USA Field Hockey

Sep 02 Michelle Kasold- "Nederland!"

Sept. 02, 2010, 6:43 p.m. (ET)

Nederland!

I officially arrived in Holland Tuesday morning. After a few hours sleep on the plane I was picked up by the family I am au pairing for. Their youngest son Quinn (he is almost 2) was home, but the older children Skylily (5 years old) and Declan (8 years old) were both at school. Although I was exhausted, I knew it would be best to stay awake all day in order to adjust quickly to the 6 hour time change. I went into the little downtown of Wassenaar with Sharon and Quinn which is only 2 small streets. We got lunch at the Bagel Alley and got Quinn a new pair of shoes. After chasing Quinn around for another hour, we picked up the other children from school and then I was off to my first practice at HGC.

Practice was a little intimidating at first. Although our coach is Australian, he runs practice in all Dutch. (Which makes sense, we are in Holland after all!) That took a little getting used to since I don't really know any Dutch. I followed along and asked the girls a few times to explain. All of the girls were very nice and always made sure I understood. We had two practices that first day, but it was nice to move around and get to know the girls right away. Best of all, one of my teammates from college, Kim, is also playing for HGC and is an au pair just a few blocks from me. It is amazing to see her, catch up, and play with her again!!

After a good nights rest, Wednesday was just as busy! I watched Quinn for most of the morning before going into Amsterdam for Sharon's nieces 1st birthday party. All the kids were so cute and the cake was delicious! Once we got back, I was off to practice again. This time we had running before training. It was not too difficult for me besides the fact that I was still a little jetlagged, but I think it was pretty tough for the rest of the team. It is not surprising that we do a lot more fitness/running in the US! Training went well as I started to get used to the girls, their style of play, and working off of them. I'm still learning all of their names, but again they all have been extremely understanding and helpful.

So far, I have had a really good experience with the family and the team. I have also been lucky it hasn't rained yet! Although, it is a bit colder than I'm used to. I look forward to our first scrimmage this weekend against Kampong and some time off to explore what is around Wassenaar and Den Haag.

More to come soon! Pictures coming also!
Doei!

 

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2010

First Week in Holland

The first week here in Holland has been super busy! From watching after the kids to practicing, I haven’t had a lot of down time! I finally got into town (of Wassenaar) on Friday and explored the shops and the grocery store. There isn’t a whole lot in town, but there is the Bagel shop that I plan on going to a lot! The grocery store is obviously a bit different than back in the states, but there are some advantages. The Dutch are well known for their cheeses, so there are a multitude to choose from at really inexpensive prices. I plan on trying different kinds of cheese every week!

Practices have been going well. I am still trying to get adjusted to the style here and playing with everyone, but it's not as different as I thought it would be; they have a lot of the same concepts we do. I’m still learning everyone’s names as well (but I think I know most of them by now!). There is someone new at every practice though! And the Kiwis aren’t even here yet (because they are still playing at the World Cup). But we had our first scrimmage today against Kampong anyways. I was really interested to see how everything would come together and we did quite well. After we settled into the game, we had most of the possession. We had a lot of chances but only finished the game 2-1. Still a good start for us considering Kampong finished 4th in the league last year and we finished closer to the bottom. There is still a lot of work to be done though! Two more scrimmages this coming week, so lots to look forward to and learn from.

Yesterday I did have the day off from looking after the kids and from hockey. I meet up with a couple of my teammates at the Bagel shop for lunch then biked over to the next city, Den Haag, to explore. Den Haag is an important city because it houses most of the governmental buildings in Holland and the Queen lives there. There is a big center with tons of shops (clothing) and restaurants. It is a really nice area where I will have to spend some more time! Hopefully next weekend I can do a bit more exploring; maybe see the beaches or other towns nearby…

Until next time… Doei!

 

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