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Yearly Archives: 2017
by Anne van Oorschot
On the last day of May this year, loyal members of TIC’s Book Club met to discuss our latest book, The Japanese Lover, by Isabel Allende. We were fortunate to have nice weather, which allowed us to sit outside and enjoy the peaceful spring evening.
In keeping with the theme of the book, Sondra brought Asian treats: Sake – which we warmed and had out of beautiful, white porcelain cups – and mix of wasabi rice crackers and nuts. While our back garden, does not approach the beauty of the Japanese gardens described in the book, it still helped to complete our Japanese experience. A hot air balloon even floated silently high overhead during our discussion which added to the special atmosphere!
All of us had enjoyed the book – then the conversation paused… When we got past our initial assessment and talked further about the book, it was clear there were many small details and story lines that had been introduced…but never really went anywhere. We were actually left with a lot of questions: Could Irina really enter into a relationship with Seth without going through therapy to deal with the horrors of her past? There were many different stories of religion and spirituality – what message was the author trying to pass along? Why was Alma’s brother only ‘brought back from the dead’ in 2 brief instances and their relationship not developed further? Why did Alma choose to abandon her beautiful home and comforts when she lost her lover?
The information about the internment camps that Japanese Americans were forced into during WWII was disturbing. The injustice of locking up fellow citizens based on their ethnic background and the indelible effects that resulted were profound. All of us around the table were Americans, and we agreed that little had been said in our history lessons about this dark page in America’s past. (The comparison with the present treatment of American Muslims seems too close for comfort…)
As usual, the good book resulted in an interesting discussion – which led to conversations about chicken pox and walking toddlers, a Wedding with family visits, trips to Japan and Rome, months in Milan, and how distressing that every day seems to bring incredible new low points in the constant stream of embarrassments from the US President. In short – it was a fun evening. A good close to this club year for the group.
On March 8th , shortly before the Dutch were due to go to the polls, Hein van Oorschot, formerly the
Mayor of Delft, gave an excellent TIC Talk on the Dutch electoral process. Today, the day following
Theresa May’s comeuppance, here’s what I remember: The main law making body, the House of
Representatives, is the Tweede Kamer (Second Chamber). Representatives are not elected to it by
gerrymandered district like in GB and the US, but instead nationwide and at large. You choose a
candidate from a tiny-tiny- print list, although in fact, your vote will go to the political party of which the candidate is a member – except in the case of Wilders as he is the sole member of the Party for Freedom (pretty name, not so pretty party). All the votes for every qualifying candidate are tallied. This total is divided by 150, the number of seats in the chamber, with each party receiving its proportionate share. The parties send the representatives from their list in the order they appear on the Ballot. (There are
complex rules to determine who gets leftover votes — there being no partial seat.)
Unlike the British first-past- the-post system and the American Electoral College one, both of which are virtual road blocks to smaller political parties, the Dutch proportional system encourages a proliferation of parties. Last March there were 28 of them on the ballot, including ‘50 PLUS’ that looks after the interests of pensioners, and ‘D66’ founded by a group of young intellectuals. (Much to my chagrin there is no party for pensioned intellectuals.) With such an extensive menu of parties to choose from, it is almost impossible for any one party to get a majority sufficient for passing laws by itself, so the parties have to negotiate with one another to form a coalition. The bargaining typically proceeds at a leisurely pace—talks are still going on now, three months after the election. Winner-take- all systems lead to things like Brexit, but the need to form a coalition and to then to keep it intact by getting along with the other partners means that in the Netherlands extreme parties are usually frozen out. The chances of Nexit were probably about the same as in this age of global warming there ever being another Elf-Steden Tocht ice skating race, that is, when Hell freezes over.
2 May 2017This month’s book got quite exotic as we read about a very familiar and close topic to us, expats. Fear and Trembling by Amélie Nothomb was a very interesting book about expatriation, how to deal with it, how to survive it and make the best out of it.
We were able to discuss the struggles and advantages of living an expat life. Maybe nothing as exotic as Japanese expatriation, but even if the Netherlands is a welcoming country, we still all had some struggles to face with this new culture and some adapting to do.
The book itself is about a lovely young lady from Belgium going to live one year abroad. She is going to Japan, a country where she already has some attachments and knows the language. Through this book she explains, with a lot of self-derision, the struggle of adapting to a new culture. Given that the culture is Japanese, the challenge is even harder because she has to face the eternal cleavage between East/West. It was very interesting to exchange ideas on this particular topic because, this life experience is very personal and even if we could relate to others’ experiences, this is still a very personal challenge. The book could demonstrate this fact by the powerful and sometimes exaggerated emotional encounters and by the way the author was relating high points of her personal experience.
It was a very charming read that permitted us all to laugh and remember good memories about our first steps in the Netherlands. It reminded us too, the reason why we made this choice and why we decided to give it a shot, finishing by transforming us into the best version of ourselves, thanks to the rich learnings we have through expatriation.
The Treasurer is a member of the TIC Board of Directors, and as such, is required to attend board meetings and present at the Annual General Meeting. This is a voluntary position and the board works closely together to provide support for all club functions, as needed.
As Treasurer, you would be a member of TIC’s Board taking care of the club’s financial matters, helping steer the direction of TIC’s events and activities, and of course, having a lot of fun while contributing to Tilburg’s international community.
- Track funds received and spent for every club activity
- Invoice and report on membership dues collected
- Maintain accurate financial records throughout the club year
- Pay bills and reimbursements promptly
- Reconcile bank statements
- Coordinate the club audit at the end of every year
- Ability to attend board meetings once every 4 – 6 weeks
- Maintain event budget, expenses and payments
- Present summary of club finances at the AGM
- Knowledge of Microsoft Excel, Google Drive
- Have fun!
Interested? Send us a note!
8 April 2017. We went to a cheese farm for a tour. First, we could drink something: tea, coffee, raw milk from the cows or lemonade. While we were drinking, the farmer told us something about the farm and the cows: how many there are, how much milk he gets from them, when they are outside and when they are inside and how the cheese is made.
After this, we went outside to see the calves. There were three small calves in the “camping” for calves that are only one month (or less) old. Behind the “camping” were bigger calves. Then we went a little further to see the big cows. There were about 50 cows. Again, the farmer told us something about the cows and he showed us the leader of the cows: It was the only cow that had horns. There also were two cows that were fighting.
When the farmer was done explaining, we went back to the farm house and there we went upstairs to take a look at the cowshed. It was almost empty, because most of the cows were outside. The farmer said that the cows could freely walk around in the cowshed.
When we looked through another window, we could see a place where the cows get milked.
After taking a look in the cowshed, we went to see the last part of the farm: the part where the cheese is made. We could see the salt bath, the shelves where cheese ripens and a large barrel in which is milk when the cheese is made. We could also taste some cheese. There was also a shop on the farm where we could buy cheese and while the adults stayed in the shop, the children could go and milk a wooden cow which was fun. This was the last thing we did and then we went home.
|It was a great day for everyone and I learnt a lot about the cows. The cheese we could taste was really good so we bought some to eat it at home.|