hands and feet were always cold.
At the time I did not know what to make of my grandmother’s statement, but I loved her Indonesian cooking and her stories about Indonesia, her country of birth, that other, far away, unknown world. Most likely it awoke the traveler in me. So much so that when I was 3 years old, I made it as far as the neighborhood park without informing my family that I was going on an exploration. When I was finally found, I proudly stated that I would become a world traveler. I was unstoppable and it has always been like that.
Professionally, I completed the Waldorf School and then graduated with a Masters in Southeast Asian Studies from Leiden University. Leiden University is the oldest university in the Netherlands. Its motto is Bastion of Liberty. You will find that strolling along the canals in the city of Leiden is a romantic undertaking. The canal house I lived in was built in the 16th century. It had a green heavy door. My bedroom window looked right at the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities.
I also studied at Universitas Andalas, Padang, Indonesia and Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. After college I managed to spend some time in Brussels, Belgium and again in Australia, this time in Sydney. Then I worked as journalist in Indonesia and fell in love with my American husband, a gifted photographer with an unique eye and a world traveler himself. He had visited the Netherlands and Indonesia before we met. He knew where I was from.
For the last 13 years I have found myself in Miami Beach, Florida. With my husband, I traveled the state and country. One day he suggested that I should become a Concierge. He thought I would make a good one and would enjoy it. He has been right. I was fortunate to be hired by the Fontainebleau, then the Mandarin Oriental and now the Setai. I have always felt at home at the Mandarin Oriental and so at the Setai. It is the closest I can get to Asia in this otherwise Latin city.
Whatever Miami as a city might be, as a Concierge I have been able to make this Magic City my own and welcome many guests to our Sunshine State. Miami is called the Magic City since it seems to be built overnight. It is truly one of America’s last frontiers. Its a vibrant city. The cities skyline always seems to be changing. The Sunshine State does not need any further explanations, besides that my hand and feet are never cold.
As a Concierge I am always wanting to provide our guests with that ultimate recommendation. Every time I meet a guest, I wonder what they are looking for? What would they enjoy, a place to see and be seen, or something off the beaten path? What I share with my guests is that as travelers we are always searching for that unique, one of a kind, ultimate, perfect recommendation where to go and what to do and of course that we are all citizens of this world.