Rest In Peace

I don’t know how to write this down. I almost don’t want to because it still doesn’t feel real. But I need to get these emotions and thoughts out somewhere.

One of my friends passed away this past Tuesday. My use of “friend” is loose, because I’ve only spoken to her a handful of times, I have played against her for a few years and trained with her a few times last year. For some reason, it’s really hit me hard. Perhaps it’s because I knew a number of her close friends. Perhaps it’s because she was only 17. Perhaps it’s because a very similar situation happened to someone I was acquainted with four years ago. Or perhaps it’s because she has left her twin sister behind.

It was only a week ago that I was watching her play. Every time I think of her, my brain immediately thinks of her sister. I can’t imagine what she is going through right now, her parents, her brother, her team.

It just doesn’t feel real. I’ve been lucky in that nobody I knew directly has passed away since I have been old enough to understand and remember emotions. Until now. Even though I barely knew her.

I’ve cursed at whatever greater power there is. When we had our get togethers for her yesterday, I felt like we were only allowed to be in a sombre mood all throughout. I’ve noted how quickly people reverted to past tense when referring to her and resented them for it. I’ve berated people in my head for only describing her as beautiful when I’m sure she was a lot more than that. I’ve questioned whether it’s really right for people that barely knew her to post on Facebook about the death and tag her, shouldn’t only her close friends and family have that privilege? I’ve woken up thinking that somebody is surely just playing a huge joke on us.

My tears won’t make a difference, nor will my words of condolences. Why does this world have to be so unfair and so cruel?

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Netherlands: Day One

First steps on the European continent
We landed in Amsterdam around 3 o’clock in the afternoon. The plan for the rest of the day was to make our way to the first accommodation (most of the accommodation I booked was via Air BnB) and then get food and much needed sleep. After gathering our luggage, we made our way to the airport train station. My travel companion had to go to the toilet which left me a long time to just sit at the station and gaze around (isn’t Youtube wonderful! This is the first time I’ve actually uploaded something on there, might do it more now since it makes sharing videos so easy!). The station had numerous stores and eateries lining the vast floor space. The trains were another level beneath.

For my trip, I had decided to purchase a travel SIM from Australia Post which allowed me to have both internet access and calling capacity (as long as my phone didn’t run out of battery, which it did. Should’ve brought a battery pack.). It was a little pricey ($40AUD for the SIM and credit) but in hindsight it was well worth it. It just meant I didn’t have to worry about dodgy connection which I had read was common amongst some of the cheaper travel SIMs. They were running a campaign at the time and I even got a bonus 1GB of data which turned out to be more than enough for searching info and checking the maps.

I had planned on relying on the public transport system for majority of the trip as I had read it was very reliable and convenient. In Netherlands, there is a card system which is available throughout the entire country called the OV Chipkaart. There are essentially 3 types of cards depending on whether on your intended use, along with a host of discounts/plans that you can load onto your card. There was a counter at the train station so it was super easy to get ourselves the anonymous card. If you’re from Brisbane, it is basically like the Go Card. NS is the company that manages most of the public transport in the country. Before the trip, I downloaded their app which came in super handy because after I enter my destination, it picks up where I currently am and then tells me the exact steps to get to my destination. It tells me how long I have to walk, which platforms my mode of transport will be on, the duration, and the cost for the trip.

I did enough research beforehand to know the basics but I did not plan out the details of every journey, not even the first. So I probably could have saved a bit of money if I had planned better but I am also a massive fan of just winging it and am lucky enough to not be hampered by the higher price tag that comes with this style of traveling. Having said that, public transport does get a bit pricey if you’re traveling even within about a 15km radius. I think as a rough guestimate, I probably ended up spending around €400 for my entire trip. Though I must state that did a lot of “long distance” travel (i.e. traveling from one town to next) for my matches. If you’re on a tight budget, I highly recommend a bit more prior planning as well as making use of the Dutch equivalent of our car – bikes. I did want to ride a lot more than what I actually ended up doing but that’s another story.

The only other thing I pre-booked prior to the trip was the Holland Pass. It is a discount card which lets you do several touristy things “for free” depending on which level you bought (I mean, it’s not really “free” as such since you paid for it beforehand but it’s discounted). It is worthwhile if you are spending more than one week in the country, or have enough time to do at least the main attractions you bought for. I did not end up using the card for its money’s worth (part of the “other story”). In a way, it was very fortunate that I did not end up using the cards because I was able to offer it to my last hosts of the trip, with whom I had a very good connection with. More on that later. Anyways, I collected our pass at the train station before we left for our accommodation.

In the eyes of the beholder…
The journey to our first accommodation included a train ride, a bus ride, then a little bit of walking. It took us a little bit to work out how to use the OV Chipkaart but got there in the end (tip: when in doubt, always spot the locals and watch them like a hawk).

This first train ride was maybe my favourite train ride of the entire trip. From the moment I stepped off the plane, I just had this sense of wonderment in me. Probably because it’s my first time in this completely foreign land but I think maybe because I almost instilled the belief that everything in this country was going to be amazing and superior (??). I think I had a very positive vibe of Europe and the way things are run over there prior to the trip, not that I knew a lot about the details of the region though. (It’s hard to explain, sorry if it doesn’t make sense since I’m not very good with words.) Anyhow, to this day, I still vividly remember the excitement and wonderment I had while simply sitting on that train and observing the locals as they went about their day. Everything was new to me even if they were not doing anything out of the ordinary. There was a group of primary school aged girls that came on the train one stop after we got on, accompanied by two adults. It looked like they had been on a school excursion even though it was a Saturday. As I sat there watching, I was simply absorbing how raw and innocent their interactions were (maybe not to do with them being Dutch more so to do with their age). They were not afraid to show their momentary unhappiness with one another, nor were they unafraid to share their laughter when one of them fell as the flip-up seat lifted when she stood up without making their friend feel too embarrassed. I think I had a magical bubble around me that day.

The rest of the journey to the accommodation was similarly magical. When I stepped off the bus and walked off the main road into the local streets, I was once again left a little gobsmacked. I hadn’t looked up many photos of Netherlands beforehand; my expectation was for it be be full of high rises and being crowded, given that it’s Europe where there is little land and millions more in populations than Australia. As I walked, all around me were these small, one/two storey houses with large glass windows, and front yards filled with blooming flowers. There was really one word to describe it all – quaint! There were quite a few cats wandering the streets as well.

The Little Blue House
That’s the name the hosts gave their little granny flat at the back of their yard. It was a separate building which they had constructed themselves, with inbuilt kitchen and bathroom. The interior decoration had a touch of Chinese influence to it. It was the perfect accommodation for our time in Amsterdam.

The long but scenic way
After we unpacked and did all the other stuff, we decided to go find dinner. The hosts suggested that there is some restaurants towards the harbour area, and so we decided to go that direction. We decided to not take up his offer of his bikes and walked instead. Lucky we took his offer of the umbrella though, because it started to pour later on. The walk turned out to be a lot longer than we anticipated.

It was probably around 8pm when we set off and it was still pretty damn bright. There was a vast piece of farmland basically about 5 minutes walk from where we were staying which I never expected to see so close to the city. Eventually the houses turned into boat houses, where the living area was literally right next to the water. Almost all the house windows were uncovered such that I could see into all of them and I projected this feeling of warm coziness paired with relaxed comfort in all these houses. We also walked past this area with some tall apartment accommodation (in contrast to what we saw earlier) and it almost felt like it was a  student accommodation area. There was a small soccer field (maybe similar to an indoor court) with metal cages as the two goals. There were a small group of teenage girls there, with one kicking a ball. If I was not wearing thongs, and delusional from my long flight, and starving to death, I would not have hesitated to join them and chatted.

After we made it past the looooong walk, we finally hit this industrial area with large warehouses all around. I walked past the first “coffee shop” (it’s where weed is sold). Fittingly enough, the name of it was Funny People. All this time, we had not walked past many people. Then as we turned the corner from the coffee shop, a group of teens/adolescent youth was walking past, a few of them with hoodies on, and riding a bike. They definitely smelt like they were smoking weed. They looked at us, and we looked (a little bit, without making full eye contact!) at them. I wasn’t feeling unsafe, but I was definitely apprehensive. Luckily, they just kept going. I reckon they could definitely tell we were tourists. Asians, looking lost, wandering around empty streets. Once they left, I went back to soaking up my new surroundings. The area had a lot of really cool graffiti.

Still we kept on walking and there was nothing restaurant-looking in sight, just lots of large warehouses. Eventually we turned another corner and saw a group of people and I thought “sweet, people = places open, surely!”. Nope, the group of people were there either doing some sort of performance or someone was giving a talk. They looked like they were hippies. But that was where I saw the cool face drawn on this round drum sitting on its side. Then not far from there, I heard a lot of voices and what looked like some sort of outdoor restaurant. However, it wasn’t long until I started smelling all the weed. There were lots of people at this outdoor lawn area, it was surrounded by lots of bikes and a few large trucks and some vans/cars. The crowd was quite loud and exuberant. We walked around the perimeter checking it out and then walked to what we thought was the entrance. We only walked in a few feet before realising that it’s probably more for just smoking weed than a restaurant for sit-ins. Not exactly what we needed at that time. So we backtracked and kept walking, now coming across a few more not-weed-smoking people and a few that even looked like tourists. We hit the edge of this bridge and wandered a few steps onto it before deciding that it wasn’t the right direction to head. Again we backtracked and then out of nowhere, we stumbled upon a festival! Eureka!

I have no idea what the festival was about but I found out later it was called Over Het Ij Festival. There was some food stands and other stalls along the pier but my travel companion was not the type for food stands. Luckily there was a restaurant to the right which we wandered into. It was packed. Mind you, this was already almost 10pm at night (though it was a Saturday night). We asked for a table for two and was seated in the middle of the restaurant floor. The interior wasn’t anything special, just a normal looking restaurant with a bar, and a second floor with more seating. The guests inside were mostly enjoying a meal in small groups, many of them looking between 20-40, all dressed in my opinion, pretty casually. I really enjoyed the energy present that night. The waiters were flat out with all the guests but we eventually got our food. I ordered a couscous dish. It was great that the menu had both Dutch and English. All the waiters we talked to spoke great English too.

Mozzies and their human equivalent
I’m a mozzie magnet unfortunately. I even specifically asked the hosts if there were lots of mozzies in Netherlands after they suggested we leave the windows open and they said no. Lesson learnt, just because the mozzies won’t attack anyone else, they will always come at me no matter what. God damn. I probably only had about 2-3 hours of decent sleep before I started hearing the buzzing sound of a floating mosquito. Even the thought of that buzz is making my hair stand right now. For the rest of that night, I was sleeping in fear (not even exaggerating).

Then there was my travel companion. I had an expectation of what she was like before the trip, but it ended up being so much worse than my expectations. And it began from the very start. I’m not going to give too many specific details in the public domain but I will say that I have met a few quite inconsiderate people in my life, and unfortunately she very quickly imposed her presence on my list. That night was the first of many nights of little to no sleep because of the light and noise she created.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Netherlands: Day Nought

Finally going to write about my trip! I went to the Netherlands (and Europe) for the first time this July.

When traveling is for more than traveling
In case you didn’t know/I didn’t tell you (I have forgotten what I’ve written in the past now), the main reason I was heading to the Netherlands was to watch the Women’s Euros football. I got carried away when buying my match tickets (before I even booked anything else, including plane tickets) and ended up buying match tickets from the opening match through to the final. So that meant my trip was going to span almost 4 weeks. Then I figured since I’m flying that far, I might as well tack on some work related site visits. After all, it’s always interesting to see how other people deal with other people’s shit.

Flying is always painful
The flights I booked were relatively straight forward, we began from Brisbane and had a really quick layover in Abu Dhabi, before boarding for the last leg to Amsterdam. The longest flight/s I had taken before this was my trip to America when I went abroad for exchange. I knew from that experience that I hated long flights. After the 14-hour first leg to Abu Dhabi, I knew I had a valid reason. Cramped leg spaces, dry cabin air, definitely-not-michelin-star food sent out at times-when-people-are-sleeping, and toilets that quickly became filthier than ones at a club. Right, I should be fair, the plane facilities were actually better than I envisioned. The seat had a side neck support thing so you could at least attempt to fall asleep without a neck cramp or falling off to the side as soon as you fell asleep. The entertainment system was quite new, although there were not many good movie choices, though it did have live Wimbledon matches. And the food was in fact tolerable. (Etihad airline for any who were wondering.) It didn’t help that my nose/sinuses were blocked and dry and could barely breath.

Don’t talk to strangers
I decided that was bad advice and made a pact with myself to try and talk to strangers and get to know them on this trip so I started off with getting to know my next seat neighbour for the next 14 hours. Being seated on one of the side sections with only 3 seats, and with my travel companion being on one side, the only stranger neighbour I could chat to was the one seating in the window seat. She was an old lady, looked to be 60-ish. I did not directly ask for her name but she revealed it during our conversation by saying she wanted to watch this one movie available in the entertainment system called “Joy”. Joy was on her way to visit her daughter in Bristol, who had decided to immigrate there after meeting her now husband. Both her daughter and son-in-law were teachers and she mentioned that they did not have enough money to fly back to Australia to visit her so she was the one doing the traveling. I could tell from our conversation that she dearly missed her daughter and were really looking forward to spending time with her grandchildren. I almost felt like there was a hint of resentment as she talked about how faraway her daughter lived and her not being able to see her grandchildren grow up. Being of an Asian heritage, it was the norm for grandchildren to grow up with their grandparents and for them to have a close relationship. However, I thought it was rare that someone with a caucasian background wanted such an experience so badly. Maybe someone can correct my inaccurate stereotype. Strange fact: Joy did not once get up to go to the toilet or stretch her legs in that 14 hours (and I found out she was 71!).

Arabian nights like Arabian days, more often than not are hotter than hot
I didn’t even leave the Abu Dhabi airport building and I could already feel the heat seeping inside. Looking out from the windows, I immediately understood why everybody from the middle east wore clothing that covered their whole body – it was practical to do so even if it’s super hot because it felt like there were constantly sand being blown across the land. As it was only a 2 hour layover, it was a pretty swift walk through the airport terminals. The terminals had stores selling all the usual Arabian style souvenirs like toy camels, really colourful mosaic lamps, etc.

Last leg of air travel
The second and last of the air travel legs were a “short” 8-hour flight to Amsterdam. Nothing exciting happened during that leg and I continued to try and get sleep. The flight was on schedule and we finally arrived in Amsterdam Schiphol airport around 3PM local time. I could not be any happier to be walking on solid ground after almost 24 hours of air travel.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

I am a time traveller


Okay, maybe I wish.

But for about 3 minutes this morning, I really thought I was time travelling.

Right, that’s also a lie.

But I did panic for about a minute thinking I had broken my sister’s watch just by picking it up.

Then I was fascinated for the next 2 minutes as I watched all three hands on the watch fast forward (literally!) through to today.

You see, my sister’s watch, which I got for her from Japan a few years ago is somehow (and don’t ask me how) able to flick back to Japanese local time no matter where you are in the world. I.e. you can’t actually adjust the time on the watch… (or maybe there’s like a few countries’ time which you could adjust to but Australia is clearly not one of them). Handy, eh? Lucky Japanese local time is only one hour behind our time.

Anyway, so the watch was in my sister’s bag and it must have lost signal while it was sitting in there because when I took it out, the second hand was flying across the face of the watch and I am sure my eyes popped open much more than what it should for that time of the morning. It wasn’t until the date on the watch changed that I realised what was happening.

So I didn’t actually time travel, though lately I’ve been thinking more and more about what the world would be like if I could time travel and alter certain events in history. Just to satisfy my own curiosity, of course. I am still a believer of everything happens for a reason.

And if you thought this had nothing to do with soccer, well, you’re wrong! I was borrowing her watch so I could time my run this morning. And the reason I was going for a run was to keep my legs moving during the off-season. 


Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Unexpected discoveries

3 days in a row! I hope this isn’t going to give my readers some unrealistic expectation because this definitely won’t keep up.

Going to keep this short, I have in the last year, been exploring a few other different music genres. It all started when my sister showed me this one YouTube cover artist, Megan Davies. I loved the covers she did (mostly with her sister), even though I didn’t know half the songs. Then for some reason, it made me want to start listening to indie music. Handy YouTube came up with a plethora of suggestions when I searched that term, and I immediately fell in love with this one channel, AlexRainbird, because I loved the themes he used for his compilations. Eventually, and I can’t remember how anymore, it led me to a genre of music called Lofi. I am currently so obsessed with this music. I never previously imagined I’d be into this type of music but the more I listen to it, the more I love it! It’s actually super relaxing to read/sleep/write to this type of music. So now I listen to it everyday. It’s so good that there are live streams on YouTube that lets you listen to a whole heap of different tracks. Ahh technology.

We had our soccer presentations for the senior teams last night. I always dread occasions where I have to appear presentable. But knowing the people that will be there made me want to go to a little bit more. Presentations like these can either be a drab or make you cry actual tears. I thought last night was in between, because I didn’t know any of the men’s teams, but I was really happy to see them give equal time to the women’s teams as well. Stepping into the club 2 years ago, my impression was that this club seems to really care about their women’s teams. Last night, I learnt that just 5 years ago, this club was a terribly male dominated club, and they did not even have a premier women’s team. I would have never guessed that when I stepped foot into the club 2 years ago. After I learnt that, I was even more impressed with and thankful for the effort certain individuals have made to build the women’s program at our club to be the best on the coast. It’s no easy feat to change a culture and they certainly seemed to have achieve that in an extraordinary amount of time.

I was also fortunate enough to receive an award, but what makes the award memorable was not the award itself, but the amount of support I had when I received the award. I am not a social person at all. Throughout my whole life I’ve found it super hard to make new friends. I am also what one would consider a classic introvert. It’s not that I don’t like talk ing to people (as I am discovering these last half a decade), I find people ‘s stories fascinating. It’s just that I am also super happy on my own, and need time to recharge after any social interaction. So it’s always been hard to establish deep connections with people.  I don’t think I’m a cocktail personality, one that strikes you immediately; more like a fine wine that ages with time. So I was very thankful for the people who I’ve been able to connect with these last 2 years and very grateful that they celebrated with me.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The ball is neither feminine nor masculine, it just rolls

Yes, this is football related… I understand if you wish to bugger off to enjoy your weekend now. But it’s also related to feminism, so if you’re interested in that, please stay. 

It’s early Saturday morning and I don’t particularly want to start my weekend with a rant. But I am going to anyway because it’s still making my blood boil.

So let’s get straight to the point here, women’s football and women’s football players are lacking a lot of respect, especially from the deeply established men’s game (I know that it’s not everyone, but it’s still a vast majority). To start things off, here is an article that sums up some of the major recent debacles in the saga of women players trying to get fairer compensation for their work.

You see, the argument that many put up is that nobody watches women’s football! Well mate, here are some articles that disprove your argument: article 1, article 2, article 3, article 4.

  • A peak audience of 3.3 million people tuned in to watch Sunday’s quarter-final against France – the biggest ever for women’s football.
  • The England v France game averaged about 2 million television viewers, twice the number of a typical Premier League game on Sky Sports or BT Sport.
  • …peaking at 25.4 million for the Final match and making it the most watched football match in USA history (with reference to the 2015 WWC final against Japan).
  • In a further sign of growing interest in the women’s game, around 17,000 tickets were sold to the first match between the Rio Olympic rivals (Australia v Brazil).

If millions of people is nobody, then I’d like to see your definition of “everybody”. Just in case you didn’t get that clear, more people are watching these games than Premier League matches. I can’t remember the last time anybody said “nobody watches the Premier League” in a serious tone. As for attendance, the average attendance of a NRL (rugby league in Australia) match since 1957 is 12,000. Last time I checked, none of the top rugby players were making a measly $20/30 grand a year, but that is how much the Matilda’s are getting from the federation.

Yes, okay, well some people watch the game, but they’re not bringing in enough money to justify more pay!

First all off, thank you for acknowledging that some people do watch women’s football. Now to your point of money. Guess what, no business can start making without investment. And no business is profitable from day dot. It’s as simple as what you get out is what you put in. People always forget, or are unaware that women’s football was banned for a good chunk of the century around many places in the world. It hasn’t had the same amount of time to develop its markets. So people should start developing the markets and do some actual marketing! You know, if you actually put in some effort into the marketing, as I saw first hand in the Netherlands when I attended the Euros this year, people show up. So yes, there is a market, you just need to work to find them, not much unlike any other business.

Secondly, just because your business is not yet making a profit, it does not preclude the requirement (yes, I believe it’s a requirement, not sure if it’s part of the law but maybe it should be if it isn’t) that you provide your employees (or heck, even volunteers) the right to say a change room or a safe playing field.  Here is one more article (with link in the article itself) as an FYI. It isn’t just about the money, it’s about the basic facilities that are required to do your job. I don’t see any other business getting away with making their employees have no access to say a bathroom just because the business is not profitable yet.

Fine, but women’s football is still shit. I mean, they can’t even win against 15 year old boys

Maybe logic isn’t your strong point, but you’re not comparing apples to apples. Why? Since I figured science isn’t your strong point either, here is why. *Gasp* It’s because women’s bodies are built differently to men’s! Why did I not think of that?! Yes? Maybe? Okay, I’ll let you mull over that one a little longer while I present my second point. (And here is one more article for you to digest in the meantime.)

Did you know that many (I don’t have an official figure from anywhere) of the female players work a second job, sometimes a third job, or are studying at the same time that they’re playing professional football? So not only do they have to work, but then they have to come to training, all tired from work, and be expected to perform at their top standards. Why do they have to do this? Because they’re not getting paid a liveable wage from their first job as a professional football player. You and I have to eat, pay rent, and pay bills to live. These players are no different. They even have to pay out of their own pockets to do extra training so they can be better at their first job. So if they can’t spend all their time focusing on their sport like their male counterparts, how do you expect quality to rise? You know, despite all these obstacles, the quality of women’s football has risen ginormously. It’s not an easily measurable parameter, but if you compare the quality from 10 years ago, or even 5 years ago to now, you’d easily see the progress (if you took off your tinted glasses).

I’m done (for now). I’m not sure if I convinced anybody who weren’t already on this side of the fence, because I once read that to convince someone, it’s not about logic, it’s about knowing how to manipulate their emotions. At least writing this has made me feel a little better about getting it off my chest.

Actually, things are getting better, even if the progress is much slower than it should be.

Here’s a quote from a women player, which I think embodies the attitude all these women have.

Every time you fall down, it gives you an opportunity to question yourself, question your integrity. It’s not about the actual failure itself, it’s how you respond to it.

– Abby Wambach
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

When the ripples from the fallen leave settle

I think this is the umpteenth time I’ve said this, but I need to write more! As well as this blog, I also keep a personal journal (handwritten like the good ol’ days). Except my last journal has been quite scarce, just like this blog! Last night I went back to read a few entries, and lucky for me, there were only a few entries to read. There were gaps of months in between some of the entries, in which a lot of things did happen! So I think I really need to stop being so lazy and start writing more. Given my poor time management with the number of things I’m committing to, I’ve decided to make a compromise and start typing out my entries from now on, because I can type faster than I can write.

What prompted me to look back through my journal was of course, football! (One day, it’s all going to come crashing down, and I will absolutely loathe football.) So umm, yesterday I got a call from my coach for this season (who also happens to be the director of coaching at Buderim) to inform me that they’re officially going to offer me a coaching role for next season at the new entity of Sunshine Coast Wanderers. While I was not super surprised at the time of the call, I was definitely caught off-guard the day before when he first mentioned to me the possibility. The role was not one I had initially applied for (though I did say I’ll help out in whatever capacity is available), and I did not have a clue that I was even considered for that role. But he called me yesterday to make the offer official, and after some deliberation from me (it was only brief because I think it’s such an honour to be even considered for these roles given my immense lack of experience, especially compared to some of the other candidates), I decided why the heck not. The role which I have accepted is coaching of the girls under 11-12s Skills Acquisition Program.

When my coach first mentioned to me on Wednesday night about this, I wouldn’t say I was disappointed because I didn’t really ever imagine myself in that role, but I definitely was not super excited about it, unlike when I was unofficially informed that they’d like me assist the U17s team. I guess from my previous experiences, I thought that I wanted to work with older teens, the ones who have already established a firmer sense of why they’re here doing this. However, once the news really sunk in yesterday, I did get super excited about it. I was fortunate enough to have interacted with all the junior girls’ teams this year as a coach and have gotten to know some of the players. As I mentioned in my previous post, I found myself quite invested in their performances. Actually, from my weekend of watching the grand finals, I realised one very important thing. This year has been my most fulfilling soccer season, and the reason for that is that I’ve had the privilege to watch young players grow and be a part of their growth. After the phone call yesterday afternoon, still a little dazed from the news, I recalled what I learnt. That’s when I began to realise the enormity of this opportunity. That’s when I began to realise this is exactly what I wanted, and I didn’t even realise this until it was thrusted upon my face.

Because from the very beginning when I made the decision of becoming a coach, I made the end point as becoming a world renowned coach (they say if your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough; reading this now on display to the public for the first time, it still made my heart skip a few beats out of fear of its boldness). As my journal entries indicated, that was my driving force, my end goal. I didn’t think I’d ever get there, but I’ll keep working towards it anyway. Throughout this process of working towards that end goal, I realised that I’ve found something I enjoy much more than I would probably enjoy the end goal itself, and that was the satisfaction of watching players grow and develop. There were many times throughout the season when I was frustrated and temporarily defeated, but when I see them play to their potential, it erases all that frustration. The epiphany of finally being able to truly live the “enjoy the process, not the outcome” was invigorating. It felt like a huge milestone in my psychological development. So now I am seeing the big picture clearer than ever, the dream of becoming a world renowned coach is an outcome. The process of developing players into and beyond their full potential is the real end goal. And this new opportunity I have been given to help develop these young girls is part of the process.

How you climb a mountain is more important than reaching the top.

– Yvon Chouinard
Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

A box of chocolates

The title to this post suggests that this will be an assortment of random thoughts, because why not. Also, sorry not sorry for another too-many-words on soccer/football. 

I love the rainbow banner at the top of WordPress right now. A bad habit of mine is to read other people’s comments on the interwebs. And I have read the thoughts from the non-supporters about the motives for businesses to express their support for equal marriage. Non-supporters say that these businesses simply want to appeal to their target audience to improve their public image. I would likely never know the truth, but I do not want to second guess their motives and am happy to see their public support.

While I’m still on this topic, I have been quite surprised at some people’s views about this topic. This isn’t a topic that I talk about in any stretch of depth with people before. But since the plebiscite is front and centre of the news lately, it’s being discussed. I have been wearing a small rainbow badge on my work uniform for the past few weeks since I joined (or rather, been instructed to fill the quota) the diversity group. While not everybody has noticed the badge, I have been watching people’s reactions to those who have noticed it. There were a few who have seen it because I saw the flicker in their eyes, but chose not to publicly acknowledge it. But I’m happy to say that those who did notice the badge and chose to discuss the topic was a greater number than the previous category of people. Surprisingly (or maybe in more thought that is unsurprising), everyone who did choose to talk to me about it was fully in favour of it (although one did seem like he was just going with the flow for the sake of not being offensive).


It’s been… 4 months since I last posted (I know, I know, even I am amazed by my own procrastination skills). My holiday has come and gone, and I can’t believe it’s been a month already since I’ve come back to everyday life. I’ll post more about my holiday over time, but you can read my not so short summary here if you need a tie-over. No guarantee when I’ll get my holiday posts up though, since I’m even procrastinating on doing a journal log on it!!! But if you want a really really short summary: “Soccer! *Heart eyes x 1 bajillion*”


Nice segue (not gonna lie, I spelt segway at first, good thing I decided to not trust my spelling) to my next segment on soccer (while I was on holidays, I finally switched over to calling it football out of the environment, but I’ve now switched back to using soccer because that’s what everybody uses here).

I mean, soccer!!! Why I care so much about a game where you run around chasing this round ball is beyond me. But god damn, another emotional couple of weeks for me over this damn game. Where do I even start? Well, let’s start from when I left for my holiday and the guilt I felt leaving the team to fend for themselves while I’m off watching the pros play; the weight of sadness sinking in when it finally hit me I would only have a handful of games left with the team after I am back from holidays; and my dread over losing the match fitness I gained during the season and having to work my way back again.

But those negative emotions were very quickly replaced by my bajillion heart eyes that I gave while I feasted over the best of European women’s football (see what I mean!). Like serious heart eyes. I was just short of drooling over how good they were. Not to mention the high I was on when I jumped on the Dutch bandwagon. Interspersed between all the heart eyes were some wide eyes when I learnt that my team lost rather epically to a team which we should have never lost to.

Two weeks after I came back from holidays, we were into the finals series. The few days leading up to the finals, my mind was volatile, even though at the time it didn’t seem that way. Looking back, if there was one thing I need to tell myself, even though I think I subconsciously tried to tell myself then, is to trust. Trust myself, and trust my teammates. In hindsight, I think because of my lack of trust, I felt like I had to carry the team, and I did not deal with that expectation very well during the game. I got way too flustered, and just could not dig myself out of my mental hole. I still think it was my worst game of the season. After we lost, I lost sleep, again. I felt like I let myself down, let my team down. Now I look back, I can say it was a lesson learnt. At the time, quitting altogether not only crossed my mind, it was seriously considered for a couple of days.

The several weeks following our season-ending loss, I was inputting my energy into supporting the other Buderim teams that were still in the titles hunt. Trained with the “A Team” because they did not have enough players; felt inadequate and annoyed that I could not mentally switch over to their style of play and pace immediately and once again questioned why I would even bother trying out for the NPL next year. Kicked around in the U16s training and was continually blown away by the amount of talent some of these young players have and the style of play the team has developed.

Last night and today I watched on as our Buderim female program continues to make its mark on the Sunshine Coast region. Pride, admiration, nervousness, excitement, elation and heart break. All these emotions flowed through me as I watched: our Premier Women win the grand final undefeated for the entire season while conceding only a handful of goals; our Division 3 team kick butt in their grand final, also undefeated for the entire season; our young U12 girls push their physical and mental limits to draw a team they’ve never beaten during season at the end of extra time, and then went on to win their grand final in the penalty shoot out; and our U16s lose a heart breaking grand final as they also went through their season undefeated but fell just short of holding the grand prize.

I’d like to elaborate a little more on the U16s’ game (for my memories, since I’m too lazy to write it down in my journal). I mean, that was really a roller coaster of emotions all in one match. Like I mentioned above, this was a pretty talented bunch of girls and I was really rooting for them to win. I had played with a few of them on my team, and over the last few weeks have gotten to know them a little more through training with them. They went through the whole season undefeated, relatively unchallenged, then in their preliminary final, lost to the second placed team. First loss of the season, and some of them were a little worried, but everyone seemed to have each other’s back and they concentrated on winning their second chance semifinal. No problem there. Then came today, match against the opponents they lost against in the preliminary finals. The match got underway, and very quickly, they were able to score one. Even though they dominated most of the play, the opposition managed to claw one back. Just before half time, the U16s were able to put another one away (thanks to goal-scoring extraordinaire who showed my team how to score a few when she filled in for us). 2-1 half time score. Second half rolled around, Budo scored another early goal to go up 3-1. Still dominated possession and really should have had another 2 goals at least (goal-scoring extraordinaire had 2 clear cut opportunities she probably should have put away). 10 minutes left to go, I was feeling pretty elated for them that they were going to win this thing. Except the universe had other plans. Two lapses in concentration in the last 10 minutes costed them 2 goals and the match went into extra time. In the last 5 minutes of regular time, I started to see panic in their play. As the full time whistle blew, my heart sank. The team only had 1 sub, while their opposition had 5-6; playing 80 minutes with just 1 sub requires stamina, but playing extra time with just 1 sub required even more stamina, the odds were not in their favour. As I watched the opposition score an early goal in extra time, my heart sank even lower as I saw the body language around the team. This was going to be a huge mountain to climb. Despite their physical tiredness that has clearly set in by now, the girls never gave in, they chased every ball they physically could, pushed the opposition defence as far as they could, but the goal just would not come. With several minutes left on the clock, they managed to secure a corner, which turned into a series of corners. But they were dead tired by that point, and the last corner (unfortunately taken by goal-scoring extraordinaire) that was taken, with less than a minute to spare, went straight out for a goal kick. I think that was when my heart really broke for them because she was already on the ground crying, before the final whistle even blew, knowing that she had the chances to help her team win. Not long after, the final whistle did blow, and I saw the girls drop to the ground, several of them crying. If a heart break could be translated into a visual, that was it.

Whilst my heart is still breaking for the girls, I also found myself extremely excited at the prospect of watching these young girls grow and develop, and at the though of perhaps being contribute to their growth as a coach, and perhaps as a teammate in the coming years. All these emotions over a game chasing a round ball. I think that’s why people call it the beautiful game.


I started learning Swedish! Because after I came back from my holidays, I had the urge to learn another European language, in the hopes that one day I will be able to communicate with the locals who can’t speak English! Duolingo has been quite a fun tool to use for this.

Speaking of learning, I need to get back onto my ukulele…

And speaking of getting back into things, I need to start blogging/writing more again!


Until next time (which hopefully isn’t 4 months from now!).


Ending this with a quote from one of my favourite tennis players. This quote captures his idea of how tennis is intertwined with life, and that is how I view soccer and its connectivities with life.

“It’s no accident, I think, that tennis uses the language of life. Advantage, service, fault, break, love, the basic elements of tennis are those of everyday existence, because every match is a life in miniature. Even the structure of tennis, the way the pieces fit inside one another like Russian nesting dolls, mimics the structure of our days. Points become games become sets become tournaments, and it’s all so tightly connected that any point can become the turning point. It reminds me of the way seconds become minutes become hours, and any hour can be our finest. Or darkest. It’s our choice.”

Andre Agassi
Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Holiday planning

Sometime earlier this year, I decided that I wanted to try fit in two holidays every year if possible because life is too short and the world is too big and work never stops anyway. I had the destinations worked out pretty early on and I thought that I had plenty of time to book everything. I didn’t expect time to go by so quickly though! It is now May and my first holiday is coming up in July, so I’m starting to stress just a tiny bit.

My first holiday is to The Netherlands and it was decided on around last November. The sole (let’s not kid ourselves, it really was the only purpose) purpose of the trip was to watch the Women’s Euros. I booked my match tickets before I even booked the flights because surprisingly, the match tickets were mostly sold out. After I got carried away buying my match tickets (I’m going to see 8! matches), it dawned on me that this would cause the whole trip to be almost 4 weeks long, which was much longer than I initially planned to go for. Buuuuut, tickets were already booked and there was no way I’m missing any of the matches! So I guess I’ll just have to suck it up. Since I’m over in Europe for so long, it really did seem like a waste to just stay in The Netherlands, which was my original plan. I eventually tacked on some work-related site visits (because most of the new technologies from my industry comes from there and also it means I can claim some expenses on my tax return) and expanded the destinations to include Germany and Belgium. The tricky bit about planning for this trip is trying to work out an itinerary that will fit around the match times/locations (the matches are played all over The Netherlands) and work arrangements. As of right now, I still only have my flights and match tickets booked. Hopefully the work contacts get back to me this week about times for the site visits and I can start booking my accommodation soon. Once I get accommodation sorted, I think I’ll be a lot more comfortable.

My other holiday was also originally going to be a lot shorter but things/life happen and now it’s looking to be a 5 week holiday! The thing that stresses me out most about this holiday, besides the fact that nothing has been booked yet, is that I will need to somehow get another 5 weeks of leave approved by work. My managers are usually super chilled and flexible about us taking holidays but this year is a little different because my direct manager is taking long service leave for 6 months and it coincides with when I want to take my second holiday. Staff levels are already low, plus I’ve already asked for so much leave, so I’m a little nervous about asking for more. Hopefully they’re super nice about it and let me take another 3 weeks leave (I already have the first 2 weeks approved)!

I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again, I love planning for holidays, whether it’s my own or somebody else’s. The only thing that puts me off a little is the stress of trying to meet other people’s expectations. Though I haven’t had too much terrible feedback so far so I think I’ll be alright!

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Change is in the air

Quite literally. After Cyclone Debbie came and left, the weather has finally taken a cooler turn. People like to say that talking about the weather is such a small talk topic, but I like to think it’s such a good conversation opener given how much weather affects people’s moods. Except I’m just not very good at talking so it doesn’t quite work for me.

In any case, I am super happy that we are finally experiencing Autumn-like weather, even though we’ve been in Autumn for over a month now. Actually, the weekend was rather hot and I was afraid we would go back to being Summer-like again.  Not that I don’t like Summer; I love the early sunrises and the longer daylight hours. The problem is that I sweat so easily these days, added with the fact that Summer coincides with pre-season (meaning games being played in the middle of a 40 degree Celsius day) and that my job requires I walk in the 40 degree C temperature with long pants and long sleeves that don’t allow air circulation, I was perpetually tired from dehydration. Also, mosquitoes.

Autumn is my favourite season, mostly because it’s just perfect. I am not sure if I can explain in words why it is perfect. It just is. I love stepping out on an Autumn morning into the cool air. Even though we don’t get it where I live, but I love seeing the colour changes in trees during Autumn. I love the way leaves fall from trees with a slight breeze. I always feel a slight sense of nostalgia in Autumn, or of melancholy. It sounds weird, but I think I have an addiction to these feelings. It almost makes me feel at peace. See, this sounds so weird because I just don’t know how to put into words. But Autumn makes me feel happy.

Delicious Autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the Earth seeking the successive Autumns.

George Eliot
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment