Exploring language souls & identity with Maria Weidner

Meet Maria Weidner: a native Berliner with an Indonesian soul. Maria is also a German teacher and artist.

The first time I heard Maria speak Indonesian, time stopped. No joke, I was in a trance.

Maria, German a few moments ago, was no longer a German woman. She’d been transformed into an Indonesian woman, who is clearly Indonesian! Witnessing such a sense of ease, of someone expressing themselves so fluidly and joyfully is a real pleasure. But seeing Maria express herself in Indonesian, a language she learned as an adult, is mind-blowing. It’s also kind of miraculous. It forces us to re-think all the things we thought we understood about culture, languages and ‘who we really are.’

You’ll soon see what I mean at the end of our video when I ask Maria to say something in Indonesian, at which point she acts out what seemed to me like an entire play ;D (The Indonesian Basics video we refer to sadly was never published but you can catch some glimpses of what I mean here.)

Watch Maria speak Indonesian here.

In the interview, I tried to understand more about finding your soul in a foreign language (as someone who hasn’t had this happen to me). Looking back, I don’t think this needs to happen to everyone for us to be filled with awe at its occurrence. In my case, I’ve been slowly piecing together pieces of my soul through different languages. Maria’s story is such a beautiful chance to marvel at and celebrate how each path unfolds in a unique way!

About Maria in a few words:


  • born in east Berlin, Germany
  • traveled to Indonesia for the 1st time to visit a friend in 1993
  • fell in love with the people and the language
  • found a part of herself, and brought it back home to Berlin
  • Find Maria online where she draws and sells her fun-filled designs here!

Hear the rest of the story in the video at the top of this post!

xx Irina

Tags: , , , , ,
TedXOtaniemiED widget 3

Hi! I’m Irina.

I’m a multibelonger to Finland, Canada and Romania, without ONE language or culture to call my own – I have several. My intention is to be present where I am and find inner peace and harmony where ever life takes me. I’m embracing the gems of the ongoing cultural and linguistic transition which is my life and hope to inspire others interested in doing the same. Click here to find out more!