AWC Going Dutch Sept 2020

The bi-monthly magazine of the American Women's Club of The Hague

The bi-monthly magazine of the American Women's Club of The Hague


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Going Dutch

September 2020

Georgia helps us get to know Jessie

much better

Anne teaches us how to navigate

Dutch cycle paths


See the incredible “Flat Stanley”

Board Installation created by Melissa




The Magazine of the

American Women’s Club

of The Hague

Table of Contents

5 Officers and Chairwomen

6 AWC Board Installation

8 Message from the President

9 Fall Kick Off

10 Ramblings from the Editor

12 Membership

12 Newcomers

13 9/11 Ceremony

14 Ongoing Activities

18 One-of-a-Kind Activities

20 Book Lovers

23 AWC Summer Activities

24 FAWCO Corner

25 Voting

26 Environmental Racism

28 Calendar

31 AWC and the Arts

32 Jessie Rodell: Member



37 Pandemic Paradox

38 Enduring Uncertainty

41 Giving Birth During a Pandemic

43 Thoughts on Travel

44 Knooppunten

46 Challenge Brings Growth

47 Experiences Thanks to COVID-19

48 Planning a Wedding

50 Appreciating Family

52 Classifieds

52 Advertising Rates

53 Index of Advertisers

54 End of the Commune



Melissa White

2020-2021 AWC Officers

Committee Chairs

AWC Clubhouse

Johan van Oldenbarneveltlaan 43

2582 NJ Den Haag

Tel: 070 350 6007



Going Dutch Magazine


Clubhouse Hours

By Appointment Only

Dues (Effective 2020-2021)

€ 110 per year (€ 66 after January 1)

€ 90 business, professional

€ 55 valid US military ID

€ 35 student

€ 35 Outside the Netherlands (Going

Dutch magazine not included)

Add € 15 new member registration fee

Design and Layout

Teresa Mahoney


The World is Upside Down, Amsterdam Centraal

Station, January 2020


Greetje Engelsman, Mark Gatewood, Melissa

Rider, Melissa White


Celeste Brown, Jane Gulde, Diane Schaap,

Debbie van Hees

Advertising Manager & Invoicing

Peggy Van Luyn


Mary Adams, Rachel Allen, Barbara Brookman,

Jane Choy, Johanna Dishongh, Suzanne Dundas,

Greetje Engelsman, Roberta Enschede, Jenni

Franklin, Amber Gatewood, Eileen Harloff,

Georgia Regnault, Melissa Rider, Jo van Kalveen,

Suzanne MacNeil, Alex Moore, Anne van Oorshot,

Michelle Voorn



AWC Bank Account Number

IBAN: NL42ABNA0431421757

KvK Den Haag

40409274 BTW or VAT: 007408705B01

Deadlines: Submissions are due no later than the last Monday of the month preceding the publication month.

For example, for the November issue, submissions are due before Monday, September 28.

Please Note: Articles submitted to Going Dutch will be published subject to space limitations and

editorial approval. All rights reserved; reprints only by written permission of the Editor. Please email to:


Legal Notice: Articles in Going Dutch express the views and opinions of their authors alone, and not necessarily

those of the AWC of The Hague, its Members or this publication.


Honorary President Diane Hoekstra

President Barbara Brookman


Vice President Melissa Rider


Treasurer Sarah Dunn


Secretary Mary Ellen Brennan


Club and Community Development


Carin Elam


Clubhouse Administration Officer



Communications Michelle Voorn


Front Office

Liduine Bekman, Siska Datema-Kool,

Jan Essad, Deana Kreitler, Hannah Gray,

Georgia Regnault, Lindsey Turnau

Activities: Sarah Partridge

Arts: Jane Choy

Assistant Treasurer: Teresa Insalaco

Board Advisor: Jessie Rodell

Book Club Daytime: Teresa Mahoney

Book Club Evening: Dena Haggerty

Bookkeeper: Lori Schnebelie

Caring Committee: Naomi Keip

Chat, Craft & Cake: Suzanne Dundas

eNews: Michelle Voorn

FAWCO: Jenni Franklin

Front Office Coordinator: Hannah Gray

General Meetings Programs: Open

Heart Pillows: Jan de Vries

Historian/Archivist: Georgia Regnault

Holiday Bazaar: Georgia Regnault

IT Administrator: Julie Otten

Kids’ Club: Open

Lunch Bunch: Greetje Engelsman

Mah Jongg: Jen van Ginhoven

Membership: Heather DeWitt

Movie Network: Tina Andrews

Newcomers: Jo van Kalveen, Hilde Volle

Parliamentarian: Georgia Regnault

Philanthropy: Open

Pickleball: Barbara Brookman

Social Media Facebook and Instagram:

Michelle Voorn

Social Media LinkedIn: Julie Otten

Tennis: Molly Boed

Thirsty Thursday: Open

Tours: Liduine Bekman

Volunteer Coordinator: Laurie Martecchini

Walkie Talkies: Emily van Eerten

Webmaster: Julie Otten

Women with Dutch Partners: Michelle


AWC Mission Statement

The AWC is an association formed to provide social and educational activities for American

women living in the Netherlands and to promote amicable relations among people of all nations,

as well as acquiring funds for general public interest. Membership in the club is open

to women of all nations who are friendly and welcoming to American culture. The association

does not endeavor to make a profit. The AWC is a 100% volunteer organization.


A Board Installation Like No Other



Message from the President

by Barbara Brookman

Fall Kick Off

by Melissa Rider

Welcome to the start of a new Club

year in COVID-19 time. As we

socially distance and our worlds

have shrunk, the Club matters even more to

me. I hope it does to all of you. Last week,

I was fortunate to join a lunch with Jessie

Rodell and past AWC Presidents who still

live in Holland. While stories and laughter

flowed across the table and we heard from

overseas former Presidents by mail, I was

thinking about the importance of listening to

and sharing stories with the people we love.

Our lives are so much richer when we are

part of a community of people who know us.

However, sometimes stories are buried

deep and we struggle to fill in the blanks.

When my parents returned to Holland from

the Netherlands Indies after WWII, their

stories of suffering in Japanese internment

camps or the precarious struggle outside

the camps, followed by the instability of

an independence war were inconvenient

and mostly ignored. So they did what

Prime Minister Mark Rutte described during

the memorial ceremony on August 15:

they stored the past “in the attic with the

steamer trunks.” In many cases it’s too late

to unpack those steamer trunks or find the

keys to the locks, but I hope to still have

some time to listen.

Listening is truly a superpower and the

best gift we have to give precisely because

it is so diffi- cult. By opening up without

judgment and connecting

with empathy,

we move

beyond being

an observer.

This goes

well beyond

friends and

family (although


a great place

to start!) and


extends to the

world around us.


can be uncomfortable

as some

of them have to

be like the discussion


Black Lives

Matter, which is

so necessary to

confront us with

our privilege, or

Female Genital

Mutilation, which we’re learning so much

about thanks to the FAWCO Target Project

and needs to be eradicated. We need to listen

to these and other stories to bear witness,

learn and move to action as a way to

express our awareness, empathy and humanity.

I hope you all come back to the Club with

lots of new stories and I hope to read many

of them in this issue of Going Dutch.

Thank you for sharing and being there for

one another.


P.S. I have 500-word limit for this column,

and I considered just writing VOTE! 500

times. But you know what to do. Vote by

email if your state allows it and return your

ballot the day you receive it (see page 25

for more information). Whatever you do,

please VOTE!

Let’s Kick Off the AWC’s 90th

Anniversary Year with Two

Celebratory Events

Fall has arrived and with it a new Club

year! What better way to kick off a year of

celebrating the American Women’s Club

of The Hague’s 90th anniversary and say

“Welcome” and “Welcome Back” to our

new, returning and prospective Members

than with two festive events to suit everyone’s

busy schedule.

Morning Kick Off Party

First, we’ll have a morning party of cake

and coffee or tea at the Strandrestaurant

Werelds (www.strandrestaurantwerelds.nl)

on the beach in Scheveningen (parking garage

directly across the street at Interparking

Boulevard at Strandweg 179). Rain or

shine, it’s a lovely spot for a social gathering.

There is lots of space to mingle and

learn about our Ongoing and One-of-a-Kind

Activities, Tours, Philanthropic Endeavors,

and Volunteer Opportunities within the

Club. Board Members and Committee

Chairs will be available to answer any questions.

Thursday, September 10

10 a.m. – Noon

Strandrestaurant Werelds

Strand Noord 54, 2586 ZZ Den Haag

FREE (1 cake + 1 coffee/tea)

Additional food and drink purchases at

own expense

RSVP required

Minimum 10 / Maximum: 30

Cancellation Deadline: September 3

Did you know that any woman who speaks English is eligible

to join the American Women’s Club?

Invite your English-speaking friends, wherever they’re from,

to join us today!

Evening Kick Off BBQ

For those who cannot make a morning

meeting, our second festivity will be a Sunday

evening BBQ for all to enjoy at the Tennispark

Houtrust (www.tennisparkhoutrust.nl);

parking is available on the street. For just

the price of drinks, we’ll be able to use their

facilities of clubhouse and terrace to have

a cookout. Family members are welcome

along with friends who are interested in

joining the AWC. Again, information will be

available about the upcoming activities and

events for the fall. Hamburgers, chicken and

veggie burgers will be provided by the Club.

Members are asked to bring an appetizer,

salad or dessert to share.

Sunday, September 13

5 – 8 p.m.

Tennispark Houtrust

Laan van Poot 38, 2566 EE Den Haag

Drinks MUST be purchased at the venue

Bring a side dish

RSVP required

Minimum 10 / Maximum: 30

Cancellation Deadline: September 3

Save the Date

The plans for the October General Meeting

were not finalized when we went to print,

but we will have a guest speaker. Please

keep the morning of Thursday, October 8,

open to spend with the AWC.


Ramblings from the Editor

by Melissa White

I’m back! For those of you keeping track, I

stepped down as Editor back in May 2017.

I hadn’t stopped loving the feeling of accomplishment

as I received each new issue

of Going Dutch in the mail, but I was burned

out after eight years. In addition, my husband

James was being laid off at the time and our

future in the Netherlands was very uncertain.

Clearly we never did move away and he is

doing his best to keep his consulting business

afloat. Sadly, our status here is still pretty shaky,

but that’s entirely our own fault for being too

stubborn to commit the time to learn Dutch; I

surely won’t be passing any inburgering exams

anytime soon with my standard response to

everything: Mijn nederlands is slecht.

After three years of offering various levels of

behind-the-scenes assistance on Going Dutch

and one pandemic later, I’ve taken back the

reins and am thrilled to be working with

Teresa Mahoney again. Please don’t regard

this as a step backwards, but a leap forwards

as we make some significant changes to our

beloved magazine.

One major change is that we have reduced

the number of issues each year from eight to

five. Thus, each issue will cover two months

with a two-month break over the summer

(September/October, November/December,

January/February, March/April and May/

June). This will result in less of a focus on our

Club’s day-to-day activities, especially during

these uncertain days when we don’t know

if or when there could be another lockdown

or further changes to current social distancing

guidelines. Between our website, eNews and

our Facebook group, there are plenty of ways

for our Members to keep apprised of the latest

updates on activities and events, many of

which are back to being held in person.

Another important change to Going Dutch is

that we will attempt to have a unifying theme

in each issue, especially in an effort to document

this unusual time in our Club’s history.

In this issue, we’re again reflecting on the

pandemic, allowing Members to share how

COVID-19 has impacted their lives. There

are a few sequels to earlier articles including

Giving Birth During a Pandemic and The End

of the Commune (as you’ll see, Members did

such a great job submitting articles for this issue

that I had to keep my sequel to The White

House Commune article relatively short). In

addition, this issue has an in-depth article by

Georgia Regnault to get to know better Jessie

Rodell, a past AWC President and current

Board Advisor who is heroically dealing with

brain cancer (see page 32).

In honor of the AWC’s upcoming 90th anniversary,

our next issue will feature former

AWC Presidents reflecting on how they

worked to overcome some of the Club’s

challenges over the years. We hope this will

be informative as well as another important

way to document our Club’s history. Other

themes being considered include reflecting

on living in Holland, and what the AWC

has meant to our Members. Please feel free

to reach out to me with suggestions on possible

other themes for future issues, or if

you’d like to discuss a possible submission,

at goingdutchmag@awcthehague.org.

Regarding the covers, we’re also going to try

something new this year. Compared to Emily

van Eerten’s incredible cover photo for the

June issue, I know that my photography efforts

could never come close to being as

dramatic or timely. However, I have always

loved taking reflection shots, so will attempt

to come up with some images to tie in with

our ambitions to reflect in this year’s issues.

Of course, we hope that you’ll embrace these

changes to Going Dutch as we work hard to

continue to produce a high-quality magazine

that we hope you look forward to reading.





by Heather DeWitt

A Ceremony of Remembrance and Hope

by Roberta Enschede

2020-2021 Membership Dues

AWC Membership dues for the 2020-2021

Club Year are now payable and will be effective

until August 31, 2021. All renewals

must be received by September 30, 2020

to avoid a € 10 late fee. You can make

your payment online by electronic bank

transfer to our bank account with IBAN:

NL42ABNA0431421757 (be sure to include

your name and “Membership Dues” in the

memo) or through our website via PayPal

(additional fees apply). Dues remain the same

as last year: € 110 for Regular and Associate

Members, € 90 for Business Professionals,

€ 55 for Military (with valid military ID)

or € 35 for Student Memberships (full-time

with valid student ID), € 35 Outside the

Netherlands (Going Dutch magazine not included).


by Jo van Kalveen & Hilde Volle

Hello AWC Newcomers! We are Jo and

Hilde, and together we oversee Newcomer

Activities for the American Women’s Club

of The Hague. Whether you are new to the

Netherlands or just new to our Club, we’re

sure you will really enjoy being a Member

of the AWC. Aside from attending the AWC

Kick Off event in September, we will be

hosting various events for Newcomers

over the next year including coffee mornings,

workshops, museum visits and walking

tours. All of these events can help you

find out more about the Club’s other activities,

trips and charity work, and meet fellow

Newcomers, of course.

In the meantime, if you have any questions

at all, please feel free to contact us

at newcomers@awcthehague.org. Hilde

moved here from Norway 3 years ago while

Update Your Information

If you have moved or do not wish to renew

your Membership, please send email me

at membership@awcthehague.org. I am

also happy to answer questions about logging

onto our website.

AWC Guest Policy

Guests are welcome to participate in AWC

activities and tours on a limited basis. As a

non-member, a guest is limited to attend

two functions per calendar year and will be

charged an additional non-member fee.

Jo has been living in Holland for nearly 15

years, so between us we have plenty of old

and new experiences of expat life in the


We look forward to meeting you soon,

Jo and Hilde

AWC Newcomers Chairs

September 11 is a day when people say,

“I know exactly where I was.” We heard

the news, watched the footage and could

not believe what we were seeing. In New

York City, the South Tower and minutes later

the North Tower of the World Trade Center

crumbled. In Washington, DC, a smoldering

massive hole pierced the Pentagon. In

Shankesville, Pennsylvania, a meadow burned.

Four planes became weapons that killed 2,976

people: 2,752 in the Trade Center, 184 in the

Pentagon and 40 in Shankesvile.

David Halberstam, the distinguished

American journalist wrote, “There are dates

which seem to separate yesterday from today

and then from now.”

For the 19th year, we will take time to

remember the men and women who lost their

lives that day and the first responders and civilians

who have since lost their lives. More

than 2,000 people who worked in the rubble

have died or will die from cancers related to

9/11. For their families too, September 11 will

never be just another day.

Many might recall the Congressional testimony

of Luis Alvarez, NYPD. Eighteen days

before his death at 53, accompanied by Jon

Stewart, he left a hospice in NYC to travel to

DC and demand that Congress replenish the

Victim’s Compensation Fund saying, “You

said, you’d never forget.” Jon Stewart followed

and challenged them, “They did their job. DO

YOURS!” Thankfully, they did.

Each year Overseas American Remember

(OAR) receives letters from a family member

or friend of those who perished. The one

constant is the profound thanks they express

because we, who live so far away, take time

to remember.

Lt. Steve Brown (ret) FDNY lost 13 comrades

from Squad One, FDNY. Theirs was

the second ladder truck to arrive at the Trade

Center because their firehouse is just across

the Brooklyn Bridge. Twenty men were on

that ladder truck. Seven returned. Steve wrote,

“When people find out I was a member of the

FDNY, the first question they ask me is: ‘Were

you there?’ Well, the answer is: Yes, I was,

and I want to talk about it. I always wonder

how the families of those we lost cope with

this every year. I realize they do it with the

help of their families and people like you. I

continue to be humbled by the outpouring of

support from people near and far―even as

far as Holland. I can’t begin to tell you what

it means to me. Thank you for remembering

that day and especially the members of Squad

One who lost their lives.”

Chris Blackwell was a member of the

FDNY’s elite Rescue Unit 3. They went up

to floors 93 – 98 in the North Tower. The entire

squad perished. His brother Steve Blackwell

wrote, “9/11 altered our lives forever. I always

saw Chris through the eyes of a younger

brother. I thought he was indestructible. That

day, it never occurred to me that I would never

see him again. No trace of Chris was ever

found, but he lives on in us. My family and I

especially want to thank those who continue to

ensure this commemoration and others like it

around the world take place every single year.

I can’t thank all of you enough for taking the

time to honor those we lost.”

September 11 will never be just another

day. Both Steve Brown and Steve Blackwell

wrote about the kindness of people everywhere.

“It was something to behold. We must

once more find that overwhelming sense of

unity and compassion for one another.”

That’s the message of the Ceremony of

Remembrance and Hope. Please join us on

Friday, September 11 at 5:30 p.m. Due to

COVID-19 space restrictions at the AWC,

please check eNews for details on the location

of the Ceremony. Sponsored by OAR. For more

information, contact me at oarinnl@yahoo.com.



Ongoing Activities

Chat, Craft & Cake

Chat, Craft & Cake is a weekly highlight

for those who enjoy crafts and camaraderie.

Whether your craft is knitting, quilting,

needlepoint or simply mending your

clothes, or whether you are a beginner

or an expert, you are welcome to join us.

Fish that UFO (Unfinished Object) out

of the drawer and get going on it again.

CCandCer’s are always ready with a helping

hand, a lesson, or some advice. Each

week, a different Member brings a cake―

tried and true, or experimental. Babysitting

is not available as there are lots of sharp

objects about (pins, needles, scissors and

wit) so we cannot accommodate children.

Due to the coronavirus social distancing

measures, space is limited. You must

RSVP if you plan to attend using either

the WildApricot app, website calendar, or

directly with Suzanne Dundas.

Every Tuesday

10 a.m. – Noon

AWC Clubhouse


Heart Pillow Project

Members work together to make heartshaped

pillows designed to help support the

arms of recent mastectomy patients. Each

pillow is made with TLC, wrapped, and

comes with a note signed by an AWC volunteer.

No sewing skills are needed, as you

can cut, stuff or wrap the heart pillows. We

are proud to provide something both practical

and comforting, and we know our work

helps because we often receive thank-you

notes from the patients who have received a

heart pillow. Due to the coronavirus social

distancing measures, space is limited. You

must RSVP if you plan to attend via the

WildApricot app or website calendar. For

more information, please contact Jan de

Vries at info@awcthehague.org.

Tuesdays, September 8 + October 13

Noon – 2 p.m.

AWC Clubhouse




Mah Jongg

Mah Jongg is a popular tile-based game

of Chinese origin. This exciting game is

similar to the card game, rummy. We will

play the international version with 144 tiles

with no scoring. Be prepared for a game of

strategy and luck that will quickly become

addictive! All beginners and experienced

players are welcome at any time. Please join

us as this game is simply good fun. Due to

the coronavirus social distancing measures,

space is limited. You must RSVP if you

plan to attend. For more information or

to register, contact Jen van Ginhoven at


Every Tuesday, except second Tuesday of

the month

1 – 4 p.m.

Location TBD


Out to Lunch Bunch

Due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19

situation, it is not currently ideal to gather

for group lunches. To stay informed about

when and where our lunches will start

again, please email Greete Engelsman at

outtolunchbunch@awcthehague.org. You

can also find updates on our AWC Facebook

group and eNews.


Pickleball is a sport that combines elements

from tennis, badminton and table tennis. It

is played with a paddle and light ball in a

badminton-sized court. It is a friendly sport

for all age groups and levels! Pickleball is

the fastest growing sport in the US and is exploding

in popularity internationally. AWC

Members are playing this fun and easy to

Cancellation Policy

Members may reserve a spot for an

AWC tour, activity or event in advance.

Payment is required within five

business days of the reservation or

before the deadline date (whichever

is sooner) otherwise your name will be

moved to a waitlist. It is the responsibility

of the Member to notify the Club at


to cancel a reservation prior to the

cancellation deadline. Please note that

there will be NO REFUNDS after the

cancellation deadline. Members may

find a substitute in lieu of cancellation

provided that arrangements are made

with the organizer. Members shall

be held responsible for their guest

reservations in accordance with this


learn game on an indoor court beginning in

September. Contact Barbara Brookman at

president@awcthehague.org to join a trial

session with the option to join for the season.

Day and time TBD

Sporthall Houtrust

Laan van Poot 22, Den Haag

Trial Session: Free

8-week Season: € 40 Members

Virtual Quiz Night

This month’s Saturday night quiz will

be created and hosted by Suzanne

Dundas. Participants will connect via a link

to a Google Meet video call. Each team will

consist of two people. You can form a team

from your home with a partner or housemate,

or play remotely with another AWC Member

(i.e. you both use Google Meet, but stay in

contact with each other by phone). Each team

should have a pen and paper for writing down

the answers and keeping track of your scores.

There will be three to four rounds with each

round having ten questions. After a round is

completed, we will review the answers

>> 16


Ongoing Activities (cont.)

Continued from page 15

as a group and teams will track their own

score. Once all rounds are completed, we can

determine the grand winner! In the event of

a tie, a super hard rocket scientist level question

will be used as a tiebreaker. Food and

drinks are essential to successful game play

and will be available for takeaway from your

local kitchen! Questions? Contact Melissa

Rider at vicepresident@awcthehague.org.

Saturday, September 26

7 – 9 p.m.

Comfort of Your Own Home

RSVP deadline: September 25

Walkie Talkies

Whether you count your steps or just want to

take a socially distanced walk with friends,

the Monday morning Walkie Talkies is a

fun and healthy way to start the week. The

group meets in front of the Clubhouse before

heading out promptly to walk to various

destinations in the area, usually racking up

10,000 steps along the way. Contact Hannah

Gray at walkietalkies@awcthehague.org

to be added to the WhatsApp group for last

minute updates and cancellations.


9:30 a.m.

AWC Clubhouse


Wassenaar Coffee & Conversation

If you live in or north of Wassenaar, join

your neighbors for coffee and conversation

once-a-month without having to drive to the

Clubhouse. One Member will host a casual

socially distanced coffee at her home on the

first Thursday of each month. Since the location

and capacity changes every month,

contact Suzanne Dundas directly if you are

interested in attending.

Thursdays, September 3 + October 1

9:30 a.m.

Location TBD


Virtual Women in Business

Are you a business owner? Are you thinking

about starting a business? Come to our

ongoing meetings for networking and discussion

among AWC Members about being

a business owner in the Netherlands. All

are welcome, no matter what amount of experience

you may have with owning a business.

Our September topic will be Choice

of Entity (ZZP or BV) for your business led

by Carol Schapira and Dena Haggerty,

and our October topic will be Facebook and

Amazon marketing led by Dena. Feel free

to email Mary Ellen Brennan for more information

at secretary@awcthehague.org.

Fridays, September 25 + October 23

10 – 11:30 a.m.

Virtual Meeting


Unique products

for entrepreneurs


Sligro The Hague Forepark is the perfect fit for you as entrepreneur.

We inspire and support you with our products and services, that will

help you with your business. Our people are always there for you

with professional and tailored advice.


Linge 2, The Hague



One-of-a-Kind Activities

by Melissa Rider

RSVP directly on www.awcthehague.org or the Wild Apricot app. Payment must be made

within 5 calendar days by bank transfer to the AWC account NL42ABNA0431421757 or on

our website via PayPal (additional fees apply).

Direct any questions to vicepresident@awcthehague.org

the Netherlands and AWC Member, Carol

Slootweg, is giving another one of her

highly recommended workshops. Whether

you are new or an old-timer, there is always

something to learn about food and shopping

in the Netherlands. It could be deciphering

Sip, Swap & Shop

Like many AWC spring activities, the inaugural

AWC Sip, Swap & Shop event

had to be postponed. Furthermore, because

of COVID-19 regulations, we have had to

slightly amend our original plans. Using the

AWC WildApricot app, you can register for

a specific timeslot, limited to eight attendees

for each.

A Clothes Swap allows unworn clothes to

get a new lease on life in someone else’s

wardrobe. We had an overwhelming response

to our original request for items of

clothing, shoes and accessories. So many of

you donated such beautiful and stylish items

that it is guaranteed there will be something

for everyone! Come along to enjoy some

refreshments (the Sip part), donate your unwanted

clothes and accessories (the Swap

part), browse the rails, try things on and

hopefully return home with a few new items

of clothing for your reinvigorated wardrobe

(the Shop part). Attendees who donate

three or more items of clothing will receive

three tickets at the event which can each

be redeemed for

one item; additional

items can

be purchased

for € 5 each.

Attendees who

have not donated

any items will be

charged an entry

fee plus € 5 per


Additional donations

are still

being accepted

in the drop-off

box in the AWC Front Office (check our

AWC calendar for hours). Please label your

items with your name (stickers and pens

are in the box) or email Jo van Kalveen

at newcomers@awcthehague.org with the

number and type of items you have donated.

Please also consider donating items even

if you do not plan on attending the event.

Donated items should be in a sellable condition,

i.e. clean and gently worn. We are

limiting options to ladies clothing only with

no underwear, swimwear, activewear, nightwear

or leggings. The Clothes Swap Team

reserves the right not to accept any items

they deem unsuitable. Net proceeds will be

donated towards an AWC or FAWCO supported

charity and any items remaining will

be donated to charity.

Evening Sessions:

Thursday, September 17

5 – 5:45 p.m. or 6 – 6:45 p.m.

or 7 – 7:45 p.m.

Morning Sessions:

Friday, September 18

10 – 10:45 a.m. or 11 – 11:45 a.m.

or 12 – 12:45 p.m.

AWC Clubhouse

Maximum 8 per session

€ 5 entry fee or free with donations

The Impact of What You Wear

In this fun and interactive presentation, you

will learn about the impact of wearing the

right color and style of clothes, understand

why some things work for us and others

don’t, and get top tips on creating an ideal


Did you know that most people only wear

15% of what is in their closet, leaving 85%

just hanging there? Why do we so often stay

in our comfort zone and choose to buy and

wear the same things? When you look good,

you feel good and this positively affects everything

you do, plus the people around you.

Find out how easy it is to get dressed every

morning and find clothes that make you feel

confident. Everyone deserves to look their

best every day, so ideally we should all own

a wardrobe full of items that fit and look

great on us. Maud Janssen, a Color and Style

Consultant, will give us tips on how to be

able to create this ideal wardrobe and have

something for every occasion. You will learn

about the impact of color and wearing clothing

that not only suits your body shape, but

also your personality. Find out how you can

dress professionally and casually with confidence,

knowing that what you wear makes

you look and feel good. Maud has been

working for House of Colour since 2013 and

offers personal style classes and color analysis

sessions for individuals and groups, having

worked with over 350 clients in London,

Tokyo and now in The Hague. She also offers

personal shopping trips and wardrobe

cleanouts for her clients. She is passionate

about empowering and teaching people how

to look good and she loves her job because

it is such a positive one. Contact Jo van

Kalveen at newcomers@awcthehague.org

for more information.

Wednesday, September 23

AWC Clubhouse

10:30 a.m. – Noon

€ 5 Members

Maximum 8

Cancellation deadline: September 21

Dutch Products Class

Calling all AWC Newcomers (and other interested

Members)! Long-term resident of

product labels or recipes, learning to use

new cuts of meat or unusual vegetables,

finding suitable cleaning products or substitutes

for your favorite ingredients. Due to

the coronavirus social distancing measures,

space is limited. You must RSVP if you

plan to attend. Questions? Contact Jo van

Kalveen at newcomers@awcthehague.org.

Friday, October 2

10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

AWC Clubhouse


Maximum 9



Book Lovers

Book Clubs

The AWC Book Clubs are FREE and open to

all readers, and new Members are especially

welcome! There are no requirements that

you must attend every meeting or lead a discussion.

Snacks are provided by a different

Member each month. There are two Book

Clubs hosted by AWC Members: One in the

daytime and one in the evening. Questions?

Teresa Mahoney organizes the daytime

group and can be reached at bookclubday@

awcthehague.org. Dena Haggerty handles

the evening meetings and can be reached at

bookclubevening@awcthehague.org. Due

to the coronavirus social distancing measures

you must RSVP if you plan to attend

in person. Due to limited space, there will

also be an option to attend virtually through

Google Meet. Happy reading!

Daytime Book Club

September Selection:

Girl, Woman, Other by

Bernardine Evaristo

Winner of the 2019

Booker Prize, this novel

introduces an interconnected

group of Black

British contemporary

women living vastly different

lives. There will be

plenty for us to discuss:

politics, parenthood, sexuality, racism, immigration,

domestic violence, infidelity,

friendship and love. It is also very timely as

it looks back to the legacy of Britain’s colonial

history in Africa and the Caribbean.

Thursday, September 24

10 a.m.

AWC Clubhouse


October Selection: The

Reader on the 6.27 by

Jean-Paul Didierlaurent

Guylain Vignolies works

in a book pulping factory

in a job he hates.

His only pleasure in life

is reciting aloud from the

pages he has saved from

the jaws of the monstrous

pulping machine while on the 6:27

train each day. This novel, translated from

French, is a warm fable about literature’s

power to uplift even the most downtrodden

of lives.

Thursday, October 22

10 a.m.

AWC Clubhouse

Daytime Book Club Reading List:

Thursday, November 19: The Discomfort

of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld

(date changed due to Thanksgiving)

Evening Book Club

September Selection:

The Other Americans by

Laila Lalami

This timely novel about

the suspicious death of a

Moroccan immigrant is

more than just a murder

mystery. It is also a family

saga, social commentary

and love story told

from the perspectives of

the victim, his immigrant family, neighbors

and police.

Wednesday, September 9

7:30 p.m.

Location TBD

October Selection: The Nickel Boys by

Colson Whitehead

Wednesday, October 14, Location TBD

Daytime Book Club Recaps

Long Bright River by Liz Moore

It’s understandable if you imagine this

is a meandering novel about heading towards

the light, but that couldn’t be farther

from the image its title conveys. The

“long bright river” is both the vein that

carries heroin into the body and the river

of bodies carried off by addiction from a

Philadelphia neighborhood decimated by

drugs and prostitution. It’s a detective story

about a series of murders, but it’s really

about a sisterly bond that persists through

decades marked by very different choices.

One sister is a thoughtful, naive police officer.

The other is an addict who struggles

through a morass of drugs and criminality,

both within her extended family and

amongst the wasted denizens of vacant

and decrepit row houses. The humanity of

all the characters shine through regardless

of their actions or situations. The author

likes and understands the neighborhood

she brought to life and, on these counts,

we agreed she is a good writer. Sometimes,

though, the motivations of her characters

didn’t make sense. The denouement of

the story was rushed and awkward. These

flaws diminished Moore’s accomplishment

greatly, to the degree that about half

of us cannot recommend the book, while

others felt it was an enjoyable read despite

its flaws.

The Club: Johnson, Boswell and the

Friends Who Shaped an Age by Leo


This historical non-fiction is by an academic

of lofty reputation. It features a beige cover

with a lineup of bewigged prigs. It was a

hard sell to our group, but don’t judge a book

by its cover. In late 18th-century London,

a group of middle-class men met weekly

at the Turk’s Head Tavern to talk. Many of

these men became famous for their timeless

accomplishments in literature and other

arts, but Damrosch doesn’t delve into their

genius. Instead he delves into their lives―

foibles, mental illness, immorality, poverty

and riches―and paints a vivid picture of

the club members and their lives in London.

Life wasn’t sanitary and it was rarely sober,

but it was human and fascinating. If you

are seeking to understand the political

philosophy of Edmund Burke, the economic

theory of Adam Smith, or the literary genius

of Samuel Johnson, to name just three

members of the club, this is not the book for

you. This is about the men—not their work.

James Boswell, who invented our notion of

literary biography in his The Life of Samuel

Johnson, was a failed lawyer, an exploiter

of prostitutes and a falling-down-drunk. He

was also gregarious, funny and an inveterate

chronicler of the fascinating conversations

that fueled his gift for biography. And though

none of the club members were female, >> 22

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“Our next holiday is

a safari. They do

the whole world!”

“They make booking a

holiday so easy. I just

leave it to them!”

“Every trip is

customized, just for

me! That’s unique!”


Book Lovers (cont.)

Continued from page 21

Summer Activities at the AWC

by Melissa Rider

the women who surrounded Johnson and

the others constituted a shadow club equally

as fascinating, even as their talents were

thwarted. Johnson himself said, “The only end

of writing is to allow readers better to enjoy

life or better to endure it.” Leo Damrosch

accomplished both ends. Recommended.

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

At the end of World War II, Cyril Connoy

builds a real estate empire which propels his

family from poverty to enormous wealth.

He buys the Dutch House as a surprise for

his wife Elna, a “marvel beyond what any of

them had imagined.” For Cecil, the house is

a symbol of success; for Elna it’s a prison,

shaming her with its grandeur. She flees,

leaving behind her husband and two young

children, Maeve and Danny. When Cyril

suddenly dies and leaves his entire estate to

their stepmother, the brother and sister are

evicted and left to fend for themselves, going

on to live drastically different lives than

those they had imagined. The story is told

through the eyes of Danny as he and his

self-assured sister Maeve are thrown back

into the poverty their father had escaped and

discover that all they have is each other. Set

over five decades, the novel explores the

powerful bond between siblings and the past

that will not let go in the form of the house

from their childhood. It addresses questions

of inheritance, love and forgiveness,

and how we want to see ourselves. Narrator

Danny is sometimes clearsighted and sometimes

oblivious, but it is Maeve who is the

heroine of the story, fighting foes and sacrificing

her own future to assure Danny’s

happiness. There was a lot to discuss. We

covered the often deplorable actions of the

mothers, Danny’s apparent passive acceptance

of everything that happened to him,

the role of Maeve in shaping her brother’s

future while never really being able to escape

her past and the sibling’s unshakeable

bond. We were also fascinated with the

house: what it actually looked like and the

central role it played. We generally agreed


this was a wonderfully written book, rich

in nostalgia and filled with complicated and

multi-layered characters. Honorable mention

should be given to Tom Hanks, who

reads the audible version which several of

our Members said greatly enhanced their enjoyment

of the book. An engrossing read we

highly recommend.

Evening Book Club Recaps

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Set in Ireland, this novel examines a couple’s

relationship, complicated by their social and

socioeconomic divisions. Meeting as teenagers,

Connell is a shy but popular guy while

Marianne is the opposite: private, wealthy

but a loner without friends. She struggles

as a teenager because of her unhappy childhood,

finding it hard to accept “normal” relationships.

While at school, they act like

they don’t know each other―Connell is

afraid of what people will say―but outside

of school, they develop a deep connection.

They both attend the same university, but

here the tables have turned. Connell is struggling

to find his place, shy and uncertain

while Marianne is flourishing, having found

her footing and social status. A complicated

21st-century love story unfolds as they both

circle each other, straying towards other people

and possibilities while being constantly

drawn back to each other. Our group was

both fascinated and frustrated with the main

characters. Here are two people who need

each other, but are not always able to communicate

that―the main source of our frustration!

Their relationship is intense, raw, at

times heartbreaking and uncomfortable, but

also in some ways beautiful. The book resonated

with some of our readers while leaving

others thankful their teenage years were

less “complicated.” It’s a beautifully messy

love story, emotionally honest and devastatingly

perceptive that we recommend. If you

can find it, the recent BBC TV adaptation is

well worth a watch, too, with two brilliant

lead actors who gained widespread critical

acclaim for bringing the book to life.

With some lockdown restrictions easing

in mid-June and more at the beginning

of July, activities at the AWC

slowly began again with the new normal of

1.5-meter social distancing. Walkie Talkies had

a record number of participants on their first

walk of the new 2020-21 Club year on June 1.

The gorgeous weather could have been a factor,

but I think the main reason was that everyone

wanted to reconnect with friends in person.

Pickleball resumed on the outdoor basketball

court at the Laan van Poot Sports Complex

rather than indoors and most of us remembered

the rules after our three-month hiatus.

Rather than having summer office hours, the

Board decided to open the Clubhouse, by appointment

only, beginning June 15 with all reservations

for Clubhouse use being requested

via email to vicepresident@awcthehague.org.

Social distancing restrictions were put into

place, thus limiting the number of people per

room in the Clubhouse. Chat, Craft & Cake

were the first group to reserve their regular

Tuesday morning slot to enjoy each other’s

company while crafting. By using the large

conference room and opening the double

doors, they were able to accommodate everyone

in a safe manner. Both Daytime and

Evening Book Clubs and Heart Pillows all

followed suit. For those Members preferring

to remain at home, they could still participate

virtually through Google Meets. With

nice summer weather upon us, the Wassenaar

Coffee and Mah Jongg groups hosted their

gatherings in Member’s gardens.

It’s difficult to know what the fall will bring

in terms of social distancing and lockdown

protocols, but the

AWC will persevere

with a mixture of virtual

and real activities

and events. Stepping

up to this challenge, I

would like to welcome

Sarah Partridge, our

new Activities Chair,

who will be a big help

in planning a variety

of day and evening

socials in the coming

months. Sarah,

an expat from Manchester, England, joined

the AWC in January after moving here from

Manila with her Dutch husband and four

cats. They previously lived in Abu Dhabi for

15 years where she worked as a PE teacher

at a local primary school. Sarah has a Sports

Science degree and is currently working as

a sports coach for Playball NL. She enjoys

playing golf, kayaking, cooking, and socializing,

so Sarah brings a lot of enthusiasm and

energy to this volunteer position. Feel free to

contact her at activities@awcthehague.org if

you have any suggestions or questions about


For the most up-to-date information on our

activities and events as well as Clubhouse

hours, please check our online calendar via

the Wild Apricot app or by logging onto our

website at www.awcthehague.org. Facebook

and eNews will will also inform Members

of any changes and additions to events

and activities. For the time being, Thirsty

Thursday and Out to Lunch Bunch will not

be organized for the fall.

Going Dutch is Available Online

Go to www.awcthehague.org to share the current month’s issue with friends and family.

You will also find links to our annual advertisers, whose support makes this magazine

possible. If you visit or contact one of our advertisers, let them know Going Dutch sent you!


FAWCO Corner

by Jenni Franklin

Federation of American Women’s Clubs Overseas, a United Nations NGO with

consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council


This September, we commemorate

five years of working toward the UN

Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)

alongside our FAWCO partners as well as thousands

of other organizations around the world.

These ambitious goals were adopted in 2015

as “the blueprint to achieve a better and more

sustainable future for all” and have since been

integrated into the agendas of national governments,

school curriculums, and the community

and service work of non-governmental organizations

in 162 countries and territories. It is

ambitious, indeed, that as a global community

we hope to achieve these goals by 2030.

FAWCO’s Global Issue Team (and the projects

we support through fundraising at the

AWC) focuses on four issues: Education,

Environment, Health and Human Rights.

These issues connect specifically to the SDG

4 (Quality Education), SDG 13 (Climate

Action), SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-

Being) and SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities).

Take a closer look at all 17 of the goals in

the graphic and you’ll quickly realize that

because the goals are interconnected, there’s

not a single goal that our service-focused

work through FAWCO doesn’t address. For

example, our Target Project, S.A.F.E. (Safe

Alternatives for Female Genital Mutilation)

is connected to SDG 3, 4, 5, 10, 11 and 16.

With organizations this big focused on goals

this lofty, sometimes I get a little lost and


think, “but what can I really do?” Thankfully,

the UN has given us a plethora of resources

easily accessible on their website that show

us exactly how we can get involved. Here are

three of my favorite ideas:

1) Find one goal you’re passionate about

and take steps in your daily life to address

that goal. My family has chosen Goal 2: Zero

Hunger. We are being intentional about purchasing

from local farmers, buying only the

amount of food we will eat, and using all the

parts of what we buy (we’ve made lots of

broths and smoothies!). We also financially

support a food bank in our hometown.

2) Instead of diving deep into one

goal, pick two or three that are easy and

quick changes. You’ll find a graphic at

www.UN.org/sustainabledevelopment with

each of the goals and one single step you

can take toward that goal. For example, Goal

6: Clean Water and Sanitation says, “Avoid

Wasting Water,” which you can do by simply

setting a timer and taking shorter showers.

Do you use a bike as your primary means of

transportation? You’ve already checked off

Goal 11!

3) Perhaps you want to learn more about

the goals and use them as an education project

in your family or your business? Check

out “Goal of the Month” under “News and

Media” on the website. Each month you’ll

find a basic overview of the month’s goal,

printable infographics, recent news articles

and ways to help as a business or individual.

As we mark five years of working toward realizing

these goals, I hope you’ll join me in

learning more and taking steps to address the

global challenges we face. The world will be

a better place because of it!

Your Vote is Your Voice

Overseas Americans are un-appointed ambassadors!

If you haven’t registered and requested an absentee ballot, do it today!

Go to Federal Voting Assistance Program at www.FVAP.gov to download the

Federal Postcard (FPCA) to:

1) Register to vote

2) Request an absentee ballot

Due to problems with the US Postal Service, email the FPCA, if your state permits,

and request your ballot both by mail and email. Use the ballot that arrives first.

When possible, return the ballot by email. Do not rely on the fact that in the past,

you may have received a ballot without submitting an FPCA. Overseas citizens are

advised to submit an FPCA each year.

As an overseas American, you are eligible to vote even if:

1) You do not have a residence in the US

2) You do not intend to return

3) You have lived abroad a long time

Your voting residence is the place where you last resided.

As an overseas American, you are eligible to vote in all but 11 states even if

you were born abroad and have never lived in the US. Your voting residence is

the place where your citizen parent(s) or legal guardian last resided.

If you completed and mailed or emailed a signed FPCA and do not receive

your absentee ballot 30 days before the election, immediately download:

Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) from www.FVAP.gov. Fill it out, sign

and mail or email it (if your state accepts emailed ballots). If you later receive

a ballot in the mail, fill it in and return it. Only one ballot will be counted. Use

Dutch postage! Postage paid is valid only within the US.

If you need assistance, go to www.FVAP.gov and click on your voting state. For

toll-free assistance, call the FVAP toll-free numbers: 0800.022.8213 Overseas

citizens can also contact: votinginfo@state.gov or the Voting Action Officer Kim

Richter at the Department of State at 1.202.485.6067.


George Floyd and Climate Change

by Anne van Oorschot


am originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota

and have spent the past 39 years explaining

to people in the Netherlands where that is.

Everyone knows where New York, Florida,

Texas and California are, but Minnesota is not a

place most people had heard of. After the death

of George Floyd at the hands of excessive police

force, now everyone has heard of it. While I had

never thought of my hometown as an especially

racist place, the beginnings of the racism presently

on display must have been present while

I was growing up. How disorienting to realize

that I never really saw it. I sympathize with the

baked-in racism that I now realize is in seemingly

every community in America and will

stand with others to see that situation change,

but I don’t see it as my #1 priority. My passion

is the environment and climate change.

So imagine my surprise in the past weeks of

reading articles to realize just how intertwined

racism is with the problems of climate change.

You are not alone if the connection between

racism and the climate crisis is not immediate

to you, but I do hope you will read on so I can

share with you what I have learned.

Environmental Racism at Home

The concept of environmental racism was

coined in the US in the early 1980s and refers

to any practice which leads to an unequal distribution

of environmental burdens, such as

pollution, between different groups of people

with race being the strongest determinant.

Many studies show that communities of color


and poor communities are at a far greater risk

of being negatively impacted by environmental

risks. Consider the following: airports,

power plants and the busiest roads in the West

tend to be in the most disadvantaged working

class areas where a disproportional number of

Black and brown communities live. London

City Airport is located in Newham, where

40% of the population gets by on £20,000

or less per year, while the average salary of a

London City Airport passenger is £92,000 per

year. Environmental justice is the name of a

movement that evolved in response to those

findings, stressing that specific social groups

are hit harder by the environmental and climate

policies that other groups gain benefits


Environmental racism not only refers to the

unequal dispersion of environmental disadvantages,

but also to the underlying systemic

structures causing those inequalities. Some industry

leaders state that they do not carry out

“intentional” discrimination; it’s all a result

of simple economic reasoning. In an attempt

to maximize profits, production costs should

be minimized, so a factory location is chosen

with the lowest land prices. This leads to industries

invading low income communities.

The pollution, which always accompanies the

industrial process, decreases the living conditions

as well as the land value. The former

motivates those who are sufficiently affluent

to move away, while the latter is a factor

leading to further impoverishment of the area.

Since industry and government try to avoid

communities which are capable of forming an

effective opposition to this sort of industrialized

process, communities of color and poor

communities are more likely to fall victim to

this negative chain of events. Due to political

underrepresentation of communities of color

and their discrimination in the white dominated

public discourse, this negative cycle


Environmental Racism on a Global


Systematic environmental racism does not

limit itself to western counties. Due to the rapid

global economic growth of capitalist economies

since World War II, economies are in

constant need of natural resources. Economic

value is prioritized over the social or biological

value of nature in the exploitation of the

necessary natural resources. This often results

in conflicts with indigenous communities on

whose land resources are found. The result

is decimated natural resources, altered infrastructures

and the compromise of traditional

ways of living that respect the environment.

Indigenous communities have been fighting

against this trend for years, but have made

little headway against huge corporations such

as Shell.

While climate change poses a threat to everyone

living on this planet, its harmful effects are

not distributed evenly among countries and

communities. Island nations and low-income

countries around the world, from the Maldives

and Haiti to Bangladesh and Madagascar, bear

the brunt of environmental destruction and

man-made and corporate-driven global warming.

What do these countries have in common?

They are all former colonies or prefectures of

major western powers. If one examines global

and transnational patterns of environmental

injustice, they clearly show that the export of

polluting industries and waste go, by far, more

often to countries that were former colonies

and are mainly populated by people of color.

A Call to Action?

Politicians, experts, commentators and activists

from the US, UK and Australia are currently

arguing in unison that their governments

should view the COVID-19 pandemic

as a wake-up call to improve their relationship

with the environment and take constructive

steps to tackle climate change. While the recipes

they offer for achieving a “green” recovery

differ in detail, they appear to share one

important feature: a tendency to ignore the

global nature of the climate crisis. They ignore

the nuanced and lived experiences of the hardhit

populations in the southern hemisphere, often

communities of color, and the countries in

the northern hemisphere’s role in creating an

unfair system that marginalizes the environmental

groups, peoples and ideas in the South.

The only way for a better, healthier and more

prosperous future for all is through a truly

global climate stabilization and resilience plan

that includes reparations to former colonies

that are struggling to withstand a crisis that

they played little role in creating.

Individual Action

While many individuals are concerned about

climate breakdown, they do not see how they

can influence something so big, abstract and

threatening. While there is much an individual

can and should do, we fall short―not because

we don’t change enough in our individual

lives, but because we don’t take collective action.

It’s up to us to demand and create broad,

structural change not only for the environment,

but also for the racial inequities at home

and abroad that contribute to it.











September 2020

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat


2 3

4 5

Chat, Craft & Cake 10 a.m.

Mah Jongg 1 p.m.

Wassenaar Coffee &

Conversation 9:30 a.m.

6 7

Walkie Talkies 9:30 a.m.


Chat, Craft & Cake 10 a.m.

Heart Pillow Project Noon



Morning Kick Off at

Strandrestaurant Werelds

10 a.m. – Noon



Buddy Check 12

Evening Book Club : The

Other Americans 7:30 p.m.

Ceremony of Remembrance

(Location TBA) 5:30 p.m.


Evening Kick Off BBQ at

Tennispark Houtrust

5 – 8 p.m.


Walkie Talkies 9:30 a.m.


Chat, Craft & Cake 10 a.m.

Mah Jongg 1 p.m.

16 17

Sip, Swap, and Shop in 3


5 – 5:45 p.m.

6 – 6:45 p.m.

7 – 7:45 p.m.


Sip, Swap, and Shop in 3


10 – 10:45 a.m.

11 – 11:45 a.m.

12 – 12:45 p.m.


20 21

Guided Tour of


Walkie Talkies 10 a.m.


Chat, Craft & Cake 10 a.m.

Mah Jongg 1 p.m.


The Impact of What You

Wear with Personal Style

and Image Consultant Maud

Janssen from House of

Colour 10:30 a.m. – Noon


Daytime Book Club : Girl,

Woman, Other 10 a.m.


Virtual Meeting of Women

in Business 10 a.m.


Virtual Quiz Night 7 p.m.

27 28



Walkie Talkies 9:30 a.m. Chat, Craft & Cake 10 a.m.

Mah Jongg 1 p.m.

October 2020

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat




Wassenaar Coffee &

Conversation 9:30 a.m.

Dutch Food and Shopping

Workshop 10:30 a.m.

4 5


7 8 9 10

Walkie Talkies 9:30 a.m. Chat, Craft & Cake 10 a.m.

Mah Jongg 1 p.m.

11 12

Walkie Talkies 9:30 a.m.

Buddy Check 12


Chat, Craft & Cake 10 a.m.

Heart Pillow Project Noon



Conservation of Paintings

- Tour of Studio Redivivus

11 a.m.

16 17

Evening Book Club : The

Nickel Boys 7:30 p.m.

18 19

Walkie Talkies 9:30 a.m.


Chat, Craft & Cake 10 a.m.

Mah Jongg 1 p.m.

21 22

Daytime Book Club : The

Reader on the 6.27 10 a.m.


Virtual Meeting of Women

in Business 10 a.m.


25 26


28 29 30 31

Walkie Talkies 9:30 a.m. Chat, Craft & Cake 10 a.m.

Mah Jongg 1 p.m.



AWC and the Arts

by Jane Choy-Thurlow, AWC Member and Mauritshuis Docent

Walking Tour of Old Scheveningen

Walkie Talkies regularly walks the neighborhoods

to Scheveningen, so it will be interesting

to learn a little history about the

area and its inhabitants plus see some hidden

treasures. Contrary to popular belief,

Scheveningen was never an independent municipality;

nevertheless, it has its own coat of

arms and always had a strong identity of its

own. Monique Varma, frequently our docent

during tours at the Kunstmuseum, will be our

guide on this special outing. Please be sure to

wear sensible shoes.

Monday, September 21

10 a.m. – Noon

Meet in front of the Antonius Abt. Church

Scheveningseweg 233, Den Haag

€ 10 Members (€ 15 non-members)

Minimum 10 / Maximum 12

Cancellation deadline: September 11

Tour of Studio Redivivus

Conservation of Paintings: Where

Craftmanship and Science Join

Have you ever wanted to see how artworks

are restored or preserved? Join AWC Member

Gwendolyn Boevé-Jones as she gives us a

personalized guided tour of her atelier Studio

Redivivus (www.redivivus.nl) for painting

conservation. The studio specializes in

the conservation and restoration of classic,

RSVP for all Arts Activities directly on


Direct any questions to


modern and contemporary paintings.

Gwendolyn graduated as a paintings conservator

and art historian from the Institute

of Fine Arts, New York University. The following

year she was awarded the Samuel

Kress Conservation Fellowship at the Van

Gogh Museum and Kroller-Muller Museum,

going on to work at the Rijksmuseum and

eventually setting up her own studio and the

founding of Redivivus in 2010. The studio

undertakes treatments to conserve paintings

by artists such as Jan van Goyen, Anthony

van Dyck, Claude Monet, Mark Rothko and

Jean-Michel Basquiat. The conservators at

Redivivus will show us how they undertake

treatments and technical research on paintings.

With cutting edge devices for the capturing

of microscopic images, infrared and

x-ray imaging, the studio is able to document,

conserve and restore artworks of historic

and aesthetic importance from the past

and present. A second date will be offered if

the number of participants exceeds the limit.

Thursday, October 15

11 a.m. – Noon

Studio Redivivus

Wolga 16, 2491 BJ, Den Haag

€ 10 Members (€ 15 non-members)

Minimum 5 / Maximum 15

Cancellation deadline: October 1



Jessie Rodell: Member Extraordinaire

by Georgia Regnault

By now, most AWC Members are aware that Jessie Rodell, former President of the

AWC and now Senior Advisor for the Board, was diagnosed in May with terminal

brain cancer. While some of us have known her for many years (I, for one, since the

early ‘80s), we might not know her well. So I asked her daughter, Tiersa, if she could help

fill in the blanks of Jessie’s life.

We must start with her name. Jessie was born Susan

Jean James in December, 1945 in Minneapolis, Minnesota,

the second of four children and the only girl. A few years

later, the family moved to Portland, Oregon, which is still

considered the family’s “home base,” although during

her last three years of high school, the family lived in

Wheaton, Illinois, about 30 miles from Chicago. Besides

going to school with the journalist Bob Woodward and the

Belushi brothers, it was there that she received the nickname

“Jessie.” Apparently, there were too many Susans,

Suzannes, or a variation of such, so since she had come

from the “wild, wild west,” the name Jessie was chosen.

This nickname has stuck to this day, although her

family continued to call her Sue. Tiersa wrote, “I think

‘Jessie’ was a gift to her creative soul. I remember her

telling me that her very common name was part of the

reason why we were named Tiersa and Quinn―they

wanted beautifully unique names, that we wouldn’t have

12 friends with the same name, and that were solid ones

that couldn’t be easily altered, shortened or ‘nicknamed’.”

After high school, the family moved back to Portland,

and Jessie attended Willamette University. It was there,

studying math, that she met her husband, Michael. They

were married in 1965 and moved to Berkeley, California

to attend UC Berkeley, from which they both graduated.

Tiersa was born in Oregon in 1965, but Quinn was born

in 1968 in Olympia, Washington, where they lived for

a short time. And in 1969, the family moved to Los

Angeles, so that Michael could attend graduate school

at UCLA.

Soon after, international life began for the Rodells.

They moved to Brazil in 1972, where Michael had a teaching

job as part of his PhD in Urban Studies. However,

in order to complete his PhD, it was necessary to return

to LA. They had been bitten by the international bug,

so when the opportunity arose to take a position here in

the Netherlands, the family decided this would be their

next adventure.


In July 1975, Jessie,

10-year-old Tiersa and 7-yearold

Quinn were greeted by

Michael at Schiphol. They

lived outside Rotterdam in

Krimpen aan de Lek and

were immediately exposed to

Dutch rural life: “the farms,

the cheese makers, the wooden

shoemakers, Dutch neighbors

and friends,” as Tiersa said.

Since they only expected to

stay two to three years, they

immediately immersed themselves

in Dutch life. That is, except

for schooling. Tiersa went

to the American-International

School of Rotterdam (AISR).

Jessie volunteered there and

assisted the art teacher, among

other activities.

Michael worked for the

Institute for Housing Studies,

which was connected to the

Bouwcentrum in Rotterdam.

Besides teaching students

from all over the world, he

travelled to many Third World countries helping with urban and economic development.

Although Jessie didn’t travel with Michael very often, it was an education for the whole

family to learn about the places he visited.

Since the AISR did not have a high

school in those days, the family decided to

move to The Hague in 1978, so that Tiersa

would not need to commute every day by bus

from Rotterdam. They bought the house in

the Statenkwartier where they are still living.

The story doesn’t end there, however.

Once settled in The Hague, Jessie joined the

AWC of The Hague. In 1982, she became

the Membership Chair, which was then a

Board position. The years of 1982 to 1984

(while I was President) were very eventful. In

November 1982, we began looking into the

possibility of purchasing our own Clubhouse.

It would be 18 months before we could call

Nieuwe Duinweg 25 our “home away from

home.” The finances were settled, the mortgage

signed, and my term of office finished

in May 1984. Jessie was elected

President for the term 1984 – 1985. >> 34


Jessie Rodell (cont.)

Continued from page 33

In the June 2020 issue of Going Dutch,

I related the story of the various Clubhouses

the AWC had, but not the work involved

in getting our 11-room house on Nieuwe

Duinweg ready for occupancy. This task fell

to Jessie and it was daunting―at least in my

eyes―as I am not one adept at renovations or

imagining a finished project. Under Jessie’s

tutelage, during the summer of 1984, the

transformation went quickly and beautifully,

so that in September 1984, we could hold our

very first Welcome Back Meeting in our new

Clubhouse. Since I had been in the US for

most of the summer, I remember distinctly

standing in the hallway and gaping at how

ideal the house had become.

This achievement was definitely Jessie’s.

She formed a House Committee; the chores

were divided up; volunteers found (including

many husbands); and additional money

and furnishings were sought from various

sponsors. We had bought the house and received

a mortgage because the Club had

sufficient funds. The purchase had used up

our financial reserves, so we needed help with furniture, curtains, lighting, kitchen appliances,

etc. The Board begged, borrowed and practically “stole” items for the house. Jessie’s

good friend, Hillary Gulliford, wrote letters to every American business in Holland, as well

as stores our Members frequented and tourist offices, asking for either some funds or their

hand-me-downs. We were proud to say in these letters that we had purchased the house with

our own money, but now needed a little help fixing it up and furnishing it.

The response from these companies was extremely gratifying. Heineken provided the

kitchen, including the crew to install it. Fluor had closed an office in England and offered to

bring everything from that office to The Hague for us, but we had to take all of it, including

around 50 desks and just as many filing cabinets and wastebaskets. When we reserved the

desks we needed, we sold the rest to Members to get the cash to buy supplies. (My kids

studied on those desks for years!) V&D, the former department store, provided carpeting

and display cases for our gift shop. (Yes, we had a gift shop then.) The Danish Tourist

Bureau gave us a beautiful teak desk for the front office. One drawer wouldn’t open, but

we could live with that! A large do-it-yourself store gave us paint and the supplies necessary

to keep the Members and husbands busy every weekend. Obviously, I could go on

and on about all the things we received and the fantastic teamwork it took to make Nieuwe

Duinweg 25 “our home.” To celebrate, we invited all of our donors to our Grand Opening

in November 1984.

Naturally, Jessie’s work was not done yet. The next very important step was to make

sure that our By-laws and Constitution reflected our new property, with very definite rules


and regulations put in place to see that

this large Clubhouse was kept running

smoothly for all Members. And, of course,

this was in addition to the general running

of the AWC, which in a normal year is an

enormous task. Jessie did it all with grace

and competence.

Sadly for the AWC, but happily for

Jessie, we lost her just weeks into her second

term of office. The American School

of The Hague (ASH) had discovered that

Jessie was a very accomplished person

and hired her as the secretary to the High

School Principal. Jessie was off on another

career track. In all, she worked at

ASH from August 1985 until her retirement in July 2011, first as the High School Secretary,

soon after as Admissions Director, and lastly as Director of External Relations. During

this period, ASH moved from being a

school, spread out over three locations

in The Hague to its current campus in

Wassenaar in 1990. One past student

at ASH said recently, “Whenever I

think of Mrs. Rodell, I see her walking

through the school pointing and smiling

with either a new ASH family or

a soon-to-be new ASH family.” At the

AWC as well, Jessie was also always

greeting new Members and making

them feel welcome.

ACCESS said, Jessie was

“a true advocate for our

work in every sphere.”

She compiled an almost

complete history of the accomplishments


for its 30th anniversary in

2016. And in the 1990s,

Jessie joined the Board of

the newly formed Overseas

Americans Remember

(OAR) and helped with all

of their events celebrating

or commemorating important

American holidays or


>> 36

During her ASH period, Jessie also

served on the Membership Committee

of the American Chamber of Commerce

and on the Board of ACCESS from

1994 to 2016. As the Director of


Jessie Rodell (cont.)

Continued from page 35

And I haven’t even mentioned

Jessie’s creative and artistic side.

I hope you have been privy to her

beautiful calligraphy work. Many

an organization where she shared

her talents has benefited from this

work. Tiersa talked about her creative

and memorable Halloween

costumes and birthday cakes. Also,

besides being our greeter extraordinaire

at the AWC and helper to all,

Jessie was active in Walkie Talkies

and was an avid tennis player in

the past. Many a President and

AWC Board have benefited from

her knowledge, insight and advice, always given warmly.

Jessie's daughter, Tiersa, started a Facebook page in June and these are some of the comments

made by AWC Members (past and present):

• Your goodness, grace, and generosity

mean the world to me.

• Always ready with a smile and a

kind word.

• Your friendship and guidance

have meant so much to me and

so many.

• I remember how much you cared

for each and every person, going

above and beyond to help everyone

feel welcomed, included &

cared for.

• When Jessie’s “in the house,” you

will never feel alone.

• You were so warm and friendly to

me. It was like you were instant


• You are one of the kindest and

least judgmental people I have

ever met.

• I think of Jessie as an AWC role

model to emulate in the future.

I second each and every one of

these comments. We thank you, Jessie,

for all you have done for the American

Community of The Hague.


Pandemic Paradox

by Mary Adams

The pandemic has brought chaos to the global

economy, turned family life upside down,

and tested the community fabric of humanity.

By definition, a pandemic disease is an epidemic

occurring worldwide. What we didn’t expect was

that a pandemic also has the ability to shrink the

world into the size of a living room. But what if

that was a good thing?

From March until May, Jerry and I gained new

skills in ordering takeout, made new habits of constant

hand washing and gel usage, and ordered

masks. Working from home seemed normal. What

I didn’t realize was that I had an enemy growing

within me that no amount of hand gel could kill.

On a Friday morning in late May, I was taking

a shower and I felt a hard place on my left

breast. Jerry felt it. On Monday, my GP felt it. On

Wednesday, Mammacare at Ijsselland Hospital felt

it. By the end of the day, it was confirmed that I

had breast cancer. Before I knew it, the discussions I was having with the surgeon were not

about social distancing from other people, but distancing from my own breast.

During my hospital visits for additional testing about cancer type and dimensions, the

pandemic seemed to both taunt and test me. Hospital rules that you can only come alone.

Hospital rules that you can only enter the premises 10 minutes before an appointment. Hospital

rules of social distancing in the waiting rooms, opening doors with your elbows, gel rinses

for your hands. It made me feel so alone and yet so grateful at the same time. Dutch hospitals

were not overloaded with coronavirus cases. Staff were healthy. Operating rooms were ready.

I had a lumpectomy in mid-June. The pathology determined that although a mastectomy

was necessary, chemo and radiation therapy were not. Those weeks made me realize how

much I don’t know about breast cancer. The conversations I had with my surgeon and plastic

surgeon were like words dancing over my head. I knew what they were saying, but I didn’t

understand it until one word “amputation” fell down on my head with a bang. Two weeks

later, I had two-for-one surgery: a mastectomy and latissimus dorsai flap reconstruction.

Perhaps the timing of this pandemic worked to my advantage. The pandemic unwittingly

arranged 24-hour care for me. Jerry is my chauffeur, cook, housekeeper, computer

specialist, handyman and rock seven days a week, because his office remains closed until

the end of 2020.

Although the pandemic will continue to cause havoc in the outside world, my steps to

recovery are shaped like heart pillows. Living in this pandemic paradox reminds me that

people will always find a way to touch and heal your life if you are brave enough to say: “I

had breast cancer, but it is off my chest now.”


The Double Bump (or Enduring Uncertainty)

by Antonietta Della Prosecco

bumped from a flight can

change your life.” That’s an old


expression this old and expressive

person just made up. It’s doubly true if one is

bumped from two flights in a row.

“It’s tacky to talk about money.” I didn’t

make that up and I’m going to ignore it. I will

talk about money. Money changes things too.

It can motivate. Just an extra $300 a month

incentivizes some US service members to

volunteer for combat. My child is motivated

by money, among other things, to stay in a

dangerous situation. Money can soothe. This

mother is soothed, somewhat, knowing her

child’s financial future will be greatly enhanced

by her adventure. Please don’t judge

me or my child too harshly. You can be certain

that my child’s financial health will mean

nothing to me if something goes wrong.

On January 4, my only child—I’ll call her

Meisje, for reasons I’ll make clear—flew

to New York City at the behest of a major

American media corporation “for a few

days.” Think back to early January. Corona

was the beer-cum-lime-wedge my husband—let’s

call him Tony—drank when

we lived in New Mexico. Tony and I were

excited for Meisje and not the least bit apprehensive.

(My next “old expression” will

mock the reliability and value of foresight.)

Along with a slew of other comedians,

Meisje was trying out for a new TV program

under development. More than six months

later, she is still not allowed to talk about her

project nor am I allowed to mention either the

corporation—hereafter called MAMC—or

the nature of the program. Evidently the intellectual

property involved is so innovative

and remarkable that a mention in the AWC

Clubhouse will result in its being stolen and

copied. Since our magazine finds its way

online, Meisje asked me to use pseudonyms

and to conceal details (including hers). I am

the soul of discretion, of course. It helps that

I’ve been told nothing about the project.


Meisje was busy throughout January trying

out and performing stand-up at open mic

nights where it seems the only audience

members were other comedians. We only

got the occasional text. “Made it to the next

round.” Good. We were happy for her. Her

midtown Manhattan hotel was paid for by

MAMC and she received a hefty per diem

for other expenses. Interestingly, all the other

comedians trying out were from NYC and

received nothing. (The year before, Meisje

had captured the attention of some MAMC

producers while performing stand-up comedy

in New York and had worked for them

on a well-known satirical news program.)

The January tryouts were a fun adventure.

Her clients—she coaches people in public

speaking and other communications

skills—understood she’d be home soon. She

continued to work remotely for a multinational

agency refining documents written in

English into better English. Her apartment

was empty and would remain so for a little

while longer. “It’s all good, Mom.” We believed.

By the end of January, the tryouts were down

to two competing groups. As the only person

in both groups, Meisje felt confident she

would be selected for the program of a secretive

nature—hereafter called TPSN. She was

right, and proud that MAMC had picked the

cast she’d deemed the better of the two. Now

she had to shoot a pilot, do publicity stills,

and glad-hand bigwigs. Just one month or

so longer. Meisje moved into the Greenwich

Village apartment of a friend who was ontour

in Asia. MAMC picked up the tab:

$5,250 per month for a small one-bedroom

apartment with a tiny kitchen and no bathtub.

I have come to understand that NYC apartments

can be expensive.

This follow-up work to the pilot finished

at the end of February. Meisje could come

home while the bigwigs she’d glad-handed

would make decisions. “Can you bring me

some Neutrogena Healthy Skin Enhancer?”

“Sure, Mom.”

MAMC booked her return flight for March

4. Meisje was bumped from that flight.

MAMC booked another flight for March 5.

Meisje was bumped from that flight as well

and pocketed $4,500 for the double bump.

Airlines paying people thousands of dollars

not to fly doesn’t seem like a good business

model to me, but I don’t have a business degree.

Mine is in philosophy, so what I know

is that I know very little.

Though I was not okay with this double

bump, the producers at MAMC were. They

said, “Stay for another week and we will pay

you $ for the week and continue to pay for

your friend’s apartment.” “I will do it for

$-times-two,” Meisje said. “Okay.” They

sent a car to the airport. She spent the next

week doing promotional work for TPSN.

And in that week all hell broke loose. More

specifically, all hell couldn’t break loose because

it had been grounded. Meisje could

no longer get a flight home out of NYC and

MAMC asked her to stay “until things settled

down.” They would pay her a generous

weekly salary and the rent on her friend’s

apartment. (Her friend had made it out of

Asia in the nick of time and was staying indefinitely,

and quite lucratively it turns out,

with family in Oregon.) I was scared. NYC

was COVID-central. However, given what

we knew at the time about infections being

spread via airplane flights, I thought it was

better for her not to fly for a week or two.

So began Meisje’s lockdown in NYC. She

was not to leave “her” apartment except

when absolutely necessary. MAMC sent her

scripts to read and evaluate using a threepage

rubric. MAMC receives a lot of scripts

written on spec. Someone has to read them

and Meisje became the designated first reader.

Anything she deemed worthy would be

kicked “upstairs.” “Mom, they are all atrocious.

If you think some of what makes it

onto TV is bad, you should see these scripts.”

She performed stand-up comedy via Zoom

and saw friends remotely every day. “I

talked with Madeline in India today.” Tony

and I talked with her every day. She ran on

the rooftop of her building and enjoyed the

views of the Hudson and East River. I tried,

but failed, to suppress my panic when I saw

the COVID-19 updates for NYC and I tried,

but failed, to take comfort in the fact that the

governor of New York was not a venal orange

moron. My kid was busy, connected,

and venturing out, masked, for groceries

only once a week. I couldn’t sleep.

After three weeks of virtual everything, she

began actual walking every day with a comedian

friend who lived nearby. “Walking?! Is

that safe?” “We socially distance. Besides,

the streets are empty.” Slowly, information

leaked that her friend has a big apartment

and he had designated one couch as Meisje’s

couch. She worked and he worked (he has

a real job in addition to being a comedian)

together, separately. Human contact, even

across what seemed to me to be an exceptionally

large NYC apartment, made her life


And, presto, long-ago motherly concerns

about safe sex seemed positively

quaint. Now I had to worry about >> 40


The Double Bump (cont.)

Continued from page 39

COVID-couches. At the time, the concern

was the virus being spread from surfaces.

Try wiping down a couch with a disinfectant

wipe. It’s not effective. “Mom, I’m fine.”

Mom was not so fine.

What helped a little bit was a “safe and happy

policy” we began in 2018 when Meisje was

working on the daily TV show. She worked

late and performed all over a very large city

and we never knew if she’d made it home

safely the night before. We asked her to text

us when she got home every night and she

would text “safe and happy.” It eased our

minds when we woke up. She continued the

policy after she had returned home. She liked

knowing someone knew she’d made it home


During the COVID-couch period, Meisje had

a walking meeting with the son of another

AWC Member―small world. He’d worked

12 years in NYC as a photographer and had

connections. He’d written a script. Meisje

had some insight into scripts and some, albeit

fewer, connections. They lived one mile

apart. They’d never met before, but had a lot

to talk about as they both grew up as third culture

kids, work in the entertainment industry

and have faraway mothers who are friends.

Worry vibrated with a constant antagonizing

hum in my aging brain, but I’d grown used

to it. Then a policeman murdered a black

man named George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Nationwide demonstrations, looting and

burning followed. “I can watch the demonstrations

from my rooftop. So far I feel safe.”

And then Meisje didn’t feel safe.

Meisje reached out to family and my brother

brought her to North Carolina via a flight to

Boston with a connection to Charlotte. That

was the only thing they could arrange. Two

flights, one headed north, so she could head

south. Strangers in confined spaces, true, but

wearing masks. Okay, whatever it took to get

Meisje out of the city.


Meisje spent three weeks in Charlotte, staying

in my brother’s guest house, swimming

in his pool, reading scripts and, wisely, not

fighting with her uncle. My brother owns a

huge insurance company started with the

support of venture capitalists. He owns six

houses, which stand empty until he chooses

to go to the lake, beach or mountains for the

weekend. They’re like reverse stacking dolls.

Each one is bigger than the last until you

reach the one that sleeps 26 people and has

a theater. He doesn’t believe white privilege

exists, and his voice and personality boom

even louder than mine. Meisje gets her equanimity

from her father. We were all grateful

that her visit went smoothly.

On June 23, Meisje was recalled to NYC.

MAMC planned to retool TPSN to permit

socially-distanced shooting. She was to stop

reading scripts and buy a lot of makeup. The

makeup artists of TPSN, who’d no longer be

applying makeup, could not get the supplies

they needed in NYC. MAMC sent her an exhaustive

list of makeup to buy in Charlotte.

Nothing about this made sense to me, but it

didn’t threaten her safety so I didn’t care.

On June 29, Meisje flew out of Charlotte. At

La Guardia Airport, an MAMC car picked

her up and drove her and her luggage full of

makeup directly to a COVID-19 testing site

with results in 24 hours. Her text, “COVIDfree,”

came in at 11 p.m. on June 30. A stupider

person might have credited the chlorine

in the pool. Regardless, relief.

She returned to MAMC headquarters on July

1. Now, when she enters HQ, someone aims

a temperature gun at her. I despair over the

half a billion guns in NRA USA but I’m okay

with a temperature gun. Every week, she and

her colleagues are swabbed and their saliva is

tested. They sit far away from each other in

a gigantic room. The owner of the COVIDcouch

escaped to Louisiana during the demonstrations

and has not yet returned to NYC.

I felt adequate precautions were being taken.

The fine folks producing TPSN are “brainstorming.”

“They told me to get an agent.”

“I think I’ve decided on an agent.” “I’m doing

open mics in the open air. I cover the

microphone with a plastic bag.” “I’ve been

looking at apartments with a realtor, but I

may have to live in Hoboken if I want a

bathtub.” “We’re reshooting the pilot next


I take whatever information I can get. I

don’t ask questions anymore. What would

Upon repatriating from Singapore to

Texas in late March, I was optimistic that

I was outrunning the COVID-19 pandemic

by exiting Southeast Asia. Little did I know,

my lifelong fear of childbirth would be one

of the last things on my mind throughout my

final weeks of pregnancy.

be the point? I hate that I hate my child being

in my own country, especially now that

an anonymously uniformed gestapo beholden

to a madman is in NYC, but Meisje

has no plans to come home. By all means,

Meisje, take precautions while you follow

your dreams. However, safety is an illusion.

Life can turn on an airline bump. Foresight

is blind. Sleep is a luxury. Tony and I will

see you when we see you. I’ll be the one

with Neutrogena-free bags under the eyes

brimming with relief and love for you.

Giving Birth During a Pandemic

by Amber Gatewood

Stay at home orders in Texas kicked off

my doozy of a third trimester, preventing me

from meeting my doctor in person until I was

36 weeks. At my first appointment, I waited

in the parking garage until called inside and

briefly sat in the empty waiting room in a spot

not marked with a large X to ensure social

distancing. My appointments were quick―

ten minutes tops―and my glasses were foggy

from my homemade mask. My doctor said

that at this time my husband, Mark, should be

able to accompany me in the delivery room;

my fingers remained crossed that wouldn’t


Three weeks later, the big question on

my mind: What does a contraction feel like?

Well, I was soon to find out around midnight

on a Tuesday. By morning, my doctor wanted

to check my progress in her office instead

of preemptively going to the hospital due to

skyrocketing COVID-19 hospitalizations. She

said I was in pre-labor and sent me home (possibly

discounting me as a first-time mom).

If these were false contractions, I couldn’t

imagine what the real deal felt like. In a few

short (or very long) hours I was in triage

dilated to four centimeters with no available

delivery beds in sight, let alone an epidural!

Four more hours later, I was finally given a

room, an epidural, and I had a little snooze.

With the help of Mark encouraging me >> 42


Giving Birth During a Pandemic (cont.)

Continued from page 41

from behind his mask, we welcomed Harley Holland at

2:01 a.m., named after my grandpa and our time fondly

spent in the Netherlands.

The next day was a blur, and everything about our

stay was expedited. For example, his circumcision was

done at less than 12 hours old, making him too sleepy to

have that precious time with the lactation consultant to

correct his latch issues. In fact, I’d barely eaten my breakfast

tacos (Tex-Mex―one perk of being back in Texas!)

when we were told we were being discharged. The nurse

rapid-fired her way through her checklist on how to care

for a newborn, and we were whisked away to the car.

How could we possibly be responsible for this little

baby? Thankfully, my parents had been self-isolating,

got tested, and drove 20+ hours to lend a hand. That was

a godsend in many ways―if only to see family for the

first time in six months.

A month in and I’m learning every day. I’ve learned that it’s immensely hard having a

baby during a pandemic because of the isolation from friends and family, and not having

simple escapes like perusing the aisles at Target due to a constant fear of the virus. On the

other hand, my husband working from home is invaluable. From popping down at lunch time

to help feed a bottle to packing the sterilizer while refilling his coffee, it gives me peace of

mind knowing he’s right upstairs and not on a business trip across the globe.

From meeting my OB

last minute to hesitantly

being admitted to the hospital

to expeditiously being

discharged and having

a limited support network

around me, the thought of

giving birth during a pandemic

seemed daunting

and unthinkable. However,

we survived and baby

Harley, a.k.a. Dutch, is

happy and healthy. For us,

we couldn’t have asked for

a better experience and end

result. I look forward to the

day when we can venture

back to the Netherlands,

where we sweetly dreamed

of our baby for so many



Thoughts on Travel Before the Pandemic

by Alex Moore

I’ve missed

you.” It was the first


thing I said after a

long flight when I gazed at my

late lunch: Korean bulgogi nachos

with green onions, kimchi

and salsa. The portion was massive,

perfect after a seven-hour

flight; I will never complain

about America’s ability to do

Korean-Mexican fusion. Or any

other fusion for that matter. As

for my choice of food, I blame

the movie Parasite; I won’t spoil

anything, but yes, that movie is

worth the hype.

We went to America in mid-February before the travel ban was in place. I’ve thought a

lot about our trip since we don’t know when we will get to visit again. COVID-19 was

already in the news, but it was still hard to judge how bad it would be. We did a road

trip starting in Lexington, Kentucky, before heading to Nashville where we enjoyed live

music and barbecue. Before leaving Nashville, we saw former AWC President Suzanne

MacNeil over more barbecue, pulled pork, beef brisket and a variety of sauces. Our

lunch and gezelligheid provided us with the sustenance needed for the drive to Memphis,

where my parents are at the moment. I’d forgotten how much fun driving on the interstate


After Tennessee, we drove to Alabama to take my grandma back to her house and see

some extended family. We stopped at a Cracker Barrel in Corinth, Mississippi, where I

ate a Southern breakfast complete with hash browns and biscuits. No grits for me. At this

point in our trip, we kept hearing more and more about the coronavirus. We already knew

about the bad outbreaks in New York and Seattle, but of course we had no idea how the

US would be affected yet. Or Europe.

Florida was one of the last stops on our trip, and life still looked normal. If normal is

possible in this state, what with “Florida man” and “Florida woman.” Stores still had fully

stocked aisles. No one thought of a face mask. No one was six feet apart.

We were relieved that we narrowly escaped the possibility of being stuck in America. Not

that I would have complained about being near Walmart, Chick-fil-A, Waffle House, Taco

Bell and other fast food delights. I would have, however, complained about having to do

my job at odd hours of the day or night because of time zone differences. The media never

sleeps, especially not now because more people are streaming or watching TV.

I think about this trip, especially since we’ve been following the Dutch government’s

guidelines. That trip now seems so symbolic because it was the last time in which things

seemed normal. The last time for a while in which travel was not so restricted. The last

time before the world was changed for good.


Our Pandemic Vacation: Knooppunten

by Anne van Oorschot

planner on their website (much like the train trip planner) to

plan a trip going from knooppunt to knooppunt (www.anwb.nl/

fietsroutes/fietsknooppuntenplanner). The distances are given so

you know just how long a trip you’re planning; you can make a

little circle starting and ending at the knooppunt closest to your

home or plan a multi-day trip. While the website is in Dutch,

there is a short film that explains how to use the planner, and

by following the little arrow as it moves around, it’s fairly clear

how to use it. The planned route can be printed out so you can

easily take it with you to guide you as you ride. There are also

several apps available for your smart phone by ANWB and

others, some of which are available in English.

In our case, we decided on a four-day biking trip starting from

our home in Tilburg, in the southern province of Brabant. Our

120-mile (200-kilometer) trip more or less followed the Maas

and Waal Rivers with overnight stops in three small fortified cities: Ravenstein, Zaltbommel

and Woudrichem. On our last day, we also passed the beautiful fortified city of Heusden.

After planning our route, we went online, found accommodations and made reservations. Not

knowing what the coronavirus regulations would be a few weeks later when we would actually

make the trip, we also reserved dinner locations in the three cities, and we were set to go!


first heard about the “mystery virus” in China in January 2020, and thought, what a shame

for them. Who could have known the effect it would have on all of our lives thousands of

miles away! The summer of 2020 was going to be a big one for our family, with two of

our children getting married two weeks apart on the big front lawn of our vacation cabin in

northern Minnesota. The whole family would be there, plus in-laws and many friends from

the Netherlands. How different our summer turned out! In addition to coronavirus restrictions

in place in both countries, large gatherings were not being permitted, and the travel ban

would keep Dutch family and friends―including my son’s fiancée!―from entering America.

After canceling first one, then the second wedding, my Dutch husband and I pondered if we

would still go. While it was likely that my Dutch husband Hein would have been allowed

to enter the US, it wasn’t a certainty. Plus, what if one of us got sick? Compared to Dutch

healthcare, the system in the US does not look very attractive, certainly not in the rural area

where our cabin is located. We finally made the decision not to go to Minnesota for our usual

two months this summer, but what to do then? By that time, house rentals were almost full,

and camping didn’t seem like a corona-safe

alternative. We decided to try something we

had thought about but never got around to

doing: a vacation by bike.

Since the Dutch are such avid cyclists,

it’s no surprise they have developed a

fabulous navigation system for recreational

cycling called the Knooppunten Netwerk.

This is an intricate web of fietspadden (bike

paths) throughout the entire country, with

the intersections of different paths―the

knooppunten―being numbered. The network

was laid out by the ANWB and there is a


Hein’s biking tempo is a bit faster than

mine, so I find myself continually a few meters

behind him. This makes it difficult to carry on

a conversation and that’s not ideal for either

of us. We rented a tandem bike once when

we were away with a group of friends for the

weekend―and we loved it!―so we decided to

get a used one of our own. On Monday, June

29, we headed out on our bicycle built for two

with toiletries, extra clothes and rain gear and

the day’s knooppunten marked in the holder on

my handlebar. Being in the back, I was the navigator,

so I had something to do besides pedal.

The trip was really a lot of fun! There were lots of interesting things to see, plenty

of conversation, not too much wind and a small sprinkling of rain. My favorite city was

Woudrichem, which we arrived at via a little ferry. We had to ring a bell on the shore, and on

the other side, the ferry driver came out and

boated over to fetch us. Our accommodation

was in the single small apartment of a former

ammunition storage area built into the dike

around the city and was utterly charming!


So, in spite of (or because of) the pandemic,

we had a delightful mini-vacation

and definitely plan to repeat the idea.

Whether you are in the mood for a Sunday

afternoon outing or a mini-vacation, I can

heartily recommend the Knooppunten



Challenge Brings Growth

by Rachel Allen

What I Have Experienced

Thanks to Coronavirus


think my pandemic story mirrors a lot of

others, but because it is my story, it will

continue to shape my life.

I’m an intense person. As I tell my friends,

my plans have plans. My goals have goals. I do

not know how to sit still and just enjoy things in

life. When we moved abroad for the first time

in November 2012 (FYI: worst time ever to

move to Europe from the mid-Southern US),

I couldn’t find a job as a teacher since it was

the middle of the school year. So I did what

only I would do and enrolled in a distancelearning

PhD program. During my first official

semester that following fall, I gave birth to our

first child while being an expat in the second

city I had ever lived in during my life. Were

you counting? Second city in my life, second

country in my life, PhD program, first child.

All in one year.

See? I’m intense.

But you know what? I’m learning to not be.

I had a near burnout experience this past fall

after moving our family to The Hague, getting

everyone settled, and trying to find my place

in it. I was just beginning to come back out a

little more whole when suddenly we were all

home, all the time. Husband sequestering in an

office on our first floor, toddler driving me nuts

with a fierce streak of independent spirit, and a

six-year-old that I had to work with on math,

reading and writing. It was a lot. I quickly

realized the need to adapt and find my peace

amongst this challenging situation. I didn’t

want to lose myself again after just starting to

find it. I established a routine to keep things

regular for the kids, but we also had a lot of

mornings where we ditched doing schoolwork

first thing and ran to the beach for a bit to build

sandcastles before we worked on spelling.

Over these past several months, I have

found myself relaxing more by ensuring I actually

do spend that time reading that book

I want to read. I make time to exercise. And

sometimes I just leave the dishes to sit on the

counter until the next day because I’m tired

and they can wait. I have also made several

purchases for myself, like a hanging chair.

Just for me. I started a new business making

greeting cards and I love it. It’s something I

never would have considered if we hadn’t all

been home full-time.

Basically, I’m growing up and learning to

treat myself well. I think I would have learned

this lesson eventually, but it would have been

at a slower pace without this pandemic. While

it has been a crazy, unprecedented time, I am

thankful for it.

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by Eileen Harloff

What a Wonder

For the first time in years I was walking

alone down a usually busy street, trailing

my shopping cart behind me, on my way to

my local shopping center to garner a supply

of food for the coming days. The sky was

blue, water in the canal was clear, and birds

were not yet out lustily honking and chasing

each other off their paths. No cars or bicycles

were on the street, nor was there a tram

noisily racing to its next stop. There was not

even another human in sight. I didn’t mind

that it was only 7:30 a.m. This was the time

the store dictated that “vulnerable” people

do their shopping, apparently based on the

assumption that rising early is a component

of aging. In fact, the grocery store was not

even open. And so we followers of the rules

gathered―with the proper distance between

us―awaiting the opening of the doors. I

didn’t mind the wait, though, because of the

unique experience I’d had of being alone in

the clean, cool air of an early morning. It

had been delightful.

The Bird and I

While it was pleasant at first to have a vacation

from my usual activities, by the fifth

month of the coronavirus crisis the luster

had worn off and I was sinking deeper and

deeper into doing nothing. One afternoon,

while sitting in my favorite chair in front

of the TV, I became aware of a small but

robust-looking grey baby bird sitting on my

windowsill. It was staring at me with beady

eyes and continually chirping in a pitiful

way. I could stare as well, and so I did. I

even told the baby bird that I would give it

some worms if I had any in my refrigerator;

I had nothing else to offer. Even if I had

something, I couldn’t open the window. So

it was deadlock on this subject and we each

continued what we had been doing: the bird

staring and chirping at me while I tried to

avoid its look. Where was the mother? Why

wasn’t she coming along to help her inexperienced

baby? Surely she didn’t think its

needs should be left up to a third party that

wasn’t even a bird.

The longer the situation continued, the

more concerned I became. I didn’t want to

be responsible for letting a baby bird die of

hunger before my eyes. Then I thought of

my downstairs neighbor who was always

answering my requests for information. She

suggested that I call the Animal Hospital. I

did so and a very pleasant young man patiently

explained to me that this was not an

unusual situation at this time of year and

that they would take action if the baby bird

was still staring at me on the following day.

Just as I was returning to my chair after the

phone call, I glimpsed Mother Bird sitting

on the windowsill close to her baby. Clearly,

the baby was taking a first flight and had lost

its nerve. I was sure Mother would take care

of the matter. Instead she flew off and baby

remained behind, still staring and chirping.

At this point the TV caught my attention.

When I looked back, baby bird was gone,

having gotten the courage to fly back to the

nest. I was glad for the bird, but I’m hoping

that it will come back for a visit. It was

my first windowsill contact with a feathered

guest and I hope that it won’t be the last.



Planning a Wedding During a Pandemic

by Suzanne MacNeil, photos by Katie Baechler

June 20, 2020. Come hell or high water, that was the date my older son, Cameron, and

his now-wife Mo (Maureen) were determined to get married. They had been engaged

more than a year when COVID-19 started its deadly sweep across the US. And, if anyone

knew the dangers of a large gathering, it was Mo, an emergency room physician at the

University of Massachusetts Memorial Health Center. They originally planned for about 100

guests at a location in Colorado Springs, the vendors had all been chosen and deposits had

been paid, the menus decided upon, and the invitations sent. By mid-March the pair started

reevaluating their plans.

As the pandemic continued its deadly rage, the state of Colorado, where Mo’s parents live,

and where the wedding was taking place, shuttered non-essential businesses in the spring.

Cameron and Mo realized the wedding they planned would look much different, and they

discussed options with the vendors, almost all of whom agreed to extend their contracts to

June 19, 2021. Only the owners of the original wedding venue would not return the hefty

deposit they required to hold the date, even though the site fell under mandated closures ordered

by the governor. Rather than dwelling on the lost deposit, the newlyweds are planning

a one-year anniversary celebration with their original invitees at a location TBD.

As June 20 neared, Cameron and Mo started considering their options. Discussions included

just the two of them with her twin brother officiating (as he’s legally able to do so), a

courthouse wedding in Boston, having the wedding at her parents’ home in Monument, and

they even considered self-solemnizing, which is legal in Colorado, and does not require any

application or witnesses to be considered legal.

The final decision was made to hold the

wedding at Mo’s family’s ranch in Pagosa

Springs, Colorado. The guest list was pared

down to just parents and siblings (10 guests).

The ranch spans more than 160 acres with

several cabins on the property, but limited

sleeping space for even the few invitees, so

within days of the decision, hotel rooms were

booked about 30 minutes away. The rehearsal

dinner was set at a restaurant sitting along a

meandering stream with plenty of outdoor

seating to allow for social distancing. On

the wedding day, Mo’s three cousins and her

aunt, with whom she’s extremely close, were

on-site, decorating the main cabin, helping to

serve food, and taking any added stress off Mo’s parents. And the makeup artist, photographer

and videographer all agreed to make the five-hour drive to/from the ranch to capture the day.

Despite the stress, forced last-minute decisions, and a global pandemic, I don’t know

that my son’s wedding could have been more perfect. The setting was spectacular and the

intimacy of the day with so few guests made it easy to mingle and connect with the newest

additions to our family, all while allowing the newlyweds meaningful moments without being

overwhelmed by a larger crowd. Fingers crossed a vaccine is developed soon that will bring

the virus to its knees. And, to make it seamless for Cameron and Mo to host their one-year

anniversary party exactly how they plan!



Appreciating Family

by Johanna Dishongh


am sure that I am not the only one who thinks 2020 will be one year which we will never

forget. Our year began on a huge high with the news that Grace (our middle daughter

who was married in October 2019) had accepted a position at Texas Children’s Hospital

in Houston, and she and her husband Jordan, would be relocating “back home” in mid-

February. After helping them settle, Frank and I jetted off to our house in Colorado to join

our youngest, Olivia, for a quick ski holiday before she began an exchange program from

the University of Edinburgh (UE) to Colorado State University (CSU) on March 1. Olivia

was a fourth-year veterinary medicine student. The two “sister vet programs” exchange five

final year students each year for a clinical rotation cycle.

We returned to Houston and I focused on preparations for the FAWCO Interim Meeting

in Luxembourg later that month. Then this thing called coronavirus or COVID-19 starting

swirling around us. There were reports of travelers being quarantined to hotels once an active

case was diagnosed. WhatsApp started blowing up with messages asking if I was still

planning to travel to Europe and I began to ponder the thought of being stuck in a hotel in

Luxembourg. At the same time, Frank struggled with an office of over 1,000 employees in

close proximity. On March 9, I received notification from FAWCO of the cancellation. On

March 12, we were notified of “lockdown” by the assisted living facility where my motherin-law

lives, thus we could no longer visit her. Within days, Olivia contacted us in a panic

about CSU calling all of their students back to the US from Edinburgh. UE was telling their

students that is was up to them: they could stay at CSU and finish their rotation, but if they

returned early, they would not be penalized. Concerned that she may be stuck in Colorado

or not allowed to return to the UK, Olivia began a zigzag journey of cancelled and rebooked

flights back to Scotland. Her last connection was through Schiphol so I felt blessed that I

could call on a posse of friends if she became stranded in Holland.

By March 25, Houston and surrounding counties went on “Stay Home, Work Safe”

orders; all except essential services were closed. While Jordan lost all hope of finding a job

in Houston, Grace continued to work. Tracy (our eldest) was fortunate to work from home,

while trying to “teach” her kindergartner daughter since school did not resume after spring

break. Her husband Shayne works in law enforcement, so he continued to work daily with

the general public. Frank closed his office and worked from home. It was quite strange having

him in the house all day and also strange how you can feel so isolated when someone

is close. We had limited contact with both girls’ families due to the exposure risk from both

Shayne and Grace. We began allowing them over in the backyard to swim and grill out on a

limited basis and then it happened. On April 17, Grace had an unprotected exposure at work.

She worked in a low-risk area, so PPE was not used on a routine basis due to short supply.

Although she tested negative after 5 days, she was required to quarantine for 14 days. Our

house was on lockdown again.

May. Unfortunately, I think this led to an impression

that we were over the worst of it.

Grace and Shayne continued to see another

side of the impact in their jobs.

Eventually UE cancelled all summer

graduations. Our family trip to Scotland and

that hard-earned graduation ceremony from

vet school would not happen. They held a

“virtual graduation” on June 18. Olivia was

given one personal log-in and one guest log-in,

so Tracy, Grace and Jordan joined us for the

7 a.m. watch party at our house. We made a

FaceTime call with Olivia toward the end and

enjoyed a virtual toast together. Not quite the

celebration we had expected, but the university did an excellent job of making the best of it.

As temperatures increased, so did the daily case count. Frank was asked to take on a new

role which has him coordinating with groups all over the country. No longer required to be in

Houston, we made the decision to “migrate” to

our house in Colorado for the summer. Grace

experienced another exposure in early July

and spent another stressful 14 days waiting

an outcome. The hospital has finally changed

procedures and every patient is now treated

as potential COVID-19 and PPE is provided

to all workers.

Our family has not been together since

Grace’s wedding in October 2019. Olivia is

in the UK and we, as US passport holders, are

currently on a travel ban. If she leaves, she

may not be able to get back in. With Grace and

Shayne’s community contact, we had very limited

family contact before coming to Colorado.

We are hoping for a family Christmas, at this

point a dream, but something to hold onto.

One positive during this time was that Jordan secured a three-month contract position.

We had been worried about him as he had moved away from his home for the first time, was

in a city where he only knew his in-laws and was completely isolated; even the dog park in

their neighborhood had been locked down.

The governor allowed the Stay-at-Home orders to expire on April 30 and began a phased

reopening of the state. Things continued to stay at a relatively low, manageable level through




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End of the Commune

by Melissa White

It is with great sadness that I must announce that The White House Commune ended after

139 days when Veronica and Brett headed back to Exeter on August 1. While technically

the entire commune only lasted for two months as Bjarne departed on May 18, Veronica

and Brett stayed for an additional two and a half months while Ashlynn popped back and

forth to Germany and Bjarne would occasionally drop in for a long weekend.

This was the most time we have been able to spend with Veronica since she moved

to England for university back in September 2015. While many parents likely dread their

grown children moving back in with them, this was a magical time for us and we’re really

missing our sweet, funny, creative and thoughtful daughter. Together, she and I took several

online kickboxing classes and completed an incredible lockdown puzzle project consisting

of 16 Dutch comical puzzles that we then laid out in an empty cul-de-sac while taking lots

of photos along with drone footage shot by Brett. In the past, saying goodbye was easier

because we always knew we’d see her again in six to eight weeks, but this time we honestly

don’t know when we’ll see her next.

While I am disappointed that Veronica and I weren’t able to celebrate our birthdays

together (they’re just four days apart in August), we thoroughly enjoyed getting to celebrate

three birthdays during lockdown, including Ashlynn’s 20th shown here. Last year she was

in Australia, but in May we were able to celebrate together the best way we know how: with

a hash running trail and a big dinner. Thanks to our neighbors, we were able to borrow extra

bikes and could finally run outside our little village of Voorschoten by going to the wilds of

Wassenaar. Other big events we celebrated together included Cinco de Mayo, King’s Day,

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

There’s no way to write about our commune without bringing up food, as it was such a

central part of our daily activities. Before lockdown, dinner for two usually consisted of a

simple stir-fry, stew or soup. With four additional mouths to feed (including two remorseless

eating machines), I was fortunate that I could share the cooking duties with Veronica and

Ashlynn, otherwise known as The Vegan Princesses on Instagram. In addition, both girls

enjoyed teaching the boys how to cook. Some of their specialties included sushi, tacos, high

tea, poke bowls, savory pancakes and pineapple sorbet. James also pitched in by making

some of his classics: paella, chili, pizza, crepes and tagine. More than once I got surprised

looks at the farmer’s market by the sheer volume of veggies I bought weekly. With the exception

of when I made real mac ‘n cheese by special request for Brett’s birthday, all of our

120+ dinners together were vegan. I am so grateful to have had this special time together!



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