Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Giving Thanks

Lately, I have had a lot of events and situations that have helped me open my eyes and view things in a whole new light.  It has allowed me the ability to question and observe from so many different angles.  I have been blessed with so many great friends and family that have not only supported me through all of my life's journeys but have also had the decency and courage to be honest with me.  I am thankful I have grown enough as a person to accept their criticism and be able to take it with an open mind.  

As much as I wish for that normal life and to be able to foresee my future, I am so thankful and grateful for the unpredictability and uniqueness of the life I get to live.  It is so fascinating and exciting not being able to see what places I will go and people I will meet and what kind of drastic changes will occur.  However scary this may be at times, I am so thankful to be part of a selected few who not only get to live through these adventures but I also get to open my heart up to whatever it is may be coming and experience life/mind/spirit changing events.  

I am thankful for who I am as a person and my desire to grow. I am thankful that I really do LOVE me for me.  This is one of the most valuable things I have recently learned.  It really doesn't matter who I surround myself with.  If I do not enjoy my own company and love and embrace who I am, I will never be happy.  I am thankful for this year of lessons and growth.  As I reflect on the year 2010 as it is quickly coming to an end, this was a year where I took leaps and bounds as a person and this makes me so excited.

I am thankful that I am content and really happy with where I am and I am ready for 2011 with an open mind and an open heart.

Happy Thanksgiving From Russia


Russia Threadz

And it's not even that cold yet in Moscow.

The Only Way To Be In Russia

I have been obsessed, consumed, infatuated, captivated, overpowered, plagued and dependent upon coffee.  Never once in my life have I been so in LOVE with something so silly.  It is my alarm clock, it is my afternoon snack, it is my bedtime ritual to drink my coffee.  It's like the only constant thing in my life that I can count on being just as warm, delicious, and blissful as the previous cup I had.  I can count on it to make me happy and give me energy.  I can count on it to make my home smell cozy and rich.  And I can count on myself drinking it in overwhelming amounts.
The way I curl my toes and clutch my cup in the mornings as I stare out my frosty window into the snowy world of Russia, makes me feel like I should be in some sort of Folgers commercial.

Yes, this may be incredibly unhealthy but considering I am in Europe, let's all just be happy that I have turned to coffee and not cigarettes.

Until then I will be happy with my instant coffee with milk and two sugars.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Trains, Planes, and Automobiles

Russia has been getting better and better as the days and weeks pass.  I think the amount of traveling we are doing, however unhealthy or mentally and emotionally draining it may be, really helps the time fly by.  This past week we flew four hours over to Omsk which is in Siberia.  We had an amazing hotel and we all got our own rooms.  For those of you who know Europe, know that showers are itty bitty.  Almost to the extent where I have trouble closing the door because someone of my size has hips that are much wider than most Europeans.  But to walk into my room in Omsk and see a shower that will allow me the luxury of being able to bend over to shave my legs made me tickled skinny.
I think I either need to shave or wash my new sweatpants
Our game against Omsk didn't really go as we wanted (we got killed) but we quickly forgot as we embarked on our next adventure to Chelyabinsk by a 14 hour train ride only to arrive at a hotel with maybe a one star rating (on a good day) and a bed that looks like it game from the story book Goldie Locks and the Three Bears.  I have been on many walks looking for some sort of an escape like a cafe or lounge to be able to spend most of my time in while we are here in Chelyabinsk but I have been incredibly unsuccessful and the -14 degree weather was fun at first but now I dread the thought of venturing out into that arctic cold with the reminder that I will spend the following 15 minutes trying to defrost my face.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I'm sure everyone remembers their first trip to Disneyland.  It was the happiest place on earth at age 5 where you could spend the entire day with all of your cuddly best friends that you usually only shared your typical mornings with on the Disney Channel.  My favorite part of the whole experience was the colorful, character filled book that came with the sparkly pen used to get the autographs of Cinderella or Mickey Mouse.  The more autographs I got, the happier I was.

Now at 23 years of age, nothing has changed except for my character covered autograph book.  I think the big kid version is something we grownups call a passport.
When I find out I will be traveling to a new land, I am not excited (at first) about the history or what gorgeous architecture I might be able to see.  I am excited for my new stamp or visa that I get to put into my passport.  I think of what it might look like and what colors it could be.  I even try to imagine what picture will be on the stamp or if there will even be a picture at all.
Just to further help you imagine my love for my passport and the journey of filling up all it's spaces, I spent the two hour plane flight home from Krasnodar looking through my little book of travels, counting the number of spaces I had left to fill, how many places I had traveled to and in what amount of time.  I think I am officially qualified to be a passport nerd.

Friday, November 12, 2010

I can't even begin to explain my relationship with Camilla and how fortunate I have been to be able to have someone like her in my life.  There are no secrets, no boundaries, nothing that is left unsaid.  Even though we don't communicate as frequently as we had when I was still living in the United States, our conversations have maintained the quality, humor, life stories, and our deepest darkest secrets that they held for the past 5 years.  

I think my favorite conversations are those where we admit to each other what we struggle to admit to ourselves.  Those thoughts and feelings that bring shame or guilt that make you feel like your world will explode if these words actually rolled off your tongue and into the universe.  
We all have them.  
It could be as simple as wanting to steal a piece of candy from the local supermarket.  But nonetheless, we gain perspective, we let go of those things that haunt us.  Sometimes it's even occurrences from years before we met that we struggled to admit to ourselves.  But once they are out, it's like the cobwebs and skeletons in your closet slowly begin to fade and we sit back, indulge in our odd form of therapy, and watch our friendship continue to grow as more and more boundaries and walls are broken down.

Oh, how I appreciate and absolutely adore this fantastic friendship.  
It keeps me sane.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sometimes I get nervous that I am passing up so many opportunities by frantically looking for pieces of home here in Russia.  Anything that will remind me of warm summer days, boat rides, family dinners, and sushi (potentially even this Russian pizza which was really tasty) is what I am so eager to find.
But I often wonder what kind of new memories I may be able to create here and every other new place I visit.  I can't help but to feel reluctant to completely indulge and consume myself in the culture, food, and lifestyle.  I guess part of me is just nervous to find something better than what I already love so much or something that may deter me from returning to where my life is or what has been comfortable/the norm for me for two decades.  Maybe I might discover a part of me that wants to travel these far off distant lands and not return home to my family and where I have created so many fond memories.  As stupid as it may sound on paper, it is a truly scary feeling.
I know there is a place inside me that may feel this way and I can sense it emerging.  I usually have no issue of going with the flow (as long as it is my flow) but I finally had my life mapped out.
This is a big deal!
It took a lot of time, stress, and pimples on my T-zone to decide what it was I wanted.
Being recently married, the thing I wanted to do the most was settle down with my husband, start a family, and create a home.  Traveling the world is not what I wanted but what if I look back in 10 years and read this post and feel a burning desire to punch myself in the face?  I look at this incredible opportunity and the chance to be part of the lucky few and to be given something so special, and what is it I want?
To be normal.
Maybe this new opportunity is a sign that the treasure wasn't on the map I had drawn out for myself.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Volley Or Die

Yes, I know this may get annoying but I will probably be including volleyball in most if not all of my posts.  I can see your frustration since I would probably hold the same feeling towards you if you constantly and incessantly continued to blabber on about your profession, but let's all just admit it.....My job is pretty dang cool....sometimes.
But to explain why I am currently feeling this overwhelming joy towards this sport called volleyball is because we won the tournament in Krasnodar AND I played well which makes this finale that much sweeter.  And since I like to bake my cake and eat it too, my leg only hurt a tiny itty bitty bit which is a huge leap in the right direction.
Wait! There is still some more exciting news!
My husband is currently in Poland (which is clearly not the exciting news) so I didn't get to rush home into his warm embrace.  However, I did come home to some white roses sitting on the kitchen table with a note that made me a little teary, wifi throughout my flat, and an unlocked iPhone that is now a fully functioning phone in Russia.

And the award goes to Matthew

How can life get any better at this point?

I will leave you with these pictures from my adventures in Krasnodar.
I'm not quite sure why they call it the Black Sea...looks pretty blue to me.
I don't think we're in Kansas anymore

Monday, November 8, 2010

So This Is What They Call Internet

I feel connected to the world again.  
We are currently in Krasnodar which is right on the black sea.  We have the most incredible view and I can't help but leave the door open constantly just to have that sweet smell of salty air sweep through my room.  It reminds me of home and gives me the warm fuzzies.  The air is warm but breezy.  The lands are covered with willows which sway with the wind and the sky is covered with what I remember to be stars.  I feel at peace being in such similar surroundings even though I am still thousands of miles from home.
I got to play in my first match last night against Kazan.  I played two sets since I have encountered a minor little set back with my pulled quad.  But to stay on a positive note, this is exactly what happened last year in Cyprus at the beginning of my season and it was a fantastic year.  
I'm hoping it's a sign.
But if it is, this is the beginning to a long but beautiful year.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


See all of these pretty pictures?  They were taken by my adorable husband on his journey to Russia and around Israel.
And you know what this means if I have all of his pictures?

Time for snuggling, stealing kisses, dinner dates, winter nights, home cooking, and holding hands.

I am such a happy kid right now.