Category Archives: Community

This is what we are all about. Creating our second family abroad. Being there for each other.

Holiday Season Appeal – Can you help us?

It’s August, and being the busy little bees we are, we’re already planning ahead to December and our annual holiday festivities.

December’s holiday season is is a difficult time of year for our families.

Many do not have the opportunity to travel back to their home country, and often spend the holiday period alone, thousands of miles from their loved ones. We aim to try to alleviate this by hosting events aimed at keeping the festive spirit for everyone.

Every year, we plan 2 parties – one for the kids of the group, and one for the adults.  The kids party has magicians, crafts, gifts and a visit from Santa. The adults party is a sit down, 3 course dinner designed to provide a night of  relaxation and a festive atmosphere before the stress of the holiday period starts.

It’s increasingly difficult financially to put on these events, without eating into our reserve funds.

This year we are looking for a little help from all of you to spread our message and make our 2016 Holiday parties the best ones yet!

We are specifically looking for donations of raffle/tombola prizes, financial donations to help subsidise the cost of the children’s event, sponsoring a family in difficulty (financial, medical etc), or even just volunteer some of your time to help us organise the event, approach potential sponsors or be there on the day to help run an activity.

Ultimately, it all comes down to the amount of support we get as to how awesome the party is, and more importantly, how cheap we can put it on for.  We are a group of volunteers, and we very rarely call out for help – but this time we need you! If you can help us in any way – donations, financially or volunteering – click here and send a message through to us about how you can help us make 2016’s December events the ones to remember! (And don’t forget to share the message – the more people who see it, the more chances we have of people helping us!)

christmas appeal holiday webpage email

utrecht

Utrecht: Come Visit

Utrecht is gearing up for the big celebration of the 300th anniversary of the Treaty of Utrecht this week. Banners are strung in the streets and the Domtoren is getting the finishing touches for the big light show that will launch on 11 April. The list of events that will be taking place this year is impressive.

 

Utrecht, come visit
Utrecht, come visit

 

There’s plenty going on in Utrecht, even when we’re not celebrating the end of a war, but I still get people writing to me as if I live in Amsterdam. While Utrecht is only 20-minute train ride from Amsterdam, it’s still its very own city and a unique one, too. To remind you, here are a few of my past posts where I talk about how great Utrecht is and why websites and magazines and more should pay attention to Utrecht (and other cities in the country) not just Amsterdam. Nothing against Amsterdam, but in such a small country, why not check out a few other cities while you’re at it!

Reasons to Visit

Ranting, You’re Doing It Wrong

An Open Letter (of sorts) to Travel Publications

Coming up this weekend, hopefully, will be some more gargoyles and maybe a mention of the Domplein trees that have pulled up roots and moved. However, this weekend is also the spring beer festival over at Leidig Erf, so who knows what will actually get done. Anyone else going to the festival on Saturday?

This post originally appeared on A Flamingo in Utrecht and has been republished with full permission.

[box size=”large” border=”full”]Meet Alison, a woman from the southern US, who now finds herself in the Netherlands, thanks to an Italian boyfriend. Alison a native Floridian who has spent time in North Carolina, New Orleans and New York, before continuing herlove affair with the letter N and moving to the Netherlands. She is an art historian by degree, an editor by profession, and a photographer in her mind.

Alison writes at A Flamingo in Utrecht, and you can find her on Facebook, Flickr and Twitter.  We recommend that you do.[/box]

Getting to Know Us: Gerard Danks

Meet Gerard, the first bloke in our Getting to Know Us series.  Born in arguably the most beautiful of all English counties, Gez (as we lovingly like to call him) like many of us here at International Almere moved to Almere for love. Together with his lovely girlfriend and fellow team mates in the Upsidedowners, Gez is famous for reigning supreme at the hugely popular International Almere Friday Night Quiz.

More about Gez:

Where were you born?
A hospital in Truro, Cornwall, UK.

 

Where have you lived?
All over the UK, nearly! Mevagissey, St Austell, Exeter, Swansea, York, Warrington, Bristol, Blackwood, Maes-Y-Cwmmer, Oostzaan and now Almere!

Where can we find you online?
Realistically, only Facebook. I have a Twitter account (@cmdrstarion) which I might look at once a week.

 

What brought you to Almere?
Prior to Almere, Irma (my girlfriend) and myself were in a rented flat in Oostzaan. I’d been living over here for nearly two years at the time and we needed a bigger place to live. We ended up looking in Almere for houses, as they were reasonably priced for the size, it’s relatively central for visiting Irma’s family, and we’re handily not far from a train station with a direct link to Schiphol.

 

Almere is an interesting and unique city to live in, describe your favourite part of living here.
I like how, as a new city, there’s been a lot of thought put into the infrastructure. For example, the bus lanes and cycle paths being separate from the normal roads, plenty of green places (even the rooftop lawns in the middle of town!), and ease of connection to the rest of the country. Though a direct road to Harderwijk wouldn’t go amiss, instead of having to drive up to Lelystad first!

 

How have you best been made to feel at home since you arrived?
I wouldn’t say I’ve been ‘made’ to feel at home, rather, I just feel at home here. The pace of life and the city is very similar to what I grew up with in Exeter. I couldn’t see myself living in Amsterdam (certainly not downtown Amsterdam!) – too hectic and full of klote toeristen and their bloody trolley cases!

 

Where is your favourite place to go out or eat out in the city?
Can’t go wrong with Rhodos, in my opinion. It’s the Greek just opposite Almere Centrum station. The first time I came over to The Netherlands to visit Irma, we tried to go to a tex-mex place in Zaandam, but it was fully booked. As a back-up, we managed to get into a Greek, about 10 minutes walk from where she lived. I’d never had Greek food before, and wasn’t even sure what it entailed. But Irma assured me I’d like it, as it was mainly grilled meats. I found out that night that I liked Greek food, and ever since I’ve always had to go “one more time, just to make sure”. Rhodos is nice and handy too. Being right by the rail station, it’s only a few stops from us so we can both have a drink and not worry about who’s driving home.

 

Would you define yourself as an expat, an international, or something entirely different?
I’d most likely say expat. Though ‘european’ comes to mind as well. I wouldn’t go so far as international though, having never been outside of Europe.

 

How long do you plan on living here for?
For good! Or possibly till Irma kicks me out. (Love you really!)

 

Tell us how you found International Almere?
Kind of through the quiz nights. Irma had seen the IA website, and about the quizzes from there. We’d initially read that there was an email sign-up for the quiz, then Irma saw via Twitter that it was “just turn up”. So, last April, we did. And you’ve not been able to get rid of us since!

 

Have you been to any International Almere events?  Which was your favourite?
I think I’ve been to every quiz night since April, even being score-master once and quiz-master once! I’ve also been to a few Friday Night Drinks, and the Christmas Meal just gone.

 

What advice would you offer to others who are thinking of taking the plunge and moving to Almere?
Just do it and take the plunge!

 

What has been your biggest challenge since arriving in Almere?
That’d have to be finding work. I’ve not got any decent qualifications to speak of, and being nearly 38 most shops would rather some spotty college kid that only gets paid half of what it’d cost to hire me. I did work for 18 months in the Staples warehouse as an order picker, but the work dropped off, and there was no budget to keep any of the temp staff that started at the same time as me. After the required 6 month break, it hadn’t picked up enough to warrant taking me back on, either.

 

If you had to leave tomorrow and could take only one thing – anything – from Almere, what would it be?
Ooohh, toughie. Um, IA? Can I take IA with me?

 

What is your favourite Dutch tradition, and how do you celebrate?  Do you still celebrate holidays and traditions from your home country?
Hmm. I’d say birthdays. Yes, the (in)famous “Dutch Circle Party” (don’t use that when speaking to Dutch people though – they won’t have a clue what you’re talking about!). I had the same birthday as my maternal grandmother, and it was generally during or near a school holiday. So either my parents and I would be staying up there, or they’d come to our house. Dutch birthdays are pretty much the same (though less cake + candles), so I actually enjoy them!

What do you miss from your homeland?
Waterfalls. Sounds a little silly, but I kinda like them. And The Netherlands is somewhat lacking in the vertical landscape necessary for them. Mother’s cooking is another, but I guess I’d miss that even if I was back in the UK in a place of my own. What I have found though, is I think I’d miss more from here if I ever needed to move back to the UK (or elsewhere). Little things, like bittergarnituur. Go to a pub in the UK, and you can generally get snacks like crisps and nuts, or a full blown meal. But sometimes you’re out, and you want something to eat that’s somewhere between those two extremes, and bittergarnituur fits that bill! Bitterballen, vlaametjes, leverworst, all those small nibbles that you can get. The Netherlands scores big points in my book for those!

 

More in the Getting to Know Us series:

Getting to Know Us: Stephanie Ernst-Milner

Getting to Know Us: Nicole Peetsma-Epker

Getting to Know Us: Carly Bridgeman

Getting to Know Us: Becky Riddle

 

[box style=”rounded”]Would you like to take part in the Getting to Know Us series? We would love to hear from you!

Drop us a line by filling out the form below and we will be in touch with all the details:

 

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Upcoming Workshop – Access Cancerlink

Access Cancerlink

From ACCESS:

Kyrin Hall, in co-operation with ACCESS Cancerlink, presents a workshop on nutrition and cancer.

Open to anyone who wants to learn more about healthy eating and anti-cancer diets, this workshop is especially for cancer survivors, cancer patients or anyone who has experienced cancer in a loved one or close friend.

Presenter: Kyrin Hall
Date: Thursday, 04 April 2013
Time: 19:00 to 21:00
Venue: ABC Treehouse
Voetboogstraat 11, 1012XK Amsterdam
Cost: 10 euro
Contact: Aine Campbell
e-mail cancerlink@icconnections.org or call (and leave a message) 06 2259 0772

Kyrin Hall has worked as consultant and educator in the health and wellness industry for 12 years. She produces and presents a weekly health programme for Sky TV- the ACTIVE channel, contributes to Breakfast radio 99.4 FM and writes for many health magazines.

A Canadian-trained naturopathic doctor, Kyrin has also studied food science and orthomolecular medicine and is a senior yoga teacher with vast experience.
For more information see www.kyrinhall.com.

Getting to Know Us: Nicole Peetsma-Epker

Meet Nicole, International Almere’s secretary.  Our interview with Nicole is the latest in our Getting to Know Us series here at International Almere.

Nicole stepped into the hugely challenging IA secretary role at the end of last year and most visibly is responsible for our newsletter (have you signed up for it?  If not, run, don’t walk HERE) along with ensuring that everything in the background of the ever-expanding group runs smoothly.

Over to you Nicole!

Where were you born?
I was born in Simcoe, Ontario, Canada.

 

Where have you lived?
I have lived in Simcoe ON, Fenwick ON and here in Almere. 

 

What brought you to Almere?
I came to Almere because it is where my husband lives.

 

Almere is an interesting and unique city to live in, describe your favourite part of living here.
What I love about Almere is that it is one of the biggest cities in The Netherlands. Yet, it doesn’t feel cramped at all.  Plus, living in Almere Haven, it is quite pretty and peaceful.

 

How have you best been made to feel at home since you arrived?
The best feeling of feeling like home is when my friends surprised me at the airport when I came back from Canada the first time.

 

Where is your favourite place to go out or eat out in the city?
I really don’t have a favourite place here in Almere.  I like most places.  Le Baron does hold a special place though.  It was the first place I went out to eat at when I was first here.

 

Would you define yourself as an expat, an international, or something entirely different?
I consider myself an International.

 

How long do you plan on living here for?
For the near future the plans are to stay here.  But hubby and I would like to live back in Canada one day.

 

Tell us how you found International Almere?
I found IA by surfing the net.  I had met Christina at V&D one day and my son saw that her son had a maple leaf on his coat.  So we started talking – she is also from Canada and told me about the international group.  But when I got home I had forgotten it.  So I felt like a stalker trying to find this group! LOL

 

Have you been to any International Almere events?  Which was your favourite?
I go to most Friday night drinks and Quiz nights.  I love the Quiz nights the best!

What advice would you offer to others who are thinking of taking the plunge and moving to Almere?
I say go for it!  It’s a great city.  We may not have the old architecture, but you are close enough to other cities to see it when you want.  Best part, for being such a new city, we have a ruin! LOL (Almere Castle).

 

What has been your biggest challenge since arriving in Almere?
My biggest challenge was getting over the fact of having neighbors.  I’m a country girl.  Plus, having to get over the fear of taking public transit on my own.

If you had to leave tomorrow and could take only one thing – anything – from Almere, what would it be?
Um… Tough question…Bus, bike and car lane system.  I really think it’s great how it’s all separated.  (for the most part). 

 

What is your favourite Dutch tradition, and how do you celebrate?  Do you still celebrate holidays and traditions from your home country?

My favorite Dutch traditions are Queens Day, Sinterklaas and New years.   As for celebrating traditions from Canada, we don’t really do much of that here.  I will start though J So that my kids know those traditions too.

 

More in the Getting to Know Us series:

 
Getting to Know Us: Carly Bridgeman

Getting to Know Us: Becky Riddle

 

[box style=”rounded”]Would you like to take part in the Getting to Know Us series? We would love to hear from you!

Drop us a line by filling out the form below and we will be in touch with all the details:

 

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Getting to Know Us: Becky Riddle

Becky in Almere Buiten, July 2012

Welcome to our new Getting to Know Us series where we meet our members and learn a bit more about one another.

Kicking it off is International Almere’s first ever Life Member, Becky Riddle.

Becky first moved to Almere from England six years ago when an opportunity arose  with her husband’s work.  Since she arrived she has been involved with – and a huge influence on – the local expat community here in Almere.  So much so that when the opportunity arose to honour the extraordinary contribution of a member of our little community, Becky was the obvious choice.  Becky has been instrumental in shaping International Almere into what it has become today and has also taken the ABCDE Playgroup from strength to strength.

Becky has since taken a step back from her responsibilities to the international community here and is now busy focusing on new, more personal projects, of which we cannot wait to hear more about.

 

Now, more about Becky…

 

Where were you born?

Wolverhampton, United Kingdom. (year: undisclosed!)

Where have you lived?

Various places in the UK and Holland

Where can we find you online?

Sophie Snail Adventures (a blog of children’s stories – my new hobby so not much there at the moment!) Check it out here: Sophie Snail Adventures

What brought you to Almere?

I followed my husband

Almere is an interesting and unique city to live in, describe your favourite part of living here.

All of it! The people, the architecture, the ease of access to so many diverse things to do and see. It is a rich city in lots ways.

Becky and her husband Neil
How have you best been made to feel at home since you arrived?

Through the people I have met.

Where is your favourite place to go out or eat out in the city?

Oooh, lots…which shall I pick? With my family I love to go to the Kemphaan – get back in touch with nature, have a snack and you can enjoy a different experience every time you go. With my husband I like to go out to eat, socialise with friends and going to the cinema. I like ‘de Brasserij de Bergerrie’ for food.

Would you define yourself as an expat, an international, or something entirely different?

I would define myself as me, where-ever I may be.

How long do you plan on living here for?

The foreseeable future. We have no plans to move.

Tell us how you found International Almere?

I have been aware of International Almere since they were a little acorn.

What advice would you offer to others who are thinking of taking the plunge and moving to Almere?

Get in touch with International Almere and start meeting people! Other people are the key to settling in here…someone somewhere will have an answer to most of the questions and challenges you face and it’s always good to have people to share your experiences with. Makes the move much easier than it could otherwise be.

What has been your biggest challenge since arriving in Almere?

Mmmmm, being a parent and having to re-educate myself in the way the various systems/people here work compared to what I have been used to (and in turn educating the Dutch in my ways!).

If you had to leave tomorrow and could take only one thing – anything – from Almere, what would it be?

My family.

What is your favourite Dutch tradition, and how do you celebrate? Do you still celebrate holidays and traditions from your home country?

I love Sint Maarten. I love to help the children be creative making lanterns, watch them sing around the neighbourhood, then their excitement when they get a treat  (I also rather enjoy several traditional Dutch treats myself such as oliebollen and stroopwafel – lekker!) We still celebrate Easter and Christmas and if I can find the right cut of meat I’m fond of a traditional English Roast Dinner followed by Apple Crumble!

Becky’s daughters celebrating Sint Maarten

[box style=”rounded”]Would you like to take part in the Getting to Know Us series? We would love to hear from you!

Drop us a line by filling out the form below and we will be in touch with all the details:

 

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Yoga, the Art of Breathing and Food

(image from Evado’s website)

Our wonderful Holiday Dinner sponsors Sandra and Eva from Evado Yoga Fit Wellness have added a slew of English speaking activities to their autumn calendar that we know you do not want to miss out on, from a combined yoga and food workshop, to meditation, to the art of breathing.

Check out the upcoming events here:

21 September – Balancing Soul Food

28 September – How to connect your breathing in your yoga practice

29 September – Interactive one-to-one breathing

29 September – How to bring mindfulness in action in our modern lives

30 September – Yoga Wonderfull

30 September – Teaching balanced vinyasa and hatha yoga suited to the individual

If you don’t know much about Evado yet, check out their Website, their Facebook page, or find them on Twitter.  Keep an eye out for more English language classes in the near future.

 

 

 

National Mom’s Night Out

The amazing moms who joined the first ever National Mom’s Night Out in Almere

Remember last week we mentioned the National Mom’s Night Out?  Well on Thursday 26 July, fifteen lovely ladies slapped on the heels and lipstick and kicked off the first ever nationwide event in style.

We gathered at International Almere’s favourite stomping ground – Apollo Hotel in Almere and sipped our mojitos, chardonnays, beer and espresso while pouring over the contents of our goodie bags and sharing kiddie war stories.

We all had a wonderful time and thanks to the wonderful Lynn Morrison of Nomad Parents for organising.  I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I cannot wait for then next one.

Keep an eye out for upcoming Nomad Parents events, hopefully the next one will be some time in October.

Don’t forget to head over to Facebook and Like Nomad Parents, or follow on Twitter here.

August Fundraising Update

 

 

 

 

We’re still hard at work with the  International Almere Holiday Dinner 2012 fund raising. We are already at about 50% and will continue to do our best to raise the complete amount needed, so stay tuned for more.

I cannot stress enough, that we need your help in this. If you have a personal relationship with a business or shop, please take the time to ask them for help when you are there next. Everybody has 20 EUR to spare, especially for good customers. You can also leave behind the flyer: Sponsorship Flyer Xmas

Our new sponsors since the last update are:

  • Apollo Hotel City Center – http://bit.ly/pc2nnP
  • Evado – Yoga, Fit, Wellness – http://www.evado.nl/

And let’s not forget our dear sponsors from the last update:

  • The Expat Company – http://www.expatcompany.nl/
  • Carly’s Young Almere
    Need I say anything more? The club for young expats in Almere! Stay in touch on Facebook
  • Caroline’s LWD Translations & Editing
    For all your Dutch-English-Dutch translation needs http://www.lwd-vertalingen.com
  • The Steiner-Meunier Family
    As our first private sponsors, thank you very much indeed!
  • Martha Mghendi
    With a very generous private donation, make sure to give her a big hug next time around.
  • Expat Mortgages – If you have read my post about buying a place in the Netherlands, you will already know that you can trust these guys to get you a fair mortgage deal – no matter where you are from. http://www.expat-mortgages.nl/

You can find all these companies on our International Almere 2012 Holiday Dinner Sponsor Board.

We need lots more sponsors, so if you know a company that would be interested, please point them to the sponsorship information or let us know via info@www.internationalalmere.com

Together we can make this work,

The International Almere Team

 

Christmas Spirit – a tad early

Today, I spent a few hours talking to entrepreneurs in Almere who would like to help us by sponsoring the International Almere Holiday Dinner 2012World Handprints.

Why is that necessary?

The World Trade Center has moved away from Almere and with it, we lost the sponsorship for 2012. This means we rely on the help of private sponsors to support International Almere.

I am very happy to announce that we have the first four companies have agreed to sponsor International Almere:

You can find all these companies on our International Almere 2012 Holiday Dinner Sponsor Board.

We need lots more sponsors, so if you know a company that would be interested, please point them to the sponsorship information or let us know via info@www.internationalalmere.com

Hohoho,

Sonja

 

Cocktail Glasses

Friday Night Drinks

Cocktail Glasses
© alphaducentaure (FlickR) - Important note: contrary to what one might think, these cocktails are non alcoholic

Our Friday Night Drinks are an informal meeting of expats in Almere and surrounding areas. We meet up to chat and laugh and now and then it lasts until the wee morning hours. It doesn’t matter if you want to come for the full show or just for half an hour to check us out. The important thing is that you DO come – we love to meet new people!

Every first Friday of the month, the first round of drinks is on our sponsor Apollo Hotel.

Check out the Event Calendar to find out more about the location!

Everyone welcome, regardless of what your drink of choice is!

 

Carly and Maria at Halloween 2011

Young Almere – Wild Youth

Carly and Maria at Halloween 2011
Carly and Maria at Halloween 2011

Then you really want to get in touch with Young Almere. Initiated by Australian Carly Bridgeman, Young Almere is an essential part of all International Almere events. Carly organizes many last-minute activities, like going out for dinner or to the movies. The Facebook page of Young Almere is also a good spot to find like minded expats for anything you might want to do – and if it’s just a coffee in town.

You can find Young Almere on Facebook or check out the event calendar for Young Almere Events (the pink color code)!