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.
Winding our way south from Berkeley to Orange County, via Santa Cruz, Los Olivos, Pismo Beach and Santa Barbara, with no GPS, one mixed CD and too many stops to be considered efficient travellers.
When I departed Amsterdam for France the calendar was only a couple of days shy of my two-year anniversary with the IHF. It was on January 11, 2015 that I flew from London to Doha for my first Men’s World Championship, and just two years before that I was buying a ticket for the final of the same event thinking I would never have the chance to do so live again.
After a complete two-year cycle of tournaments, I felt like a very different person travelling to France from the one that arrived in Qatar at the beginning of 2015.
Immediately, everything in Paris was incredible: The hotel located adjacent to the Eiffel Tower, the light show on the Arc de Triomphe to launch the event, the opening press conference with beautiful views at the Institut du Monde Arabe, the picturesque drive to the arena along the Seine every day, the level of organisation in a country with such a different handball culture from my own, and work in general – helpful teams and officials that made my job so easy, interesting stories, and surprises on the court that kept things interesting.
Paris was my home for three wonderful weeks and I had a little opportunity to explore and visit my favourite shops (where I purchased too many books to be considered a smart traveller), but all too soon it was over. The teams were whittled down from 24 to two for the final, after which we heard the triumphant French anthem once again – though this time I had an operatic version sung by Philippe Gardent (former French player and world champion) booming from behind me.
All of my articles written during France 2017 can be found here.
Welcome to my blog! After several years with only a small-time travel blog and a separate work website, I have decided to combine the two to create a site that covers every part of my life. On this blog I will share news about my work including current projects and published articles, life as an expat living in Amsterdam, and travel adventures.