Join the leading sports &
movement programme for children
Ages 2 - 6
WESTVLIET PARK WW
THOR DE BATAAF
FREE TRIAL for all new starters!
Would you like Playball in your school or
nursery? Send us an email!
Refer a friend to Playball and receive 15% off your
term fees! Send us a message for more information
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
13 Spring Activities
14 Ongoing Activities
18 One-of-a-Kind Activities
20 Book Lovers
22 AWC and the Arts
24 Heart Pillow
28 9/11 Ceremony
SPECIAL SUMMER SECTION
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
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2021 3
2021-2022 AWC Officers
Johan van Oldenbarneveltlaan 43
2582 NJ Den Haag
Tel: 070 350 6007
Going Dutch Magazine
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.
4 GOING DUTCH
Design and Layout
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,
AWC Bank Account Number
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
Clubhouse Administration Officer
Communications Lesley Gerrese
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:
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.
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2021 5
June & July
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.
8 GOING DUTCH
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!
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.
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
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
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2021 9
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
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).
10 GOING DUTCH
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2021 11
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
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 email@example.com. I am
also happy to answer questions about logging
onto our website.
A Busy Spring
by Jo van Kalveen
Calling All AWC Newcomers!
My name is Jo van
Kalveen and I am the
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
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
12 GOING DUTCH
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
firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve
Every Tuesday except holidays
10 a.m. – Noon
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 email@example.com.
Monthly Fridays (See eNews)
1 – 3 p.m.
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.
Laan van Poot 22, Den Haag
€ 40 Members for Fall Season (10 sessions)
Cancellation Deadline: September 2
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 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
14 GOING DUTCH
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2021 15
Ongoing Activities (cont.)
Continued from page 15
you plan to attend. For more information
or to register, contact Jen van Ginhoven at
1 – 4 p.m.
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.
16 GOING DUTCH
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
Monday, October 25
11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Dr. Lelykade 26, Scheveningen Haven
Minimum 2 / Maximum 8
RSVP Required by October 15
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
to be added to the WhatsApp group for last
minute updates and cancellations.
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
email@example.com if you are
interested in attending.
Thursdays, September 2 + October 7
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.
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2021 17
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
enjoying some yummy delights. Please
WEAR SOMETHING PINK. The cost per
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
Sunday, September 26
5:30 – 8 p.m.
Laan van Poot 38, 2566 EE Den Haag
Drinks MUST be purchased at the venue
Bring a dish to share
Minimum 10 / Maximum 30
Cancellation Deadline: September 13
18 GOING DUTCH
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 email@example.com.
Friday, October 1
10:30 a.m. – Noon
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 firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com.
Sunday, October 17
6:45 – 8:30 p.m.
Gevers Deynootweg 990-2, Den Haag
To be paid at venue ~ € 8 each
Minimum 6 / Maximum 20
Registration Deadline: October 10
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2021 19
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
Dena Haggerty handles the evening meetings:
Daytime Book Club
September Selection: Three Women by
A riveting true story about
the sex lives of three ordinary
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
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
celebration of nature taking
place in coastal North
Thursday, October 28
Daytime Book Club Reading List:
Thursday, November 18: The
Netanyahus by Joshua Cohen
20 GOING DUTCH
Evening Book Club
September Selection: Shuggie Bain by
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
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.
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2021 21
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),
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://
22 GOING DUTCH
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
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
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
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
• Het Poortje (the small gate), in the outside
wall of the prison, gateway to the
Waalsdorpervlakte where many prisoners
• 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
Minimum 10 / Maximum 15
Cancellation Date: October 27
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2021 23
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
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SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2021 25
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
Mah Jongg 1 p.m.
Office Hours Resume
Evening Book Club
Morning Kick Off
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Buddy Check 12 Walkie Talkies 9:30 a.m. Chat, Craft & Cake
Mah Jongg 1 p.m. Evening Kick Off
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
Mah Jongg 1 p.m.
Out to Lunch Bunch
26 27 28 29 30
Walkie Talkies 9:30 a.m.
Chat, Craft & Cake
Daytime Book Club
Pickleball 10 a.m.
Pickleball 10 a.m.
Morning 10:30 a.m.
Special Walkie Talkies:
City Pier Night Walk
Welcome Back Social
Women in Businessvirtual
meeting 7 p.m.
Mah Jongg 1 p.m.
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
Dutch Food & Shopping
Workshop 10:30 a.m
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Walkie Talkies 9:30 a.m. Chat, Craft & Cake
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
Night 6:45 p.m
Walkie Talkies 9:30 a.m.
Buddy Check 12
Chat, Craft & Cake
Mah Jongg 1 p.m.
Walkie Talkies 9:30 a.m. Chat, Craft & Cake
Mah Jongg 1 p.m.
Evening Book Club
AWC Pink Afternoon Tea
Meeting 10 a.m.
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
Chat, Craft & Cake
Mah Jongg 1 p.m.
Daytime Book Club
Pickleball 10 a.m.
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SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2021 27
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.
28 GOING DUTCH
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 email@example.com.
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2021 29
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
30 GOING DUTCH
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
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
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2021 31
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.
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SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2021 33
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
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
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!
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SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2021 35
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.
36 GOING DUTCH
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
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2021 37
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
38 GOING DUTCH
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
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
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2021 39
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
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.
40 GOING DUTCH
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2021 41
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
42 GOING DUTCH
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
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2021 43
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.
44 GOING DUTCH
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
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.
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2021 45
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
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
46 GOING DUTCH
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2021 47
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.
48 GOING DUTCH
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.
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2021 49
Private Pilates in the
Comfort of Your Own Home
Certified instructor offering
mat Pilates tailored to your
body’s specific needs.
One on one, duos or live
Women or couples only.
Lessons are in English.
Greater The Hague area.
Enquires contact me at
The AWC is not responsible
for accidents or injuries
occurring at Club activities
or on Club property. Sports
and exercise instructors
must carry their own
AWC is a Pet-Free Zone
As much as many of our
Members love their pets,
please do leave them at
home as the AWC has a
long-standing policy of
no pets in the Clubhouse.
Thank you for your understanding!
TRIATHLON COACH SWIM ANALYSIS ONLINE TRAINING ONLINE TRI-SHOP
Support Fellow AWC Members
Find links to a large variety of businesses
owned by AWC Members at www.
Members: eNews Distribution
A weekly electronic newsletter is sent to all
If you have not been receiving your eNews,
please contact Heather at
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Go to www.awcthehague.org to share the current month’s issue with friends and family. You will
also find links to our annual advertisers, whose support makes this magazine possible. If you
visit or contact one of our advertisers, let them know Going Dutch sent you!
Please be reminded that the AWC Membership List is for AWC Member reference only and
use of this information in any communication other than AWC official business is strictly
prohibited. Members may not share the list with anyone other than another AWC Member
in good standing and never to any third party.
The AWC takes care to protect Member information and adherence to this policy is critical to
maintain Member privacy. Members are asked to report suspected misuse of the list to any
AWC Board Member.
WATT CYCLING MOBILITY TRAINING PERSONAL TRAINING SPORTVASTEN
Offering you the latest in training technology, Tri-PT studio will
work with you to create your goals - then make sure you get there!
Specialising in triathlon coaching, Tri-PT also offers a range of
services including personal & online training, swim analysis, watt
cycling and an online triathlon shop - a ‘one stop shop’ for all your
Whether in the studio or out, Tri-PT is here to help - we can train you
online or in the Voorschoten studio, developing your plan together as your
progress. Try our incredible Endless Pool for an in-depth swim analysis and
give yourself that extra advantage of ‘open water experience’.
50 GOING DUTCH
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2021 51