Join the leading sports &
movement programme for children
After School + Weekend Classes
THOR DE BATAAF
Would you like Playball in your school or
nursery? Send us an email!
Try your first Playball class
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
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
30 Dutch-American Friendship
31 Martin Luther King, Jr.
Tribute and Dinner
32 In Memoriam: Mary van de
SPECIAL NEW BEGINNINGS SECTION
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
MARCH / APRIL 2022 3
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.
4 GOING DUTCH
Design and Layout
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
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
Clubhouse Administration Officer
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:
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
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
8 GOING DUTCH
This is also a
time of change
Dutch, the Club’s
magazine. After 13
years of running
White are looking
for a fresh
team to take the
its new incarnation.
to Melissa and
Terri for the invaluable
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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
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.
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!
10 GOING DUTCH
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,
to join us for an
activity or event,
in particular our
March 10 at our
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
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,
you would like
to see added to
over the next
few months. All
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:
Welcome New Members!
FRITS - TAXI
Marjanne Vos-van de Bovenkamp
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
12 GOING DUTCH
MARCH / APRIL 2022 13
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
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 email@example.com.
Monthly (See eNews)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
(except second Thursday of each month)
10 – 11:30 a.m.
Laan van Poot 22, Den Haag
Members may reserve a spot for an
AWC tour, activity or event in advance.
Payment is required within five
business days of the reservation or
before the deadline date (whichever
is sooner) otherwise your name will be
moved to a waitlist. It is the responsibility
of the Member to notify the Club at
to cancel a reservation prior to the
cancellation deadline. Please note that
there will be NO REFUNDS after the
cancellation deadline. Members may
find a substitute in lieu of cancellation
provided that arrangements are made
with the organizer. Members shall
be held responsible for their guest
reservations in accordance with this
Mah Jongg is a popular tile-based game of
Chinese origin. This exciting game is similar
to the card game, rummy. We will play
the international version with 144 tiles with
no scoring. Be prepared for a game of strategy
and luck that will quickly become addictive!
All beginners and experienced players
are welcome at any time. Please join us
as this game is simply good fun. For more
information or to register, contact Jen van
Ginhoven at email@example.com.
1 – 4 p.m.
Out to Lunch Bunch
Interested in exploring new restaurants
in and around The Hague? Join us once
a month for Lunch Bunch. A different
restaurant is selected each month on
varying days. Recommendations are always
welcome to Greetje Engelsman
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.
14 GOING DUTCH
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
email@example.com to be added
to the WhatsApp group for last minute
updates and cancellations.
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
firstname.lastname@example.org if you are
interested in attending.
Thursdays, March 3 + April 7
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
16 GOING DUTCH
MARCH / APRIL 2022 17
RSVP directly on www.awcthehague.org or the Wild Apricot app. Payment must be made
within 5 calendar days by bank transfer to the AWC account NL42ABNA0431421757 or on
our website via PayPal (additional fees apply).
Direct any questions to email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, March 18 for AWC Members
6 – 9 p.m.
Saturday, March 19 for Everyone
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
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
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 email@example.com.
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
18 GOING DUTCH
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
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
pays special attention
artists who made
a name in this
genre and played
a major role in
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
20 GOING DUTCH
MARCH / APRIL 2022 21
The AWC Book Clubs are FREE and open
to all readers. New Members are especially
welcome! There are no requirements that
you must attend every meeting or lead a
discussion. Snacks are provided by a different
Member each month. We have a
daytime and an evening group. Questions?
Teresa Mahoney organizes the daytime
Dena Haggerty handles the evening meetings:
Daytime Book Club
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
Thursday, March 24
April Selection: The Absolutely True
Diary of a Part-Time
Indian by Sherman Alexie
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
22 GOING DUTCH
school district due to profanity and sexual
Thursday, April 28
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
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
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
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
Here is a brief rundown of what has happened
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
24 GOING DUTCH
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 &
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.
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.
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
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
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
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MARCH / APRIL 2022 27
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5
Chat, Craft & Cake
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
Out to Lunch Bunch
Open House - Morning
Session 10 a.m.
Buddy Check 12
Mah Jongg 1 p.m.
Evening Book Club
Open House - Evening
Session 5 p.m.
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
Walkie Talkies 9:30 a.m. Pickleball 10 a.m.
AWC Pop Up Shop Up -
AWC Pop Up Shop
Up - everyone welcome
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
Walkie Talkies 9:30 a.m. Chat, Craft & Cake
Mah Jongg 1 p.m.
Daytime Book Club
Pickleball 10 a.m.
Indian Spring Dinner
27 28 29 30 31
Walking Tour of
Rotterdam 2:30 p.m.
Dr. Martin Luther King,
Jr. Tribute and Dinner
Walkie Talkies 9:30 a.m. Chat, Craft & Cake
Mah Jongg 1 p.m.
- Women Aging
Gracefully 10 a.m.
Pickleball 10 a.m.
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
Dinners at Home TBD
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Walkie Talkies 9:30 a.m. Chat, Craft & Cake
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
April General Meeting
Mah Jongg 1 p.m. Evening Book Club
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
Walkie Talkies 9:30 a.m. Chat, Craft & Cake
Mah Jongg 1 p.m.
Pickleball 10 a.m.
Dutch - American
Easter Earth Day
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
Walkie Talkies 9:30 a.m. Chat, Craft & Cake
Mah Jongg 1 p.m.
Daytime Book Club
Pickleball 10 a.m.
Saturday Night Games
28 GOING DUTCH
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
30 GOING DUTCH
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
32 GOING DUTCH
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.
34 GOING DUTCH
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
36 GOING DUTCH
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 email@example.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.
38 GOING DUTCH
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
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
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.
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.”
40 GOING DUTCH
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
42 GOING DUTCH
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
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.
44 GOING DUTCH
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
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 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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
46 GOING DUTCH
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
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
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!
48 GOING DUTCH
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
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
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?!
50 GOING DUTCH
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
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
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
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
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
52 GOING DUTCH
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
Women or couples only.
Lessons are in English.
Greater The Hague area.
Enquires contact me at
The AWC is not responsible
for accidents or injuries
occurring at Club activities
or on Club property. Sports
and exercise instructors
must carry their own
AWC is a Pet-Free Zone
As much as many of our
Members love their pets,
please do leave them at
home as the AWC has a
long-standing policy of
no pets in the Clubhouse.
Thank you for your understanding!
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
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
54 GOING DUTCH
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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Whether in the studio or out, Tri-PT is here to help - we can train you
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