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Yearly Archives: 2016
The holiday season is upon us once again! One of the fun things about being an international is that you get to celebrate not only your own traditional holidays but also those of your adopted country. I must admit, that 14 years ago, I had never even heard of Sinterklaas. Now, I get just as excited as the children when the boat comes sailing in from Spain. I can eat my weight in pepernoten and I try to write (most unsuccessfully) rhymes in Dutch. I even made a speculaas pie for my Thanksgiving dessert this year!
Everything from Halloween and Sinterklaas parties to Christmas borrels, baking Christmas cookies and the annual holiday dinner are included on the TIC “holiday season” agenda! These are just a few of the reasons I enjoy being a part of this great club. It makes me realize how lucky I am to have made so many friends from around the world.
Also, being so far away from home is a bit easier and a lot more interesting with TIC. I hope you have plans to join us for some of the many things we have planned and that TIC has helped make your life abroad a little more enjoyable. No matter how or where you spend this holiday season, I wish you and your family good health and much happiness for 2017.
by George Oeser
In 2013, my husband, Rick, and myself got on a plane and flew to the Netherlands. We had no idea what to expect, we had signed a lease for an apartment we had never seen in person and we were moving to a city we didn’t know existed a few months earlier. The one thing we knew for sure is that we didn’t know a single person in #Tilburg. We were excited and frightened in pretty much equal amounts.
Within just a few weeks we had learned (more…)
On 3 Nov, 7 TIC members got together for a cup of tea and a book club discussion of The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood.
Those of us who had read the book enjoyed it, but all agreed it was a bit “all over the place,” with story beginning miles away from where it started: from a dystopian community project gone awry, to Elvis impersonators and sex-robots in Las Vegas. Luckily, Anita had done some research and was able to inform us that the book was originally written and released as an ebook serial, which may explain why (more…)
My Dutch husband, my 3 teenage girls and I arrived from Australia to Tilburg in November 2015 to live for one year. Within 2 weeks, I was looking for an English speaking book club and asked at the library, but they didn’t know of any. So I started searching on google and the Tilburg International Club website with all the information about book club, social functions and general help with integration into Dutch life came up.
The first book club I attended was a cold, wet night and as my confidence in driving on the other side of the road had not yet kicked in, I decided to ride my bike. Google maps said a 20 minute ride…..took me 45 minutes battling against the rain and wind. I arrived wet, hot and sweaty to a group of about 15 ladies who were kind enough to catch my breath before allowing me to introduce myself! I believe now, if I had to make the same journey again, 1 year later, I would make that ride in 20 minutes.
Having events at TIC gave me an opportunity to meet some lovely people while trying to navigate my way in a new country. We have enjoyed attending the events as a family and also as a couple or me on my own. TIC gave us a feeling of being included while meeting new, interesting people that we might not have met otherwise.
We are now back in Australia and who knows what the future holds, but if we return to Tilburg I’ll be back at book club!
The first meeting of TIC readers was at Coree’s home on September 27th. After chatting about summer vacations (and the first debate of the US Presidential election!) we settled down to talk about The Boys in the Boat. This non-fiction book, written by Daniel James Brown (not to be confused with the Dan Brown of The Divinci Code) is about the 8 man rowing shell from University of Washington that went on to become the US’s Olympic entry in the controversial 1936 Berlin Olympics – Hitler’s Olympics!
The story is told mainly from the vantage point of Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not only to regain his shattered self-regard, but also, to find a real place for himself in the world. At a time when rowing- or crew- was dominated by the elite East Coast Universities, the Washington boat was filled with boys who were the sons of loggers, shipyard workers and farmers. No one expected them to triumph over the elite East Coast teams and Great Britain, but they went on to challenge the German boat rowing for Adolf Hitler, winning gold by six-tenths of a second! In spite of knowing the outcome of the race at the onset, the story was still gripping and exciting as the boys overcame huge obstacles to win.
Although none of us know much about rowing, we were much more informed by the end of the book: the 8 man shell has 9 men in it, the ninth man being the small coxswain who determines the pace of the rowers. Each chapter started with a semi philosophical quote by George Yeoman Pocock, Washington’s magical boat craftsman/builder. Brown interwove a lot of interesting facts about the depression era, as well as the Nazi actions and preparations for the Olympics through the story which all found very interesting. We learned that bringing the Olympic flame to the games was an idea conceived by Leni Riefenstahl, Hitler’s favored cinematographer who was to film the Olympics. Added to the good footage she had already gotten of the gold medal race, Riefenstahl got the 3 top teams to row again the next day with her cameramen in the place of the coxswain and first seat to add close-ups to her overall footage. The resulting film, Olympia, was a masterpiece of innovative filming and earned Riefenstahl worldwide accolades. All in all, everyone liked the book but some thought it was too detailed in the middle and would have been stronger if its 400 pages had been cut down somewhat.
By happy coincidence, I happened to be in Seattle, Washington this past summer visiting a good friend. She had also read the book and suggested a trip to the University of Washington where the Husky Clipper – the 1936 Olympic 8man shell – hangs suspended from the ceiling in the dining commons above the Shell House. It was amazing to see the long, light and thin boat and marvel at the history I now knew she contained!
(On a side note, Riefenstahl’s Olympia is still considered a classic film and it’s available for rental at Cinnicitta (Willem II straat). I plan to organize an evening for those interested to watch together – be on the lookout for an invitation. )
After a two year hiatus, I’m happy to be back on the TIC Board taking over our online activities from Thijs and spearheading some much needed initiatives in the areas of Communication & Membership Development.
Tilburg International Club has come a long way from its start in 2007. Over the years I’ve contributed in various capacities and have enjoyed seeing the club from all different perspectives. I’m back now in a new role to help further develop our online presence and support the growth of our membership base.
This year, one our priorities is to create a stronger online awareness of our club, events, goals and attractive membership benefits through Facebook (feel free to visit now!), Twitter @tilintclub and, of course, our own Tilburg International Club website. We would love the help and encouragement of our members and club friends. You can help us by:
- frequently visiting our website
- joining our Twitter feed
- “liking” our Website and Facebook posts
- commenting on posts
- sharing posts on your timeline
- sharing posts on the timeline of friend who would enjoy reading about our activities
Another major effort will be in the area of recruitment to reach even more internationals in and around the Tilburg area. Our club has improved the quality as well as the variety of its events. We pride ourselves on offering a well-rounded assortment of workshops, outings, social gatherings and Dutch-oriented, cultural and educational lectures. As such, we would love to be able to share all of this with expats who may not know about our club yet. You can help out by:
- spreading the word about TIC to friends and co-workers
- distributing the club business cards
- referring your acquaintances to our website for more information
As we continue to offer fun events to our existing membership group, we will be looking to provide our members with additional benefits. Members should look for even more activities offered free of charge or very attractively priced with additional “extras.”
This is going to be another great club year full of fun, laughter and strong friendships, don’t miss the opportunity to see what the club has in store for you! Whether you’ve been a member for some time, you’re a new member or you’re interested in joining the club., I look forward to seeing you at one of our upcoming events!
From Yolonda van Riel
The TIC board is hard at work planning many fun events for you this season and can hardly wait to get started! To add a “twist” to the events this year, we are asking members to plan some of the events (with our help of course). The first one will be a borrel hosted by Coree Freeman and I can’t wait to sit back and enjoy an event as a member!!
We will also be stepping up our marketing and recruitment this year in hopes of reaching even more internationals – not only to expand our member base but to add more fun to the mix! You can help out as well by spreading the word about TIC and the many diverse things the club has to offer expats and internationals.
On another note, I would also like to welcome Mala Raman back to the board. Mala will be taking over the role previously held by Thijs Busser as well as spearheading membership development. We thank Thijs for his valuable contribution as well as Mala for stepping in to fill this position.
Article by Anne van Oorschot
On Sunday, June 11th a small group of TIC members stepped into the past in Alphen at an annual festival day for Dutch and Belgium Guilds. Members Sondra and Jean Francois have lived in Alphen for many years and enjoy the unique charm of this village. When they learned that the local St. Willibrordus Archery Guild in Alphen would be hosting the national Guild festival, they invited TIC members to come and join the fun. Since Sondra and Jean Francois’s beautiful home is on the main street – which was also the parade route for the guild celebration, TIC members would have a front row seat!
After a simple lunch, we carried chairs out and admired the different Guild groups as they paraded by. 45 different Guilds participated and it was a treat to see the different costumes and flags from each group. Sondra had invited their neighbor (a former Guild member) to watch with us and he was a wonderful source of information regarding the history and customs of the Guild. There were small and large groups in the parade, but all had a group of drummers and a pennant carrier. Many of the groups were named after Saint Sebastian, the patron saint of archers, but there were references to other saints in the Guild names as well. The bigger groups had more drummers, Clarion (kind of trumpet) players, flag flourishers, a “ royal Couple” and the “Emperor” wearing much medieval silverwork. The most impressive groups also had a beautiful horse to carry their pennant and they walked in a zig zagging manner down the street at the front of their group. Very impressive!!
Some of the guilds are very old – the oldest I noticed dated from 1394!!! – and their origin stems from archers who provided defensive military support for the local civic authority. The members were expected to buy their own weapons and uniforms. (A very Dutch approach: the citizens were responsible for the defence of the city and keeping the peace, without cost to the local government. ) While there is no longer a practical function for the Guilds, their members enjoy meeting to participate in the ancient skills of archery, drumming and clarion playing, as well as flag-flourishing.
After the parade, the groups all went to a large open field on the outskirts of town where there was a marching up of the combined mass of the group, followed by a day full of competitions in all the Guild’s ancient arts. It was such a treat to see observe the festivities! Thank you Sondra and Jean-Francois for your fun and hospitality!
By Anne van Oorschot
For our last book discussion gathering of the club year, we met at Anne’s to discuss the French best seller (well translated into English of course!) The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery. The weather Gods even smiled on our group of 7 so we were able to sit outside and enjoy the garden and the mild evening. While not everyone finished the book, all who did said they had a bit of a hard time getting “into” the book. One comment made was that the author, who has studied philosophy, was trying too hard to be deep and meaningful in the beginning, succeeding more in being a bit pompous and confusing. Fortunately, that tendency disappeared and the story that was left was interesting and captivating.
A 12 year old girl and a middle aged woman. Two very different characters – from different generations and social classes – discovered each other as kindred spirits. They both found someone who truly saw beyond the stereotypes surrounding them to the real person within. While a tragic occurrence cut their contact short, knowing that there had been someone who truly saw THEM, made a lasting impact. An interesting read!