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Christmas Borrel with Ugly Sweater

20 December 2019

As always, it was crazy crowded at the annual Xmas borrel with plenty of ugly sweaters.  Take a look!

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#tilburginternationalclub #expatlife #christmasborrel #happyhour #cafebakker #uglysweater

#TBT: Café Dudok Holiday Dinner

This weekend we’ll meet up again for our annual Holiday Dinner where members have a chance to wish each other a Happy New Year while enjoying a bite to eat together.  For #ThrowbackThursday, here’s a look at gathering from 2016!

x—x—x—x—x—x

by Rick Tillman

16 Jan 2016. Once again, tíc has celebrated the holidays and rung in the new year how it should be done: with warm conversation, good food, and ample wine (not necessarily in that order). For January 2016, tíc in its infinite wisdom gathered at Café Dudok in the heart of Tilburg.

(more…)

A Merry Christmas Borrel at Café Bakker

by Mala Raman

21 Dec 2018. On a cold, but clear night, our members once again met up at Cafe Bakker.  For most, it was the end of work for the year, so everyone was looking forward to socializing and snacking during our traditional Christmas borrel.  Every year we ask attendees to wear their best “ugly sweater.” It was interesting to see what our members’ ideas were of an “ugly” sweater. (more…)

Review Day trip to Dickens Festival in Deventer

by Gleb Gertsman

16 December 2018. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the name of Charles Dickens? The story of Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, The Pickwick Papers and, of course, A Christmas Carol novella. So, when a lot of characters from his work coming to life in a two-day festival, you just have to be there.

“There” is a town called Deventer, which is situated in the Overijssel province. The Dickens festival is always held in the winter, close to Christmas, and this year it fell on the weekend of 15-16 December.

We, tíc members, decided to go there, to check the atmosphere, try to name all the characters and to soak in the Christmas spirit of an English Victorian village.

The morning welcomed us with a white sheet of snow all over the Netherlands. It was cold, dark and mysterious, but we were ready for adventures, which began almost immediately.

Our train stopped midway and could not continue to the final destination, so we stopped in the small town of Oss to wait for another one to come for rescue. Foggy Oss welcomed us with hot drinks (thanks to Kiosk and NS) and we happily chatted with each other. The waiting time flew by and 30 minutes later we were sitting in the train on our way to a fairytale.

We knew, that there might be a waiting line of up to 60 minutes at the entrance to the old town of Deventer, but the hope was still within us. Therefore, it wasn’t surprising when we saw a bunch of people going in the same direction. The hope for a short waiting time evaporated. Thankfully, the clever people of Deventer helped us to overcome this small obstacle by dipping us gently in old days town mood.

Just as we got out of the central station, we found a photo booth in a shape of an old photo camera that was offering photography services. The fashion of the 19th century also came alive here. Women with puffed dresses, long sleeves, V-shaped bodices, and men with cutaway coats, straight trousers and high hats, we could see it all. The waiting time flew fast because we could drink Glühwein or hot chocolate, eat some hot waffles, and just enjoy the music of the orchestra playing next to us. But be aware, thieves are on a constant alert, and they will rob you shamelessly. If you don’t want to drink, then buy a newsletter from a paper boy, and read while you are waiting, because a guard with sharp spears will not let you in.

Finally, we made it to the entrance. A huge statue of Charles Dickens, made of lights, welcomed us into the wonderful and harsh world of his stories.

It seems that time just stopped here. The old city of Deventer was dressed in Christmas trees and festive lights, rich couples promenading next to us. Folk were doing their daily activities: cleaning, laundry and grazing sheep. Merchants were selling fruits, vegetables, warm chestnuts, waffles, cakes, artisan bread, smoked meat and fish from, oh so many, carts. Chimney sweepers were doing their dirty chores. The city was loud and alive.

We witnessed a fire, a robbery, a drunken brawl, a ghost predicting the future (or putting a curse on us, it was in Dutch). Oliver Twist was there too, telling us all about his adventures. The village police were trying to keep everything in order, but little children, begging for money, and drunk vagabonds, trying to pick up a fight with every passer-by, made our walk through the old town very realistic, fun and unexpected.

But not only were the streets full of tales, people opened their windows for us, and inside we saw tea parties, a real trial, and regular people just playing board games in Victorian living rooms.

It was cold outside, so the Dickens pub (pool salon during “regular” days) took us into its warm arms and gave us a hiatus to rest and eat before we continued the journey.

A lot of antique shops, different boutiques, Dickens museum, wood sawing, playground for little children and Scottish marching band made our day diverse.

Almost at the end of our day, we visited a church on the Bergkerkplein where we witnessed a children’s play, recreating scenes from A Christmas Carol novella.

We finished the day at the Christmas market of modern Deventer with some poffertjes.

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#tilburginternationalclub #expatlife #Deventer #DickensFestival #daytrip

Delicious treats from the Christmas Cookie Party!

by Alisha Z. (tícKid!)

08 Dec 2018. The cookie workshop was a lot of fun. There was lovely Christmas music in the background for decorating different Christmas themed cookies.

There were snacks and drinks for everyone. All the people that were there made beautiful cookies with all the icing that was self-made. We also had plenty of cookie decorations. (more…)

President’s Holiday Greeting 2018

Yolonda van Riel

As I look out my office window and watch the rain continue to fall, I am searching for ideas to write in my next message. It’s hard to believe another year is coming to a close. This past year was one of both joy and sadness (as are most years!) but as an expat so far away from home, losing a parent makes you acutely aware of just how far removed we are from our former life.

It is also, however, an opportunity to take stock of the wonderful treasures life as an expat has to offer. One of my “treasures” is being a member of the tic family. Our club has a special place in my heart and, in some respects, is my family abroad. With all the different nationalities, ages and personalities within tic, every event becomes a new experience and the possibility to make yet another friend.

Your events team is already planning for the second half of the club season and I am excited to see what they have in store for us in 2019. Whether you spend the holiday season here with your expat family or travel home to be with loved ones, I wish you and yours all the best with the hope that you make joyous memories to last a lifetime.

Happy Holidays!

#TBT: Christmas Borrel 2017

Tomorrow we’ll meet up again for our annual Christmas Borrel.  For #ThrowbackThursday, here’s a look at our “ugly” gathering from last year!

x—x—x—x—x—x

by Mala Raman

Once again, we had a great time socializing and snacking during our traditional Christmas borrel.  This year we met at Cafe Bakker with everyone charged with wearing their best “ugly sweater.” It was interesting to see what our members’ ideas were of an “ugly” sweater.

Despite the overcrowding around the Korte Heuvel that we were expecting, it was pleasantly cozy in Cafe Bakker where members shared their happiness of starting the holiday season and discussing Christmas and New Year’s plans.

A borrel was the perfect way to bid everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

#Expat #Tilburg #borrel #happyhour #Cafebakker

#TBT: Day Trip to Muenster Christmas Market

This weekend, tíc is taking a trip to the Dickens Festival in Deventer. In honour of #ThrowbackThursday, let’s take a look back at last year’s trip to the Christmas Market in Muenster, Germany.

x-x-x-x-x-x

by Andrew Kelly

10 December 2017. It has become a tradition that every year tíc takes a winter day trip and this year we chose to go to the wonderful German city of Muenster. Our meeting point was at Tilburg University where our bus was waiting to take us to Muenster. The bus was very comfortable and sharing Christmas cookies made the bus ride go a little more quickly.

Of course, once we arrived it started to snow and the city really started to get the Christmas spirt.

Let’s just say it was really cold and a lot of my time was spent drinking the hot Gluhwein in their traditional mugs and eating all the lovely food which I think added an extra 10kg to my weight.

Exploring the Classical city of Muenster in the snow was also an experience and I would recommend it to anyone if they enjoy taking a drive down to see the city.

Christmas Cookie Workshop review

by Mala Raman

It was another great time at TIC’s annual Christmas cookie workshop! We had a large group of members turnout for this popular event. As usual, Anne had us all set up and ready to go so that we could jump right in mixing, rolling, slicing and baking.

Once again we had a chance to make 4 different cookies: jam thumbprints
, chocolate ting-a-lings, peanut blossoms as well as Grandma’s Ginger Cookies (my favourite!).

While we worked, we listened to Christmas music, sipped wine and enjoyed sharing our holiday plans.

Those cookies that we managed to save from going into our mouth right out of the oven were divided among the group to take home and share with friends and family.

Check out the photo gallery to see more from our cookie-making night!

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#tilburg #expat #Christmascookies #workshop

And a good borrel was had by all!

by Mala Raman

Once again, we had a great time socializing and snacking during our traditional Christmas borrel.  This year we met at Cafe Bakker with everyone charged with wearing their best “ugly sweater.” It was interesting to see what our members’ ideas were of an “ugly” sweater.

Despite the overcrowding around the Korte Heuvel that we were expecting, it was pleasantly cozy in Cafe Bakker where members shared their happiness of starting the holiday season and discussing Christmas and New Year’s plans.

A borrel was the perfect way to bid everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

#Expat #Tilburg #borrel #happyhour #Cafebakker

Memory Lane: 2016 Christmas Cookie Workshop

Our 2017 Christmas Cookie workshop is just around the corner.  Here’s a quick look back at last year!

by Sondra Grace

‘Twas ‘bout a week before Christmas when all thro’ Verhalenhuis

Not a creature wasn’t stirring in butter, pecans or muisjes;

The potholders were hung by the oven with care;

In hopes that the cookie doughs soon would be klaar;

When all was baked and nestled snug into tins,

Wine and music and friendship had we all to our zin

Visions of jam thumbprints and ting-a-lings danced in each head

We left ‘gainst a winter’s night, glove and scarf gekleed

And Anne in her apron, with smile tinsel bright, called

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

A look back at the Christmas Cookie Workshop

by Sondra Grace

‘Twas ‘bout a week before Christmas when all thro’ Verhalenhuis

Not a creature wasn’t stirring in butter, pecans or muisjes;

The potholders were hung by the oven with care;

In hopes that the cookie doughs soon would be klaar;

When all was baked and nestled snug into tins,

Wine and music and friendship had we all to our zin

Visions of jam thumbprints and ting-a-lings danced in each head

We left ‘gainst a winter’s night, glove and scarf gekleed

And Anne in her apron, with smile tinsel bright, called

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

A day trip to Valkenburg

valkenburg-10-12-12by Isabel Oriol

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…everywhere you go”. I got that song going round and round in my head… So it was time to visit a Christmas market.

Saturday the 10th of December early in de morning I gathered together with other TIC members to go to Valkenburg “The Christmas Town of the Netherlands.” We were going to discover this town in the south of the Netherlands close to the rivier Geul and its’ famous Caves and Castle Ruins. The corridors of the caves acted as secret passageways to the Castle Ruins in the past.

In the bus, we had time to talk and get to know each other, and after an hour and a half we arrived in Valkenburg. At first we visited the “Fluwelengrot” (Velvet Cave), one of the oldest underground corridors in the Limburg Region.

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At this time of the year, there were many festive stalls which offered Christmas presents and gift items, but also clothing and personal care products. We were told the temperatures in the caves would be at a constant 22°C but… it was really around 12°C (or less brrrrr!)

Fortunately, some of us got a glass of Glühwein before the start of our cave tour. A nice Limbo man (someone from Limburg… that is what they call them in a funny way) offered us a free drink!

We were dressed accordingly to the weather, but in case you were not, you could also buy some warm clothing…woolen scarves, a nice hat, gloves in many colours, sweaters… To suit all tastes.

valkenburg-10-12-9After the cave tour we visited the town and climbed the Castle Ruins from the year 1050, the only elevated fortress in the Netherlands. We enjoyed the delightful view from the hilltop castle. The town is crowded, many queues everywhere…a lot of visitors from other regions and from Germany and Belgium, as well.

The larger group eventually got back together for a drink before we went back to Tilburg. It was a nice day and I enjoyed the conversations I had with all the members!

Wishing everyone a happy new year,

Isabel

Holiday Dinner

Article by Rick Tillman

DSC01234Once again, TIC has celebrated the holidays and rung in the new year how it should be done: with warm conversation, good food, and ample wine (not necessarily in that order). For January 2016, TIC in its infinite wisdom gathered at Café Dudok in the heart of Tilburg. It’s located in a historically preserved building that was the Patronaat of the St. Josef church. Hein explained to many of us that a Patronaat was a center of parish and community activity once upon a time. For instance, women would go there to knit together, there would be theater performances, and people would gather (much like we did!). Dudok has done a great job preserving many of the aesthetics of the building, while incorporating very modern accouterments and a very tasty assortment of food.

We started with a welcome drink (always!) in the bar area as people came in and warmed up. It’s always nice to catch up with our fellow TIC members, as it’s about the company of each other, not our outings (but fun and interesting doesn’t hurt!). We then made our way to our long table where the night was just beginning. As we dug into our wine and other beverages, we continued our conversations that are always the highlight of our gatherings. We have exceptionally great members; that’s nice for any club, but expats often don’t have a full network of family and friends. So, don’t forget that the connections you forge can make a great difference in someone’s life!

We were first served intricate appetizers of either smoked butterfish (with apple and vegetables in an herb-infused oil), carpaccio (with pesto, arugula, pine nuts, and very fresh parmesan), or arancini (rice balls with truffle risotto, mozzarella, and arugula). As we relaxed into the meal, it was possible to reach out to a few more members seated a little farther away (and of course, the company of some of our younger members help keep us young and pDSC01243layful!). We were then served either a truffle risotto (with grilled asparagus, truffle tapenade, vegetables, and mature goat cheese), sea bass (with curry rice, ratatouille, sautéed spinach, with an olive and tomato antiboise sauce (whatever that is)), or organic beefsteak (with mushrooms, onion, shallot sauce, and cute little potato gratin things). I would then mention the desserts, but there was a very confused server that kept wandering with coffees that no one ordered. I hope they eventually found their home. But besides the lost coffees, we also had a choice of warm apple pie with almond ice cream (most excellent and served on a bed of graham cracker crumbs- how do you refer to that in Dutch?!?!), or a cheese platter of four varieties and grapes and bread.

I have to say that I had no idea of the time once we all started to depart. We stayed FOUR hours! That says something very nice about how much we enjoy each other’s company. We also, of course, appreciate our leadership that keeps things organized and makes sure that TIC has plenty of fun outings and everyone feels welcome. The only thing that I regret is that often you have to pick a spot and there’s no way to talk to everyone. But then again, there’s always the next outing. So keep coming and keep TIC vibrant! We need you!

Trip to Valkenburg

article by Leni Hurley

What a lovely day we had. Anne, Patricia and Michael, Rick and George I, Roelof and George II, Emerald, Thijs and their little princess Julia boarded the bus-taxi in Tilburg. Just outside Eindhoven, Jan and Bob, Joanne and Anita and Jim and I joined in.

We talked, and ah, I missed so much of the good talk in and out the bus. But I’m sure this applies to all of us. Talking, we arrived in Valkenburg, the Tinsel Town (my interpretation) of The Netherlands.  I’m sure all of us can agree that it was interesting to experience such a town, very pretty, with a wide river flowing right through it, and day visitors thronging the streets of the town center, which was lined with café after café after café.

The weather was very kind and most people sipped their drinks and ate their luxuries outside on the terraces.

Having emerged from the bus our party split in two. Michael, Emerald, Thijs, little Julia, Jim and I followed Patricia into the heart of the town in search of coffee, hot chocolate and food.  The others headed for the Velvet Cave. As we wended our way through the narrow streets, Julia was delighted to walk from one amazing Santa to another, all dolls (happily). This certainly was an ideal town for little children, of which we saw but a few, it must be said. In fact, apart from Jim and myself, our party was 20 years at least below the average age on that day.

Over lunch, we talked some more. Well, a lot more. After luncheon (sorry but I love this word!), our ways separated once again. Jim and I went to visit the Gemeente (Municipal) Cave; the others went to see the castle. What can one say of the caves? They are man-made, dug out in the pursuit of the marlstone below the surface. The several caves in the town are in fact different corridors of the one underground labyrinth. It was interesting to see so many people in these caves; all being led from the entrance to the exit by means of a procession of stalls all selling basically the same Christmas trinkets.  Later, we heard that little Julia was delighted when she first entered the Velvet Cave. Apparently, she stopped walking, opened her eyes and her arms wide and said Wow! I imagine she might also have said: ‘This is the BEST day of my life!’ It’s what my grandkiddies say on similar occasions.

Back out in the open air, Jim and I wandered around the town, away from the Christmas markets. Following the river, we arrived back at Santa’s Village, an open-air version of the below ground caves and their market stalls. It took us a while to find a relatively quiet café but we did find one and there we rested our weary bones over a weekend newspaper. Then, not to be outdone by the others, we ventured into the Velvet Cave. We had the tickets so it was not more than polite to use them. We were told that the route was 900 meters and, if we walked steadily, we could do it in 15 minutes. Not so, of course. The first obstruction, 2 Santa Clauses at once, made us turn around and hurry out as fast as our exhausted bodies could carry us. We emerged just in time to join the rest of the party at the place where the bus was to pick us up again.

The return journey was even more pleasant than the way up. I leaned across poor Jim to chat with Anne about books and the book club. I also told her about my first house-pet sit in Ireland (In case you are interested in having people mind your home and/or pets while you are away, check it out on http://www.trustedhousesitters.com). Next, we chatted with Rick and George I, who turned out to be more correctly George IV in his family!

All in all, I get the impression that everyone enjoyed the outing. What made it so much more enjoyable for me was to spend some relaxing time with Jim. At home, we are busy doing our own things and here was a day of leisure in the company of some great folks, even if our destination was Tinsel Town!

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