Tuesday, December 10, 2013

We are in the day in age of people trying to find their 'HAPPY'. We focus so much on how we can capture the feeling of happiness and just BE happy all the time and then find ourselves so disappointed when it isn't there ALL the time.

When you think about how you talk to the people around you on a daily basis, think about what most of your conversations consist of.. your plans for the upcoming moments; what you will do in the upcoming weekend, where you will travel in the upcoming summer...because for sure those moments HAVE to be full of happier times than what you are feeling in the present moment right?

I'm guilty of it. And I think it is safe to say, the tougher life becomes, the harder you feel yourself clinging to the UPCOMING moments. Then, life turns in to one big waiting game.

Thinking about these moments are great, that is undeniable; they help us get from one event to the next. But, don't forget to live IN the moment. And stop waiting for someone else to create your own happiness.

Sometimes you just have to get up and go get it yourself, even if all the cards are stacked against your favor and the universe seems to be plotting against you. It's ok to feel this way. Acknowledge it, turn your face to the sun with your chest out and a great big smile and just scream, "BRING IT ON LIFE". Because you are strong enough and you can do it.

Stop waiting, go get your happy. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

No feeling like tournament time! Good luck to my Aggies as they start the first round of NCAA's today in Austin, Texas! Ich drücke meine Daumen für euch alle aus Deutschland! #tbt #aggies #takemeback 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Cooking a true American Thanksgiving in a small euro apartment

Ladies and Gentleman: The Thanksgiving bowl 2013
We achieved  the impossible last Sunday, it took three separate kitchens, 2 Americans, an 8 Kg turkey, a huge cart of groceries, and 5 willing Euros to test our thanksgiving cooking skills on….and in the end we passed with flying colors.

How do you know you've had a successful Thanksgiving? You are lying on the floor in pain and agony laughing uncontrollably and for reasons you can't explain.. this is what we call Turkey drunk. This happened. Being the Americans we proudly wore our stretchy pants, filled our Thanksgiving Bowls (we went for bowls this year instead of plates, maybe because of lack of dish ware, but in the end…life changing) multiple times and chowed down on our hard work. 
Dish ware and utensils provided by Apartment #3, danke Alyssa!
Come starving, leave bulging. Success. Love these girls.
Just cutting like a pro.
The full spread. YUM
You know your kitchen is too small when... cooking moves to the floor
Chopping up a storm, Apartment #2

Bagging/Cooking the turkey, Apartment #1

We ended the evening playing a crowd favorite, "Pin the tail on the Donkey" But in the spirit of the holiday and apart of the awesome Thanksgiving care package from Alyssa's mother in America, we played "Pin the sparkly feather on the Turkey" ..hilarious to say the least.

Our one feathered big footed turkey standing on grass near a lake, next to the setting sun and a fire. Yup. Nailed it. 

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and one of the hardest for me to be away from America during, but I have been fortunate every year overseas to be apart of bringing the great American tradition to my euro friends, and nothing warms my heart more than seeing their faces when they see the bird they are going to eat and the serious spread of food we prepare. 

As much as I miss being away from my wonderful family on this holiday,
20 family members chowing down at my house in Colorado this Thanksgiving <3
I am very thankful to be able to share apart of my culture with another part of the world. 

There is always something to be thankful for, and this year I am thankful for a great American to share this holiday with of preparing and gorging ourselves with pounds of food. I've been solo Americano the past couple of seasons and I have been loving the company of such a great individual in my life this year; she brings me laughter, the ability to speak quickly aka American mumble, without having to think and stories and memories for a lifetime. This Thanksgiving wouldn't have been near as memorable without this wonderful gal. 
My Hamburger American other half

And it wouldn't be a holiday without a Jimmy Fallon sing a long. This is SO great. 

Happy Thanksgiving from my small euro apartment to your home :) 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Putting the Passport back to use to familiar lands!

I'm not in Germany anymore but I am back on familiar ground.. former Yugoslavia. My first sign I was back? Lunch..Juha Juha Juha Juha aka soup! Soup for every meal, oh how I love it and it brings back so many memories! :)
Goveja Juha (beef soup)
I am not in my beloved sLovenia but a nearby neighbor, Bratislava, Slovakia. A city I played in many times during my stint in Slove land. We are playing in an arena I have not played in and is also a very chilly one. The snow flakes are flying, winter is officially here and there isn't a whole lot of heat being produced in the gym. The sun is shining though and we are ready to rock and roll in to the next round!
Morning drive to practice
We play the second half of the first round of CEV challenge Cup tonight at 5pm Slovakia time and there is a live feed!! Last week they came to us and we won in 5! 

Last week the 1st half of round 1 in Hamburg..W 3:2

The Arena in Bratislava that is as cold inside as it is outside..Bundle up! 
Outside of the Arena


The month of November is coming to a close I honestly have no idea where it went. But that means 2 things. Those participating in "Movember" should be having some pretty beautiful faces and a lot of added perks according to this!
My brother is participating in the mustache fad and he can attest to every one so they must be true...you lucky mustachers you! 

Also my favorite holiday is around the corner..THANKSGIVING!!! I have a fellow American with me this year and next Sunday will be our big turkey day! We are excited to bring our Americanness to our fellow Hamburgers :)

I have 20 different stamps in my passport, you would think I would have airport security down by now! But we are in Germany and they do have their rules, learned a new one this trip...yogurt doesn't pass! Who knew? Well wasn't about to waste it so there I am 7 am hanging out with the security guard as he watches in awe as I consume my breakfast..no wasting here, glad I packed my spoon! Highlight of my day haha

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Ich glaube mein Schwein pfeift!!

I have a new favorite saying in German, "Ich glaube mein Schwein pfeift"
If you translate it directly it means, "I think my pig whistles"

HUH?? Yup, apparently when you have a whistling pig, it stresses the importance of how dumb a situation is that someone did or that you are in. Awesome, I am obsessed and it is super fun to say angrily...

Someone cuts me off on the road: "Ich glaube mein Schwein pfeift"
Someone does something that annoys me: "Ich glaube mein Schwein pfeift"
I don't agree with a call the referee makes in a match: "Ich glaube mein Schwein pfeift"
McDonalds is out of my favorite McFlurry flavor: "Ich glaube mein Schwein pfeift"
We lose a tight match: "Ich glaube mein Schwein pfeift"

Haha it's diverse and effective!

I learned this saying and then tried it on my team and after the German girls died laughing, they proceeded to tell me all of the other ones you can use for similar situations. All equally as puzzling when you translate them, but they definitely get the point across haha

"Du hast doch eine Schraube locker" .. you have a loose tire
"Du hast nicht alle Tassen im Schrank" ..you don't have all your cups in the shelf
"Du tickst Wohl nicht richtig" ..you are not ticking right
"Ich zeig dir wo der Frosch seine Locken hat" ..show you where the frog has curls

I'm feeling more and more German every day ;)


Bet you can't guess what day it is? Yep, yet another... GAME DAY!
Tonight we play not for German Cup, not for League but for CEV Europe Challenge Cup
Tonight is the first round against a team I played several times during my years in Slovenia, VK Doprastav Bratislava from Slovakia!
We play them home tonight and next week we travel to play them in their city!

With matches on Saturdays, Wednesdays, Mondays; traveling on Sundays and Fridays.. I have lost ALL sense of feel for what day it is anymore.

While you're waiting for Friday to come along you can watch our match online tonight! 8pm German time!


"This part of life, this part right here...this is called: Character Building" -me.


Random factoid of the week: 'Selfie' was named as word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries. 

Really? Selfie? Yes. That about sums up our generation of social media..yes I am guilty of taking selfies myself and sending them to my friends around the world but I really can not believe it is the word OF THE YEAR! 

"It's frequency in the english language has increased.." ..wait for it, this number is going to blow your mind.. "..SEVENTEEN THOUSAND PERCENT" woah.

Well there's no denying that, so here is my game day selfie in honor of: 


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Things that make my heart smile.. Batkid and dancing game days :)

12,000 people in San Francisco made this 5 year old leukemia survivor's day yesterday. TWELVE THOUSAND.
One of the coolest stories I have read in a long time.
It melts my heart.
What a story.
Check it out------->

Batkid story

Batkid Batkid Batkid


It's GAME DAY!! They never get old for me, they always have that special feel. A day of serve and pass, then eating, cleaning, chilling, napping, eating, and drinking coffee getting ready for the match. This is usually what I do in my apartment on game days to get pumped: (and yes, my dance skills are this good, you can ask my team :)) haha

It's reunion day in Hamburg! Taking on old teammates and our old assistant coach as they come to the land of Hamburger from Suhl.
You can watch it Live! 6:00 pm Germany time!

LOS GEHT'S!!!!!!!


*Always remember you are Braver than you believe, Stronger than you seem & Smarter than you think*

Thursday, November 14, 2013

“Passion. It lies in all of us. Sleeping... waiting... and though unwanted, unbidden, it will stir... open its jaws and howl. It speaks to us... guides us. Passion rules us all. And we obey. What other choice do we have? Passion is the source of our finest moments. The joy of love... the clarity of hatred... the ecstasy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion, maybe we'd know some kind of peace. But we would be hollow. Empty rooms, shuttered and dank. Without passion, we'd be truly dead.” ...Joss Whedon

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

What 5 games in 4 cities in 11 days looks like..

The next 2 weeks are going to be what I am going to call...quite aggressive. But there is a silver lining in my book because it is less than what I originally thought.

Within the next 11 days we will be playing 5 different matches in 3 different leagues; German league, quarterfinals of German Cup, and first round of CEV European Cup.

2 of which are road games; in Aachen, and Dresden, Germany.
The other 3 will be home games.

Initially I thought we would be playing our first round of CEV outside the country in Slovakia which would put us at 5 games, 5 different cities, and 2 countries all within 11 days. 

Now 5 games and 3 different cities with one country is not looking so bad. :)

Nevertheless, it is a lot of matches and this is what it looks like:

A lot of laundry..and no, Europe does not have the convenience of dryers....this will become interesting

All volleyball players know the importance of nail polish...5 games in 11 days? I'm going to need some new paint (and remover)

A lot of snack packs. My best friend's name is Tupperware :).. and peanut butter to go of course!
Germany = Long bus rides. We'll be averaging 4-8 hours each way. Books boooks and more books will be consumed within the next days.
What I'm reading:
DIVERGENT SERIES by Veronica Roth 3rd book just released: Allegiant
NICHOLAS SPARKS newest book just released:The Longest Ride
And my oh so number 1 favorite thing in life.. packing, and unpacking, and repacking. 
 Window gazing out our bus windows translates to: a lot of iPod time.
Here's what I'm listening to right now:
DRAKE hold on we're going home
JAMES YOUNG dark star
KLANGKARUSSEL WILL HEARD sonnentanz sun don't shine
AVICII addicted to you/hey brother
LORDE all of it.

So let the full swing of season take force and let all of our memory cells be with us each time we pack up and take our lives throughout the country of Germany.... but MOST importantly... let us come home with big fat WINS in our pockets and more moments captured like this one: :) ZEIT ZU GEWINNEN!!

Our first match of the 5 game stretch is tomorrow, Wenesday! AND another LIVE FEED! 7:30 German time you can watch here:


Saturday, November 9, 2013

2 LIVE FEED Spiele in 1 Woche!

Yup if you can speak the Deutsch that says both of our games are being played on the LIVE feed this week!

The result of our first game, on Wednesday was success!
A win against Kopenick at home; to advance to the quarterfinals of the German Cup!

Here are the highlights:

My dancing partner ;)

Now we return to regular season play and take on our German opponent, Schwerin, again at home!
Match time is 6:00 pm German time and you can watch here:


I'm on a bit of an Ellen kick right now, I just love her. And what's not to love. She's hilarious.
And since I am not in America and can't watch her show daily, I just watch her YouTube clips online, starting with one and before I know it I've pretty much watched every show, gotta love the internet. 

These are the top 3 videos that I have loved recently... enjoy :)

Being that I skype and face time are such a big part of my overseas life when staying connected with friends and family all over the world I was laughing on the floor on this one..because it's all SO TRUE. I agree Ellen, those videos do nothing for you. haha

In the spirit of Halloween this one is just too good. Haunted house awesomness. Every time I watch it I end up in tears crying. And knowing I would be doing exactly the same thing if I was, and hopefully never have to, go in a Zombie haunted house.

And on a more serious note... Ashton has some pretty good knowledge in this clip to dish. "Work hard, be generous and smart." Hitting the nail on the head. 

 Daumen drücken!!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

spiel tag..GAME DAY..spiel tag!!

Today is our first round of German Cup! 
We play Kopenick @ HOME in Hamburg ab 20:00 uhr German time and you can watch it online here:

Playing for the Cup is a big deal in each country. Yes it is against the same teams that you play in league, but it is a great honor to be in the finals. The Cup Finals in Germany are held in Gerry Webber Stadium in Halle, Germany; in front of over 10,000 people along with the Men's finals. I can't put in to words how amazing this showcase is, I just need one picture to describe:
Yea, I'm speechless too. Today the road begins; round 1!


There are a lot of other Americans playing overseas, 251, to be exact. It is a great support system because you can always find someone to relate to and laugh about the situations you find yourself in and talk about the trials and tribulations you come across day in and day out that describing to someone who hasn't been through this experience is hard to do.

Rachel Adams, went to University of Texas and now is in her 2nd year in Poland, has a great blog and her latest post nails what life is like for us foreigners playing and living in a foreign country on a daily basis. I laughed through the entire thing and literally agree with every, single one. 

For those who are living or lived our experience you will definitely relate and for those who wonder just what exactly it is truly like to live outside of your home country for most of the year you will love this too..

If you're wondering what Germany is like during the month of November, it looks a lot like this:

How does that saying go again...20 cups of tea a day keeps the doctor away? Something like this. 
Thanks to my teammates I did just discover a new bacterial fighting tea with homemade ginger tea with honey and lemon. It's fantastic and I am not exaggerating with 20 cups a day..I'm close. 

I had a conversation with a women the other day going to fitness, and it was a good and bad thing. 
First of all it was entirely in German and I understood everything and was able to walk away from the conversation very confident in my growing Deutsch skills...SCORE! But it was also about how the month of November in Hamburg is a dark rainy one...yipppeeee. 

More tea, please :) 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The History of Euro Halloween…through the eyes of my pumpkins...

Say hello to Stuart, the minion pumpkin :) #2013
It all started back in 2010, my first year in Europe. In a small town Maribor, Slovenia. 

The end of October rolled around and so did my expectations of a haunted 31st. I quickly came to the reality that my dreams of candy corn, pumpkins and witches were not going to be taking place on the streets of Europe.

There were many culture shocks and adjustments that year, but this? No Halloween was a tough one to wrap my mind around. 

Lucky for me, I had fellow Americans surrounding me, an American teammate, my brother a few hours away and my best friend in Austria; we brought the holiday to life. Dressing up, carving and all. Going out in our best costumes on Halloween night in Austria and having a ridiculous amount of stares at why our faces were painted was definitely a highlight of my many Halloween experiences. Halloween 2010= Success.
Dressing up for Halloween in Klagenfurt, Austria

Pumpkin Too Cool #2010

When we do things, we do them all out. Face paint and all

2011 I returned to Europe, but this time sans-Americanos. I was going solo this year. And I wasn't about to have a pumpkin-less Halloween. No thanks. 
And so the tradition began. Pitch my crazy American carving pumpkin idea to my current team and all brave enough to take on the adventure of buying a pumpkin and sinking their knives  in to it, would join!

Dasa's first pumpkin!! Happy happy happy!! :)

And I am happy to report I haven't had a disappointed customer yet. They all end up sharing my love for starting with a lump of orange and turning it into a glowing master piece. 

And no one has disappointed me. In 2012 we even had a one handed carver because her hand was broken and in a cast, no fear; I learned you only need 1 hand and 2 good feet to carve a pumpkin! Awesome!

The year 2013 has proven to be no different. This year being my biggest carving party yet and the result of 5 beautiful, unique kurbis', German style :) 
I would like to introduce you to:
Moot, Bleh, Helga, Hey Mulina aaaaand Stuart


Thanks Mama Valentine for the AMAZING decorations that completed our Pumpkin Party :) 

My favorite entry of the 2013 Annual Pumpkin Carve goes to a late entry by a non euro resident. But it was so good, it didn't matter that it was done in America. My brother. We were chatting the day of my pumpkin carving and I told him what we were up to and he mentioned he wanted to take part, I told him he definitely should. My night came to and end, I sent him my pumpkin, Stuart, and he was impressed. Then I went to bed.

The next morning I woke up to a myriad of text messages and Facebook posts from him. This was the first text:

"I have a sweet idea for a pumpkin. Devoting the rest of my Sunday night to it."

And then the pictures ensued. 
And this was the final masterpiece: 

"I see your minion and I raise you one evil minion"
#2013 MVP 
This pretty much just sums up why my brother is so awesome. I don't even have to explain. I just love it...Congratulations on your MVP Pumpkin Award brother, you never cease to amaze me. :)


There won't be any dressing up this year for us on Halloween but we did get to dress up as 'normal people' and not volleyball players Monday night after training and go to a "Player's Night". An event hosted by one of the newspapers in Hamburg.

The only thing that you need to know from this night was: The. Food. Was. Legit. 
Probably one of the best restaurants in Hamburg. Amazing. 


The favorite of the night: Duck.
It was like Thanksgiving…but wait, isn't it supposed to be Halloween? But, Europe doesn't celebrate either of those…ok, now I am confused and I'm sure you are too. 
Point being, the duck was unreal.


Our next game is next Wednesday at home, the first round of Cup!
We play in 3 different types of leagues throughout the year. The first being, regular German league, the second being German Cup and the last is European Challenge Cup. 

Wednesday we drew Kopenick at home for the first round. The Cup is a win and advance or lose and go home situation. Therefore, we will be looking to pick up our first win of the year and a very important one at that, because advancing in Cup is a BIG deal. 

And I would say after all of the work we have put in this week and a few days to prepare next week we are going to be more than ready!