It has been a while since you last heard from me, so this post is going to be a little longer than usual. There is just so much to tell!

First of all, the reason for me being a little quiet is that I was crazy busy. I am currently in my “fourth” year of my bachelor’s degree. I have had a couple of months of free time (meaning nothing besides training twice a day) and decided to do an internship at Deltares, a well known Dutch independent institute for applied research in the field of water and subsurface. During the period of September to the end of 2017, I was doing research in the field of Water, Peace and Security/conflict.

It was a nice experience to be “working” five days a week (I worked part-time because I live and train in Amsterdam and the internship was in Delft). I learned a lot in about the (cor)relation between water and conflict. I obtained and improved my skills in QGIS and working with geospatial data in general. However, it was also very very tiring. I trained an hour earlier in the morning every day to be able to travel to Delft for work. The evening sessions stayed the same, leaving me no other choice than sleeping an hour less. Together with seven competitions, I had a full schedule!

Over the Christmas holiday, I spend time with my family and fully recharged my battery. University will start again on the fifth of February, so I have some spare time to train a little more. I decided I should go to Italy for training because there are (more) girls to fence with.

A question I have often been asked is ‘Does it really matter whether you train with boys or girls?’

The answer is ‘yes’, and here is why.

Fencing with boys is like learning the answers to questions which will never be asked in a test. The test being a metaphor for a competition. You could say for example that you are practicing to answer multiple choice questions at training, but at competitions, you are asked open questions instead. The required knowledge might be the same, but the way of (formulating) answering is different.  Therefore training with boys is not useless, but you need to fence with girls in order to eventually beat them.

In Amsterdam I have, if I am lucky, one other girl to train with. In Italy, there are between 10-20 girls at training every day. On top of that,  at the club I will train at both coaches are former Olympic Champions, thus they know a thing or two about fencing.

Tomorrow I will travel to Padua to train there until the end of January. I will come back right on time for the SISTA USC competition, for which you are all invited to participate at, or visit as a spectator!