Autumn may signal the approach of the gloomy winter period, but it is also one of my favourite times of year as someone who grew up in a place where the seasons range from hot to less hot. I am never not enchanted by the colourful leaves, hazy light and crisp air, and Amsterdam seems to be especially beautiful this year.
The 2017 summer of handball tournaments began in Algiers, Algeria in July. The concentration of competitions taking place over the summer has meant a busy couple of months for me from July to September since 2015, when I covered my first Men’s Junior World Championship, followed by the Youth World Championship. This year the Junior World Championship was held in Algiers, after which I travelled to Tbilisi, Georgia for the Men’s Youth World Championship.
In Algiers we stayed in a hotel with an incredible view across the city, overlooking a concert venue which treated me to live music many nights after I had finished coverage for the day. One hot, sunny morning was spent exploring parts of the city on a guided tour, where we visited the Kasbah and the Matyr’s Memorial. The Memorial du Martyr Mujahid Museum was a sad, but interesting and clear highlight of the day and visit to Algiers overall.
Defrosting after a frosty winter with sunshine late into the evenings, tulips and daffodils on every corner, and lazy park days.
In December 2015 I travelled back to Denmark – my first home outside Australia – for the 22nd IHF Women’s World Championship. I was based in Kolding then Herning, which was right near the town I once lived in: Ikast, and therefore full of memories and familiar, somewhat dodgy Chinese restaurants.
It had been almost 10 years since I arrived in Ikast as a young hopeful handball player, and I had not been back since leaving, so even walking past familiar landmarks in Herning was wild. Some people complain that Herning is a boring place to be based for a tournament, as many of my colleagues have spent long weeks covering more than one championship there, but I was satisfied simply to find my favourite Danish candy and snacks.
Although the tournament was one of the busiest, it was wonderful to work with the female players. It’s a very different experience interviewing the men and women, and I found many interesting stories – the Tunisian captain who was retiring after 16 years in the national team, Christiane Mwasesa from DR Congo, who is the best-known star from her country and a total sweetheart (though I had to interview her with translation assistance from one of her helpful teammates), and the big-name players I interviewed about their path to the top.
All of my articles written during Denmark 2015 can be found here.
On the rare days that life as an expat feels a touch overwhelming, I find myself saying: “This would be so much easier if I were home,” though whether that is true I cannot say.
Today, as I busily hunt for a new apartment in Amsterdam, where demand is high and it can sometimes be quite discouraging, Google Photos reminded me of a fitting Dolly Parton with a memory from Morocco in 2015.
“If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.”
I’m sure this is one of the, if not the only rainbow I’ve ever seen that seemed to reach the earth at each end. I could only manage a quick picture on my phone before the train hurried on.