Netherlands 2015

Leaving the Nest

IMG_0400When we are all in the nest together and we rely on mama bird to bring us food, everyone is happy and safe. Some like to challenge themselves and decide to try to fly. When in such situation we need to find another nest to spend our time in. We need other people to support us and help us chase our dreams.

This is what our trip to the Netherlands was mostly about. It was a growing-up experience to all of us – from the youngest of our students to the oldest member of staff. We spent five days sharing everything being food, time, excitement, exhaustion, awe, jokes, pranks, fear, misunderstandings, but most of all FOOTBALL! We visited impressive stadiums, mainly Ajax’s Amsterdam Arena and Feyenoord’s De Kuip Stadium. We cheered in awe the Netherlands and Spain during a scintillating friendly match in Amsterdam. We envied the vast open spaces of the Dutch training pitches. We admired the skills and pride of our opponents and we learnt about discipline, commitment and dedication. We also won the respect of our hosts; we cheered at our wins against Sparta Rotterdam and Spartaan ‘20, and accepted our losses against the strong Feyenoord teams. We missed home, our nest, but were part of a supportive community. A community who cheers for us when we take that leap and welcomed us with open arms when we got scared. We made new friends and got to know the old ones better.

We also made time to visit the Rotterdam Zoo and appreciated the beauty of nature. Our students took hundreds of pictures capturing butterflies in flight, gliding seals, wobbly penguins, vigilant bears, towering giraffes, ponderous elephants and so many other beautiful creatures. Their eyes popped out when a daunting crocodile made its way towards us and they screamed in glee when the baby polar bear left its mother’s side for us to come close to us.

Back to the football pitch our students gave their utmost and made us so proud! We alternated between excitement and anxiety until the final whistle and the very last day of our stay. These youngsters who had rarely even spent a night away from their parents had grown so much. Even the most reluctant ones had found their wings and were ready to fly back home with a suitcase full of dirty laundry but most importantly a treasure chest of wonderful memories.

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