What's Different in Euroland & Nederville...
Most of everything I've needed to buy so far seems more expensive. A few basic reasons for this include the fact that EU labor laws tend to increase costs of running a business (i.e. restaurants), taxes are higher (i.e. gas prices) and the fact that the distribution and retail chains are slightly smaller (i.e. U.S. has Costco, Europe doesn't) . As much as I would love to go into further detail as to why this is, I am no longer in school so I feel no rush to do so!
Ahhh yes censorship...As you can imagine Europe is full of many many languages, cultures, and policies. What makes Europe so different from the U.S. regarding censorship or lack thereof? In Europe, everything goes... nude beaches, "late night" movies, distracting billboards, and the occasional cursing in your favorite american TV show. Now you may not see this everyday, but even Stewie Griffin blurting out "f*** you vile woman" to Lois is enough to catch you off guard!
(Well put Seth MacFarlane, lighten up FCC. New Episodes beginning September 30th, yea buddy!)
Going to the Movies
So I was enjoying the new Batman movie for the 2nd time a couple weeks ago and about 80mins into the movie, right as Bane is about to announce that he was born in the dark and Batman merely adopted it...the lights come on and a big 'PAUZE' goes across the screen. Apparently it was time for a bathroom break for everyone in the theater or intermission. Despite the spectacular timing of the intermission, my bladder sent the theater a thank you letter after the movie as I had definitely had too much water that day!
'Nuff said... Heaps of bikes everywhere! One thing that has been difficult to get used to is that when you are turning into traffic or in or out of a round-about, you need to look in damn near every direction as you might run a biker over. They don't look to see if a car is coming from behind or to the side, they just keep riding like there is a pot of gold where ever they are headed. On a more serious note, I wish more people in the U.S. and myself would use bikes to go to a friends house or even go to work!
Also, nearly every motor vehicle over here is a stick shift. Another reason to thank my parents who taught me to drive a manual from day 1. It was funny to see Mark and Storm (my 2 fellow American teammates) learn or re-learn how to drive stick again!
Also, one of my dutch teammates Jerome is finally getting his license and it is unreal how long and expensive the process is to be able to attain a license here in Europe. You must take more than double the classes and drives and must pay more per class as well.
18 years old. I don't know if this is better or worse than our 21 but it is interesting to see how the culture of drinking in Europe is different than the U.S., especially when one is in high school or "having their first drink." In my experience, I have seen far too many instances of U.S. teens who go off to college and end up paying a heavy hospital bill at 2am in the morning because they don't know how to handle their alcohol. Growing up with a European momma and having spoken with other parents, it is interesting to see the correlation between freshmen college students who can't quite survive syllabus week and parents who don't properly introduce alcohol into a teenager's lives.
I believe the Europeans nail this balance between properly introducing alcohol to teenagers in a controlled environment while educating them on the dangers of alcohol. This becomes even more important when driving enters into the equation, but that is another topic for another time!
Skinny jeans, loafers, sweaters, vests, v-necks, and the occasional celebratory Dutch clogs. While the fashion is different here, I prefer it to most of the U.S. as people here definitely know how to dress and more importantly know how to dress with what they have!
Supposed Lack of Police in Den Helder
I have been living here for a little more than a month and in that time I have only seen a baby's handful of police officers and cars around town. For those who know how quickly I like to drive, I think it's safe to say that this is a good thing. [SIDE NOTE: I'll look up and see 100 on the dash and take my foot off the gas only to realize I'm only doing 60mph. Hence, the metric system over here at least makes me think I am going faster than I really am which slows me down a little!]
(Volkswagen Up! Too bad it's a front wheel drive, no doughnuts!)
At SCU in the fall, we would usually practice for around 3 hours and given your class/work schedule you might stick around for an extra lift, shooting workout or film session. In Den Helder, we are practicing for 2 hours twice a day and we might also have lifting 3 times per week as well. My body might have been able to handle this had we not have been forced to practice on a bad floor (the Slenk!) for 2 weeks. Most of my teammates are getting on okay with this schedule but seeing that my knees have been aging five-fold for every year since high school, I had to stay out of practice for 2-3 weeks as my favorite knee-tendonitis had returned. Thankfully, it is slowly subsiding which is a good sign in addition to the fact that we are finally at our home gym (with a good floor).
As for practice itself, a lot of the drills, competitions and routines have remained the same. We are a young team so have been working on our offensive and defensive principles and sets a bunch. We are also practicing with some of the guys on the U20 national team as we only have 9 guys on our roster, 4 of which, including myself have been out because of injury. Slowly but surely we are starting to become a team who knows each others tendencies, strengths and weaknesses and can hopefully get to winning come October 6th!
Quick Funnies & Experiences
Sniper in the building
We have had some funny fails or instances of people falling flat on their face over the last couple weeks. First we had my agent's young son "fall" flat on his face! I use " " as someone on our team may have tripped him...I don't remember who, I...uh... blacked out and don't remember! This little incident had everyone including our coach dying laughing. Ah yes laughing at someone else's expense...classic!
The second incident we had was during practice the 2nd week while we were doing a 1 on 1 close-out drill. Storm caught the ball at the top of the key with me guarding him and proceeded to slip and lose his footing twice doing the exact same move within the span of 2 seconds...needless to say that he didn't get up again to try the same move! That image will forever be remembered!
Foreign Gangster Accents
Because everyone loves hearing someone speak U.S. slang or rap to a song in a foreign accent.
Winning poker in Europe against my teammates is even sweeter considering that when everyone buys in for an even 5 or 10 Euros instead of $5-10, so I am now, in theory, 1.3x "richer" ... as of last Friday!!
Thanks for reading and I'll keep the updates coming.