Timon Lindeboom enjoyed his Christmas holiday but hasn’t exactly returned to Wageningen rested.
‘Christmas consists mainly of seeing family,’ says the MSc student of Biotechnology. That means spending a lot of long evenings catching up and trying to explain what he is actually doing at university. Nevertheless, seeing his family is what Timon most looks forward to every year. ‘I am very close to my four nephews in particular.’
For Christmas dinner, every member of the family cooks a different part of the meal, although Timon has another important role to play. ‘I have to help my mother not to get too stressed. While she tears around the house like a tornado, making sure everything runs smoothly, I try to relieve her of as many tasks as possible. She’ll be working on five things at once and then she’ll notice that the bin is full or one of the snacks needs heating up. So I try and get there before her, so that she can enjoy Christmas herself a little bit.’
For a few years, Timon and his sister have had a new December tradition: the Christmas puzzle published by the AIVD (the General Intelligence and Security Service). ‘My sister introduced it at some point, and I’m not sure I thank her for that. It’s practically impossible to answer all the questions correctly. Rumour has it that the AIVD offers you a job right away if you do manage it.’
He needs a bit of help from his family to answer even the introduction questions, which Timon thinks are intended to give puzzlers false hopes. ‘So you think you are at university and must be quite smart, but staring at the puzzle you soon realize how very little you really know. I think I could answer about three of the 30 questions this year.’ But Timon hasn’t made a resolution to improve that score next year. What he does want to do in 2020 is play his guitar more. ‘I know where my talent lies.’