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 our way around Tilburg and started to make a few friends. One thing that helped us with both of these things was a guided tour of Tilburg that the Tilburg International Club had organized as their welcome event. We met some really wonderful people that night, some of which are still dear friends of ours today, even though we are an ocean away. We owe a great debt to TIC, it provided us with a social outlet, a chance to learn about the Netherlands and countless other cultures, and allowed us to visit places and see things we never would have seen on our own. We keep hoping we will see an announcement on the TIC Facebook page saying that the next borrel will be taking place in Nashville so we can see all of you again!
Our move back has been great but not without a few difficulties. We had to reacquaint ourselves with driving everywhere we go once again (cycling here is very much taking your life in your own hands, not to mention the hills!) and to grocery stores with no filet Americain or hagelslag but 500 different types of breakfast cereals and ketchup. We are also getting used to a totally different type of weather. Temperatures in the 40’s are very common here, in the Summer and on occasion in the Spring and Autumn as well, but we also see temperatures down to the -20’s from time to time, and this is in the Southern US! Of course the people here are having to get used to the way we now say words like “Gouda” and the fact that we still find ourselves saying alsjeblieft when asking for something in a store.
All in all it feels very good to be back home, even considering the results of the recent election. At the same time it feels a bit strange to say we are home, now we feel that we have two homes, Nashville and Tilburg. We hope to make it back to Tilburg at some point and we hope that we can pop in for a TIC borrel or other event if we do. We truly miss all of the great friends we made in TIC. If anyone reading his is a new member, congratulations, you have found a really wonderful group of people to spend time with!