Due the strong presence of Australian flavour on the roster this season, our coaches were nice enough to give us Australia Day off from practice. So that Monday we three Australians headed up to the big Amsterdam. Considering I've been living in The Netherlands for about 5 months now, I have spent hardly anytime in Amsterdam. I bring this down to a strong hatred rivalry between the biggest city in The Netherlands (Amsterdam) vs the second biggest city (Rotterdam, where if you've read my blog before you know is where I'm living). For some reason we hate them and they hate us. Their football team is Ajax whom we also hate. Our football team is Feyennoord who we love. These are the facts. But back to Australia Day; a bar in Amsterdam was having an Australia Day party. They would play Triple J's hottest 100, but more importantly they would provide me one of the few things I truly miss about Australia: the chicken Parma. Going out for dinner or lunch or any meal with me in Melbourne is simple because I always have and always will want a Parma. So coming to Europe, the Parma is a rare commodity. I was going to take a photo of the Parma but I got to excited and ate it before I had the chance. It seems novel, but when you go months without access to good coffee and other things you usedonce took for granted it's great to be able to enjoy such a small treat like this. Australia Day was another reminder of the vast amount of Aussies abroad as the place was packed full of people wearing everything from Australian flags right through to their VB hat or favourite AFL jersey. In a crazy coincidence, by pure chance I actually bumped in to a girl who I went to high school with. The odds that she, a person who lives in Melbourne was in Amsterdam at that exact place and exact time are very low, but hey it happened so anything is possible.
On the volleyball side of things, things are coming to an end slowly. Since coming back from Christmas, we dropped our first 2 matches in disappointing fashion. But after a disastrous opening set against the best team in the league (Lycurgus), we turned a new leaf, and although we went on to lose that match 3-0 our improvement was huge. The next week we beat the Talentteam (Team Netherlands Youth/Junior) in 5 sets and played great as a team, playing together the whole match. Letting our success lead to more success the following week we lost 3-0 but played great against a good Dynamo team. Following on, against a team with similar abilities (Zaanstad) we won 3-1. More importantly in these last few matches we've found a really good level and been able to produce it consistently, which is something that has been struggling for most of the season. Currently we are 10th out of 12 teams. It's looking like we'll finish in the bottom 4 places, and compete in the play outs (not the playoffs, which is for the top 7 teams). If we win our first best of 3 match series in the playouts then we avoid having to play for relegation, and just play for minor placings. But that's a while away. There's still 3 more matches in the regular season which concludes in 4 weeks. Then about 3-4 weeks after that of play out action than my first season will be complete. It still feels like it's all happened so fast, but I guess that means I've been having a good time.
Oh and a TV crew came to our apartment and shot a cool piece on us Australians. Check it out below, if it gains enough popularity who knows, it could turn into a great reality show.