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My Dutch integration by way of handball

When my husband and I moved to the Netherlands, I discovered myself enveloped in an unfamiliar symphony of life. Between motherhood, altering careers and settling into our half-finished home, I felt like an outsider, distant and disconnected from my neighborhood, feeling overseas even to myself.

The place it began

It was throughout a dismal afternoon that I mirrored on the reminiscences of my youth and recalled the sunlit handball courts in Portugal. My teenage years have been spent round “The Handball Life”, forming friendships which have lasted to today and dealing with mentors and coaches who left a giant mark on who I used to be again then and even who I’m now. I then requested myself: May handball bridge my previous and my current right here within the Netherlands?

Becoming a member of a Dutch handball staff

After discovering a handball staff close to me, my preliminary contact was with Marion Meijer-Janson. She recollects, “Carla discovered my electronic mail tackle on the HVZaanstreek web site. She performed handball in Portugal when she was youthful and wished to choose it again up, partially for the social elements.”

However life was busy on the time and it took me nearly 18 months to achieve out once more. This time, circumstances have been totally different. My youngsters have been a bit older and life was extra steady.

Changing into part of a Dutch staff

Stepping onto the Dutch handball court docket for the primary time, a flurry of feelings overwhelmed me. I keenly launched myself, trying to bond with my new teammates. 

Although my Dutch was damaged and conversations typically changed into hilarious guessing video games, their heat and endurance have been palpable. One memorable night, we performed “30 Seconds.” With the ticking clock, I discovered myself gesticulating wildly, drawing out laughs and creating shared reminiscences regardless of the language hole. I felt an instantaneous sense of bonding. 

At first, it was the delicate nods of help from particular person gamers on the pitch that boosted my confidence. As time handed and my abilities honed, that encouragement reworked into collective staff cheers. The euphoria of feeling integral on the sphere quickly permeated off the court docket, making me really feel extra related and built-in on this new chapter of my life. 

Sports activities are an effective way to combine

For any expat navigating the challenges of integration, native sports activities golf equipment will be transformative. They provide not simply bodily exercise, but in addition connections and a neighborhood. As Marion summed up, “Communication is all the things.”

The Handball Life

I’m nonetheless enjoying handball with this staff and I intend to proceed even when my life will get chaotic. Not too long ago, I managed to persuade the goalkeeper from my former youth staff in Portugal, who occurs to additionally stay right here within the Netherlands and who’s my oldest pal, to hitch us. Once we trade a move on the handball court docket, for a second we’re 14 once more and navigating our teenage years collectively within the Portuguese summer time.

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