AWC Going Dutch Mar Apr 2022

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

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


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Going Dutch

March/April 2022


We had a great Pink Tea in honor of Breast

Cancer Awareness month in October


We’re all invited to visit AWC Member

Liduine Bekman’s art exhibit

34 - 53

The Magazine of the

American Women’s Club

of The Hague

Table of Contents

5 Officers and Chairwomen

6 AWC Pink Tea

8 Message from the President

9 March Open House

9 April General Meeting

10 Ramblings from the Editor

12 Membership

12 Newcomers

14 Ongoing Activities

18 One-of-a-Kind Activities

19 AWC and the Arts

20 AWC Artist

21 AWC and the Arts

22 Book Lovers


26 Meals for the Homeless

27 Toys and Toiletry Drive

28 Calendar

30 Dutch-American Friendship


31 Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tribute and Dinner

32 In Memoriam: Mary van de



34 Giving Up Plastic!

38 The New Normal

41 New Beginnings for the AWC

42 Mindful New Beginnings

44 My Life Mosaic

46 Swept Off My Feet?

49 Reinventing One’s Self?

53 Practices for a Healthier




Our Special New Beginnings Section covers

a range of topics including mindfulness

54 Voting from Abroad

55 Classifieds

MARCH / APRIL 2022 3

AWC Clubhouse

Bisschopstraat 5

2596 XH, Den Haag

Tel: 070 350 6007



Going Dutch Magazine


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 May/June issue, submissions are due before Monday, March 28.

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

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


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

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



Melissa White

Design and Layout

Teresa Mahoney


The Vliet in June 2020


Greetje Engelsman, Melissa White,



Celeste Brown, Jane Gulde, Diane Schaap,

Debbie van Hees

Advertising Manager & Invoicing



Mary Adams,, Barbara Brookman, Celeste

Brown, Jane Choy, Suzanne Dundas,

Marilyn Engelbrecht, Greetje Engelsman,

Roberta Enschede, Lesley Gerrese, Sarah

Partridge, Georgia Regnault, Melissa Rider,

Jo van Kalveen, Anne van Oorschot, Audra

White, Melissa White



AWC Bank Account Number

IBAN: NL42ABNA0431421757

KvK Den Haag

40409274 BTW or VAT: 007408705B01

2021-2022 AWC Officers Committee Chairs

Honorary President Marja Verloop

President Barbara Brookman


Vice President Wynne Davis


Treasurer Anne van Oorschot


Secretary Marilyn Tinsay


Club and Community Development


Michelle Ernst


Clubhouse Administration Officer

Monica Rodoni


Communications Lesley Gerrese


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 & Coffee: Suzanne Dundas

Community Outreach: Minal Rajan

eNews: Melissa Rider

FAWCO: Molly Boed

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

Pickleball: Allison Manning, Sarah

Partridge, Krishna Thakrar

Senior Advisor: Melissa Rider

Social Media Facebook and Instagram:

Lesley Gerrese

Social Media LinkedIn: Open

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.

MARCH / APRIL 2022 5

AWC Pink Tea

Message from the President

by Barbara Brookman

Fresh Start

On my walk yesterday, I saw the first

daffodils. Spring can’t be too far

out with new life and fresh starts.

It’s time for the AWC (and the whole

country) to awaken from a two-year slumber

and a new chapter in the Club’s history.

After almost 10 years on the Johan van

Oldenbarneveltlaan, the AWC will now find

its home at Bisschopstraat 5 where we’ll

have lots of space and light.

It feels right to come out of the pandemic

and lockdown in a new space. Two years

after going into our first lockdown, we get

our fresh start. I’m incredibly proud of how

the Club has adjusted to the ever-changing

situation in the last two years. It has taken a

lot of flexibility from our Members, Chairs

and Board to make it through this time.

Thank you to everybody who has made the

last two years a success.

The new Clubhouse will open on March 1.

We’ll have a morning and evening Open

House and Kick Off on March 10, so everyone

can see and enjoy this new space

(see next page). Please join us! March and

April are packed with activities so there are

many other opportunities to visit the new


This move wouldn’t have happened

without Georgia Regnault and Monica

Rodoni and a whole host of Members

working tirelessly to get the

space ready for us. A

big thank you to

everyone for making

this happen.


This is also a

time of change

for Going

Dutch, the Club’s

magazine. After 13

years of running

the magazine,

Teresa Mahoney

and Melissa

White are looking

for a fresh

team to take the

magazine into

its new incarnation.

Thank you

to Melissa and

Terri for the invaluable

job they

have done keeping

the Club connected and for their dedication

and hard work publishing a monthly

and more recently bi-monthly magazine.

Please reach out to Melissa if you would

like to help.

Our Club is run by Members volunteering.

The Nominating Committee is hard at work

to find women to serve as Board Members

and Chairs for the 2022 – 2023 Club Year.

We will vote on the new Board at our April

General Meeting (see following page). If

you’re interested in serving, please reach

out to Peggy van Luyn.

It’s been a pleasure to serve as President

for the last two years. I would like to thank

my Board for their help and support. We

have become experts at zigging and zagging

as life kept changing. I, for one, am

ready for a normal year.


March Open House

In lieu of a March General Meeting, we

will be hosting an Open House to welcome

new, old and prospective Members in addition

to friends and neighbors to our new

Clubhouse location at Bisschopstraat 5 in the

Benoordenhuit neighborhood of The Hague.

Drop in for our housewarming party either

in the morning for a cup of coffee or tea and

cake or stop by in the evening for a drink and

hapjes. Coronapass will be required for entry.

Thursday, March 10

Morning: 10 a.m. – Noon

Evening: 5 – 7 p.m.

AWC Clubhouse

April General Meeting: VOTE!

As we always do in April, AWC

Members will vote on the Slate of

Officers for the upcoming Club Year,

2022-2023, that begins on June 1. As we

must have a quorum of at least 15% of the

Members with voting rights present or validly

represented at the meeting, it is important to

either attend or return a proxy ballot, which

are available by emailing Georgia Regnault

at parliamentarian@awcthehague.org by

Monday, April 11.

Voting for your Board is one of the key responsibilities

of being a Member of our

AWC. The Board oversees all aspects of the

Club with the help of committees and volunteers.

With guidance by the Chair, Peggy van

Luyn, the Nominating Committee Members

– Blair Adams, Marilyn Engelbrecht,

Allison Manning, Sarah Partridge, Minal

For ALL activities and events at the

Clubhouse, the CoronaCheck App is

currently required.

Rajan and Ginny Rempt – have worked

hard to put together a Slate of Officers for the

2022-23 Club Year. A big thank you goes out

to all of them for their time and commitment.

Thursday, April 14

Coffee: 10 a.m.

Meeting: 10:30 a.m.

AWC Clubhouse

MARCH / APRIL 2022 9

Ramblings from the Editor

by Melissa White

Happy New Year! I don’t know about

you, but I am thrilled to have left

2021 behind. While it started rather

hopeful, that optimism didn’t last for long.

Heartbreakingly, my father died in April before

I had a chance to get out to see him one

last time after his nurse told me I shouldn’t

rush out to California. It was hard enough

to lose him, but shortly thereafter, my stepmother

and stepsisters transformed from their

sweet selves into the Evil Stepmother and

Stepsisters straight from some crazy modernday

version of Cinderella. Don’t worry! This

issue isn’t about sadness and disappointment;

I just needed to get that off my chest.

The theme for this issue is New

Beginnings (see our special section starting

on page 34). This year is already looking up

with the AWC’s move into a new Clubhouse,

and it will also offer a new beginning for

Going Dutch. As we anticipate that our next

issue will be our final printed one for the

foreseeable future, Teresa Mahoney and I

will be stepping down to allow a new editorial

team to reinvent the magazine as it

transforms into a digital format (see page

37 for more details on how you might be

able to help). I know we will all miss receiving

Going Dutch in the post. Since the new

FAWCO Target Project will be focused on the

environment (the recipient will be announced

in March), it’s the perfect time for us to cut

the magazine’s carbon footprint and create a

more environmentally friendly format.

I enjoyed getting a sneak peek at the new

Clubhouse while volunteering to help unpack

and am very excited about this new chapter

for the AWC. I am especially looking forward

to the FAWCO Handbag Auction on April 21

(see page 43). I have also had a sneak peek

of the lovely bags that have been generously

donated (volunteering does have its perks).

Despite rarely even carrying a purse, I must

confess that I have gotten carried away more

than once at the auction, as shopping can be

We are not to throw away those

things which can benefit our

neighbor. Goods are called good

because they can be used for good:

they are instruments for good, in

the hands of those who use them


~ Clement of Alexandria

contagious. If you’ve never been, hope you’ll

join me as this is one of my all-time favorite

AWC events. And it’s not the only chance

to buy some nice secondhand items, as the

Clothes Swap will take place on March 18

(see page 18). What better way to raise money

for an environmental cause than to reuse items

no longer needed by others? Reusing is better

than recycling since it saves time, energy and

resources. For more environmental inspiration,

see Anne van Oorschot’s article on

reducing plastic in your life on page 34.

After working on the magazine as the

Editor for eight years, followed by three years

helping behind-the-scenes and then another

two years as Editor again, it’s time for me to

take off my Editor’s hat and reinvent myself.

My husband has been working evenings on

a hobby project for over two years to create

an app for the Hash House Harriers, the irreverent

international running group we’ve

been involved with for over 30 years (reach

out to me if you’d like to learn more about

hashing in Holland). Now that the app has

been officially launched in the app stores, it’s

finally time for me to start helping him. I’m

taking over communications with customers

and potential customers, posting about new

features on our Facebook group and learning

how to use WordPress in order to keep

our website updated. The learning curve for

much of this is steep, but I’m enjoying the

challenge. On to New Beginnings!


MARCH / APRIL 2022 11


by Melissa Rider


by Jo van Kalveen

We are very pleased with the number

of new Members who have joined

since June 2021, so let’s keep up

the momentum and surpass our pre-pandemic

Membership numbers! Our best recruiters are

our Members, so please invite your friends,

neighbors or


to join us for an

activity or event,

in particular our

Open House

on Thursday,

March 10 at our

new Clubhouse

located at Bisschopstraat 5 (see page 9). We

welcome English-speaking women of all

nationalities who enjoy learning new skills,

making new friends and working together

for a good cause.

For those prospective Members joining

after January 1, Membership will be for a

half-year expiring on August 31 with dues

reduced to € 66 plus a one-time € 15 administration

fee. Feel free to contact me

with questions about Membership at


Ideas Please!

Following on from February’s AWC

Newcomers visit to the Haagse Historical

Museum and the Newcomers Coffee

Morning, I would love to hear from any AWC

Newcomers with suggestions for future outings,


or get-togethers

you would like

to see added to

our calendar

over the next

few months. All

suggestions are


Please continue to email me with any questions,

queries or suggestions and keep an eye

out for the next Newcomer event announced

in eNews, our website and Wild Apricot app:


Ook Whatsapp!

70,- 75,-

85,- 90,-


Welcome New Members!

Anna Chandler

Sophie Hargreave

Sarah Roveillo


Wilder Semans

Marjanne Vos-van de Bovenkamp

Michelle Westermann-Behaylo

Amber Wilkin

For free quote from other

cities or for bookings contact

us on +31 (0)622 395536

email us on Fritstaxi@msn.com

or visit us on www.fritstaxi.nl


MARCH / APRIL 2022 13

Ongoing Activities

Chat, Craft & Coffee

Chat, Craft & Coffee 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. Babysitting is not available

as there are lots of sharp objects about

(pins, needles, scissors and wit) so we

cannot accommodate children. Contact

Suzanne Dundas with questions at


Every Tuesday except holidays

10 a.m. – Noon

AWC Clubhouse


Heart Pillow Project

Members work together to make heart-shaped

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. For more information, please contact

Jan de Vries at info@awcthehague.org.

Monthly (See eNews)

AWC Clubhouse



The Winter 2022 season of Pickleball is already

underway through May 19 (excluding

holidays). 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 activities@awcthehague.org.


(except second Thursday of each month)

10 – 11:30 a.m.

Sporthal Houtrust

Laan van Poot 22, Den Haag

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. For more

information or to register, contact Jen van

Ginhoven at info@awcthehague.org.

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. You will need the CoronaCheck

app on your phone to create a Coronapass.

Deadline for registration is THREE days

before the lunch.

>> 16


MARCH / APRIL 2022 15

Ongoing Activities (cont.)

Continued from page 15

March: Pulchri Studio (www.pulchri.nl) is a

painting society and gallery for contemporary

art since opening in 1847. Since 1898, it

has been located in a monumental building.

AWC Member Liduine Bekman is a member

of Pulchri Studio and her paintings can

be seen from through March 15 (see page 21

for more information). We will have lunch

in the Pulchri Studio Café-Restaurant and

visit the exhibition to see Liduine’s paintings


Wednesday, March 9

Noon – 3 p.m.

Lange Voorhout 15, Den Haag

RSVP required by March, 6

April: Join us for a touch of Paris with

good French food and fine wines in the

Benoordenhout-area in a relaxed atmosphere

at Brasserie Le Quartier (www.lequartier.nl).

On the menu are bites like oysters,

charcuterie, croquettes de crevette, but

also Dutch bitterballen! Masks are required

when walking in this restaurant

Friday, April 8

Noon – 2 p.m.

Van Hoytemastraat 43, Den Haag

RSVP required by April 5

NEW! Saturday Night Games

Our Games Masters Suzanne, Georgia,

Sarah and Blair will be offering a variety of

fun games (board games, cards, dominoes,

etc.) to enjoy together on a Saturday Night

at the Clubhouse. All participants will bring

their own drinks and snacks; everyone will

also help with the set-up at the start and

clean up at the end of the night. Our April

game will be Cranium, a fun board game

where players are divided into teams of

two to four players. Team members have to

complete a variety of activities that include

creativity (drawing on paper or sculpting in

clay), trivia, word challenges and charades.

Future dates include May 14 and June 11.

Further details to follow.

Saturday, April 30

AWC Clubhouse

Registration opens April 1

Apricot to receive an email with the restaurant

information closer to the date. Drinks

and snacks will be at your own expense.

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 & Conversation

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 changes

every month, contact Suzanne Dundas at

chatcraftcake@awcthehague.org if you are

interested in attending.

Thursdays, March 3 + April 7

10 a.m.

Location TBD


Thirsty Thursday

We kicked off our popular Thirsty Thursday

evenings once again in October, only to have

shut back down in December due to new

coronavirus restrictions. Here’s hoping restaurants

and bars will be allowed to stay open

in the evenings again in March. If so, please

keep an eye out for updates on Facebook

and eNews and plan to RSVP on Wild


MARCH / APRIL 2022 17

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

Dinners at Home

Dinners at Home is back by popular demand!

AWC Members love the opportunity

to share an evening with friends while

enjoying a home-cooked meal with each

course prepared by one of the guests. These

dinners give our Members the chance to get

to know each other in a warm, personal venue:

the home of an AWC Member!

The first Dinners at Home will be held on

Saturday, April 2 with additional dinners

to be planned for the second quarter of 2022.

Contact Celeste Brown directly to register

by Friday, March 18, informing her

if you want to be a hostess and how many

people you can accommodate or if you’d

prefer to be a guest and if you’re bringing

a plus-one. Celeste will then create groups

of dinner guests for each hostess and will

notify everyone where they will be dining.

After that point, each hostess is responsible

for planning her dinner and communicating

with her guests. Typically, the hostess

provides the main course and wine while

other guests bring appetizer, vegetable or

salad, and dessert. Of course, this can vary

depending on the hostess’ plans and if there

is a theme to the meal. Be creative and let

the “wining and dining” begin!

Clothes Swap & Sale

It’s time for the AWC Preloved Pop-up Shop!

This event allows unworn clothes to get a

new lease on life in someone else’s wardrobe.

So please clear out your closets and drawers,

donate your unwanted clothes and accessories

then come and browse the Swap’s rails,

try things on and hopefully return home with

a few new items for your wardrobe all while

raising funds for charity. Please donate your

pre-loved items of clothing, accessories or

footwear, in a sellable condition (i.e., clean,

gently worn and in a good state of repair)

into the dropbox at the Clubhouse or contact

one of the Clothes Swap Team to arrange

collection from home. We are limiting the

sale to ladies clothing only. Please also consider

donating items even if you do not plan

on attending the event.

The event will be held over two days at our

new Clubhouse with an evening session

which will be open to just AWC Members

and a morning session which will be open to

AWC Members, guests and local residents.

Donors will be eligible for one “free” item

from the sale. All profits will be donated towards

an AWC or FAWCO supported charity

and any items left over at the end will be

donated to a local charity. For more details,

please see eNews or Wild Apricot or contact

Jo at newcomers@awcthehague.org.

Friday, March 18 for AWC Members


6 – 9 p.m.

Saturday, March 19 for Everyone

10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

AWC Clubhouse

Indian Spring Dinner

March and April usher in the colorful spring

in North India and with it the Hindus and

Sikhs bring in the Solar New Year. As the

farmers of Punjab harvest their crops,

sounds of music and dance fill the air with

new energy and zest for life with a promise

of new beginnings and abundance of health,

joy and food for all. Krishna, Minal and

Jessica invite you to an exotic dinner at

Indian Bay Dreams (www.indianbaydreams.

nl) at Scheveningen Harbor. This exclusive

private fine dining experience includes a set

three-course menu of delectable vegetarian

or non-vegetarian dishes; drinks will need

to be purchased separately. Come dressed

in your Indian finery or colorful best outfits.

If you have any questions, please email


Friday, March 25

6 p.m.

Indian Bay Dreams

Doctor Lelykade 222-B, Den Haag

€ 39.50 per person for food

Registration deadline: March 13

Cancellation deadline: March 20

Walking Tour of Rotterdam

AWC Member and Rotterdam resident,

Marilyn Tinsay, is organizing a two-hour

architectural walking tour of Rotterdam with

a professional guide through City Rotterdam

Tours. Rotterdam is the perfect place for

anyone fascinated by innovative and modern

architecture. Even before World War II and

the devastating bombardment, Rotterdam

was the capital of Nieuwe Bouwen (modernist

architecture). An optional catered Italian

dinner at a private location is available after

the tour to be served on the patio with lovely

views of the south Rotterdam skyline, weather

permitting. Price of the dinner will include

a pasta dish, one glass of wine and one after

dinner coffee or tea. Extra drinks will be

available at your own expense. Questions

about the dinner or tour can be directed to

Marilyn at secretary@awcthehague.org.

Sunday, March 27

2:30 – 4:30 p.m.

Hotel New York

Koninginnenhoofd 1, Rotterdam

Walking Tour: € 20

Optional Dinner: € 25

Minimum 10 / Maximum 15

Cancellation deadline: March 11


MARCH / APRIL 2022 19

Special Exhibition for AWC Artist

by Liduine Bekman


am inviting all fellow AWC Members and

their guests to visit an exhibition of my

surrealist watercolor paintings at Pulchri

Studio through Tuesday, March 15 (open

daily except on Mondays). I hope you’ll also

consider joining the Out to Lunch Bunch on

Wednesday, March 9 for lunch at Pulchri

Studios Café-Restaurant (see page 16) followed

by visiting the exhibition.

When I lived in the Bahamas, a local man

showed me the place on Providence Island

where the slaves arrived in the olden days.

At the time, it made a big impression on

me, and I knew that someday it would be

inspiration for a new series

of paintings, some of which

will be included in this


main focus of my paintings, and over the

years it had become part of my soul. I am

forever inspired by the seemingly limitless

variety and ultimate complexity of the sea

creatures I encounter, and never cease to

be intrigued by the beauty of the colors and

the many shapes, everything from soft and

ethereal to stark and threatening. Nature is

perfection and it is a true challenge to try

and depict that.

My work has been shown in many solo exhibitions

both in the US and Europe and

was the recipient of the coveted National

Watercolor Society 1st place award. I am

proud to have my work displayed within

collections of the Cousteau Foundation, the

City of Houston, various hospitals and numerous

private collectors. You can see more

at www.liduinebekman.com.

Through Tuesday, March 15

Noon – 5 p.m. (closed on Mondays)

Pulchri Studios (Voorhout Gallery)

Lange Voorhout 15, Den Haag

Entrance is Free

AWC and the Arts

by Jane Choy-Thurlow, AWC Member and Mauritshuis Docent

In Full Bloom

The Maurtishuis (www.mauritshuis.nl) is

festively kicking off its 200th anniversary

year with an enormous quantity of

flowers. Through June 6, the exhibition

In Full Bloom presents the most beautiful

flower still lifes from 1600 – 1725 from

both the museum’s own collection and

abroad. These

paintings were

immensely popular,

but why?

The exhibition

pays special attention

to female

artists who made

a name in this

genre and played

a major role in

the development

of botanical

RSVP for all Arts Activities directly on


Direct any questions to


science. It is not only the paintings that

steal the show in this exhibition as a special,

sustainable solution has been chosen

for the walls of the exhibition hall. They

are made from remains from the flower

bulb trade with the flowers crushed into

the cloth, so that the structure of the

leaves can be seen.

Date to be Announced


Plein 29, Den Haag

€ 10 Members PLUS

€ 17.50 Museum entrance fee

(Free with Museumkaart)

Minimum 11 / Maximum 15

The ocean has always

played an important part

in my life. I grew up in the

Netherlands, within walking

distance of the North

Sea, which I inspired me

with its beauty, fury and

bounty. I married and had

children in the US, living

mostly on the Gulf of

Mexico in Texas and the

Atlantic Ocean in Florida.

It was, therefore, inevitable

that the ocean became the


MARCH / APRIL 2022 21

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

March Selection: Seven Games by Oliver


Each chapter takes us

through the social history

of enduring and beloved

games, and the story of

the why and how millions

worldwide play them:

backgammon, Go, chess,

bridge, checkers, poker

and Scrabble.

Thursday, March 24

10 a.m.

April Selection: The Absolutely True

Diary of a Part-Time

Indian by Sherman Alexie

This semi-biographical

book is told as a first-person

narrative by a Native

American teenager who

opted to attend a high

school away from the reservation

where he grew

up. It has recently been in

the news after being banned by a Tennessee

Daytime Book Club Reading List:

Thursday, May 19: The Hate U Give by

Angie Thomas


school district due to profanity and sexual


Thursday, April 28

10 a.m.

Evening Book Club

March Selection: The Glass Hotel by

Emily St. John Mandel

This novel tells the story

of two siblings inextricably

caught up in the life of a

Ponzi scheme swindler, creating

a portrait of greed and

guilt, love and delusion, and

ghosts and unintended consequences.

Wednesday, March 9

7:30 p.m.

AWC Clubhouse

April Selection: American Dirt by Jeanine


The unforgettable story of

a mother and son fleeing a

drug cartel to cross the US-

Mexico border. Being hailed

as “a Grapes of Wrath for

our times,” this novel is a

rare exploration into the inner

hearts of people willing

to sacrifice everything for a glimmer of hope.

Wednesday, April 13

7:30 p.m.

AWC Clubhouse

Daytime Book Club Recaps

Where the Crawdads Sing by Dehlia Owens

Discussing the beautifully descriptive writing

of the North Carolina marshes where

a young girl grows up isolated, our group

perceived the story to be thought-provoking

Evening Book Club Reading List:

Wednesday, May 11: The Vanishing

Half by Brit Bennett

Wednesday, June 8: Next Year in

Havana by Chanel Cleeton

and at times deeply moving. After considering

many different elements of its literary

context, we recommend leisurely reading

the book curled up on the sofa with a comfy

knitted blanket (and perhaps a beverage of

choice), allowing yourself to become totally

immersed in the coming-of-age story that is

combined with romance and a haunting mystery.

Only after finishing the novel, delve into

the author’s background to discover how aspects

of her life and its similarities are portrayed

in her first work of fiction.

The Netanyahus by Joshua Cohen

The author describes his fictional novel about

a very real family as “as an historical novel

combined with a college novel about identity

politics, campus politics and tribalism.” It

takes place in January 1960, but Cohen wants

it to be contemporary. It’s very important to

him that we think it’s funny. He hates the kind

of literature that feels like the author wants

us to eat our vegetables. Alas, we thought

Cohen, adored by reviewers for his “staggering

genius,” was indeed force-feeding us

overcooked kohlrabi as he told us a joke. This

is a masterfully complex book thematically

exploring a myriad of antagonisms including

the Jewish diaspora and Zionism, uppermiddle

class and working-class American

Jews, history and revisionism, academia

and the real world, and practical grandparents

and idealistic grandchildren. It is funny,

but the title is loaded with too many heavy

associations for a slapstick novel. We renamed

it Stupidity and Chaos at the Doorstep

to capture the experience of having the fictionalized

Netanyahu family, the “Yahus,” as

shockingly intrusive guests. Ultimately, it left

our group with our own antagonisms. It was

challenging, but not necessarily rewarding.

While we’re glad we read it, we’re unwilling

to recommend it.

Intimacies by Katie Kitamura

From Georgia Regnault: The Daytime Book

Club had a small, but lively group at my

house for our annual holiday celebration.

Opinions about our choice of book were

strictly divided: from loved it to disliked it

(hate to say anyone hated it). Since I was on

the side of the likes, I recommended it to my

son, Phil. When he read it over Christmas

and told me he “loved it,” I flippantly asked

him to write the review. So we have a guest


Intimacies entices with Kitamura’s efficient

and precise prose, exposing the inner thoughts

of an interpreter at the International Court of

Justice, as she adjusts to her new surroundings,

relationships, and a challenging case.

The main protagonist of this brilliant novel,

however, is the space between: the space between

sentences, the space between people,

the space between events, and the intimacies

that evade spoken language but are revealed

through implication and insinuation. Throw

in a supporting role for the city of The Hague,

its dunes and history, and this book is sure to

enthrall readers searching for the space between

romance, suspense and culture.

Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers

Set in England in 1957, this novel centers on

Jean Swinney, a single woman approaching

40, who lives with her neurotic and demanding

mother, while dealing with a mundane

job: writing housekeeping tips for a local

newspaper. Her mother’s overbearing manner

leaves little room for Jean to have a personal

life. Jean takes her solace where she

can find it, namely her “small pleasures,”

including the first cigarette of the day, a

glass of sherry before Sunday lunch, a bar of

chocolate parceled out to last a week, a newly

published library book, and a neatly folded

pile of ironing. Jean’s quiet life is turned inside

out when Gretchen Tilbury writes to the

newspaper claiming to have experienced a

virgin birth. The narrative follows Jean as she

attempts to substantiate Gretchen’s claim, but

her professional objectivity is compromised

as she quickly forms a close friendship with

Gretchen, her husband and daughter which

provides her with an unexpected chance at

friendship, love and possibly happiness. This

is a gentle, tender novel depicting the lives of

characters who feel trapped, but choose duty

over happiness. Their lives seem simple on

the outside, but in reality are complex, making

for an intriguing read. Jean’s quiet and

painful loneliness in particular is well depicted

and very moving. We could all empathize

with her situation and were rooting for her to

find happiness. We also had a great discussion

on our own “small pleasures.” Highly


MARCH / APRIL 2022 23

FAWCO Corner

by Molly Boed

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

consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council


As I write this latest update, we continue to

have COVID-19 restrictions in place. This

means that we have to be more creative and

focus on what we still CAN DO rather than

dwelling on what has been canceled due to

the pandemic.

Here is a brief rundown of what has happened

since November:

Human Rights in Focus Virtual


Even though this conference took place

in November 2021, I want to highlight it

because one of our own AWC Members,

Mary Adams, co-hosted this event. It was

packed with 20 sessions designed to raise

awareness on global human rights issues,

highlight the impact of FAWCO programs,

provide opportunities for networking, and

bring those who attended face-to-face with

speakers from organizations such as Human

Rights Watch, Organization for Security

and Co-operation in Europe, and the CNN

Freedom Project. I was able to “tune in” to

hear some of the roundtable discussions and

heard about efforts in Houston to stop human

trafficking; I was in awe and thankful

for the great work being done to stop this


The Long Shadow Documentary

FAWCO members were invited to stream

this important film for one week in January

and join the conversation with director

Frances Causey, an Emmy award-winning

documentary filmmaker and journalist with

15 years of experience as a Senior Producer

at CNN. Her previous work was hailed as a

New York Times Critic’s Pick. Additionally,

the FAWCO Diversity, Equity, Inclusion

and Belonging Team hosted a follow-up discussion

session. I hope many of you were


able to watch this important documentary

and the follow up discussion.

And here are some interesting events and

fundraisers coming up:

Target Project 4.0 Health

Hope for Women & Girls in Tanzania: We

are now at the end of this Target Project and

have so much to be excited about. FAWCO

and FAUSA members raised $157,325 for

the girls in the safehouses in Tanzania! In

addition, as if this is not exciting enough:

Hope for Girls and Women’s Founder and

Director Rhobi Samwelly has been selected

by French President Emmanuel Macron as

one of just 15 winners of a Marianne Human

Rights Defenders Award. This forms part of

a new initiative with the international pillar

supporting those committed in their countries

to defending fundamental rights and

civil liberties. Rhobi will travel to Paris to

collect the prestigious award during a ceremony

in March. We are very proud of this

recognition, but also that Rhobi and her

team are doing so much to help girls escape

the barbaric procedure of FGM.

The new two-year Target Project focused on

the Environment will be announced at our

FAWCO Interim Meeting in March.

Education Awards &

Development Grants

The deadline for applications was extended

until March 27. Go to www.


FAWCO Interim Meeting

FAWCO’s Interim Conference will be hosted

virtually on March 4 – 6. As mentioned,

it will close out the old Target Project for

Health: Hope for Women and Girls in

Tanzania and announce our new Target

Project for the Environment. Please let me

know if you are interested in registering.

Handbag Auction

We are rescheduling our Club’s famed

Handbag Auction to Thursday, April 21 at

1 p.m. at our new Clubhouse. We are excited

to host this entertaining event that is

also a great fundraiser in support of our new

Environmental Target Project.

Coming Up

If all goes to plan, we (AWC The Hague)

are considering hosting the next FAWCO

Region 4 (Luxembourg, the Netherlands,

Belgium) Meeting this October. Stay tuned

to hear about the plans and let me know if

you have recommendations for good restaurants

or hotels to host this event, as well

as interesting sites to visit. Hosting the

Regional Meetings in October would be an

opportunity to showcase The Hague as the

charming place that it is, while also highlighting

its current role as the seat of international


Support Fellow AWC Members

Find links to a large variety of businesses

owned by AWC Members at



MARCH / APRIL 2022 25

Meals for the Homeless

by Minal Rajan

Toys and Toiletry Drive Update

by Minal Rajan

In October 2021, the Club and Community

Outreach Committee, led by Carin Elam

and me, approached Meals for the Homeless

to seek group volunteering opportunities for

our Members. We hoped to get together on a

monthly basis to work at a soup kitchen and

prepare meals for the homeless who were being

served at Stichting Straatpastoraat (Street

Pastor) in The Hague. Due to the pandemic,

their kitchen was out of bounds to volunteers.

The service was modified with packed meals

that were prepared at home. We were asked

to be the Soup Ladies in the hopes that by

November the coronavirus restrictions would

be lifted, and they would be able to serve 120

homeless guests once again. They needed 20

liters of soup, which would need to be cooked

at Members’ homes and transported on three

dates. Members formed mini teams to shop

for the ingredients, cook in their own kitchens,

coordinate drop-off at a common point and

then delivery to Meals for the Homeless volunteers

to heat and serve. Newcomer Anuradha

Koratkar generously donated € 150 into our

AWC Philanthropy Fund for Members to get

reimbursed for their expenses if they wished.

Allison Manning coordinated the volunteers

and Molly Boed collected and delivered the


Engelbrecht, Anuradha Koratkar, Kerrie

Mancinelli, Allison Manning, Georgia

Regnault, Cath Spaanjaars and her daughter,

Minal Rajan and Monica Rodoni.

From Isabelle Pradier from Meals

for the Homeless

What a day today! Today should have been

our first sit down meals in 2.5 years. However,

assessing the numbers of COVID-19 in the

Netherlands and in The Hague, Anne and I

decided yesterday to cancel the serving of sitdown

meals and go back to the distribution of

takeaway bags. We reorganized the teams of

volunteers and were ready to serve 120 meals

with a very limited team. The Street Pastor

decided to go ahead with the sit-down meals.

We agreed then that Meals for the Homeless

would prepare 50 takeaway bags, prepare

and warm up the meals, set up the tables and

leave when their volunteers arrived to serve.

The Menu: Tomato soup with croutons by AWC

Soup Ladies; peanut chicken with rice by

Carol, Tammy and Celine; potato quiche with

string beans for the vegetarians by Margaret

and Teresa; cakes by Laurence; cupcakes

by BSN students; cookies by ASH students;

bread by Catherine; and fruits

Join the AWC Soup Ladies for

their next date of

The Club and Community Outreach

Committee, led by Carin Elam and

me, wishes to thank every Member of

the Club that with an open heart generously

donated money, gifts and time. Above all we

are ever grateful and deeply appreciative of

all the effort put in by Newcomer Alex Ward,

who tirelessly and meticulously coordinated

with Members to organize the gift list and

packing schedules. It really was heartening

to see our community come together to bring

some cheer and joy to those less fortunate

around us.

We collected € 890 in monetary donations.

This was in addition to the items and gift

cards that were donated as requested. We

distributed the following:

For the Vliet en Burgh Home

Gifts for 13 young mothers: warm blankets,

toiletries and magazines

Gift for 9 children: gift cards for toys and

clothes, chocolate letters, and toiletries to


Plus a surprise gift voucher for the children

and chaperones to go for a meal when they

go shopping!

For Straatpastoraat

120 pairs of socks

Toothbrush and toothpaste for 120

Chocolates for 120

Assorted toiletries including shampoo, bath

gel and deodorants

AWC Soup Ladies: Molly Boed,

Sarah Corballis, Dee Dickey, Marilyn

March 11


MARCH / APRIL 2022 27

March 2022

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat

1 2 3 4 5

Chat, Craft & Cake

10 a.m.

Mah Jongg 1 p.m.

Wassenaar Coffee and

Convo 10 a.m

Pickleball 10 a.m.

6 7 8 9 10 11 12

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

10 a.m.

Out to Lunch Bunch


Open House - Morning

Session 10 a.m.

Buddy Check 12

Mah Jongg 1 p.m.

Evening Book Club

7:30 p.m.

Open House - Evening

Session 5 p.m.

13 14 15 16 17 18 19

Walkie Talkies 9:30 a.m. Pickleball 10 a.m.

Clubhouse Closed

Thirsty Thursday

6:00 p.m.

AWC Pop Up Shop Up -

members only

6 p.m.

AWC Pop Up Shop

Up - everyone welcome

10 a.m.

20 21 22 23 24 25 26

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

10 a.m.

Mah Jongg 1 p.m.

Daytime Book Club

10 a.m.

Pickleball 10 a.m.

Indian Spring Dinner

6 p.m.

27 28 29 30 31

Walking Tour of

Rotterdam 2:30 p.m.

Dr. Martin Luther King,

Jr. Tribute and Dinner

5:30 p.m.

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

10 a.m.

Mah Jongg 1 p.m.

Wellness Workshop

- Women Aging

Gracefully 10 a.m.

Pickleball 10 a.m.

April 2022

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat

1 2

Dinners at Home TBD

3 4 5 6 7 8 9

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

10 a.m.

Mah Jongg 1 p.m.

Wassenaar Coffee and

Convo 10 a.m

Pickleball 10 a.m.

Out to Lunch Bunch


10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Walkie Talkies 9:30 a.m.

Buddy Check 12

Chat, Craft & Cake

10 a.m.

April General Meeting

10 a.m.

Mah Jongg 1 p.m. Evening Book Club

7:30 p.m.


17 18 19 20 21 22 23

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

10 a.m.

Mah Jongg 1 p.m.

Pickleball 10 a.m.

Handbag Auction

1 p.m.

Dutch - American

Friendship Day

Thirsty Thursday

6:00 p.m.

Easter Earth Day

24 25 26 27 28 29 30

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

10 a.m.

Mah Jongg 1 p.m.

King's Day

Daytime Book Club

10 a.m.

Pickleball 10 a.m.

Saturday Night Games

7 p.m.


MARCH / APRIL 2022 29

Dutch-American Friendship Day

by Roberta Enschede

On April 19, 1782, the United Provinces recognized American


On the 19th of April, it will be 240 years

since the Dutch nation recognized

American independence. John Adams,

who became the first American ambassador,

worked tirelessly to achieve this, “If this had

been the only action of my life, it would have

been a life well spent.” On April 19, 1782,

he became Minister Plenipotentiary. On that

day, he was received by the States-General and

the next day at Huis Ten Bosch by William V,

Prince of Orange. That was the beginning of

240 years of unbroken diplomatic relations―

the longest, continuous ties between the United States and any nation!

In March 1782, John Adams purchased a house in The Hague at Fluwelen Burgwal 18,

which he said was “suitable for a Hotel Des Etats-Unis”—the first embassy the United

States ever owned. Now it is the site of a city parking garage!

The idea for Dutch-American Friendship Day began in September 1981, when OAR~Overseas

Americans Remember were considering how to commemorate the bicentennial of Dutch-

American Friendship. At the time, Dutch-American relations were challenged. The US wanted

to deploy 48 cruise missiles in the town of Woensdrecht in Brabant. Thousands of Dutch people

protested. It was obvious that a resolution declaring Dutch-American Friendship Day would

not mollify their fears and anger. Nevertheless, it would be a fitting tribute.

The Resolution we drafted in September 1981 passed both houses of Congress in March

1982. President Ronald Reagan signed it on April 12. It became HJ 410—House Joint Resolution

410—and declared the 19th of April to be Dutch-American Friendship Day. A copy of HJ 410

was presented to HRH Princes Margriet by Congressmen Ben Gilman of Orange County, New

York and Steny Hoyer of Maryland. On April 20, Her Majesty Queen Beatrix allowed her residence,

Huis Ten Bosch, to be opened to welcome Thomas Boyleston Adams and Charles Francis

Adams, 200 years to the day their ancestor was welcomed by William V, Prince of Orange.

John Adams wrote, “The American cause has had a ‘Signal Triumph’ in this country.” It

was true in 1782, it was true in 1982 and it is true in 2022. In the words of John Adams, “There

are no friends more faithful than they.”

Each year on Dutch-American Friendship Day, OAR has a ceremony. For the last years,

it has been in cooperation with the US Embassy. At the ceremony, a Dutch person who has

made significant contributions to Dutch-American friendship and understanding is honored

with a Certificate of Appreciation.

OAR-Overseas Americans Remember: Roberta Enschede, Tove McGrew, Anneke

Beeuwkes and Michele Beier


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute and Dinner

by Roberta Enschede

Sunday, March 27 at 4:30 p.m.

Nieuwspoort, Den Haag

Pricing to Be Determined

Reservations: oarinnl@yahoo.com

When one thinks about the Civil Rights Movement, there are no words. A people who

were enslaved and freed and then forced to live in segregation said, “We can be free.

We must be free, but the force we use will be Soul Force.” Dr. King led that movement

and the hundreds of thousands who followed him, shared his belief in non-violence and

his commitment to the United States and the dignity of people everywhere.

He did something so American when America is at its best, its most principled and idealistic.

He asked, in fact, he forced the nation to begin living out “the true meaning of the Dream”

articulated in the Declaration of Independence: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all

men are created equal. Though he was assassinated in Memphis on April 4, 1968, the Movement

he led still inspires and challenges the way we live and what we teach our children.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort

and convenience but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

In 1983, President Reagan signed legislation designating the third Monday of January as

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The first commemoration in the US was in 1986. We have held a

Tribute every year in The Hague except 2021, due to coronavirus. More details on this year’s

Tribute will be announced in eNews.

Once more, Reverend Harcourt Klinefelter and Lois Mothershed Pot, veterans of the Civil

Rights Movement, will share their thoughts and memories. Reverend Klinefelter was Dr. King’s

Public Relations Director for the three years prior to his death. Lois Mothershed Pot is the

sister of Thelma Mothershed, one of the Little Rock Nine. Lois was the first African American

President of the National Christian Students Union and the first Black student at her university.

We hope you will join us and bring your children and friends. Priscilla Nokoe, Adrienne

West, Liat Heymann and a chorale group from the American School of The Hague will sing

the music of the Movement: Let Us Break Bread Together, Oh Freedom and other songs that

inspired the Movement. Jimmy Yarnell, TS Galloway and Charli Green will play jazz. TS

played with Count Basie’s orchestra and for Dr. King during Operation Breadbasket in Chicago.

Young people, the “Bearers of the Torch” will speak. We are hopeful that Marja Verloop, the US

Chargé D’Affaires, will be in attendance to share the President’s message and her own thoughts.

Much has changed since Dr. King’s time. Yet, in spite of all the progress, there is an alarming

rise of racism, anti-Semitism, and hatred directed towards Muslims and Asians. The motto

of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is Make This a Day On, Not a Day Off! If we make each day

a day on, we shall overcome someday.

Join us for a simple dinner. Listen to people who were there, the music and the wisdom

of the young.

Sponsored by: OAR ~ Overseas Americans Remember:

Anneke Beeuwkes, Roberta Enschede, Michele Beier, Tove McGrew

Further information: Roberta Enschede 065 425 3650 or robertaenschede@yahoo.com

MARCH / APRIL 2022 31

In Memoriam: Mary van de Graaff

by Georgia Regnault

For more than 68 years an expat, yet deeply entrenched in Dutch


The sad news reached the AWC in early February that honorary member Mary van de

Graaff (formerly Bos–Wittschen) had passed away on January 23, just shy of her 94th

birthday. Mary was a very faithful Member of the AWC since 1955. She nearly always

came to the Honorary Members’ Teas and a few years ago brought several granddaughters

to the Handbag Auction. If someone offered a ride to her, Mary was sure to come, which I

know Jessie did quite often! Unfortunately, two years ago she had to move out of her apartment

on the Waalsdorperweg and into a nursing home in Wassenaar. I visited her there once

during the first summer of COVID-19. I was privileged to be invited to her 90th birthday!

Ever since I moved to The Hague in the early 70s and joined the American Women’s Club

of The Hague, I have known this cheerful and cordial American lady. At that time the Club had

over 500 Members and Mary held the position of Secretary. I didn’t know completely the story

behind her long-term residence in Holland and the two Dutch men she married.

To hear her life story, I interviewed Mary some eight years ago for the neighborhood

magazine of Benoordenhout. She was born in Oakland, California on February 2, 1928. Her

mother passed away soon after World War II. In 1948, she and her father decided to take a trip

to Europe on a freighter. They spent four months travelling through Scandinavia, England,

Belgium and France, but oddly enough not to the Netherlands. In Antwerp they met up with

some Dutch people who had family they knew in California.

Upon their return, Mary invited these Dutch friends over to tell them all about their trip and

they brought along their nephew who had just immigrated to the US. He turned out to be Ton

Bos, a Friesian-born Dutchman from Harlingen, whom Mary had “sort of” met in Antwerp.

Romance quickly blossomed and Mary

and Ton married with the expectation to stay

in California for the rest of their lives. Ton’s

employer, United Pumps, had other plans for

him and almost before his papers were signed

for his American citizenship, the company

transferred him to the Netherlands as an expat!

This was in 1953 and the Netherlands (and

the world for that matter) was a far different

place than now. In the first place, since Mary’s

husband had moved three months earlier, she

had to fly over by herself with three children

(one only four months old). The plane stayed

in Gander, Newfoundland for 36 hours, because

a motor fell out. Due to the lack of housing in The Hague, the family lived in Doorn

and waited for months until their furniture arrived from California. As another Member of the

AWC who moved to Holland at the same time said, “Shopping was a whole new experience.

The melkboer left milk at my door, the groenteboer came by twice a week with his cart full

of fruit and vegetables, the bloemenman arrived with baskets of flowers, and (my favorite)

the schillenboer (waste food collector), arrived on a horse-drawn wagon with his faithful old

dog on the seat beside him.” Mary recalls that there was no baby food in Holland or electrical

equipment to speak of!

Finally housing became available and Mary and Ton moved to the Vogelwijk neighborhood

of The Hague. That seemed like heaven to Mary as besides having more room, her neighbors

spoke English and she could join the AWC for some American companionship. Unfortunately,

after a fight with cancer, Ton passed away in 1970. By that time, Mary’s children were in

Dutch high school (the youngest had attended the British School for a while, but they quickly

switched him), so she chose to remain in Holland. One activity Mary undertook at this time

was to become a “taster” for the newly opened MacDonald’s. That meant she could take her

children (and sometimes friends) to “Mackie’s” and let them feast on anything they wanted.

She only had to report on the service, the cleanliness and how the food tasted. (I imagine she

was the most popular mother on the block.)

Little did she know that within a few years she would become partners with another Dutch

man: Bas van de Graaff. Mary and Ton had been neighbors of Bas and his wife, and she had

passed away a year and half after Ton, also after suffering from cancer. Bas had four young

children, so the newly enlarged family had to find a home big enough to house everyone. Even

though the family had been living in Benoordenhout, they moved to Belgisch Park. Once the

family grew up and spread their wings in all sorts of studies, jobs and families (Mary now has

18 grandchildren), they moved back to Benoordenhout and bought a ground floor apartment to

spend the rest of their days. Sadly, Bas passed away away in 2012, once again after a struggle

with that dreaded disease. Mary has full praise for the Buurtzorg, a recently established neighbor

home nursing service. They helped her enormously through those dark days, coming in twice

daily to bathe Bas and prepare him for bed.

Mary also exemplified the neighborly spirit and importance of volunteering by doing just

that for over 10 years for the Zonnebloem Stichting. This organization brings together volunteers

with those with physical handicaps to help them participate more easily in daily living

and to ward off their loneliness.

I referred to Mary at the beginning as an expat with 68 years’ experience―she was more

than that. She was the proof of one of my favorite statements: Bloom where you are planted.


MARCH / APRIL 2022 33

Giving up Plastic!

by Alexandra Vo-de Jager & Anne van Oorschot (FAWCO Environment Team co-chair)

Happy New Year! Even though we said

that to each other two months ago, it’s

never too late to make a New Year’s

resolution: to start a new habit, to reach a

desired goal, or to give something up. I made

a New Year’s resolution to give something

up and I invite you to join me. What am I

aiming to give up, you ask? It’s not chocolate,

or desserts or anything I will really miss,

but something that will be MUCH HARDER

to eliminate from my life: plastic, especially

single-use plastic! With the help of an article

recently written by FAWCO’s Environment

Team, I feel inspired to start 2022 on this quest of plastic elimination. It will not be easy, but

worthwhile things never are. The article was written by Alexandra Vo-de Jager, a FAWCO

Environment Team member who lives in New York, with lots of input from 18 other team

members spread around the world. Please read on and make the choice to join me in the quest

for a plastic-free year.

A few months ago, I bought the new Costco brand soap in a rectangular package of 16 bars. I

like the idea that buying in bulk means less packaging, but when I got home and opened the

packaging, I was dismayed to find that each bar of soap was individually sealed in plastic. The

type of plastic that’s not recyclable. The ones that end in landfills where they can last for 20

years, or the ocean where they can be swallowed by whales. Or they may be incinerated with

other trash, but burning plastic is not exactly a comforting thought.

While plastic is not only harmful to the environment, it also contributes to climate change.

When we talk about plastic waste, we are actually referring to the end of the life cycle of

plastic. The plastic problem begins as a petroleum (oil) product which must be drilled, processed

and manufactured (with added toxins), all contributing to pollution and often affecting

marginalized communities. Furthermore, no matter how much we recycle, plastic will be

around for generations. Styrofoam will last forever; few places can recycle it, and it’s prone to

break and disperse easily into our natural environment. Some plastics, such as cigarette butts,

plastic wrap and harmful BPA items, cannot even be recycled. Disposable diapers and plastic

toothbrushes will be around for 500 years. Single-use water bottles will survive 450 years.

Although they can be recycled, “single-use” means exactly that; it must not be re-used as the

plastic is prone to bacterial contamination and leaching of toxins. For instance, the good intention

to repeatedly refill single-use water or soda bottles or to re-purpose them (for example, in

the garden as a drip system) is not a good practice.

Step 1: Plastic Free July and #RefuseSingleUsePlastic

The plastic problem is massive and it is complicated, but we cannot bury, burn or recycle our

way out of the enormous plastic problem. The simplest way forward is to start by refusing

plastic as much as we can. By not allowing plastic into our lives, we won’t need to think about

what is recyclable, harmful, or reusable. The reality is that plastic is everywhere. Refusing

plastic should be the first approach and it’s all about awareness.


Every year, there is a movement called

Plastic-Free July (www.plasticfreejuly.org)

where people refuse plastic for one month.

This past July, I decided to participate, thinking

easy-peasy; I can go without straws and

plastic bags! How wrong I was. Taking that

personal pledge meant I couldn’t enjoy refreshing

Boba teas which often come in

those non-recyclable plastic cups and covers.

I could not do take-out because my local

restaurants will not fill personal containers.

I had to rethink my laundry soap as well as

how to wash the dishes. I had to be mindful that the produce I bought was not pre-packaged in

plastic, not to mention the yogurts and cream cheese that came in plastic tubs. Even greeting

cards were often individually packaged in plastic. It was difficult! By now, you may be thinking

that I am discouraging you. Not a bit! I want to acknowledge that it’s not easy. Secondly,

that one month has super-heightened my awareness of our plastic dependency. Unfortunately,

ignorance is not bliss. Finally, there was the acceptance that I did not have to do it perfectly; I

just had to start. As the Zero-Waste Chef, Anne-Marie Bonneau, said, “We don’t need a handful

of people doing zero-waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”

The first step is to refuse single-use plastic: plastic straws, stirrers and utensils; plastic soda

and water bottles; plastic shopping, storage and produce bags; and plastic containers.

Last year, my daughter got me the perfect birthday present: bamboo toothbrushes! As soon as

I finish my shampoo bottle, I plan to give shampoo bars a try. Single-use shampoo bottles are

a menace to our landfills.

Step #2: Refuse the Convenience; Embrace “It’s a Pain; Be a Pain”

Just before the pandemic, my village in NY passed an ordinance to ban plastic grocery bags;

yes, the US always lags behind the rest of the developed nations. Of course, people grumbled

at first. Remembering to have your own bag is a pain! Changing habits is painful. For me, it

was easy to grab that tub of Philadelphia Cream Cheese without thinking because I’ve been

doing that forever. For Plastic-Free July, I started buying the brick form. At first the kids did

not re-wrap it properly and the end dried out. It was a bit messier, too. However, just like remembering

to bring along the reusable shopping bags, in no time, the family figured out how

to properly reseal the cream cheese.

Despite all that we are hearing about climate change and the harm to the environment, looking

at my newly bought soap made me feel like we were going backwards. So I decided to “be

a pain” and wrote Costco a reasoned letter. I explained I was a long-time customer but was

dismayed by the new soap packaging and why it’s detrimental to our environment. My final

appeal was that not only was I refusing to buy this soap as they are currently packaged, but

that my children, the next generation of consumers, were equally adamant. In discussing the

“soap situation” with my eco-conscious daughter, she matter-of-factly said, “The environment

is my generation’s problem to solve.” The phrase and the resigned way she said it, gave me

pause. How can we continue to be so careless as to leave it to our children to solve?

Why is the burden of reducing plastic waste mostly with the consumer to recycle? Happily, if

somewhat slowly, the tide seems to be shifting to the stores. Starting in Jan 2022, France will

ban nearly all produce plastic packaging, saving an estimated one billion pieces of unnecessary

plastic. This is just the beginning of France’s multi-year effort to reduce plastic waste.

If we can continue to refuse plastic and hold big companies accountable, maybe the tide will

become a huge wave. >> 36

MARCH / APRIL 2022 35

Giving up Plastic! (cont.)

Continued from page 35

Step #3: Refuse by Slowing Down: Be Like Our Mothers and Fathers

I don’t know if writing to Costco will make a bit of difference, but I wanted to be a little

thorn on their conscience. It seems to me that having it too easy is exactly why we are in

this plastic problem to begin with. Plastic is convenient. Plastic is cheap. Let’s pre-package

food. So long as we recycle, it’s all good, right? It’s a race to the plastic bottom.

It is undeniable that plastic has made access to things more

affordable, from food to clothes to vehicles. However, what

I want to suggest is that we slow it down and be conscious

of what we are consuming. Let’s be more like our parents

where frugality is a virtue. Let’s cook more at home and

do less take-out. Let’s take the time to drink our coffee at

a cafe terrace instead of to go. In the UK, approximately 7

million to-go coffee cups are used daily; only 17,500 are recycled

(0.25%)! Do we need to buy bottled water? Perhaps

there is a local water refilling station. Tap water has vastly

improved in many areas. And yes, it’s a pain, but let’s do

for the planet.

Hummus seems only to come in plastic containers. Try

making it at home―it’s cheaper and tastier―and store in

glass containers. At the supermarket, if there is a choice

between pears pre-packed in plastic and loose ones, the answer is clear; just remember to

bring along your reusable produce bags. For every item you buy in the grocery store, look

for plastic-free options and let that guide you.

Where you shop can also make a huge difference.

You can go exclusively to regular

supermarkets, such as Albert Heijn, Jumbo

and Plus, but Turkish grocery stores have

less packaging of produce and many products

in glass or metal tins. Shopping at your

local farmer’s market has so many benefits.

I cycle to the nearby market with a backpack

of shopping bags and eco-friendly reusables.

I bring my cardboard egg cartons

and refill them at the cheese stall. These

markets use less plastic and will help you in

your sustainable practices. It’s a win-winwin!

The biggest outdoor market in Europe is De Haagse Markt at Herman Costerstraat 571

in The Hague (open Mondays, Wednesdays Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.). It

has plenty of parking in the garage underneath the market.

Step #4: Refuse by Substitution: Silicone, Wax Paper, Glass Containers

Reusable silicone products are better than disposable plastic bags. They can withstand heat

and cold because they are made of silicon, which is found in sand. They are also more


durable but are not biodegradable or easily

recyclable, which means that eventually

they will end up in landfills. Unlike plastic,

however, they will not break down into

microplastics that will eventually end up in

fish, soil and in our food supply. They also

do not contain the toxins that are found in


Wax cloth is an excellent substitute for plastic

wrap. It is easy to wrap a sandwich, a

piece of cheese or cover a bowl with these

waxed cloths. The wax is naturally resistant

to bacteria. Clean them with a soapy sponge in cold water and air dry. They will last a whole

year! If you buy the all-natural kind, just bury them in your garden and they will biodegrade.

Glass is another wonderful substitute. I store my unwashed berries in tomato sauce jars and

they last for almost two weeks. One of my favorite drinks is kombucha and it often comes in

glass bottles which I reuse with lemonade or smoothies. I never have to worry about toxins

that may leach from reusing plastic containers. By the way, glass jars also freeze well if you

leave enough space for expansion.

In Search of a New Editor

After 13 years of working together, it will finally be time for Teresa Mahoney

and Melissa White to step aside after the May 2022 issue to let a new team lead

Going Dutch into the next phase of its life as a digital magazine. We are excited to

announce that Stacy Nyikos has stepped up to be the new Design and Layout


We still need a new Editor, who is in charge of content including: working with

Board to determine frequency and theme of issues; requesting articles and communicating

with submitters; and proofing of articles and working with proofreaders.

No previous experience is necessary. Training will be provided. To volunteer

or ask questions, please contact Melissa at goingdutchmag@gmail.com.

MARCH / APRIL 2022 37

The New Normal

by Mary Adams

Hot off the press from 2021: it’s estimated that roughly 30% of newly diagnosed cancers

in women are breast cancer diagnoses. It is the most commonly diagnosed cancer

among American women after skin cancer, and the often-touted stat is that one in

eight women will develop breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. These women are

your co-workers, friends, sisters, mothers—and each of them has a story. Here’s my story…

Foreword: The Good Citizen

I love participating in Heart Pillow Workshops. Before I realized that my true talent

was as a snipper, I had several dismal attempts at sewing. My sewing was such a disaster!

I clearly remember a kind AWC Member taking my ovoid, heart-ish shaped pillow

and making a tsk tsk sound as she carefully removed all my errant wobbly stitches.

That convinced me that it takes Club collaboration to make a decent heart pillow. At the

Clubhouse, it didn’t matter if I couldn’t stitch, or if my bows were crooked. There was

always another Member close by to correct my mistakes.

When AWC The Hague hosted the 2013 FAWCO Region 4 Meeting, I worked with sister

clubs to develop a Heart Pillow Best Practices Workbook. I was determined to share our

pillow talk throughout FAWCO clubs to raise support for heart pillows.

When AWC Antwerp hosted a FAWCO Region 4 Meeting, I participated in the Race for

the Cure. I still have the t-shirt: Be Bold, Be Fearless, Be More. As I raced, I felt like I was

really helping other women. I associated breast cancer with pink ribbons, cozy Clubhouse

afternoons, best practices in making heart pillows, and one day in October.


Chapter One: Diagnosis

In May 2020, I stepped into a hot shower.

As the soap bar glided over my body, I felt

a small, hard knot. Was that really there?

What was it? Can you feel that? I made

an appointment with my GP. Did she feel

it too? Next thing I knew, I was headed

to the hospital. It was as if I stepped into

a surreal world. Was that really me lying

on the examination bed? I floated through

the next few hours, seemingly stuck to the

ceiling watching the activity below me.

When the biopsy results came back positive,

I remember a shocking disbelief. I

thought that cancer would cause some sort

of pain or agony. Why didn’t I feel anything?

How could my left breast betray me

from the inside out without any warning?

How long had the cancer been inside me?

Photo by National Cancer Institute

I have always imagined breast cancer as

an ominous black tumor with tentacles. You find it and cut out the tumor. However, that

idea is based on fiction rather than fact. There are two categories of breast cancer: in

situ and invasive, and seven types of cancer. I was diagnosed with ER positive Ductal

Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS). This means that the cells which line the milk ducts are cancerous,

but they are not invasive. The body’s hormones (estrogen and progesterone) also

play a role in breast cancer. Some cancer cells have hormone receptors. This means that

the cancer cells grow by tapping into your body’s normal cell growth-regulating system.

In other words, my estrogen has most likely been my cancer’s preferred Red Bull drink

for years.

The good news was that this ER receptor diagnosis meant that controlling my estrogen

production required neither radiation nor chemotherapy. Honestly, I felt both relieved

and guilty. I had other friends undergoing treatments for more invasive cancers, and here

I was holding a Get Out of Jail Free card on chemo. It didn’t seem fair.

Chapter Two: Pre-Surgery

My next chapter was about learning to disassociate myself from upper body nudity.

There are tests, scans, MRIs, and processes to perform that can determine the size and

spread of the cancer. There are radioactive highlights to investigate lymph nodes. There

are the calm faces of doctors, nurses and attendants and the eager faces of medical students.

There are the times you are left on the gurney in the corridor. Am I a person, a case

number, or a statistic? Do I even want to be seen? Tell me again: is this really happening

to me?

Chapter Three: Surgery

From 2020 to 2021, I endured five surgeries. My best memory is being handed a popsicle

in the recovery room and knowing that I was cancer-free. Believe it or not, ice pops help

with post-surgery thirst and nausea. My first worst memory (mammary?) is being told

after the lumpectomy that the cancer had spread throughout the breast. The advice was

“everything must go.” My second worst memory was finally understanding the concept

of medical drains. My third worst memory was … well, actually, I could go on, but let’s

go back to the best memory.

>> 40

MARCH / APRIL 2022 39

The New Normal (cont.)

Continued from page 39

New Beginnings for the AWC

by Marilyn Engelbrecht

The pre-surgery talks with the surgeon and plastic surgeon about reconstruction options

were well-intentioned but laughable. Being in the care of women, I found myself

wanting to connect as a person and not as a patient. As medical professionals, they

only wanted to provide me with information to make choices. It is like designing a

dream house when you don’t really understand the construction method. I finally chose

the double whammy experience: a mastectomy immediately followed by a Latissimus

Dorsi Flap reconstruction. I had no idea what to expect before or after. My will to use

Google Search significantly diminished after I saw a rather vivid medical photo of the


Before surgery, I was on my feet and topless while the plastic surgeon took out her

markers and made her calculations on my skin. At this point, it was no problem to reveal

the last living hours of the left breast. I was still awake as I was wheeled into the operating

room. I felt a strange calmness and helpless sensation as the staff entered. My arms

were placed on arm rests and slowly stretched out and secured with restraints. My last

thought before the anesthesia hit me was that I resembled the Jesus the Redeemer statue

in Rio de Janeiro. (P.S. Later I learned that the statue in Rio is bathed in pink lights every

October in honor of breast cancer awareness, but I had no idea of that or any religious

thoughts at the time.)

Chapter Four: The New Normal

Last year was the new beginning: discovering

the new, normal me. Looking back

over the last two years with the COVID-19

pandemic, everyone in the world also had

to discover a new normal. On top of that,

everyone in the world had to deal with a

new normal of climate change such as forest

fires, tornadoes, hurricanes and tsunamis.

The icing on the cake was the new

political normal in the United States. I believe

that all these external events helped

me to make a choice for physical and

mental recovery. I am a stubborn survivor.

I have too much to do before I leave.

However easy this choice was to make, the actual journey has proven much harder. It

is about not letting physical limitations and uncertainties hinder my ambitions. It is an

acceptance that my body needs time to heal and refuses to be rushed. It is knowing that

there is strength in asking for help. It is about setting an alarm every evening for the next

five years to ensure that I take tamoxifen to stop estrogen production. It is participating

in a medical study to help determine appropriate tamoxifen doses for other women, even

though I faint every time they draw my blood. I still refer to the reconstruction as My

Frankenstein. So, I still have work to do to embrace this implant as a part of me. Mostly,

it is about not letting cancer be my entire life story, but merely a few chapters. As Susan

Statham recommends, “Your life is your story. Write well. Edit often.”


New Beginnings ... When does an established organization such as the American

Women’s Club of The Hague experience new beginnings? Is it each time the

organizational leadership changes with the yearly installation of a new Board

and its officers? Is it when new Members join and bring a new dynamic of leadership as

individuals? Are new beginnings continually experienced over the progression of time

because of societal changes, the development of new technology, or the relocation of the

organization’s Clubhouse? How can a move to a different building in a different location

create new beginnings for the AWC?

Whenever a physical move is made, whether it is by an individual, a family or an organization,

whether it is in the same locale, another city, another country or another continent,

new beginnings are experienced. With each new beginning the move of personal possessions,

accumulated documents, memorabilia and collections are all accessed, determining

if they are worthy of the move. However, many times the decision to pack and move these

possessions is because of the pleasant memories that prevail: the emotional attachment

from some other new beginning’s end. The emotional attachment has a way of negating

the practical analytical thought process of why one continues moving certain items.

With the Club’s move to its new location, practical decisions were made as to what

accumulated possessions should be moved, including furniture, dishes and decorations and

what should be discarded. What could not be packed or discarded was the organizational

membership’s experiences. And, yes, there will be new beginnings for all Members to

experience. There will be the new physical beginnings with the move to a new location,

a different travel route to reach the Clubhouse, as well as different room designs for Club

activities. As the membership settles in and embraces the newness, let new beginnings

continue to include the Members’ ever evolving commitment to create a viable, vibrant

organization for women moving to The Hague. The extension of friendship and inclusion

that is the core foundation of the American Women’s Club provides each AWC Member

the experience of new beginnings.

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!

MARCH / APRIL 2022 41

Mindful New Beginnings

by Sarah Partridge

Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

I am a creature of habit ... someone who enjoys routine and familiarity. However, when I do

feel the need for change, I often enjoy it and wonder: why didn’t I do this sooner? It’s like

going to the gym; you know that you should do it. It will improve your health and wellbeing,

and once you’re there it isn’t that bad after all; you feel confident to go there again.

A comfort zone is a state of feeling that you are at ease and in control, experiencing low

levels of stress. By stepping outside that zone, you may feel uncertainty or be uncomfortable.

The more afraid we are, the smaller our comfort zone becomes and the more difficult

it is to break out of it. Familiarity is comfortable and enjoyable, so it’s no real surprise that

new things get our guard up.

When in your comfort zone, your brain doesn’t want anything to change and getting out of

that zone from time to time creates just enough good stress to ramp up your focus, creativity,

pace and drive. It also helps you respond to stress when unexpected things happen.

What Can You Do to Step Outside Your Comfort Zone?

• Make changes to your daily routine –

take a different route home

• Learn something new – put yourself in

a new environment

• Get physical –go for a walk or hit the

gym – to improve your mental state

• Face fear – don’t always pick the safe


• Get out there and volunteer

• Up your game – make that snap decision

every once in a while

• Consider other points of view and say

YES more often

Mindfulness Habits You Can Do


• Sit in the mornings and concentrate on slow breathing – be in the present moment

• Eat mindfully – take your time to enjoy a meal appreciating its smell, taste and appearance

• Spend time outside to clear your head, breathe in fresh air and observe life around you

• Focus on one task at a time – concentrate on what you’re doing

• Feel feelings – accept feeling sad, angry or jealous and take time out for yourself

• Create something – spend time doing what you enjoy!

leading an activity. Some people often say,

“I don’t know what to do. I’ve never done

that before.’’ Everyone has a first time at

doing something and the more you practice,

If you want something you’ve

never had, then you’ve got to do

something you’ve never done!

the easier it becomes! So, get out there and practice “stepping outside your comfort zone”

to improve your physical and mental wellbeing. Don’t wait for next week or next month;

start something new today. Be confident, be positive, be brave and believe in yourself! Yes,

it can be daunting to start something new, but perhaps the next person is feeling the same as

you? Let’s empower each other and create positivity and support. Let’s listen to each other,

but more importantly be kind.

The AWC is your comfort blanket. It offers a safe, friendly environment with people who

support each other. Now is your chance to help, shine, assist and make that move to becoming

a better YOU. We are all busy with our work and family lives, but by helping each other

we create lighter work. Please consider helping our Club in any way you can by volunteering

at our new Clubhouse, helping with an activity, and supporting our charities and community.

Any small gesture helps and is always appreciated.

Having a positive attitude helps you cope more easily with daily chores. It brings optimism

and makes it easier to avoid worries and negative thinking. If you adopt it as a way of everyday

life, it will bring constructive changes into your life: happiness and more success.

I am a big believer in “teamwork makes the dream work,” so take that step to helping or


MARCH / APRIL 2022 43

My Life Mosaic

by Celeste Brown

When I think about “New Beginnings” in my life, many experiences pop into mind:

my years as a US career woman, moving from the US to the Netherlands at the ripe

age of 45 after meeting the love of my life, and becoming an Oma when I haven’t

been a mother! These experiences are just a few of what makes me “me” today.

Along the way, I’ve learned that life is

a mosaic. Each of us has created our own

personal life mosaic. A beautiful mosaic of

pieces, large and small, that represent who

we are and what we have done in life: the

positives and negatives, ups and downs, and

thrills and despairs. Every day of our life, we

awaken and unconsciously put a new piece

into our living, breathing, breathtakingly gorgeous

life mosaic.

But what happens when something serious

occurs? You may be diagnosed with

a serious disease. Suddenly, it feels as if a

large mallet directly swings into the middle―the heart―of your mosaic, and you find your

mosaic has shattered into pieces around your feet: some pieces larger than others and some

shards miniscule. As we look at the misery around us, we can be momentarily stunned into

… what do I do now?

Every day of our life, we

awaken and unconsciously

put a new piece into

our living, breathing,

breathtakingly gorgeous life


~ Celeste Brown

I’ve found myself in this situation several times over the last 15 years. Health issues

swooped in and upset my proverbial apple cart. When this happens, I’ve learned it’s important

to take time to absorb the grief and shock. And then at some undefined moment, you find

yourself slowly starting to rebuild your mosaic. Because your mosaic is your life. The key,

though, is that you will use the same pieces and shards from your original mosaic, yet you

will create a brand-new mosaic. This time, you might put the pieces into different places than

where they were originally, and that’s okay. You have the opportunity to create a different

piece of art that reflects the new you.


This new mosaic will be beautiful just as

the original one was, but the new version is

reinforced with grit and determination and a

strength you didn’t know you had when you

created the original. Even though you face

unexpected and recurring surges of grief, anger

and doubt, your new mosaic takes shape.

And yes, sad but true, this new mosaic

might be smashed in the future by an unforeseen

life catastrophe. And then you will rebuild

yet another version of your life mosaic.

Each of the pieces, old and new, perfect or

scarred, has earned its rightful place in your

life mosaic.

After cancer one in 2008, I threw myself into organizational work that gave me the chance

to grow in unexpected ways both professionally and personally. I was valued, and gave value

to many, many others. After cancer two in 2017, I discovered Laugh Yoga. I trained as a

Laugh Yoga Leader in 2019 and then as a Laugh Yoga Trainer in 2021. My weekly online

Laugh Yoga group continues to grow as people experience the joy of laughing with creativity

and imagination.

And my current health situation? Well, it’s still ongoing. But when people can gather

again in-person (post-coronavirus), I plan to continue growing my Laugh Yoga endeavors

with a new community group and corporate workshops.

So I’m continuing to add new pieces to my life mosaic. With each revision, my mosaic

still has all the pieces from pre-2008 yet is complemented by the 2017 and current day revisions.

Will my body stop playing tricks on me? In my growing wisdom, I expect there are

still surprises yet to come. Yet with the rebirth of each new mosaic, I continue to reinvent

myself along my life journey. More New Beginnings. That gives me a confidence and joy

that sustain me every day.

Submissions Needed

As we anticipate that our upcoming issue to be published

in May will be our final printed magazine

for the foreseeable future, it is appropriate to have

this issue concentrate on our beloved home-awayfrom-home:

the AWC. This is your chance to reflect

on what the AWC means to you, share your favorite

AWC memory or trip, or document something

into our AWC history that otherwise might be overlooked.

Please understand that we have the right to

edit any articles and are not obligated to publish all

submissions. Send articles or questions to Melissa

White at goingdutchmag@awcthehague.org by

Monday, March 28.

MARCH / APRIL 2022 45

Swept Off My Feet?

by Georgia Regnault

When Melissa White asked if I would write something for this issue, namely on

my “new beginning” as a widow, she carefully expressed to me that if it was too

difficult, she would understand. She was especially interested in my decision to

remain in the Netherlands after my husband, Peter, passed away in November 2016. But

it is never too painful to write about the “love of your life” after they are gone.

To introduce the situation to those who don’t know me, I met Peter in Amsterdam in

1966 after I had lived there for almost a year. In other words, I knew I liked Holland back

then and it wasn’t a case of being swept off my feet by a Dutchman studying in the States

without knowing the country. Besides, Peter always said then that he wanted to live in the

States, so when I accepted his proposal of marriage―just after midnight on New Year’s

Eve seven months later―I didn’t give any thought that I might live here my whole life.

So, I guess I was swept off my feet!

We had a 49-year marriage, complete with 2 expat assignments: Hamburg, Germany

when first married and Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles in the early 90s. Our marriage was enriched

by three children who we raised in a total “mid-Atlantic” partnership. We always spoke

English at home and sent our oldest son to the ABF for voetbal (soccer), APCH Vacation

Bible School and Boy Scouts. Peter encouraged

all of my volunteer activities with the

American Women’s Clubs I belonged to in

Hamburg, The Hague and Curaçao. He often

remarked to me, “I married an American

woman. Stay that way please.” Sometimes

I think it was because of my cooking, which

he often enjoyed too much!

On the other hand, Peter was very active

in Dutch politics (on the administrative

side), was the treasurer of our sports club

and an executive with Shell and Heineken

for a large part of his working life. And he

liked it when I accompanied him to many

of the functions he had to attend. When I

stepped down as President of the AWC in

1984, he was asked to write for the (then

nameless) magazine at that time:

If either of the two halves has a specific

responsibility, whether it be business

or social, the other half should not only

be proud of that activity, but graciously

give support whenever possible. The role

of Prince Consort (which Peter jokingly

called himself) that one should play when

one’s wife has a chairing function or the role


of Charming Princess or if one’s husband has the gavel in hand, can be a fun one if one

basically supports the other’s activities. Sound advice for everyone, I think!

There were two other important elements of my life in the Netherlands that perhaps

made my first adjustment easier than for others. One was that in 1963, I travelled through

Europe on a NBBS Volkswagen bus tour with four other college friends. In the days when

young ladies weren’t allowed to backpack through Europe and didn’t want to go on an

American Express bus tour with lots of adults, the Dutch student travel organization found

a gat in de markt (a business opportunity). Our driver was a Dutch student in a convoy

of four buses. The hotels were all booked, but how we got from A-to-B each day was our

decision, as well as where we ate meals. Of course, we had a budget, but you can imagine

this was a wonderful option and learning process for a 20-year-old girl.

Upon graduation from college with a math degree, it was rather hard to find a job using

my degree, except becoming a high school math teacher. That was the last thing I wanted

to be. My one wish was to live in Manhattan. However, I couldn’t find a suitable job. In

fact, at one investment company where a professor had set up an interview for me, I was

actually told by the personnel man that they hired 30-40 graduates each year with 1 woman

and 1 black―1964! We’ve come a long way since then, but I have always thought a black

woman would get the job, as it would only take up one chair.

To earn some money so I could stay in NYC, I took a secretarial position at the student

travel agency’s New York office, located on the Holland-American line pier a few blocks

from Greenwich Village. It was just a one-year job BUT included free passage to Europe

the next summer. In today’s world, I guess I would be called the personal assistant

to a recently graduated Dutch student. He

>> 48

spent a lot of time travelling to colleges in

the US to recruit girls for the bus trips and

sell passage on the student ships/ charter

flights NBBS offered. I did the booking administration,

answered questions and, most

importantly, assured parents that it was a

very safe trip. I should also mention that

all Dutch student travelers always came by

our office to have a chat, jenever or sherry!

I tell this story because NBBS became

my Dutch family in the Netherlands. I still

can attend a Dutch event, run into someone

I knew before I met Peter or meet someone

who worked at NBBS back in the days. It

always gave me a wonderful feeling of belonging

when I could introduce my husband

to someone I had known before him.

The other reason I feel my long-term

stay outside the US has been easier than

perhaps for most is that when my parents

moved out of the suburbs into the city of

Providence, Rhode Island, my sister bought

our childhood house―the only one I ever

knew. And when she passed away in 2014,

her daughter took over the house. So I can

MARCH / APRIL 2022 47

Swept Off My Feet? (cont.)

Continued from page 47

Reinventing One’s Self?

by Audra White

return there always. I know where the glasses and cutlery are kept, where the bathrooms

are, and even sleep in my old room! In other words, I do still GO HOME.

And the third reason is the AWC of The Hague. It has always been my home away

from home. Most of the Members come and go, but that only means I have more friends

around the world. Plus with so many more Members now married to Dutchmen, they will

be here as well for support and help, like Club Members gave me during Peter’s five-year

sickness and ultimate passing.

Getting back to my decision to stay here, it wasn’t a hard decision to make, especially

since I have a daughter, Lara, son-in-law and two granddaughters here. And while my

two sons live in the US, it is a three-hour flight between them and neither place is where

I was raised. If I were to move to the States, it would be very difficult to decide which

son I would live nearby. That is a definite advantage to Holland―everything is so close.

Of course, there are moments when I wish I spoke better Dutch, could read the long

Dutch words, and especially be able to write the language. And even the moments when I

miss that Dutch love and support given to me by my Peter, it seems I miss him more and

more, but know that if I moved to the States, it would be doubly so.

The next vernal equinox is upon us! A renewed sense of hope is budding as the winter

vibe begins to lighten up. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I feel like I’ve

worked through a heavy load of emotions these past months. Good news, I’m here to

provide some relief! I’d like to share a few solutions I’ve found handy in coming out of a

recent heavy burnout.

Long story short: in 2018 I woke up one day and decided I really didn’t like what my

life had evolved into. So I changed it.

Fast forward to present day. Instead of going

through a transformation privately, I took to

the waves of social media to share my story on

various platforms and within my network. The

learning has been massive. I’m here to promote

what actually got me through that mess alongside

managing a divorce, navigating a career

change and moving into a new very old home

... in a new city ... during a pandemic ... while

living abroad.

I’m fine. You’re fine. We’re all fine. I promise!

My secret was to eliminate almost everything

from my life and start fresh—though I do

not recommend this path to just anyone. I could

do this thanks to my school-of-hard-knocks upbringing

and the deep emotional trauma that I’ve

accrued up to now, in my early 40s. I should also

mention that I had guidance from a lot of professional

mental and physical health resources.

Now I reenter the world, albeit sometimes painfully messy. I am happy to promote the

element of incorporating ancient yoga principles into our daily lives. So yeah, that’s what

I’m selling, ladies. I’m not here to advertise the sexy side of yoga, of putting ourselves

in complicated postures. That’s the commercial side, what the Western world has done to

capitalize on a yogic lifestyle. What a shame that it’s always about profits. Although I’m not

anti-capitalist, I do lean towards more progressive measures and like to promote an agenda

for social democracy with accessible basic resources and rights available to everyone.

SIDE NOTE: I am forever grateful to the ladies of FAWCO for their political contributions

to uphold voting rights as well as their other valuable contributions to our community.

Thank you, ladies!


The simple truth, speaking from the wisdom I’ve obtained in the last two decades as a

functioning adult, is that yoga philosophies can help us slow down, soften, become

>> 50

MARCH / APRIL 2022 49

Reinventing One’s Self? (cont.)

Continued from page 49

still, practice silence and live within the

senses. These are the teachings I can offer

to the collective, and this is why I chose to

reform my own life a few years back in order

to change my future ahead. The cards have

played out favorably for me. I’d like to offer

my learnings, mostly in the form of text as

I develop my writing skills in parallel to my

yoga teachings.

Additionally, a part of my plan involves

building my network of budding writers to

help transition us from social media and devices

and instead put our noses back into

books. I feel that most humans these days

need to spend more time reading to stimulate

the mind. It’s time to get Jane Austen back in

here! A true throwback to when women had

resources and extra time on their hands. Please

tell me this is possible for our future, ladies?!


I offer a way forward to relax, restore

and reset within some basic deep restorative

asana (Sanskrit for “posture”). That’s

the physical element, but yoga is so much

more! It’s my aim to cover fundamental

basics, to explain more about mindfulness

and meditation and discuss how we can

incorporate these practices now into our

already busy lives. These old practices have

made their way back into the mainstream;

we see more yoga studios, mindfulness

and meditation workshops, guided selfawareness

forms of exercise such as martial

arts, or other forms of Eastern influences

on movement culture. This is a great opportunity

to speak about what is available

to us in the present moment and to find the

right mode of practice that works for our

modern-day lifestyles.

This picture shows an exhausted version

of myself back in 2017 after breaking my

leg. Even a broken bone didn’t slow me

down. I continued battling the everyday rat

race that life threw at me for at least another

year after this photo was taken.

In the summer of 2018, my husband (now ex) and I decided to pack up for a three-week

European road trip. Two weeks prior, my granny had died and my ego was also delivered a

massive blow at work. By the time our Prius was packed on that night in July, I was done carrying

around drama that wasn’t mine to handle anymore. Renewed after some days in Germany,

we continued to enjoy our holiday with our kids and another Dutch family in tow. Then my

dog had a heart attack on the sofa of our vacation bungalow and, in the next hour, tragically

suffered in my arms while the emergency vet couldn’t be reached. We had to put him on ice

until morning when we could finally make the long drive to reach the pet crematorium.

At that point, my life absorbed into one sad country record played backwards. The events

of my past had finally caught up with my future. I felt a huge sense of collective grief in my

body, as if it were stored in the various pockets of my meatsuit, weighing me down unnecessarily.

I wondered if I had attracted more tasks than I needed to manage, not only at work

but also in my private life: aging elders, living across two countries, health scares, holidays,

working, parenting ... you name it ... all these modern-day luxuries that we deal with as part

of our everyday lives.

Within the moment of trying to remove any or all of the suffering my dying dog experienced

that day, I found myself absorbing the process of leaving his body to be in parallel somehow:

my own metaphorical death.

Managing a full-time career, living across two continents while fully assimilating into

local Dutch culture, landed me in a boiling pot. Like a lobster, I didn’t see it coming until it

was too late, and I eventually succumbed to the waters that boiled me alive. It felt like a rock

bottom, but more like the iceberg version: I kept most of my problems hidden for a long time.

(Which reminds me of a recommendation for a future AWC Book Club: How to Murder Your

Life by Cat Marnell.)

By the winter of 2018, in time for New Year New Me annual rituals and feeling pretty burnt

to a crisp, I was ready to change my life around, armed with action plans from the professionals

in my life. My task list was long and involved, leaving my marriage and career, becoming

a stay-at-home mom and going through a

>> 52

massive transformation.

This isn’t the space to tell my entire story,

though I will be sharing more details behind

my struggles and successes. Feel free to connect

with me on social media or by email via

our membership directory.

Now, coming out of an unforeseen global

pandemic, I’ve risen like an awkwardly halfbald

Phoenix with charred feathers from the

stress of being locked up during lockdown

in whatever flames were still left under that

simmering pot. The goal was not to get out of

the water, but to acclimate to a comfortable

temperature while also being able to willingly

leave the pot before it becomes too hot

to handle.

Here I am with fellow AWC Members

Sarah Partridge and Georgia Renault.

Somehow in 2020, I found myself in the

MARCH / APRIL 2022 51

Reinventing One’s Self? (cont.)

Continued from page 51

Biggest Loser Club and walked away with a shared award. How cool is that? An award for

being a loser. I AM HERE FOR THIS!

I think springtime is always a better time for us to reset. January seems to bring on the

motivation of new hope, but for me, when March rolls around I actually am ready to join

the world with open eyes. At least here in Holland this feels more natural. From March to

June, I am inspired to rise early and connect with nature for a short morning walk. Or even

just to stare at my outdoor plants, wondering which container annuals I can mix with my

perennials this year. I especially like to go outside when it’s still dark enough to chase the

sunrise. This helps to bring a fresh start to the day, to embody the vibrant colors as they

splash across the Dutch horizon.

Rest & Restore Workshop

In April I will host a two-week hybrid workshop, virtual and face-to-face classes

for AWC Members, offering deep “resting” principles through a short series of simple

mindful yoga “restorative” asana (postures) mixed with yoga-as-a-lifestyle tips and

tricks on how to best apply them.

No experience is needed, and most physical, mental and emotional injuries are

welcomed. We will be focusing the elements of our senses through somatic yoga* philosophies

while combining our human attributes of fire, Earth, air and water. Feel free

to contact me for more details or with questions you may have.

Do you feel yoga is not for you? That works too. We all have various modes to

achieve peace and enlightenment.

Do you have general questions about yoga as a lifestyle and want to understand more

about this Eastern culture being embraced in our Western worlds? I can offer insight

on that topic as well. Do you need a guided opportunity to rest in fetal position and

just cry? I’m here for that; you can message me on the side when you’re in SOS mode.

*Somatic Yoga: The term psychosomatic could not be more accurate. Neuroanatomy

shows that the sensory

perception of the body

runs through the emotional

centers of the brain

and is also influenced by

emotional states in the

past – more easily summarized

as: #restorativeyoga

#mindfulness #meditation


#mindbodysoul #hathayoga


Practices for a Healthier Mindset

Create a sacred space in your home: Add a candle, scent, flowers, book, journal

etc. Whatever makes you feel safe and happy.

Let silence find you: Throughout your day, find 10 minutes to not have any noise

around you and quietly do a task, such as eating, without any external stimulation.

Or prep for bed consciously without any background noise or multitasking activities.

Retreat within to find the present moment: When a moment allows, such as

when you are otherwise powerless over your circumstances in daily life, close your

eyes and retreat to the center of your brain. Or visualize the area slightly above the

space between your eyes. Be present there. Take in your surroundings and connect

with your senses.

Move your body: Set a timer for 5 minutes and head to your sacred space for

some simple stretches. Sitting in a hard chair or on the floor helps us to root our bodies

into the Earth.

Mantra moment: Find an affirmation or mantra that works to offer encouragement

to yourself. “You are a human being, not a human doing” is a current favorite of mine.

BREATHE: Set a daily reminder to check in with your breath. At any given moment

during the day, stop what you’re doing, place your hands on your belly and breathe

deeply. Notice any tightness that forms around the body and repeat, “Let go.” This

is literally programming your body with affirmations to positively influence your

physical body and your spirit (or soul) too.

RESTORE: Rest mindfully for 20 minutes each day in a restorative yoga position

in your sacred space. You can learn this in my upcoming workshop #noshamepromoshoutout

Practice kindness: Learning to be kind to others starts with learning to be kind

to ourselves. Opening the heart isn’t always easy. It takes practice in the form of kindness,

humility, trust and allowance of reception. Make a playlist or find a song that

helps to soften you, giving you happiness in the present moment.


This is one of my favorite Ram Dass lectures: https://youtu.be/D8Hb5Rgg9nY

And a short meditation: https://youtu.be/jIObf54225c


MARCH / APRIL 2022 53

Voting from Abroad

by Roberta Enschede

Your vote is your voice!

As a US citizen residing abroad, you are eligible to vote in the 2022 Mid-Term Elections on

November 8. Overseas citizens should submit an FPCA (Federal Postcard Application) each

election year to both REGISTER and REQUEST an Absentee Ballot. Even if you are registered

in a local voting district, present guidelines from the Federal Voting Assistance Program

(FVAP) strongly advise overseas citizens to submit an FPCA annually.

Where to obtain the FPCA? The FPCA can be downloaded by going to the official US

government site: www.FVAP.gov. The FVAP’s online assistant can answer relevant questions.

Receiving Ballot: The FPCA must be signed, dated and mailed. Without a valid signature, the

request for registration and a ballot cannot be processed. Make certain your signature is the

same one you’ve used in the past. It is a good idea to choose the option to receive your ballot

by email. States are required to send out ballots 45 days before a regular election for federal

office and at least 30 days before primary elections. Use Dutch postage for international letters

to mail the FPCA.


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

Zoom possible.

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

liability insurance.

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!

Returning Ballot: Some states allow voters to return ballots electronically. Ballots can

also be returned by dropping them off at the US Embassy in Wassenaar or US Consulate in

Amsterdam. Be aware that if you opt to use the diplomatic pouch, do it at least one month

before your state’s election deadline and include sufficient US postage to be delivered from a

US sorting facility. Otherwise use Dutch postage for international letters to mail your ballot.

US citizens cannot vote in the US Embassy or Consulate, although the Consulate can notarize

or witness voting materials, if required.

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

AWC Members.

If you have not been receiving your eNews,

please contact Heather at


Candidate & Issue Information: Go to the www.FVAP.gov links page. You can also subscribe

for Voting Alerts from the homepage.

If you are a US citizen, you may vote:

• No matter how long you have lived abroad

• Even if you no longer have a residence in the US (use the last place of residence as your

voting address no matter how long ago that was)

• Even if you have no plans to return to the US

• Even if you have never voted (a first-time overseas voter can use the FPCA to register

and request a ballot)

A US citizen born abroad who has never lived in the US can vote by claiming the voting residence

of a citizen parent. Thirty-nine states have passed legislation allowing this. Overseas

organizations continue to lobby the 11 remaining states. Check www.FVAP.gov for information

regarding your state.

Tax Implications: Voting in a federal election (President, VP, Senate, House of Representatives)

may not be used as the sole basis to determine residency for the purpose of determining state

and local taxes. For specific concerns, consult legal consul.

Further Questions: www.FVAP.gov toll-free number from the Netherlands: 0800 022 8213

US Consulate: VoteAmsterdam@state.gov FAWCO recommends: www.votefromabroad.org


Member Privacy

Going Dutch is Available Online

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

also find links to our annual advertisers, whose support makes this magazine possible. If you

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

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.

MARCH / APRIL 2022 55



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