AWC Going Dutch Sept Oct 2021

The American Women's Club monthly magazine

The American Women's Club monthly magazine


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Going Dutch

September/October 2021


We had bright sunny days at our June and

July gatherings at the beach


We were thrilled to be able to get out and

about for many spring activities

30 - 49

Our Special Summer Section ranges from

trips to the US, UK and Western Europe

The Magazine of the

American Women’s Club

of The Hague

Table of Contents

5 Officers and Chairwomen

6 Beach Meetings

8 Message from the President

9 General Meetings

10 Ramblings from the Editor

12 Membership

12 Newcomers

13 Spring Activities

14 Ongoing Activities

18 One-of-a-Kind Activities

20 Book Lovers

22 AWC and the Arts

24 Heart Pillow

26 Calendar

28 9/11 Ceremony


30 Anne van Oorschot

34 Sarah Partridge

36 Mary Adams

38 Celeste Brown

41 Melissa White

42 Lesley Gerrese

44 Jo van Kalveen

48 Roberta Enschede

50 Classifieds



Melissa White

2021-2022 AWC Officers

Committee Chairs

AWC Clubhouse

Johan van Oldenbarneveltlaan 43

2582 NJ Den Haag

Tel: 070 350 6007



Going Dutch Magazine


Clubhouse Hours

Tuesdays and Thursdays

10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Dues (Effective 2021-2022)

€ 110 per year (€ 66 after January 1)

€ 90 business, professional

€ 55 valid US military ID

€ 35 full-time students under age 26

€ 15 outside the Netherlands (Going

Dutch not included)

€ 15 new member registration fee

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

For example, for the Nov/Dec issue, submissions are due before Monday, September 27.

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.


Design and Layout

Teresa Mahoney


Hofvijver September 2019


Greetje Engelsman, Melissa White


Celeste Brown, Jane Gulde, Diane Schaap,

Debbie van Hees

Advertising Manager & Invoicing



Mary Adams, Barbara Brookman, Celeste

Brown, Jane Choy, Jan de Vries, Suzanne

Dundas, Greetje Engelsman, Roberta

Enschede, Leslie Gerrese, Dena Haggerty,

Sarah Partridge, Georgia Regnault, Melissa

Rider, Jo van Kalveen, Anne van Oorschot,

Melissa White



AWC Bank Account Number

IBAN: NL42ABNA0431421757

KvK Den Haag

40409274 BTW or VAT: 007408705B01

Honorary President Marja Verloop

President Barbara Brookman


Vice President Wynne Davis


Treasurer Anne van Oorschot


Secretary Marilyn Tinsay


Club and Community Development


Carin Elam


Clubhouse Administration Officer

Monica Rodoni


Communications Lesley Gerrese


Front Office

Liduine Bekman, Siska Datema-Kool, Jan

Essad, Hannah Gray, Georgia Regnault

Activities: Sarah Partridge

Arts: Jane Choy

Assistant Treasurer: Teresa Insalaco

Book Club Daytime: Teresa Mahoney

Book Club Evening: Dena Haggerty

Bookkeeper: Lori Schnebelie

Caring Committee: Naomi Keip

Chat, Craft & Cake: Suzanne Dundas

eNews: Melissa Rider

FAWCO: Molly Boed

Front Office Coordinator: Hannah Gray

General Meetings Programs: Open

Heart Pillows: Jan de Vries

Historian/Archivist: Georgia Regnault

Holiday Bazaar: Georgia Regnault

IT Administrator and Webmaster: Julie


Kids’ Club: Open

Lunch Bunch: Greetje Engelsman

Mah Jongg: Jen van Ginhoven

Membership: Melissa Rider

Movie Network: Tina Andrews

Newcomers: Jo van Kalveen

Parliamentarian: Georgia Regnault

Philanthropy: Minal Rajan

Pickleball: Allison Manning, Sarah

Partridge, Krishna Thakrar

Senior Advisor: Melissa Rider

Social Media Facebook and Instagram:

Lesley Gerrese

Social Media LinkedIn: Julie Otten

Thirsty Thursday: Open

Tours: Liduine Bekman

Volunteer Coordinator: Laurie Martecchini

Walkie Talkies: Emily van Eerten

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.


June & July

Beach Meetings

Message from the President

by Barbara Brookman

What a Difference a Year Makes

Welcome to the 2021-2022 Club Year. I

look forward to a year where more is possible.

With everybody able to enjoy more

freedom, the Club’s calendar is full of activities.

We have a busy fall planned at the

Clubhouse and around The Hague. The

Board and Chairs have worked hard to program

lots of in-person activities, fun gettogethers,

museum tours and more. Check

out the calendar on the AWC website or the

Wild Apricot app to see what is happening

and sign up.

I hope to see many new and returning

Members at the Daytime Kick Off Meeting

on September 9 or the evening one on

September 16 (see following page). Our

Welcome Back Social on September 26

will be a potluck with the Club providing

drinks and snacks, so start thinking about

what to bring (see page 18).

This fall we’ll also continue fundraising

for several local nonprofits. Minal Rajan

has taken on the Philanthropy Chair position

and will look at new opportunities for

the Club to give back in a meaningful way.

In addition, we will continue to support

the FAWCO Target Project: SAFE (Safe

Alternatives for Female Genital Mutilation

Elimination). Hopefully, we can soon

schedule the long-postponed Handbag

Auction in support of the project.


Of course, if the last year

and a half has taught

us anything, it’s that

we sometimes have

little control over

the events in our

lives. From the

start, our Club has

shown a great capacity

to deal with an

everchanging situation. Now more change

is coming our way.

In August, our landlord informed us that

this will be our last year in the Clubhouse

on the Johan van Oldenbarneveltlaan.

After almost 10 years in the current house,

I know this will be difficult for many of us.

This month, we will start a conversation

with all of you to hear what you think the

Club should do, what you care about and

how you want to be involved. The Board

and I want to hear from every Member to

develop a vision for the future.

On our way to 100, the AWC is at the start

of another new chapter in its history!


Welcome New Members!

Yvonne Booy

Christy Carter

Marilyn Engelbrecht

Michelle Ernst

Maria Estrada

Patricia Manso

Lisa Medved

Deborah Tjalma

New to the Netherlands? Not so new,

but still want to meet friends? The

American Women’s Club of The

Hague (AWC) is hosting both morning and

evening Kick Off Meetings so prospective

and current Members can learn about our

events, activities, and philanthropic efforts for

the coming Club Year. All English-speaking

women are welcome! Please join us at our

Clubhouse for a coffee and mimosa morning

or an evening borrel. Come meet our

Members and find out how the AWC can

become your home away from home!

by Melissa Rider

While the summer months for AWC

Members are usually full of travel

for vacation or heading back to

home countries for family visits, our Club

still tries to remain active. Offering an array

of Ongoing and One-of-a-Kind Activities

while adhering to the coronavirus restrictions

proved challenging, but our Committee Chairs

were resourceful with a range of virtual events

using Google Meets to keep our Members interested,

engaged, and beneficent throughout

the winter and spring months. Therefore, what

a treat it was to start our 2021-22 Club Year

with an in-person June General Meeting at

the Strandrestaurant Werelds at Scheveningen

Beach (see photos on page 6). While it was an

informal gathering with no set agenda, we had

a fantastic showing of more than 20 Members

who were pleased to see each other as a whole

Thursday, September 9

10 a.m. – Noon


Thursday, September 16

5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

AWC Clubhouse


October General Meeting

Please save the date for our October

General Meeting. Minal Rajan, our new

Philanthropy Committee Chair, will present

this Club Year's philanthropy initiatives.

Look for more details on our guest speaker

in eNews closer to the date.

Thursday, October 14

10 a.m. – Noon

AWC Clubhouse


That’s What You Look Like Full-Size!

person and not just from the shoulders up

on a computer screen. Typically, General

Meetings are not held in July or August, but

with the success of June’s meeting, a repeat

of the event was held in July. Once again,

the weather was in our favor with sunshine

and warm temperatures. There were more

Members still in town than anticipated, so a

sizeable group of 25 or so enjoyed another

lovely morning of friendship and camaraderie

on Werelds’ terrace. The strong showings

at these meetings prove that our Members’

enthusiasm for their social and philanthropic

Club has not waned during these COVID-19

times, but only strengthened. The Board and

Committee Chairs look forward to welcoming

everyone to the morning and evening

Kick Off Meetings at the AWC Clubhouse

in September.


Ramblings from the Editor

by Melissa White

It’s funny to be writing about summer,

considering this summer feels like it’s just

now starting even though it’s already early

August. Clearly I had no idea back in April

when I chose the theme of What I Did This

Summer that the Netherlands was heading for

its wettest summer on record, making it feel

much more like autumn.

Ironically, my first vacation in 2021 isn’t

starting until after this issue goes to print.

Instead, I’ve been living vicariously through

my daughters’ adventures. Ashlynn spent

six weeks in Namibia, five of those working

as an intern with the Namibian Dolphin

Project, followed by one week of exploring.

I am always in awe of how Ashlynn is able

to make the best of things. Before she left

for her trip, she declared that she was taking

Live your life to the fullest...

you never know who is living

vicariously through you!

~ Natalie Sade.

a break from social media (and somehow

convinced herself that texting her parents

qualified as “social media”) and the universe

delivered: her phone was stolen on day two

and her computer wouldn’t connect to WiFi.

Not only did her new roommate let her use her

phone to contact us with weekly updates, but

she had a driver’s license and flexible plans

after the internship. The two of them had an

amazing time camping in national parks in

a game reserve and in a desert. Ashlynn’s

good luck nearly ran out when Namibia was

declared a RED country and her return flight

was cancelled. I spent much of two days on

hold with various airlines before I finally was

able to sort it out and was very relieved to

pick her up at Schiphol. I have a whole new

appreciation for travel agencies and Ashlynn

has a whole new appreciation for me.

While her little sister was in Africa,

Veronica spent four weeks with her boyfriend

and his family in San Diego―the

city where James and I met and got married,

however, she’d only visited as a young child.

She surprised me by recreating a few old

photos taken of me in San Diego, even doing

her best to match her clothes to mine. She

also met up with some of our old friends,

which was quite touching. She and Brett then

left for 12 days of backcountry camping,

hiking and “wild swimming” (swimming in

natural waters often in their birthday suits)

between San Diego and Lake Tahoe. I was

very paranoid about the rampant California

wildfires and drought, but they managed

to stay in parts of the Sierras with ample

freshwater supplies and no signs of fires

or bears. And when their water filtration

system failed, they were close enough to

the car to be able to hike back out and drive

to an outdoor supply store without having

to significantly alter their plans. It was so

impressive to see their organization skills

in planning their trip, and the incredible

scenery captured by the five cameras they

brought along.

Luckily, some of our Members were able

to escape the soggy low country and have

shared their adventures with us starting on

page 30. I was especially impressed to learn

that Anne van Oorschot made not one, but

two artistic wedding cakes. I was also thrilled

to learn that I’m not the only one who picks

up plastic trash on my daily walks; I must

follow Mary Adams’ lead and get a proper

litter grabber (see page 36). We have two

new voices among our writers in this issue,

both of whom were somewhat hesitant to

contribute―I hope you will also appreciate

their articles. Sarah Partridge composed a

poem on what it was like returning to Scotland

after a long gap due to coronavirus (see page

34) and Lesley Gerrese wrote about lessons

learned while traveling during a pandemic

(see page 42).




by Melissa Rider

Van Gogh Tour

2021-2022 Membership Dues

AWC Membership Dues for the 2021-

2022 Club Year are now payable and will

be effective until August 31, 2022. All renewals

must be received by September 30

to avoid a €10 late fee. With Wild Apricot

now servicing our membership database,

you should have received an invoice for

your dues on August 1 sent to your email

address on file with the AWC. Additional

reminders are automatically generated until

the AWC receives your payment. If you

make your payment by electronic bank

transfer to our bank account with IBAN:

NL42ABNA0431421757, please include

your name and invoice number or write

“membership renewal” in the memo section

of the transfer. Another option is to pay


through our website via PayPal. It is recommended

that you make your dues payment

with a bank transfer to avoid additional

PayPal fees.

Dues are as follows: € 110 for Regular and

Associate Members, € 90 for Business/

Professionals, € 55 for Military (with valid

military ID), € 35 for Students (full-time

students between ages of 18 and 25 with

valid ID) and € 15 for Non-Residents.

Update Your Information

If you have moved or do not wish to renew

your AWC Membership, then please notify

me at membership@awcthehague.org. I am

also happy to answer questions about logging

onto our website.

Newcomers Picnic

A Busy Spring

by Jo van Kalveen

Calling All AWC Newcomers!

My name is Jo van

Kalveen and I am the

AWC Newcomers

Chair. The AWC will be

hosting various events

aimed at Newcomers

over the next few

months. Coming up

first is a coffee morning

for all new Members

followed by our Dutch Food & Shopping

Workshop, which is open to everyone (see

page 18). I will be attending both Kick Off

events in September and will happily answer

any questions you have about the Club

or living in Holland.

Don’t forget to make use of the AWC’s

Facebook group where no query is too small

or silly! AWC Members have a wealth of

knowledge, experience and areas of special

interest between them. And your question(s)

may just help other Members, so ask away.

Also feel free to email me with any questions

at awcthehague.newcomers@gmail.com.

Newcomers Coffee Morning

Join me for an informal coffee morning at

the AWC Clubhouse for a chance to meet

and chat with fellow AWC Newcomers

whilst munching on some traditional Dutch

appeltaart (apple pie) and other homecooked

goodies. This is a great opportunity

for you to ask any questions you may have

about living here in Holland: from how to

use public transport, where to buy a certain

item, restaurant recommendations or how to

navigate an invitation from your neighbor

for a borrel.

Friday, September 24

10:30 a.m. – Noon

AWC Clubhouse


Tot ziens!


Tennis Evening

Boat Tour


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, no

matter if 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 with Suzanne Dundas at

chatcraftcake@awcthehague.org to reserve

your spot.

Every Tuesday except holidays

10 a.m. – Noon

AWC Clubhouse

Maximum 12


Heart Pillow Project

Members work together to make heartshaped

pillows designed to help support the

arms of recent lumpectomy and mastectomy

patients. Each pillow is made with TLC,

wrapped, and comes with a note signed by

AWC volunteers. 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 Wild Apricot app or website

calendar. For more information, please contact

Jan de Vries at info@awcthehague.org.

Monthly Fridays (See eNews)

1 – 3 p.m.

AWC Clubhouse

Maximum 8


Indoor Pickleball

The Fall 2021 season of indoor pickleball

will be held on Thursdays at the Sporthal

Houtrust for 10 sessions from September

23 to December 16, excluding the second

Thursday of each month. Pickleball

is the fastest growing sport in the US and

is exploding in popularity internationally,

combining elements of tennis, badminton

and table tennis. It is played with a paddle

and light ball on a badminton sized court.

All skill levels are welcome with no previous

playing experience necessary. We

invite any AWC Member who is interested

in trying pickleball to join us on a

Thursday at the courts for a trial session. If

interested, please email Sarah Partridge at


Thursdays, starting on September 23

(except second Thursday of each month)

10 – 11:30 a.m.

Sporthal Houtrust

Laan van Poot 22, Den Haag

€ 40 Members for Fall Season (10 sessions)

Minimum 8

Cancellation Deadline: September 2

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


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

>> 16



Ongoing Activities (cont.)

Continued from page 15

you plan to attend. For more information

or to register, contact Jen van Ginhoven at


Every Tuesday

1 – 4 p.m.

Location TBD


Out to Lunch Bunch

Interested in exploring new restaurants in

and around The Hague? Join us once a month

for Lunch Bunch. A different restaurant

is selected each month on varying days.

Recommendations are always welcome to

Greetje Engelsman at outtolunchbunch@

awcthehague.org. NOTE: Food and drink

are at your own expense. Deadline for

registration is THREE days before the

lunch. Due to the continuing uncertainty

of the COVID-19 situation, Lunch Bunch

may need to be cancelled.

September: This month’s choice is

Augustus (www.eetcafe-augustus.nl), situated

on the Reinkenstraat, a little “Fred”

with lots of good shops and old-fashioned

quality. Augustus proudly offers an extensive

lunch menu of sandwiches, pastas, salads,

wraps and poke bowls. Try the toastie

with gorgonzola and banana! If the weather

cooperates, we’ll enjoy lunch on their garden


Wednesday, September 22

Noon – 2 p.m.


Augustus Reinkenstraat 75, Den Haag

Minimum 2 / Maximum 8

RSVP Required by September 19

October: Join us this month at De Dagvisser

(www.dedagvisser.nl) at Scheveningen

Harbor. Opened in 1996, this Zeeland family

seafood restaurant purchases their fish

daily at the fish auction. On Mondays, they

offer a special three-course lunch for those

over 55. The earlier start time is to accommodate

anyone in Walkie Talkies who’d

like to enjoy lunch after their morning walk

around Scheveningen.

Monday, October 25

11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

De Dagvisser

Dr. Lelykade 26, Scheveningen Haven

Minimum 2 / Maximum 8

RSVP Required by October 15

Thirsty Thursday

We’re hoping to host our popular Thirsty

Thursday evenings once again beginning

in October. This social networking event is

held at a different restaurant in The Hague

on the third Thursday of each month, excluding

holidays. No definitive plans

have been made yet for October because

of the ever-changing coronavirus restrictions.

Please keep an eye out for updates

on our online calendar, Facebook page and

eNews and plan to RSVP on Wild Apricot

to receive an email with the restaurant information

closer to the date. Questions

or suggestions? Contact Wynne Davis

at vicepresident@awcthehague.org.

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. No

RSVP is necessary. Contact Emily van

Eerten 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 &


Do you live in Wassenaar and environs

and long for the camaraderie of the AWC

without the trip to the Clubhouse? Join

your neighbors for a casual coffee and

conversation at a Member’s home. Since

the location and capacity changes every

month, contact Suzanne Dundas at

chatcraftcake@awcthehague.org if you are

interested in attending.

Thursdays, September 2 + October 7

10 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.

This year, we will alternate between morning

and evening virtual meetings to accommodate

more Members’ schedules. Feel

free to email Mary Ellen Brennan directly

for more information.

Monday, September 27

7 – 8 p.m.

Friday, October 22

10 – 11 a.m.




One-of-a-Kind Activities

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

enjoying some yummy delights. Please


person includes a small donation to the KWF

Kankerbestrijding (Dutch Cancer Society)

in addition to the Afternoon Tea Menu.

come along. Teams will be formed on the

night. We will meet in the reception area at

6:45 p.m. so payments can be made individually

before play. Food, beverages and bowling

will be at your own expense. Feel free

Welcome Back Social

We’re hosting a Sunday Evening Social to

welcome both our new Members and returning

ones for the start of the new Club Year at

the Tennispark Houtrust (www.tennisparkhoutrust.nl).

For just the price of drinks,

we’ll be able to use their facilities of clubhouse

and terrace for our borrel. The AWC

will cover the cost of your first two drinks

of beer, wine or soda. Additional drinks are

at your own expense and must be purchased

from the bar. The AWC will also order some

hapjes (appetizers). Members are asked to

bring an appetizer or dessert to share. Paper

plates and utensils will be provided. Space is

limited to 30 participants and revisions may

be necessary closer to the date due to changing

coronavirus restrictions. Parking is available

on the street. Contact Melissa Rider

at awcthehague.senioradvisor@gmail.com

with questions.

Sunday, September 26

5:30 – 8 p.m.

Tennispark Houtrust

Laan van Poot 38, 2566 EE Den Haag

Drinks MUST be purchased at the venue

Bring a dish to share

RSVP required

Minimum 10 / Maximum 30

Cancellation Deadline: September 13


Dutch Food & Shopping


We are thrilled to announce that the hugely

popular Dutch Food and Shopping

Workshop, led by the AWC’s own Carol

Slootweg, will take once again. Whether

you are new to the Netherlands or an oldtimer,

there is always something new

to learn about food and shopping in the

Netherlands. It could be deciphering product

labels or recipes, learning to use new

cuts of meat or exotic vegetables, finding

suitable cleaning products or identifying

substitutes for your favorite ingredients.

Carol will show you lots of examples of local

Dutch products and produce and answer

any questions you have. Your trips to the

supermarket will be a totally different and

much improved experience after this workshop!

Due to the coronavirus social distancing

measures, space is limited. You must

RSVP if you plan to attend via the AWC

website calendar or Wild Apricot app. If

you have queries, feel free to email Jo van

Kalveen at newcomers@awcthehague.org.

Friday, October 1

10:30 a.m. – Noon

AWC Clubhouse


AWC Pink Afternoon Tea

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month,

you are invited to an AWC Pink Afternoon

Tea at the Secret Garden Bakery (www.

secretgardenbakery.nl) where you can feel

free to share your stories with friends while

Enjoy a delightful selection of sandwiches,

a variety of pastries and cakes along with tea

and orange juice. If you have any allergies

or dietary restrictions, please notify Sarah

Partridge at activities@awcthehague.org

at least one week BEFORE the event as she

will need to confirm that your request can be

accommodated by the restaurant.

Thursday, October 7

2:30 – 4:30 p.m.

Secret Garden Bakery Café

Kettingstraat 8, Den Haag

€ 20 Members

Minimum 6 / Maximum 15

Cancellation Deadline: September 30

Moonlight Bowling Night

Please join us for a guaranteed fun

Moonlight Bowling Night at Bowling

Scheveningen. Everyone is welcome to

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!

to celebrate Oktoberfest with bowling and

beers. The cost per lane is € 31.50. In order

to adhere to COVID-19 social distancing,

we will try to minimize the number of players

per lane. The cost per person will depend

on the number of attendees, but we anticipate

it around € 8 each for 1.5 hours of bowling.

Parking at Boulevard Strandweg 179 is

€5.50 for three hours. Lane reservations need

to be made one week in advance, so register

now via the AWC online calendar or Wild

Apricot app. Questions? Contact Sarah

Partridge at activities@awcthehague.org.

Sunday, October 17

6:45 – 8:30 p.m.

Bowling Scheveningen

Gevers Deynootweg 990-2, Den Haag

To be paid at venue ~ € 8 each

Minimum 6 / Maximum 20

Registration Deadline: October 10


Book Lovers

Book Clubs

The AWC Book Clubs are FREE and open

to all readers. 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. We have a

daytime and an evening group. Questions?

Teresa Mahoney organizes the daytime

group: bookclubday@awcthehague.org.

Dena Haggerty handles the evening meetings:


Happy reading!

Daytime Book Club

September Selection: Three Women by

Lisa Taddeo

A riveting true story about

the sex lives of three ordinary

American women,

based on nearly a decade

of reporting. Regardless of

whether you can relate to

their sexual desires, emotional

pain, strength, and

losses, this will definitely

make for an interesting discussion.

Thursday, September 23

10 a.m.

October Selection: Where the Crawdads

Sing by Delia Owens

Written by a wildlife scientist,

this lush first novel

is a murder mystery, coming-of-age

narrative, and

celebration of nature taking

place in coastal North


Thursday, October 28

10 a.m.

Daytime Book Club Reading List:

Thursday, November 18: The

Netanyahus by Joshua Cohen


Evening Book Club

September Selection: Shuggie Bain by

Douglas Stuart

The 2020 Booker Prize

winner is the heart-wrenching

story of a young boy

and his alcoholic mother.

Inspired by his personal

struggles, Douglas Stuart’s

debut novel is an epic portrayal

of a working-class

family that is rarely seen in

fiction: a story about a family devastated by

the effects of poverty, abuse, and alcoholism

in Glasgow in the 1980s.

Wednesday, September 8

7:30 p.m.

Daytime Book Club Recaps

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

What is the relationship between popularity

and literary value? As of this writing,

this book has spent 33 weeks on the New

York Times Best Sellers List and won the

Goodreads Readers’ Choice Award for

Fiction in 2020. It was read and discussed

by both AWC Book Clubs. Is it a good

book? Yes and no. Its popularity is rooted

in something we’ve all faced: regret over

past decisions. A waystation between life

and death, the Midnight Library offers the

chance for depressed, unemployed, single,

and cat-less Nora Seed to live an infinite

number of lives before choosing the one

she wants to stay in. Once the best teenage

swimmer in Britain, she lives a life in which

she excelled at the Olympics and becomes a

Ted-talk caliber motivational speaker. Once

fascinated by Norway’s Svalbard archipelago,

she becomes a glaciologist fighting

off a polar bear and sleeping with an urbane

Frenchman who seems to know her very

well. These are not pretend lives. These are

actual lives Nora lives. Matt Haig taps into

the theory of the multiverse, but uses this

very complicated physics theory as it suits

him and without consistency. Each chapter

is a different life for Nora and that structure

doesn’t allow for much character development

of the other characters in the book.

Haig also has a heavy hand with tree symbolism

that seems contrived after a while.

This book succeeds because it has a premise

that we can all relate to. It is an enjoyable

book. That may be enough, in this life


Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy


Our group was fascinated and somewhat

alarmed by the examples in the book of

how opaque algorithms impact aspects of

our lives without any clear recourse to challenge

the assumptions on which decisions

are made. Cathy O’Neil demonstrated how

relying on big data as a way to give the appearance

of objective decision-making actually

engrains bias into automated decisionmaking

processes. This can affect which

job applicants get through screenings, how

performance reviews of employees are conducted,

who can attain credit, and who gets

stopped on the street based on imperfect facial

recognition software. Our readers were

grateful to have O’Neil’s insights, yet felt

quite depressed by our individual powerlessness

in the face of the proliferation of

“black box” algorithms in our lives.

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

Read this novel if you’re looking for a page

turner and exciting story of mortal agony,

motherly love, no other option than to flee,

friendship, betrayal and the need to leave

behind everything that was a comfortable

certainty just before. All of this was set in

motion by the unscrupulous tyranny of the

Mexican drug cartels. The main characters

do not actually exist, but the book is not fully

fiction. Sadly, it is very real. Our group

discussed the scary events the characters

had to go through. The author did at least

five years of thorough research, while not

being Mexican herself. This caused some

criticizers to pin her for “cultural appropriation,”

and at least one in our group was

convinced one cannot plausibly write about

what a person of another culture feels.

Judge for yourself. We all agreed that the

novel was an exciting story―a story that

makes you think about the world behind the


Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and Other

Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin


You are going to die and so is everyone you

love. Therefore, you should read this book by

“death positive” proponent Caitlin Doughty.

She is a remarkable young mortician, now a

powerful media presence (www.orderofthegooddeath.com

or Ask a Mortician on her

YouTube channel), who wants everyone to

have a good death followed by the funeral

they want, which is not necessarily the funeral

the funeral industry wants to sell you.

She has written three books that will help

you achieve your and your family’s death

goals. This was her first and it is thoughtprovoking

and touching. It is also unflinching.

Be prepared to read about what really

happens to a corpse being prepared for cremation

or a viewing (lots of wire, spikes,

and superglue). Her intelligence, experience,

and humor make this book, on what

is ultimately an unexceptional topic, exceptional.

Inspired, we opened up to each other

during a very personal discussion, as we

have done or will do with our families. Here

is the simplest and most compelling recommendation

ever offered by the Daytime

Book Club: Universally Recommended.

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.


AWC and the Arts

by Jane Choy-Thurlow, AWC Member and Mauritshuis Docent

Special Note: It is possible to register for

all of these activities after the cancellation

deadline date if there is still space, but

please understand that the fee would then

be non-refundable. Also, please understand

that these events may need to be cancelled

or modified due to changes in coronavirus


Walking Tour of Pilgrims’ Leiden

The English Separatists we call the Pilgrims

set sail 400 years ago to America from

Delfshaven, near Rotterdam. On this tour

you will discover the city of Leiden, where

the Pilgrims arrived as refugees in 1609, and

its unique environment: home of the country’s

first university (1575), a flourishing

textile industry, printing houses and many

foreign immigrants looking for religious

freedom. In the 17th century, Leiden was one

of the largest cities of the Low Countries.

Much of the urban landscape today reflects

the cultural, academic and scientific riches

of the city as well as daily life in the Golden

Age. Wandering around Leiden with Sarah

Moine, the Assistant Director of the Leiden

American Pilgrim Museum (www.leidenamericanpilgrimmuseum.org),

you will

learn about the Pilgrims’ journey, monumental

churches, old and quaint houses, and

secrets of the city. Due to COVID-19 restrictions,

it will not be possible to allow the entire

group into the museum at once. Please

book a visit online in advance at https://


RSVP for all Arts Activities directly on


Direct any questions to


pilgrim-museum.sollidd.com. Museum entrance

fee is € 6.50 and is not included in

the walking tour price; please note that the

Museumkaart is not accepted. The tour will

end at the Waag Café, Aalmarkt 21, where

drinks and snacks can be enjoyed at your

own expense.

Sunday, September 19

1:30 – 3 p.m.

Beschuitsteeg 9, Leiden

€ 10 Members (€ 15 non-members)

Minimum 10 / Maximum 15

Cancellation deadline: September 10

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, 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.

Friday, 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

Tour of National Monument


Oranjehotel (www.oranjehotel.org) was the

nickname for Scheveningen Prison during

World War II, where Germans detained over

25,000 people for interrogation and prosecution.

A diverse group from all corners of

the Netherlands had broken German laws:

mostly resistance fighters, but also Jews,

Jehovah’s Witnesses and black market traders.

Even during the war, the complex was

called “Oranjehotel” as an ode to the resistance

fighters who were locked up there.

Among the prisoners were well-known people

like Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema (whose

autobiography Soldaat van Oranje (Soldier

of Orange) inspired both a movie and musical)

and Corrie ten Boom (who later

wrote The Hiding Place, her autobiography

about hiding Jews in her family’s home in

Haarlem). Some prisoners were released,

others were deported to other prisons or

camps, while others were executed on the

nearby Waalsdorpervlakte. Their stories

of fear, hope, faith and love for the fatherland

are told in the National Monument

Oranjehotel. Learn how vulnerable freedom

really is, and which choices people make

when injustice, repression and persecution

control society.

Highlights of the Oranjehotel include:

• Death Cell 601 in Death Row D is still

exactly as it was during the war. While

the public is not allowed to enter, the

cell door is open for viewing. By visiting

the adjoining cells, you will get

an idea how terrible life in prison was

during WWII.

• Het Poortje (the small gate), in the outside

wall of the prison, gateway to the

Waalsdorpervlakte where many prisoners

were executed

• A memorial plaque on the outside wall

with the text “zij waren eensgezind”

(“they were united”) referring to the resistance


• The four Doodenboeken (Books of the


Please note that this will not be a guided tour,

but registration is required. The group will

meet at 1 p.m. for an introduction and a short

film presented by museum staff; then there

will be free time to wander the museum via

audio guide. At 3 p.m. the group will gather

for coffee and cake in the museum café and

talk about what we have seen so far. Those

interested in exploring the museum longer

can continue to do so. Museumkaart is not


Wednesday, November 3

1 – 3 p.m.


van Alkenmadelaan 1258, Den Haag

€ 4.50 for group presentation

€ 9.50 Entrance fee to be paid at the museum

(PIN only)

Minimum 10 / Maximum 15

Cancellation Date: October 27


Heart Pillow Project

by Jan de Vries

AWC volunteers meet monthly to

bring comfort to lumpectomy and

mastectomy patients by making and

donating heart-shaped pillow sets to local

hospitals. The pillows are not just symbolic,

but rather an ergonomic design which

reduces the weight of a patient’s arm on

their operative area. We know from feedback

from patients, nurses and doctors that

the pillows really do provide both physical

and psychological comfort to the recipients.

Moreover, patients write to us that they

feel the emotional support from a team of

women they don’t even know, making them

feel connected to the wider world during

their lonely journey. AWC Member, Jen

van Ginhoven, and her team of cutters and

sewers do a splendid job of preparing each

pillow to be completed with TLC during our

workshops where we stuff, close, gift-wrap

and sign our names prior to delivery to local

hospitals. It is important to note that no

sewing skills are required to participate in

our workshops. We will give you the tools

and guidance you need to make a meaningful

contribution to the process.

Currently, coronavirus restrictions

dictate the number of participants in our

workshops with social distancing measures

remaining in place for the foreseeable future.

Accordingly, this means a maximum of

eight participants for each session. Further,

you must register via the Wild Apricot app

or website calendar in order to attend. For

more information, feel free to contact Jan

de Vries info@awcthehague.org.

Proposed monthly workshop days will

be Fridays from 1 – 3 p.m. at the AWC

Clubhouse. There is no charge for participation―we

are just grateful for your

help! Come along and experience the

“feel-good factor” of providing a measure

of comfort to people who really need it.

Further dates or changes will be posted in

the weekly eNews.



September 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat

1 2 3 4

Wassenaar Coffee and

Convo 9:30 a.m

5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Walkie Talkies 9:30 a.m.


Chat, Craft & Cake

10 a.m.

Mah Jongg 1 p.m.

Office Hours Resume

Evening Book Club

7:30 p.m.

Morning Kick Off

10 a.m.

12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Buddy Check 12 Walkie Talkies 9:30 a.m. Chat, Craft & Cake

10 a.m.

Mah Jongg 1 p.m. Evening Kick Off

5:30 p.m.

19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Walking Tour of Pilgrims’

Leiden 1:30 p.m.

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

10 a.m.

Mah Jongg 1 p.m.

Out to Lunch Bunch


26 27 28 29 30

Walkie Talkies 9:30 a.m.

Chat, Craft & Cake

10 a.m.

Daytime Book Club

10 a.m.

Pickleball 10 a.m.

Pickleball 10 a.m.

Newcomers Coffee

Morning 10:30 a.m.

Special Walkie Talkies:

City Pier Night Walk

5:30 p.m.

Welcome Back Social

5:30 p.m.

Women in Businessvirtual

meeting 7 p.m.

Mah Jongg 1 p.m.

October 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat

1 2

Dutch Food & Shopping

Workshop 10:30 a.m

3 4 5 6 7 8 9

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

10 a.m.

Wassenaar Coffee and

Convo 9:30 a.m

Pickleball 10 a.m.

Mah Jongg 1 p.m.

10 11 12 13 14 15 16

17 18 19 20 21 22 23

Moonlight Bowling

Night 6:45 p.m

Walkie Talkies 9:30 a.m.

Buddy Check 12

Chat, Craft & Cake

10 a.m.

Mah Jongg 1 p.m.

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

10 a.m.

Mah Jongg 1 p.m.

Evening Book Club

7:30 p.m.

AWC Pink Afternoon Tea

2:30 p.m.

October General

Meeting 10 a.m.

Conservation of

Paintings: Tour of Studio

Redivivus 11 a.m.

Pickleball 10 a.m. Women in Businessvirtual

meeting 10 a.m.

24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Walkie Talkies 9:30 a.m.

Out to Lunch Bunch

11:30 a.m.

Chat, Craft & Cake

10 a.m.

Mah Jongg 1 p.m.

Daytime Book Club

10 a.m.

Pickleball 10 a.m.




A Ceremony of Remembrance and Hope

by Roberta Enschede

David Halberstam, the distinguished American journalist, wrote:

There are dates which seem to separate yesterday from today and then from now. September

11, 2001 is such a date.

Etched into the stone of the 9/11 Memorial is a challenge:

Dedicated to those who fell and those who carry on.

May we never forget.

And so, each year, we hold A Ceremony of Remembrance and Hope. We remember

Rebecca Fry’s friend who died on AA 73 when it crashed into the Pentagon. We remember

firefighter Steve Blackwell, the best friend of a former Security Attaché at the US Embassy

who ran into the Trade Center twice and the second time didn’t come out. We remember

the best friend of Cameron Mitchell’s dad, a firefighter who Cameron was named after. We

remember the men and women of Squad One in Brooklyn. We adopted their firehouse and

collected money for their Widows’ and Children’s Fund.

We remember names of people. Zelda, an Israeli poet, wrote:

Each man has a name given him by his father and mother…

Each man has a name, given him by the sea and given him by his death.

An elementary school child from PS22 in Staten Island, New York wrote:

What the terrorists wanted is for us to be scared, to go in our house and never

come out. But we didn’t do that. We didn’t hide in the shadows. We went out in the sun.

When we speak of 9/11 today, we remember 2,983 people who died that blue and golden

morning. That sun-drenched morning when the North and South Towers of the World

Trade Center crumbled, when the Pentagon was seared and sliced, and when a meadow in

Shanksville, Pennsylvania burned!

We remember ordinary people: firefighters, police officers, members of the military, first

responders. We remember minute details of that day and all the days that followed.

I was at the American School of The Hague in Wassenaar marking papers in the Teacher’s

Lounge. The kids had gone home. One of the teachers who always stayed late walked in and

said, “They just bombed the World Trade Center. Go down and see!” I couldn’t believe it,

so I went to the library to check out her story. A few teachers and students were gathered in

front of a small TV. A man I didn’t know sat and just stared. His legs and arms were crossed

around each other like he was isolating himself. He never said a word. Finally, he uttered,

“It’s gonna fall.” Seconds later, I watched the South Tower crumble! The man was a substitute

teacher and a retired engineer. He understood what I could not conceive―what millions

could not conceive. At 9:59 a.m. the South Tower fell. At 10:28 a.m., the North Tower fell.

It’s been 20 years since that day. Still, when we say September 11, each of us remembers

where we were and what we were doing. We remember all the times we talked about what

happened and why. We remember conversations with friends who lost friends and family.

We remember the stories of firefighters, police officers, first responders and ordinary people

who did whatever they could to save lives—and some of them lost their own.



September 11, 2001 – September 11, 2021

At the very first Ceremony of Remembrance and Hope in 2001, we repeated those

words in English, French, Spanish, Dutch, Hebrew, Arabic, Russian, Japanese, Chinese and

Korean―spoken by students at the American School in the languages spoken by the people

who died that morning. September 11 was not and is not solely an American tragedy. It was

and will always be a challenge for our common humanity.

Former Secretary of State John Kerry wrote:

It was the worst day we’ve ever seen, but it brought out the best in all of us.

President Bush said:

None of us will ever forget this day, yet we will go forward to defend freedom and all

that is good and just in our world.

To quote that little elementary school kid in Staten Island once more:

We went out in the sun.

We Will Always Remember.

We Will Never Lose Hope.

On the 20th anniversary of 9/11, the families of those who died will be able to read their

names once more.

There will be one-minute of silence at the following times:

8:46 a.m. when AA 11 crashed into the North Tower

9:03 a.m. when UA 175 sliced the South Tower

9:37 a.m. when AA 77 slammed into the Pentagon

10:28 a.m. when UA 93 crashed into a meadow near Shanksville, PA

At sunset in Manhattan, 44,700 lights will create the Twin Towers in a Tribute in Light

from sunset to sunrise on September 12. There will be ceremonies in Arlington, Virginia and

Shanksville, Pennsylvania as well as across the US and around the world.

Watch eNews for the time and location of the Ceremony of Remembrance and Hope in The Hague. Sponsored

by Overseas American Remember ~ OAR. For more information, contact me at oarinnl@yahoo.com.


Two Weddings and Three Hurdles

by Anne van Oorschot

The summer of 2020 was going to be a big one for our family: two of our kids,

Kayleigh and Joel, were engaged and both wanted a July wedding ceremony to take

place on the spacious front lawn of our vacation cabin in northern Minnesota. Joël

and his Dutch fiancé, Loes, had planned their ceremony to take place in the Netherlands

in June and wanted “a copy” of their wedding for our large group of family and friends

at our cabin. Kayleigh, whose fiancé, Josh, is American, planned her real wedding in the

US with a reception to follow in the Netherlands. Then COVID-19 came calling and we

slowly realized all our wonderful plans would have to be cancelled.

Joel and Loes’ June wedding was the first to go. They found a new date in September

and hoped more would be possible then. Their combination of an outdoor venue with a

relaxed owner and a modest guestlist turned out to work perfectly! They were able to sail

between two peak periods and had fabulous weather, making their wedding day happen

very much as they had planned.

Both of the US summer weddings had been postponed. Since our front lawn was the

venue, we knew it would be available. We changed our dates with the rental agency where

we had reserved a large tent, tables, chairs, glasses and table linens to July 17 and July 24,

2021―just one week apart! Once that was settled, we hunkered down, were careful and

waited for things to get better. Following in my oldest son’s footsteps, both asked me to

make their wedding cake and provided pictures of what they wanted it to look like. While

Joel and Loes’ “naked cake” example looked pretty do-able, Kayleigh and Josh’s choice of

a “birch log cake” was another matter. My daughter in-law, Liesbeth, scoured the Internet,

finding a tutorial on how to make a birch tree cake. While not easy, the 15-minute tutorial

gave step-by-step directions, which I thought I could handle. I sourced all the materials and

ingredients I would need and made a whopper of a shopping list so I could hit the ground

running upon arrival. Then we waited as the summer and the two wedding dates got nearer.

The first real hurdle occurred when I checked the US Consulate website to see what

the requirements were for Dutch citizens to enter the US and discovered that not much


had changed in the past

year. Non-Americans were

only welcome for a limited

number of reasons: essential

jobs, students and green

card holders. That meant

that Loes’ parents could

not come, nor could any

of my daughter’s friends.

While we held out hope

that anyone fully vaccinated

would be allowed entry, a

relaxation of the American

regulations never happened.

Of course, being fully vaccinated

was not yet possible

for Kayleigh’s 20 friends

in their early 30s who were planning to come and they all had to cancel their tickets.

Fortunately, one of Kayleigh’s good Dutch friends is living and working in New York and

we were thrilled he was able to attend. The only reason Loes was allowed in the country

was because she and Joel were already married―hard to do a wedding without the bride!

I arrived in Minnesota on June 3, so had plenty of time for preparations and all went

well. The second hurdle resulted from the call I got from my daughter three weeks before

her wedding: both she and Josh had coronavirus! While neither of them were horribly sick,

they were both out of commission for a week. With traces of the virus lingering in their

bodies, it was doubtful they would be able to pass the test necessary to board the plane

for the US. Really hard to have a wedding without the bride and groom! Fortunately, after

being symptom-free for ten days, they passed their tests and received certificates stating

they were safe to travel. WHEW!

After that scare had been averted, we had one more hurdle to overcome before our

weddings could be perfect. To understand this, I must explain a bit about the make-up of

our 70-person “Lake Family.” It all started when my dad was about 12 and his parents built

a cabin on Lake Minnewawa. There he met Emil, Dick and Lindy, also 12, whose parents

had cabins on the lake. They did all the things that boys did then: swam, went out in their

family’s row boats, later upgrading to boats with motors (3.5 – 5 horsepower), racing on

the lake and just hanging out. As they grew, they saw each other back in Minneapolis,

where they all lived, and at the University of Minnesota, which they all attended. They

were in each other’s weddings and came to the lake with their wives, adding kids later.

They took over their family cabins or got places of their own and kept coming summers

so their kids―one of which is me―grew up together as well. While not all of the kids in

my generation still come to the lake, a lot of us do and our kids have grown up together

as well. My granddaughter Sophie is one of the 24 kids in the 5th generation of our Lake

Minnewawa Family!

However, there are only two people left in the generation of my parents: Emil and

Janna. They just celebrated their 70th anniversary and are pretty important folks for all of

us! While both mentally sharp, they have health challenges, but still manage to travel to

their cabin for two months every summer. They have been looking forward for two years

to attending the weddings of our kids, who they watched grow up. So imagine our sadness

when, two and a half weeks before Kayleigh’s wedding, Janna fell and broke her hip. After

her surgery, a long stay in a nursing home was recommended. Their attendance at our >> 32


Two Weddings (cont.)

Continued from page 31

two weddings seemed not only impossible, but also not a priority. While we still hoped

this hurdle could be overcome, it seemed too much to hope for.

Meanwhile, there were many details to be handled and family members volunteered

to help. Two nieces acted as masters of ceremony and wedding planners, overseeing the

details. There is a florist, photographer and hair stylist in the family and a nephew officiated

at the wedding. Janna amazed everyone by returning home in time for Kayleigh’s

wedding. Josh is their nephew and she and Emil attended the ceremony, which was held

in the open space next to their cabin. We were grateful for that and knew making it to the

reception at our place (a five-minute walk) was not possible. The weather was perfect, the

bride and groom glowed, the ceremony was beautiful, the reception on our lawn lovely

and fun with a pizza truck for dinner, and Emil and Janna came down for an hour as well.

The cake was also a hit: good looking and tasty. Truly a perfect day!

We spent two days picking up and slowly changed gears for Joel and Loes’ wedding.

Their event was a bit more formal and took place entirely on our front lawn. Many hands

pitched in to help the florist get all 65 of the chair decorations made and attached, the

homemade wooden arch decorated and the 24 table decorations distributed over the long

banquet tables under the white canopy. There were lanterns to be hung in the trees and

lights to be strung; the result was magical. There was a slight breeze off the lake to keep

us comfortable in the shade of the trees as our oldest son officiated at the ceremony. After

a champagne toast, there were simple lawn games and Dutch snacks before we enjoyed a

delicious Indonesian rijsttafel made by my husband. Afterword he admitted cooking for

such a big group was too much work, but it was delicious and a big hit with all the guests.

A very different cake for this couple, but also beautiful and tasty. Janna and Emil came

for the ceremony, went home to rest and came back for the dinner. Another perfect day

and full of wonderful memories for the happy couple.

Of course, clean-up was again required, but we received a lot of help. All of the rented

items were picked up and we are basking in the double glows of two wonderful days. Could

they be sweeter due to the hurdles we had on the way? Who can say, but I do know my

family had a wonderful summer that we will always treasure.



UK Bound!

by Sarah Partridge

I am a planner at heart—to that I


Made lists of things and checked

to be legit.

Enjoyed planning activities for

the AWC:

Brunch, tennis, boules, bowling

and Pink Afternoon Tea.

Sunny weather in Scotland—you’ve been kind during my stay,

And hope it’ll continue when I am free…oh I pray.

Obstacles to cross and test before you fly,

All to see your family…it makes me wanna cry.

But worth all the hassle when you arrive off the plane,

To see their faces, give a hug and kiss them once again.

During my 10 days of quarantine, I relaxed and enjoyed,

Before doing return tests and getting more annoyed,

Seeing my lovely two nieces, my sister, mum and all,

It’s the small things in life…not the big…just the small.

Crazy golf with Mr. Connor and

walks in the eve,

Making lunch for my brother-inlaw,

otherwise known as Mr.Steve.

At Black Ivy, family dinner a late

Christmas do,

When we couldn’t be together

and not much we could do.

And a weekend in Pitlochry on

the train and afternoon tea,

And lunch with some friends who

I’ve finally been able to see.

We appreciate things more as we

get older and older,

Thanks, God, for this trip; now

back to Holland where it’s colder!



Walking has become not only an exercise, but a feel-good environmental mission. Sure,

I get odd looks from people, an occasional “Atta Girl!” from the older generation, while

kids wonder what I am doing. One time, I even saw another woman with a bag and grabber.

We both paused, waved, and walked on totally focused on the landscape.

Let’s talk trash. Most of the trash that I pick up is around the bike paths. This includes

juice bottles, energy drinks, leftover lunches wrapped in plastic bags, candy wrappers, and

face masks. Along the streets, there are discarded flip flops, fast-food containers, plastic

cutlery, disinfectant tissues, baby pacifiers, ponytail scrunchies, plastic bottles, beer bottles

and various pieces of junk. Typically, on a single walk, I dump 3-4 bags of trash into a bin.

I figure most of the people who see me walking think that my grabber is a cane. I have

finally become a crazy “little ole lady in white tennis shoes” doing weird stuff. Doesn’t

bother me. I feel happy as each discarded coffee cup and aluminum can drop into my bag.

Don’t Mess with Me!

by Mary Adams

Litter is any kind of waste, rubbish or trash that has not been properly disposed. I lived

in Texas when the Texas Department of Transportation decided to run a campaign

against littering called “Don’t Mess with Texas.” The signs designating fines of up to

$2,000 were posted on the highways throughout the state. The campaign was credited with

reducing litter by 72% from 1987 to 1990. Somehow this slogan became a Texas motto.

For me, it reinforced my upbringing of “Don’t be a litter bug” in a responsible way. Don’t

spit your gum on the street, don’t drop tissues, and don’t toss bottle caps. Even though I

haven’t lived in Texas for over 20 years, I still carry its motto with me.

At home in the Netherlands, I started taking long neighborhood walks during the pandemic.

At first, the focus was on myself, my condition, and avoiding other pedestrians.

Then I started to notice the tremendous amount of litter along the bike paths, riverside,

and parks. For a few months, I just walked on by the errant cans of Red Bull or Heineken,

crumpled tissues, and Doritos bags. But it started to nag at the back of my mind. I began

to pick up the empty plastic bags rolling towards the canals, but I really was not properly

prepared to pick up litter. The longer I walked, the more litter I saw, and the more irritated

I got. Unbelievable that a country so focused on water control has no waste control. Living

on the Ijssel River, I have seen the marvels of nature, from magnificent bird and blocks of

ice to brilliant rows of flowers along the water’s edge. I have also seen people in boats and

on land dump their trash into the river. Looking out the window a few years ago, I saw a

barber’s chair tossed over the dike and caught on the rocks slowing making its way to the

river. This was with a major recycle center only about a kilometer away.

In March 2021, after seeing a canal clogged with plastic debris and birds nesting by

chunks of Styrofoam, I bought a grabber. I promised myself that if I saw litter in the vicinity

of my walking path, I would grab it, put it in my bag and put it in a trash receptacle.


In April 2021, I participated in the FAWCO Environment Festival. One of the sessions

was called Refuse Plastic. As I watched the presentation, I felt good about myself until

I realized that no matter how much trash I pick up during my walks, I created more in

my own daily life. Trash in the bin is only a short-term solution. The bigger issue is what

happens next with the world’s trash stowed in the bins.

There are many ways to support the environment as a donor, volunteer, and activist.

When you start to investigate, there are campaigns and activists everywhere from the United

Nationals Sustainable Development Goals to local programs. For example, since 2016,

Dutch anti-litter activist Dirk Groot has photographed, tagged, collected, and registered

more than 400,000 pieces of litter in the Netherlands. His reasoning was “We will never

be able to completely solve the problem with litter. But with data, we can guide, drive and

monitor industry and government. Call it helping.” He has dubbed himself the Zwerfinator

(www.zwerfinator.nl), which is derived from the Dutch word zwerfafval meaning litter. In

other words, he is the Litter-ator!

Although technically, I am a mini-zwerfinator; I started to think that I could “help”

more by making a sustainable commitment to the environment. Certainly, I will continue

to walk and bag trash and become more aware of national litter projects, but I am slowly

changing my own lifestyle.

Since April, I no longer buy

water in plastic bottles. I

invested in reusable water

bottles. I recently bought a

shampoo bar to stop using

liquid shampoo in plastic

bottles. I cannot change

everything at once, but I

now have a personal action

plan as a consumer. In the

words of George Bernard

Shaw, “Progress is impossible

without change, and

those who cannot change

their minds cannot change

anything.” Special thanks to

the FAWCO Environment

Team for helping me change

my mind.


Unexpected Gifts

by Celeste Brown

We are told that good things can come in small packages. And frequently, that’s true.

Sometimes small packages evolve into bigger packages that bring unexpected

“pearls.” That is exactly what happened on our 2021 summer vacation.

Our main goal for this summer’s holiday was to stay coronavirus-healthy and attend an

opera performance in the Verona Arena, a well-preserved Roman amphitheater built in 30AD

in Verona, Italy. We had tickets for 2020, so when the season was cancelled, we opted to

move the tickets forward to 2021 (with the option for better seats). Opening night for Aida

was Saturday, June 26. Getting there was a process.

Like many people this summer, we needed to negotiate different COVID-19 guidelines

for each country. The shortest route from Holland to Verona is through Germany, but we

were also juggling guidelines in Italy and France, so we decided to cut Germany out of our

itinerary. (Bummer, as we had hoped to see Toastmaster friends in Germany along the way.)

We found it simpler to limit our travel through two countries rather than three. So we decided

we would travel south through France, then east into Italy with our GPS set on Verona.

On our way, we made

two stops: a small place outside

of Dijon and then managing

to cross the border into

Italy just in time for the PCR

test 48-hour time limit for

our arrival in Courmayeur,

a lovely town nestled in

the Alps. I’d skied there in

the early 1980s, so a return

visit was my goal. Beautiful

mountains, blue skies, quaint

inns and pleasant temps set

the mood for what was to



We expected to drive the next day directly

to Verona, but after the long lines of traffic

around Milan, we stopped in Lake Garda, a

popular vacation spot for Italian and Dutch

families. This stop off was an unexpected

surprise, as we drove past the gorgeous lake

with fewer than normal tourists. Then we

headed directly to a hotel in Verona where

we had stayed five years ago. We knew the

hotel, the area and the most direct walking

route into the center of Verona.

The opera production was well worth

attending, and I’d encourage anyone to make

the trip to Verona to attend. An opera in a typical

opera hall can be special, but the depth

and breadth of this production—size of the

stage, lead cast, dancers, extras, orchestra,

chorus, stage crew, etc.—was mind-boggling.

Consider that performances start at 9 p.m.

with some natural light still available. The

near-perfect acoustics inside the arena were

spectacular. What a thrill to hear the cumulative

sounds of the soloists, chorus and orchestra merge into a spectacular blend of musical

beauty! As an accent, birds occasionally swooped in before they flew away into the sunset.

All in all, it was a high-quality mega-performance, and I’m thrilled that my bucket list is

one item shorter.

Our next stop was one of the “small things” that turned into a butterfly. I made a reservation

at a B&B at Lake Iseo. Lake Iseo? Never heard of it, but it was chosen exactly for

that reason as it is cherished―it’s the smallest of the lakes in the famous Italian lake region.

Our B&B turned out to be a real gem, and we were the only guests which meant we had

the entire house AND house-front balcony (running the entire horizon from north to south)

to ourselves. Exquisite. And we didn’t need to leave the balcony to be entertained―birds

chirped and entertained us endlessly.

A boat trip to Mont Isola, situated in the middle of Lake Iseo, is mandatory. The

lovely boat ride and a walk

to town tickled all the senses.

Then we realized this was

the location where famous

artist Christo made one of

his temporary art installations

in 2016. The Floating

Piers featured three kilometers

of saffron-colored

pathways that connected the

Iseo shoreline to Mont Isola.

What a stunning opportunity

that must have been to literally

walk on water. And

I believe an AWC Member

visited it!

>> 40


Unexpected Gifts (cont.)

Continued from page 39

We then had one night to fill before

checking into our rental house in the Morvan

region of France (two hours south of Paris),

and it was time for the next unexpected “gift.”

When discussing where to stop, I suddenly

realized that I knew someone who, with his

historical architect partner, purchased a house

in the French Alps five years ago and they

have been remodeling it ever since. So I messaged

Eric and, lo and behold, he invited us to

their mountain home just south of Albertville.

And what a treat! A historical museum on

one floor, an (almost) modern private living

area, their private waterfall, and the views,

the views, the views! We were lulled to sleep that night by the sound of the mountain stream

behind our gite. Ahhhh….

Our French house rental was lovely and just what we needed after a busy week in Italy.

This was the first time I’ve ever stayed in a hamlet with no stores or restaurants. The closest

supermarket was a 30-minute drive; we enjoyed our drives through the many French villages

and local towns. I can enthusiastically recommend Beaune for its renowned roof tiles, the

exceptional Hotel Dieu (a hospital from medieval times), and the many wineries offering

tastes of the excellent local wines. This is the HEART of the Burgundy wine region.

We decided to take the road home through Luxembourg, so stopped there for the evening

and had dinner with a long-time Toastmaster friend. Just like our AWC and FAWCO networks,

my husband and I have an extensive network of Toastmaster friends. So almost 20 years of

shared Toastmaster experiences were discussed and rediscussed over dinner and drinks, and

it was a perfect way to end our two-week journey.

When any of us plan trips, we have a vague idea of where we want to go and what we

want to do, but when a well-planned trip has space to include unexpected surprises and

“pearls,” well, I say “shine that pearl!”

Death Brings Valuable Lessons

by Melissa White

Unlike the other writers for this issue, my summer vacation was planned for mid-August

(and hopefully was able to actually happen with the everchanging COVID-19 restrictions),

and thus took place too late to write about for this issue. That, however, doesn’t mean that

I don’t have some wisdom to share. The title was already a big hint that this wisdom isn’t about

summer or travel, but rather some lessons I learned after my father’s recent death that I thought

are worth passing onto others.

Share Passwords and Logins with Partner

After a long fight with prostate cancer, during my father’s final hours of life, he “bricked” (permanently

disabled) his iPhone and locked everyone out of the house computers. We can only

assume this was an effort to make sure that the rotating healthcare workers couldn’t have access.

Clearly he was quite lucid to be able to accomplish these technical tasks, but not rational enough

to realize the chaos that this would cause for my mother. If he had merely shut off his phone’s

facial identification password, no one could have accessed his phone without his consent. And if

my mother had the passwords to his phone, email and various banking and utility accounts, the

transfer of the accounts from his name to hers would have been much smoother. In hindsight,

much of that process should have been completed while he was still alive.

Lesson: Make sure you and your partner have access to the passwords and logins for each

other’s electronic devices and accounts. If you both would rather not share those passwords

immediately, you could place them in separate sealed envelopes in a safe place with the understanding

that the seals are only to be broken if you are gone or incapacitated.

Interview Your Parents

Months ago my mother suggested that I interview my father to give him something to look

forward to. He asked me to write an outline of what I wanted to discuss with him. Instead of

cranking it out, I dragged out the process, always thinking I’d get to it once I finished this or

that other project first. By the time I was finally ready to set up a schedule for our video chats,

it was too late. Now those personal stories are lost forever. Luckily, he had been interviewed by

the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley in 2003 and I could draw upon those details to

inspire me while writing his obituary, by far the hardest thing I have ever had to write. Imagine

my guilt that I had never bothered to read that interview until he was already gone, and it was

too late for me to tell him how proud I was to be his daughter.

Lesson: Don’t wait to interview your parents. Take steps now so that their most important stories

are captured to share with future generations.

Set Up a Legacy Contact on Facebook

In order to inform my father’s Facebook friends of his death, I posted a message on his wall.

However, only a handful of people were likely to have ever seen the message due to Facebook’s

mysterious algorithms taking into account that we had few mutual friends and he rarely posted

on Facebook.

Lesson: Facebook has a mechanism to “memorialize” an account when you pass away, but first

you need to assign a “legacy contact” to handle your account. This is extra helpful when trying to

let someone inform your friends of your passing. Your legacy contact can write a “pinned post”

for your profile to share a final message on your behalf or provide information about a memorial

service. Or if you’d rather, your legacy contact can permanently delete your Facebook account.



Lessons Learned During Pandemic Travels

by Lesley Gerrese

checked the coronavirus regulations in Switzerland only to find out that the Netherlands

was on the RED list so we would have to quarantine for 14 days if we stayed there. LOL.

We checked France as an alternative, but they had an 8 p.m. evening curfew, which meant

we’d have to stay in our hotel room all evening. So we called our small hotel on Lake Como

and asked if we could come three days early, which was luckily possible. Then, just to be

safe, we paid for expensive COVID-19 tests so we’d have travel certificates ready in case

we were asked at any of the six borders we would pass. No one asked. No one stopped us.

Not even in Switzerland.

Lesson #2: Better to be over-prepared than under-prepared. (And Lake Como was wonderful!)

My husband and I are avid travelers. This summer we learned that during a pandemic,

however, traveling is not quite as easy as it used to be!

Our first trip was to see my family in Texas in May. Obviously, being an American

citizen, I wasn’t worried about traveling to the States. Always a breeze. Unfortunately, we

failed to worry about my accompanying Dutch husband. We found out at check-in that he

had to prove our relationship, since non-Americans were/are still banned from travel to the

US. (Of course, the fine print on the KLM ticket suggested we check the regulations of our

destination, but who does that?!) My husband didn’t exactly appreciate the KLM lady’s insistence

that he show proof, and he went on the offense, insisting that we had been married

for 31 years and had never had to show such

a silly document before flying ever! Tensions

mounted… The lady even telephoned a US

immigration liaison who confirmed this rule to

John. Fortunately, I meanwhile found a copy of

our marriage certificate in some old emails on

my phone—it wasn’t even the full page, but

the lady was so eager to get rid of us that she

accepted it and let us board.

Lesson #1: Maybe read the fine print (especially

if you are practiced lawyers!) and check

the flight requirements; and, if going to the US,

have proof of marriage in your important travel

documents. If all else fails, argue passionately

until they give in.

In early June, we had plans to go to Lake

Como. Italy had just reopened in mid-May, with

no apparent COVID-19 restrictions on travel.

We decided to drive to Switzerland first, where

we’d enjoy a few nights in a romantic hotel on

Lake Lugano before continuing on. Then we


Our next trip was to Corfu, Greece in July: a holiday to relax and read books by the sea.

I reviewed―and practically studied―the governmental regulations to be absolutely certain

we could travel with just our American vaccine certificates (non-EU), and no PCR or antigen

tests, etc. This is where I totally screwed up. You know how airlines often mention you will

need to fill out a health form or declaration form, which they usually hand you at check-in

or landing? Well, there was some mention of a certain Passenger Locator Form (PLF) to fill

out, but I simply assumed we could do it at the airport. Naïvely, we drove to the airport at

3:30 a.m., parked, and dragged our suitcases to the farthest end of the airport where 199,999

Transavia passengers were all clustered in endless S-lines for check-in. When we finally got to

the desk… the lady shockingly would not let us board! We were required to have completed

that PLF online 24 hours before boarding. We tried that “argue passionately” thing, but she

held firm. “No PLF, no go!” This had never happened to us before, in all our flights around

the world over the years. Mortified, we slunk out of line, shuffled silently back to the parking

lot and were back home by 5:30 a.m. The really bad part was knowing it was so utterly

stupid―of me! And all because of this darn pandemic. Luckily John didn’t push the blame

game; we rebooked seats for the next day and had a nice trip to Corfu after all.

Lesson #3: If you go to Greece, be sure to fill in their online PLF form early. The airlines

will actually turn you away!

I’ve now become very nervous about traveling in this pandemic era. Our sons are coming

from the US to visit us soon so I’ve been checking the Netherlands’ regulations almost hourly,

worried that I’ll miss something and realizing they might not be able to come. Checking whether

we can travel in Europe (to Slovenia, specifically) with them. Checking whether we can get

back into the Netherlands if we do travel to Slovenia. Checking whether we will need a PCR or

antigen test at any point. Checking quarantine requirements. Checking whether they will need

any tests or certificates to return

to the US. I guess from

now on I’ll be carrying: (1)

our marriage certificate, (2)

all of our birth certificates (in

English, French, Portuguese

and Arabic, as we were all

born on different continents!),

(3) PCR tests (to be safe), (4)

antigen tests (to be extra safe),

(5) vaccine certificates (US

and EU versions) and (6) as

last resort, a bus pass. Sigh…

It is worth it! At least

we can travel―and see our



J’Adore France!

by Jo van Kalveen


feel very lucky to be typing this article from the South of France on the Cote d’Azur. It

was touch and go whether we could come on our much longed for summer beak. The

sudden rise in COVID-19 cases in the Netherlands meant travel regulations seemed to

change daily. Did we need a yellow vaccination book and why were they all sold out? What

was the right app for our vaccination QR code? What about the boys who were only partially

vaccinated? Then the French imposed tighter regulations of their own. Thankfully they did

a quick U-turn allowing unvaccinated teenagers into museums; the boys’ joy at the thought

of a museum-free holiday was short lived.

We debated canceling our plans, especially if France decided to implement tighter measures,

but after 17 months of working from home, Kees really needed a proper break; “I just

need to look at a different set of walls.” So off we went. We literally left under the cover of

darkness; felt a bit like we were sneaking out the back door!

We booked a hotel in the

north of France in a beautiful

former fort in Sedan in the

Ardennes. We stayed there for

two nights so Kees could dial in

to various work meetings. Being

holed up in the boys’ hotel room

for most of the day (it rained a

lot) gave me a glimpse of what

a quarantine hotel must look and

feel like. The mini bar looked

more than tempting!

Our first holiday rental was

in the Var region of France, 40

minutes inland from St. Tropez.


It was perfect! The house and garden were

spacious and well equipped. We spent the

week mostly by the pool, making day trips

to Nice and beautiful St. Paul de Vence

and eating ALL the baguettes and cheese.

Just what we all needed. After a week, we

changed locations to a house on the coast at

Les Issambres. We are a two-minute walk

to the beach and have really enjoyed early

morning and late afternoon trips there with

the odd nap in between. We visited Cannes,

which we all loved―enough super yachts,

shops and restaurants to keep everyone happy.

Just this morning, we hired a boat to sail

around the beautiful Port Grimaud and over

to the bay of St. Tropez―amazing! The two

weeks have flown by.

Since Kees and I started dating, we have

enjoyed many happy holidays in France, but

they certainly have evolved over time to reflect

our life circumstances. Pre-kids, Kees used to own a convertible Alfa Romeo Spyder. Once

I’d got over the shock of how little space I had for my luggage, I enjoyed setting off on our

French road trips with just a map and a Lonely Planet guidebook. We wouldn’t book any

accommodation and just used to find somewhere to stay wherever we ended up. We would

avoid motorways if possible and use scenic routes. We saw so much of France that way and

I loved it all.

Once the boys came along, we still chose to holiday in France, but things were very different.

We exchanged the convertible for a sensible large station wagon (tears were shed!)

with a roof box to accommodate the huge amounts of paraphernalia that comes with having

two children under two. We obviously booked child-friendly accommodation in advance

and drove the quickest route possible. We threw endless snacks and toys at the boys to keep

them occupied and listened to CDs on repeat; I never want to hear another Thomas the

Tank Engine story as long as I live! Eventually they were old enough to watch Disney films

on portable DVD players. We would also make up silly games (I can highly recommend

Camper or Caravan which involves guessing which of the two would next pass us on

>> 46

the opposite side of the road). Anything to

pass the time!

When the boys were small, we always

seemed to be up and about early in the morning

to see the local sights, making the most

of the peace and quiet, avoiding the heat and,

quite frankly, to tire the boys out! Teenage

boys are not known for their ability to surface

from their beds until late morning, so Kees

and I have found ourselves “trialing” life as

empty nesters. Upon waking, we make short

trips to the bakery and local market, walk

around a hilltop village, etc. sans enfants and

return to find the boys still fast asleep with

the fridge mysteriously empty.


J’Adore France (cont.)

Continued from page 45

I love searching for the perfect accommodation.

I start early (we are still limited

to the school summer holidays) and zealously

comb the Internet, mainly using Airbnb,

HomeAway or Booking.com. I have long

lists, short lists and saved links a plenty! We

used to consider how baby-friendly was the

garden or pool or how long was the drive.

Now, of course, the boys like a say. Top of the

boys’ must have list is WiFi and a fridge that

makes ice cubes. I kid you not―they still talk

in reverend tones about one holiday house

that had one a few years ago. They don’t

seem to be aware that an icemaker does not

have its own search filter on www.booking.

com. Last week’s house had one, so I gained

mega brownie points! This week’s is in the

form of a bag of ice cubes bought from the

local supermarket.

Over the years we have finely honed the

type of holiday which suits us as family: usually

in France in a rented house with a BBQ,

pool and garden. We like a mix of downtime

and sightseeing, so look for somewhere that

has access to a few towns or beaches within an hour’s drive. We also like having two different

locations, which feels like two different holidays. We learned the hard way that it’s

best to zoom in on website photos and look at the length of beds (Kees is your typical tall

Dutchie). We have made return trips to a few locations, including St. Remy du Provence and

the beach resort of Lacaneau. Provence is a real favorite with lots to see and do for everyone.

various photos of them over the years with

their “are you finished yet?” look on their

faces. To which I reply with a breezy “if I can

suck up a trip to a French Army tank museum,

you can suck up an hour at a market” whilst

buying yet another straw basket or Provencal

tablecloth I don’t really need!

It’s natural that the boys have started to

think about holidays without the parents. I remember

stifling a sob at the end of last year’s

holiday when son number one casually said,

“I think I will just holiday with my mates next

summer.” I always knew this would happen

one day, but am not quite ready to holiday

without him. Externally I tried to play it cool,

but internally was clutching my pearls and

reaching for the smelling salts! I was secretly

thrilled when he started asking about our

family holiday plans this year. And dare I say

he has referred to next year’s family holiday

plans too. As long as there is an icemaker.

We obviously have holidays in other

countries too, but there is something about

France that we all love. So no doubt you will soon find me behind the laptop Googling

“holiday houses with long beds, a fancy fridge and easy access to a French market” in

preparation for 2022.

We usually all get to choose

a day’s activities. Such days have

proved very enlightening about

our personalities. Son number

one would choose a parcours,

which would find us dangling

from trees and ziplines in various

French forests. Son number

two would choose a day at home

doing nothing but swimming,

playing games and a BBQ. Kees

would tend to choose visiting

some local “Roman stuff” as the

boys call it or a museum, whilst

I would drag them all to a local

French market (I adore them;

Kees and the boys less so!) I have



What Did I Do This Summer?

by Roberta Enschede

This summer I worked on the 4th of July Picnic. For the first time in years, we were

going to actually have the picnic on the 4th and we were psyched! That was until the

morning of the 3rd, with everything ready to go: the BBQ, DJ, raffle, bouncy castle,

circus kids, Uncle Sam, Marines, Scouts, reader of the Declaration of Independence and

singer for God Bless America―everything. Marja Verloop, the US Chargé d’Affaires and

AWC Honorary President, was going to make a speech and her brother even volunteered to

organize children’s games.

It was all a go until about 11 a.m. when I started getting phone calls and emails. “Are

you really going to have the picnic? Have you seen the weather forecast?” I answered, “Yep,

it’s going on.” Then I spoke with Georgia Regnault and Anneke Beeuwkes from Overseas

Americans Remember (OAR). They also had calls and emails, so we decided we had to

cancel! “Who’s going to come and sit in the mud and play games in the rain?” That was the

first time the picnic was ever cancelled, and I hope it will be the last! As it turned out, the

predictions were wrong―wrong on all counts! It didn’t pour the entire day. There was just

a little drizzle in the early evening. How could we know? We got lots more calls and emails.

“Why did you cancel? There were only a few drops of rain.” Anyways, the good news is that

by the time you read this, we will have had the 4th of July Picnic in August.

What else did I do? I went to the US and

saw my 6-year-old granddaughter for the

first time in 2 years and my son, sister and

19-year-old granddaughter for the first time

in 1.5 years. I knew I had missed them, but

I didn’t realize how much until I saw them,

touched them and put my arms around them.

I didn’t realize what I actually had been feeling.

I just held them and cried for our lost

time together. I think that’s how we are all

getting through this pandemic. If we were to

really stop to feel and think about our emptiness,

we probably couldn’t cope.


Our trip was an emotional rollercoaster.

We practically didn’t get there. When we were

packing, out of the blue Ernst asked, “Do you

know where our marriage certificate is?” I said,

“What do ya need a marriage certificate for? You

need your passport and COVID-19 credentials.”

He kept insisting, so I said, “Okay, I’ll look in

two places. If I don’t find it, it’s done.” I found

it immediately and he dutifully made a copy.

I thought it was his meticulous lawyer’s brain

that prompted such a useless exercise.

We left the next morning for Washington,

DC. Our taxi picked us up at 6:30 a.m. for a

9:30 a.m. flight, leaving enough time just in

case. Well, the “just in case” started at the check-in counter. After I checked in, Ernst stepped

up to the counter. About a minute later, he turned to me and said, “My visa waiver has been

revoked!” “What?” I said, “You just renewed your ESTA and got a confirmation!” Evidently

the US government sent a “timely” email to him at 9:45 p.m., when we were packing and

copying our marriage certificate! To make a long story short, his visa was finally straightened

out with the help of United Airlines and Marja Verloop. Fortunately, I had her number

because I had called her the week before to tell her the picnic was cancelled. And, by the

way, my husband did have to produce our marriage certificate, not once but twice. His meticulous

lawyer mentality paid off. Somehow after all these years, it didn’t occur to the US

government that he was married to a US citizen. By the time we got to security, we had to

ask everyone to please let us get ahead as we were about to miss our plane.

We made it to DC after a two-hour stopover in Newark stretched to five hours. When we

finally arrived, the family was waiting at the airport. Our granddaughter was a tiny four-yearold

the last time we saw her; now she was a thin, feisty, darn cute and tall six-year-old. We

got to know her again by swimming together, playing games, building with Legos, listening

to her sing songs she likes to make up and watching her dance. She even beat Grandpa at

Monopoly! We wanted to sop up every single minute with her. Then I went to Chicago to

spend time with my sister. Leaving her was hard!

When I returned, we had three days left. I was determined to visit the Martin Luther

King, Jr. Memorial, which opened in 2011. We finally went late one afternoon when it was

around 100°F. We walked through the Mountain of Despair, the massive white granite rocks

of the monument’s Memorial Canyon. It reminded me of walking through the red rock desert

canyon at ancient Petra in Jordan. I felt a sense of the everlasting, of timelessness, of the

inevitability of Dr. King’s message. At the canyon’s end stands Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

chiseled in granite. His arms are folded. He is A Stone of Hope looking across the Potomac

at Thomas Jefferson; on the horizon, the Washington Monument gleams.

What a country, I found myself thinking. Presidents Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson and

FDR and now also Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. together on the National Mall. For my sixyear-old

granddaughter and generations of Americans to come, Dr. King on the Mall will be

the way it is and the way it always should be.

So, what did I do this summer? I walked on the soil of America, heard the cacophony of

American voices and touched the people I love. I hope I’ll never have to be separated again;

I hope that none of us will. I felt the same optimism I’ve always felt. Coronavirus won’t

defeat it! The US with all its pains, turmoil, divisions, agonies and, yes, injustices, is still

“A Stone of Hope” to millions.



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Lessons are in English.

Greater The Hague area.

Enquires contact me at


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