IWCU New Member Profile

Welcome to the expat club!

I know this is really old, but it came out in the IWCU bi-monthly newsletter The Contact earlier this month. Thought I’d post it here. Hopefully I’ll have something similar coming out in XM Magazine in a few months!

I moved to Utrecht in December 2008 straight from my parents’ home in small-town Maryland, USA. My Dutch husband and I were married November 29, 2008 after a long-distance, whirlwind courtship. We met a little over a year ago (for about 30 seconds) through mutual friends and developed our relationship via Skype and email until I flew over here to officially meet him in November 2007. We got engaged that March and the rest, as they say, is history!

My father is a pilot for Delta Airlines, so I’ve been fortunate enough to do quite a bit of travelling from an early age, accompanying him to work in France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, and the UK. Add to that my study abroad in London at the British American Drama Academy and yearly trips to visit our French “family”, and I consider myself to be pretty well-travelled. In fact, I’ve seen more of Europe than my own country. But never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would marry a Dutchman and move to Holland!

Before moving here, I had visited a handful of times while dating my husband. Realizing that I’ve only been here a few months and the Netherlands and I are still in our “witte brood weeken”, so to speak, I really love living here so far. I like cycling and the amount of time I spend outdoors now. I love learning the language and the culture and really enjoy the people I’ve met so far. I also love how dog-friendly it is here compared to the U.S., and that I can take my dog with me almost anywhere.

Of course, there are things back home that I miss: family and friends, Diet Coke, fast food, ridiculously large roads with signs and signals so obvious even the blind can see them, Bath & Body Works, Fruity Pebbles and other sickeningly sweet cereals, Costco, Broadway, Sheetz, and other materialistic madness. But overall, I am very happy here.

Now, I’m in the process of applying for my residence permit and crossing my fingers that it won’t take a lifetime to get it. I’m hoping to get a job at an International or American school teaching elementary-aged children. I was just breaking into elementary education when I left the States and would like to continue on that path. At the moment, I am babysitting one day a week (and looking to increase that number) and trying to fill up the other days with various activities and people.

My mother and I have an educational business called Medieval Maidens. We have written books for young girls about real princesses in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. About a year ago, we released our first doll! I love to read and enjoy writing. I adore music and will listen to pretty much anything — although my favorite is musicals and I positively live for The Monkees! I don’t watch TV (to be honest, I can’t stand having the thing on), but I love watching “Dark Shadows” with my father, and my husband and I have been watching the HBO series “Rome,” which I really like. I love history, having a particular obsession with Henry VIII and his six wives. Before leaving the States, I had the chance to portray Henry VIII’s 5th wife, Katherine Howard at the Renaissance Festival in Maryland. In the U.S., I did a lot of performing – mostly musicals – and even competed in a few Miss America preliminaries. My university degree is in musical theatre and I have been acting, singing, and dancing since I was six years old. I am interested in getting into the theatre scene here in the Netherlands and possibly teaching dance and giving harp lessons at some point. 

I live with my husband and our dog Turner (who came with me from the US and has been a very brave little trooper). At the moment, we have no definite plans as far as how long we will stay in the Netherlands or when we will move back to the US. We eventually want to have children, but for now, Turner is more than enough!

Luckily, I found out about IWCU before I even moved to Utrecht from a friend, and was able to hit the ground running. I love the variety of events and people and have made some really good friends already. It’s also been a fabulous networking opportunity and I’ve gotten loads of excellent tips and advice. Best of all, it was so comforting to come here and meet people who were going through the same things or had already been there – it’s nice to know your not alone! I am very much looking forward to becoming more involved in IWCU!

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Groomsman’s Wedding Speech: English Translation


The following speech was given by a groomsman at our wedding. It was delivered in Dutch, and many of my non-Dutch-speaking family and friends were curious as to what it all meant. Han van Eck has kindly provided an English translation of his speech.

Beloved bride and groom, honorable parents, beloved family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances,

My name is Han van Eck. It’s a pleasure for me to be present today, and it’s a great honor that I was asked to prepare a short speech in Dutch tonight. I met the groom in 1993, when we started our university in [redacted]. During the introduction week, [Hubs] was looking for a place to sleep in town. I wonder if he’d have accepted my offer if he had realized upfront how small my room was, and how terribly thin and uncomfortable the mattress was on the hard floor that he was forced to use. The first night that week we ended up drinking a good glass of beer in a local bar [redacted]. That apparently softened the hardship, since, in the years to follow, we would visit that bar many, many times, joined by our friends [redacted] who are also present here tonight.

Before I tell you how [Hubs] and Tiffany met, I’d like to remind you of a brief piece of history. In Europe, the Dark Ages were a period of courtly knights and beautiful maidens. At the end of the Fifteenth century, the economy and science got up to speed again and the period called the Renaissance bloomed with great artistic virtue. In 1492 Columbus discovered the New World, later called America. Those who went off to live there started calling Europe the ‘Old World’.

Both continents would never be the same: America got to know gunpowder and horses, while in Europe, tobacco was introduced and the daily menu soon started to include potatoes. We, his friends, got to know [Hubs] as a real knight. Brave in battle – as he proved in the Battle at Steenwijk, where he picked up the fists & kicks for his friends -, helpful (and not only when it involved moving furniture), loyal to his ideals and courteous to the ladies. Such a knight deserves a beautiful maiden. But those are – as you might well know – hard to find. During a long period, a little dark at times, [Hubs] searched across the Old World, but was unable to locate her. Until he extended his quest into the New World, and – appropriately – ended up at a Renaissance Fair in Maryland; a present-day event where the old world is brought back to life.

There he found his maiden, or rather: his princess. Tiffany Raye Jarman. Her love for singing and dancing clearly indicated her noble ancestry. Knight and princess fell for each other like stone bricks.

[Hubs] and Tiffany proved that love can connect two worlds. The distance between them was easily bridged by the wonders of the current new world: airplanes, e-mail and Skype. The first text message we received said it all: “This will become my wife!” They got to know each other’s lives. [Hubs] learned to love dogs and Tiffany knows all the players in the PSV soccer team almost
by heart by now. The distance between them only seems to be an excuse to get married, since we’ve seldom seen two people long for each other this much.

Both lives will surely never be the same again: her diet will include local crisps, chops, beans and cooked potatoes, while his will include TV-diners. Her life will be invaded by computer games, while he’ll start to enjoy musicals. But whatever the level of artistic bloom will be brought into the life of [Hubs], surely the change will be biggest for Tiffany, who will move into the Old World. Tiffany, welcome to Holland, our home is your home.

We wish the bride and groom all the good luck and happiness of the world. A toast to the happy couple:

LEVE DE KONINGIN! [Long Live The Queen!]
Hoera! (3x) [Hurray!] (3x)

The opinions and content within this post are solely those of the guest poster and in no way reflect the views of the Clogs and Hotdogs blog or its blogger.

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