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On Monday, we will be meeting for our next book club; a gathering that sometimes has intense debates, but is always a lot of fun. For #FlashBackFriday, let’s take a look at a book club review from 2019.
Review by Anne van Oorschot
18 March 2021. by Anne-Lise Artaud. We had a very lovely evening around a hot topic for us expat. How to raise multilingual children? This subject was presented and all our questions answered by an experienced researcher that has herself personal experience on this matter. It was very interesting to learn about the flexibility and resilience of children that from a young age are able to learn and retain different languages.
Language forms part of our identity
The Netherlands is a country that welcomes a large number of immigrants and expats, making it a very culturally rich and diverse nation. A part of this cultural diversity is the great variety of languages spoken both inside and outside the home. And, language forms an important part of who we are.
We were happy to have Annebet from New2NL.com to give us an introduction to the Dutch school system. We had a great session with lots of great questions about Dutch education for young children.
We had a Zoom call that covered all kinds of early education topics including, educational philosophies (Waldorf/Steiner, Montessori, Dalton, etc.), preschools, how to apply to the schools, special needs education, programs for gifted children, schools for newcomers and much more. Attendees had the opportunity to learn more about how to find a suitable schools, understanding the options and the philosophy of before and after school child care.
Prior to the webinar, members were able to submit questions that Annebet answered during the call including:
- How to keep an eye on progress of your child without knowing Dutch.
- How we can help our child in his study/homework without knowing Dutch.
- When to register for basisschool?
by Essi Koskela
27 Aug 2020. tíc book club’s summer reading Not before Sundown by Johanna Sinisalo is a reimagined story from a classic Finnish song, The Goblin and the Ray of Light.
We started our discussion session by listening to this sweet and melodic piece, before we immersed ourselves into the darker themes portrayed in the book. is a dark satire of Mikael, or Angel, a freelance photographer working in advertising, who adopts a young, abandoned troll from the streets of Tampere city. It turns out that trolls do not make good pets. Pessi, the troll, secretes intoxicating pheromones which produce an insidious effect on Mikael and everyone around him. The symbolism behind the power-battle of Pessi‘s influence and the civilized world around Mikael made an excellent discussion point, as Mikael starts to struggle with the beast within. With the words of the author herself: ‘the book deals with themes bigger than life: the relationship between man and nature; the problems of different kinds of otherness; and how our biological ancestry as hierarchical pack animals still affects us.’
Although the book is classified into science fiction or fantasy, only the existence of the endangered and rarely seen trolls separates the world in the story from reality. In fact, the writer has constructed such convincing pseudo-scientific biological origin for the troll species accompanied with numerous (real) references to Finnish literature and folklore about the trolls that it was easy to believe in the existence of trolls. Arguably trolls have been very much real in the Finnish way of life before modern civilisation finally reached all the far corners of wilderness in the country, and remnants of those beliefs are still reflected in the language and children’s imagination. One of Sinisalo’s reference books, “Memories from Lapland” by Samuli Paulaharju, from 1922, which I happened to have by chance, dedicates a whole chapter to trolls. From this book, I shared the divine origin story of trolls, fabricated in the typical half-pagan way of the Finns. As it turns out, trolls are the secret children of Adam and Eve, which God condemned to live underground after Eve wrongfully hid them.
The creation aside, religion is another prominent topic in the book, already given away by the heavenly name of Angel. I dare to say, the writer creates a juxtaposition between chaste protestant tradition and the biological beastly nature of human beings. We were not sure what to make out of this, as the story does not seem to resolve in favor of the other. Although in the case of Mikael, nature takes over.
Those of us who had completed the book agreed that it was an odd but delightful reading experience. Deceptively short with only 214 pages, Sinisalo’s story seemed to contain yet another layer in chapters unwritten. What happened to Mikael in the end? Why did the trolls take him among them? Was Palomita (the human-trafficked mail-order wife of Mikael’s neighbor) rescued? And most importantly, are trolls real and where can we find them?
Did you know that tíc has a dedicated JOBS page to help expats find jobs in the Netherlands, and specifically in and around the Tilburg area?
We get many requests all year round for help with job searches. More and more job searches are done through social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook as well as through the professional networking site LinkedIn. In-person networking is also an important factor in getting a foot in the door. We can help you build your social and professional network through its many activities that bring expats together. (more…)