Treep's family visits from The Netherlands
When Miranda Treep saw her daughter, Anne, face-to-face for the first time in over nine months, her emotions quickly got the best of her.
Anne, a foreign exchange student from Beemster, Netherlands, is a junior at Fort Dodge Senior High. When her mom, Miranda, made the 4,300-mile trip from their hometown to Fort Dodge — a 13-plus hour flight — with her husband, Gaby, and mother, Margriet Zan Braam, the family reunion was long overdue.
“I cried … a lot,” Miranda said. “I missed Anne so much. I missed going to lunch with her and going shopping with her. With two men at home (Gaby and Anne’s brother, Tom) — they don’t like to go shopping.”
Coming to America
Anne’s journey started last July, when she took a nine-hour flight into New York to meet with the foreign exchange program. She then flew to Des Moines.
After her first host family moved to Mason City, Anne landed on the doorstep of Travis and Stacy Wearda of Dumcombe, who took her in along with fellow foreign exchange student Nora Gherandini of Italy.
“When my first family moved, I texted my friend Nora and asked if she knew of any other families I could stay with,” Anne said. “Then the Weardas said they would take me in.
“They are very nice. I enjoy spending time with them.”
Anne has already traveled the world, with trips to Spain and Greece on her resume. This is here second stint in the United States, after making a trip to Florida about five years ago.
Anne, who already graduated from high school in the Netherlands, was looking for culture and a new adventure in the United States.
While she’s enjoyed her time here, it was good to see the familiar faces of home.
“I missed my family,” Anne said. “It’s been fun to have them around. It seems normal with them here.”
While trying to broaden her horizons, golf has always been a part of Anne’s journey.
“Her granddad (Cor Van Braam) taught her the game,” Gaby said. “(Margriet and Cor) took her golfing when she was about six years old to get her introduced to it.
“She’s played a lot in the Netherlands. We play (almost) every weekend.”
Anne has made an immediate impact with the Dodgers, both in her score and presence around the course.
“When I came here, I brought my clubs with me, but I didn’t know if I would get a chance to play. It’s been a lot of fun,” Anne said. “We didn’t have team golf in my high school. Back home, we play more as an individual. So it’s fun to play meets with my teammates.”
FDSH girls golf coach David Louk has enjoyed Anne’s perspective as a part of his squad.
“It’s been a seamless transition,” Louk said. “Anne is a very intelligent, respectful and personable girl. She has a great personality, and makes friends easily on and off the course.
“She has easily adapted to Fort Dodge and being in Iowa.”
Anne recently placed fifth at the Ames Invitational at Veenker Memorial Course, carding an 87. Her low nine-hole score so far is a 43.
“The girls have been very nice. The meets and trips to and from them are fun,” Anne said. “Coach Louk helps me to improve my game, and the stuff that I don’t completely understand with English.”
Anne is just getting started as a prep golfer, according to Louk.
“She has a real presence on the course,” Louk said. “She leads by example, and the younger girls see that. They respect and understand her. She has been a mentor to her teammates, and she is extremely competitive.
“I want to thank her family for bringing her talents to Fort Dodge. People are taking notice. I’ve had a lot of people ask about her. She has given our program a real boost.”
A family affair
Golf is huge in the Treep family, so their visit to the United States was an opportunity to experience different courses and culture.
The family has played Woodland Hills in Des Moines, the Fort Dodge Country Club and Lakeside so far.
The Treeps agree that the courses in the United States are much different than in The Netherlands.
“We’ve played three courses. The back nine of Lakeside is difficult,” Gaby said. “The courses here are easier overall. On our home courses, there are way more water hazards. The fairways here are nice. In the Netherlands, there isn’t as much grass.”
While visiting his daughter, Gaby has seen the sparkle in his daughter’s eye thanks to the support she has received.
“She loves it here. It was fun to have three generations of our family in the United States together (this week),” Gaby said. “She has a positive attitude and has met some nice friends. They’ve been very supportive of her.”
Margriet and Miranda are both avid golfers. Miranda has also noticed some bigger differences in courses here compared to home.
“We have a lot of water (in the Netherlands),” Miranda laughed. “When you hit your ball in the water, it obviously makes it difficult (to score well).
“The greens (in the States) are different and are probably faster with more break in it.”