Posted in Fitness, Volleyball, & Motivation, Life Abroad

Tricks and Treats

When I initially thought of the idea for this post it was an acceptable few weeks after Halloween and Thanksgiving and Christmas were still in the near but kind of distant future. Fast forward to today and we are officially 9 days away from Christmas, seriously time is flying so fast. The benefit of me procrastinating with this post is that more tricks and treats have arose in the past month that I can share with you all. So here is my life for the past month or so separated into bitesize little tricks and treats.

Treat #1 – My best friend got engaged!!! I’ve had a number of friends and family get married in the past 5 or so years. I’ve been a bridesmaid 5 times now and have attended many weddings as a guest. All of those have been amazing experiences and I always cherish being a part of a loved ones special day but this time it’s a little different. Kelsie aka my little bit of heaven aka my Kelsie is getting married!!!! The pure joy and excitement that rushed upon me when she told me via FaceTime was seriously overwhelming. I cried. Not just because I’m so extremely happy that she is getting to marry the man of her dreams. But because my best friend is getting married. Crazy I really couldn’t get over it for a few weeks days. It is crazy how many emotions I felt but the overwhelming one was happiness. I’m so happy for her and can’t wait to plan and stand next to her on that most special day.

Treat #2 – Surprises from Topher Grace. One thing that is so much fun about being in a long distance relationship is the endless opportunities to surprise each other. Not only did I get one surprise in the past month but two. Surprise number one was arguably a failure due to my own suspicion. Chris was coming into town for the weekend but not until the wee hours of the morning due to practice on Friday night. He was acting odd that day and I got curious about his practice being cancelled and him making the trip up hours early. Despite my better judgement I cheated and decided to look on find my friends. I know I’m the worst. Low and behold Topher Grace was halfway into Sweden (YES!). I contemplated playing dumb but decided to make dinner for when he arrived instead, essentially a win win even though the surprise element was a failure. Ever since then we’ve vowed not to check find my friends when one or the other was acting suspect. I’m glad I stuck to the vow since he surprised me again a few weeks later by coming to a game about 2 hours away from Copenhagen (more about this game in the trick column). Long distance can have it’s challenges but there is always a way to make an unfortunate situation better.

Trick #1/#2 – We got our butts kicked by the #1 team in the league and then proceeded to lose to one of the teams sitting at the bottom. Ouch. Going into playing Engleholm (1) I felt pretty good and confident that we would compete if not win. Coming out of playing Engleholm I was disappointed that as a whole we didn’t show up and barely gave them a fight at all. The potential of our team is unlimited, when we play at our best I believe we can beat any team in our league and we have won and taken sets from the other two teams standing above us. The trick I suppose is showing up. We didn’t show up at Engleholm (1) and got our butts kicked, we didn’t show up agaisnt Svedala (7 at the time) and lost in 4. We have one more match tomorrow that can be significant moving forward in the second half of season. I for one plan on showing up and have confidence that my teammates will as well.

Trick/Treat #1 – The snow! Okay, if you follow me on snapchat (eege712) you know that I am absolutely obsessed with the winter wonderland that is my life. I really can’t decide if I love the snow or I am just so infatuated by it. Right now the entire town is topped with snow, the lake is halfway frozen over, Christmas lights and stars are hanging in every window, it’s absolutely picturesque. BUT with the snow comes ice and with ice comes broken hips. I have yet to fall completely which is a blessing since my rebel self has been risking it all on my bike but have endured a slight slip or skid every once and a while. Until it melts away I’ll continue to be the “Texan that’s never seen snow” among the village people that are used to their eyelashes freezing over.

Treat #3 – Thanksgiving in Copenhagen. Last month we just so happened to have Thanksgiving weekend off, which is also known as just another weekend in November here in Scandinavia. Topher happened to have it off of volleyball as well so I made the trip to CPH and attempted to host my very first Thanksgiving. In between the cooking and the cooking I managed to get together with one of my favorite girly pops aka sweater girl aka Sarah. Sarah and I spent some time shopping around in the mall and catching up over nachos and drinks the trip included me making fun of Sarah and Sarah wondering if I was always that mean. The answer is yes Sarah I haven’t changed, you’ve just missed me. But back to the cooking. Seeing as how I don’t come from a traditional “American” family and how everything in the states can be “instant” made, cooking a Thanksgiving meal was more of a challenge for me than I presumed. I literally spent at least 10 hours cooking. In the end there was a great meal on the table and good company around it with the help of Topher Grace and Bettina and the rest of the Staal Alstrup gang.

Treat #4 – I finished Grad School. Oh my goodness gracious mio I am so happy to be done with Grad School. After stressing out about a 45 minute presentation where I was expected to sum up 2 years of education, it is finally over. The presentation went somewhat smoothly and I am officially a Master. Yes I have been forcing friends to call me Master and yes feel free to do it too. Having gone on adventures to Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, and across Europe while having to worry about assignments and group discussions I am more than ecstatic to have homework-free adventures. I am extremely grateful for my parents supporting me through this journey of education and know that one day it will prove to be extremely beneficial. Anytime within the last two years any mention of grad school would’ve definitely fell under the Trick column but hallelujah it is such a treat to say, “I’m done”.

Well, there you have it, my past month summed up in tricks and treats. Throughout any season of life there will be both tricks and treats that come your way. If you can find a person that has gone through a period of time without any setbacks or disappointments I would say either you or they are liars. But hopefully your treats always outweigh your tricks. If that isn’t the case then I hope that sometime in your near future they will. Looking forward I’m only 1 day away from the start of my Holiday break including a fabulous Roman getaway. Although I am extremely bummed to be spending a second holiday season away from home, I am so blessed and fortunate to have found a home away from home in Copenhagen.

Wishing everyone the Happiest of Holidays, ever wanderlusting,

IJ

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Posted in Fitness, Volleyball, & Motivation, Life Abroad

‘Tis the Season

Friends and Family,

It’s been entirely too long. The last time I wrote a blog it was beautiful and sunny outside, there were birds chirping (probably the ones living in my ceiling) and I was so excited about the new changes I had made to my blog site. Now as I write it is below negative each day with the ground covered in snow and I am still equally as excited about my beautiful new blog site. Boy how time has flown by the past few weeks ekk months. But the seasons outside aren’t the only ones to enjoy.

I’d love to say that the past two months have been so great causing me to be far too distracted with joy that I couldn’t share what has been going on. That would be a lie. It would actually be the opposite of the truth. The past few months have been a struggle for me but I’ve struggled less and less over time. I’ve never experienced anxiety and self-confidence issues like I have during the months of September and October. The worst part was that I was feeling these emotions towards volleyball, the one part of my life that has always been consistent. The one part of my life that has always come easy. The one part of my life that has been without a doubt my favorite thing to do in the world.

Recent conversations with a sweet friend of mine helped me realize that we need to do a better job enjoying the season of life that we are in and reminding others to do the same. Something that humans in general or maybe just me specifically struggle with is just that. When we are in HS we can’t wait to be independent and in college, when we are in college we can’t wait to be done with school—big mistake watch out for bills, when we are in the real world we are sad we are no longer in college constantly surrounded by friends, when we are single we can’t wait to be married, when we are married we wish we would’ve enjoyed our single life more or can’t wait to have babies, you catch my drift…

Through this conversation I realized that through all the anxiousness and doubts what I need to be doing is enjoying the season of life that I am in. I got so caught up with the results and my performance that I never even looked at the ball. The one thing that is important. Literally all I’ve wanted to do is play volleyball, it’s all I’ve ever known. Now that I am finally given the opportunity to do just that, play volleyball no strings attached, doubts crept into my mind telling me I was not good enough. What I challenge myself to do and others as well is to enjoy the season of life that we are in. How many more seasons will I get to play the sport that I love and call it my job? How much more time do you have in your current season of life no matter what that may be? I don’t know about you but I want to enjoy the season I’m in now and throw the worries out of the window. Long gone are the days of stressing over my worth, the future, or the results. Whether it be about your age, work status, martial status, baby status I urge you to enjoy exactly where you are because where you are is where you are supposed to be. 

Despite the struggles I’ve had on the court, there have still been some hygge times going on in bits and pieces. Our team is now 3-2 in the league sitting tied for fourth. We want to be within the top four of the league come Christmas time so that we get to compete in the Grand Prix Volleyball Tournament in January. We play the teams currently sitting in number 1 and number 2 within the next few weeks so wish us some luck!

My grad school work is so close yet so so so so so far from being over. As I’ve mentioned I’m on my final capstone course and the finish line is near (Dec. 4) the only things standing in my way are a 50 page paper, a 15-20 page paper, and a 1 hour phone conversation about why I should pass featuring a slideshow. Oh my goodness finding the motivation to get all of that done is so tough but knowing I won’t EVER have to do homework again really helps. Seriously, if I ever mention starting any type of education again please tell me not to and starting Dec. 4th I will only answer to Master IJ. 

I’ve continued to enjoy getting to know my village people aka teammates over the past few months. One of the later additions to our team, Nette aka Nette Peit an Estonian outside, has an affinity for shrieking from time to time in practice when a ball doesn’t go quite her way. Literally the funniest thing ever. I’m talking, she thinks the ball is out, but then it ends up being super close and falling in, and as this process is happening in her mind all she can manage to do is scream at the top of her lungs at the horrible misjudgment she’s made. Thinking about it makes me laugh out loud and I’m really hoping we get one of these incidents on film. The world deserves to experience it first hand.

I also got to spend Election Day with two of the girls from the village up North Emilia & Rebecca aka CC aka Magic Hands aka Michael. Side Note: did everyone know the Arctic Circle was a real thing and people live above it????? Just a little fun fact these girls taught me that was an absolutely mind blowing revelation. Anyways, the late evening (around 11pm to 4am) was filled with fika aka Swedish snack time, hot chocolate, Swedish news, CNN, and some tasty glögg. The only disappointing part of the evening was the result of the election. Living overseas it really sucks to be judged by the decisions of “your” nation which technically isn’t “my” nation as a naturalized immigrant, right Trump? Today I am equally as confused as when this whole Trump running thing became a thing. I wish I had words of wisdom to share but really I’m speechless on the matter but hoping for unity and for the best whatever that may look like.

Lastly, I have exciting travel updates as I’ve booked my next adventure to the Ancient City of Rome! I’m SO excited to get to go not only because it’s freaking Rome but also because I’ll be going with Topher Grace. It’s our first trip together and from my previous experience traveling with someone, no matter who that person may be to you, helps you get to know them so much more. For example I learned that with Ricky Bobby we need to take a nap each day to function. Considering he is as into ice cream as I am I think the trip will be a complete success.

Here is to enjoying the season we’re in which will soon include stuffing our faces with some turkey!

Ever Wanderlusting,

IJ

P.S. A little something to make you laugh, I got hit in the face not once but twice in our previous game. That brings my total up to 3 times for getting hit in the face, the first of which was my freshman year of volleyball. Oh the joys of the sport I love.

 

Posted in Fitness, Volleyball, & Motivation, Life Abroad

Defining Moments

This morning as I set up the outdoor tables, blankets, and furs in 30 degree weather (that in itself doesn’t quite make sense now does it) at my quaint little Cafe, Cafe Bopa,  a phrase kept popping up in my mind. Defining moments. What are defining moments? Who decides when they happen and do what they mean?

This past week we suffered another 5 set loss than knocked us down from 3rd to 4th place in our volley liga going into playoffs this weekend. It left me stunned. Our past two losses some would say are defining moments. Having gone through the entire season only losing to the top two teams in the league and then suddenly at the end of our our season going into one of the most important weekends of the year, we now have two losses versus two teams that we beat in 3 the first half of the season.

Defining moments.

What do they mean? Who makes them happen?? Who says they are what they are? I chose to say that I will not be defined by wins or losses. We play the number one team tomorrow. The loss we had on Sunday means nothing. The loss we had last Sunday means nothing. The win we had before that means the same. The effort, the heart, the courage I have as an old woman (dang near 30) that packed her bags and moved across the ocean far from friends and family remains the same. My hope and my ambition is that me and my girly pops do not let wins or losses define us. That we play for each other, that we play for sweet Fred (our current coach and former Olympian coach), that we play with joy, that at the end of this weekend we can say we fought, we worked, we put everything out on the court and left nothing to regret. And maybe, just maybe, the result of that will be a big surprise.

Aside from volleyball this past week has been great. It’s my favorite of the 8 weeks I live off of because it was my break from grad school (yay). Probably the most entertaining part of the week was my Monday morning shift at Cafe Bopa. Last week I mentioned a staff party for my cafe Sunday night. It was great to socialize with my coworkers outside of Bopa and to meet people from the two other restaurants/bars that my boss partly owns. I chose to be responsible since I had the opening shift the next day and called it a night around midnight. The opening cook however did not. Monday morning I came into work expecting him (let’s just call him Chef) to be in not the best shape, but it was even better than I imagined. Chef was locked up in the bathroom till about 8:50 (we open at 9) when I finally decided to try and get him out. Upon knocking on the door and calling his name, he simply knocked back. 10 minutes later he arrived downstairs in the same outfit I saw him in the night before and attempted to put out the morning buffet. Literally so funny, he claims he doesn’t remember the wonderful conversations we had but I blame selective memory since they all revolved around me “breaking his heart” for leaving the party early. No better way to get rid of the Mondays than a hilariously tired zombie of a cook.

Travel alert: I booked my trip to Asia!! Ricky Bobby aka Ericka aka travel partna will not be stranded alone at the Singapore airport come June. I’ll be flying in and out of Kuala Lumpur, just 3 hours north of my homeland Johor Bahru. What I know is that I’ll be spending two weeks in Malaysia with my sweet parents (praise Jesus) and overlapping that, a little less than 2 weeks in Thailand with Ricky Bobby, and then I have a week on my own, in a country TBD. If anyone has suggestions for a girl alone with a backpack crying because her family and friend left the country in southeast lemme know.

As a professional athlete it’s easy to be consumed with wins and losses. It’s easy to begin to find your identity in your sport and your success in that sport. I don’t want to be that player. I didn’t drastically alter my life and trust God to take care of me as I pursue my passion to…win a game? I did so to have the chance to step on a volleyball court and work hard for the 10 other girls on the court and in the gym. Wish us luck this weekend, whether we win or lose, I will do my best to uphold my word and feel okay about whatever the outcome because of my passion and love for this beautiful game.

Ever Wanderlusting,

IJ

Posted in Fitness, Volleyball, & Motivation, Life Abroad

Defeat

Defeat. Pure soul sucking, anger inducing, heart breaking defeat.

The day had started out so promising. It was game day and I was off work so I had the morning to do as I pleased. My roomie Ebola (aka D aka me) worked in the morning but got off around noon and the good vibes were flowing in Room. Later that day we had a match vs Holte the #2 team in the league and we were so hype to play and compete. I’ve probably never felt such good vibes going into a game. We biked side by side to the gym with my bluetooth speaker in my backpack pocket blaring oldies hip hop songs pretending we were jamming in a car. When I say we were hype, I mean we were hype. But what took place later on that evening was far from hype. As I mentioned in my previous post, as a setter I control a lot within a game and after this 0-3 defeat I was really feeling in control of the loss. I seriously can’t describe how much I hate losing. Not only losing but losing in three, for real for real when playoff time comes and we go up against #2 Holte or #1 Bronby we are freaking competing. That’s all I have to say about that.

Praise Jesus, I had something to look forward to past the game. BUDAPEST. It was literally the best time. Good food, beautiful scenery, great company, and boy was everything cheap. Budapest is one of the most gorgeous cities I’ve ever had the privilege to walk the streets of. For the trip it was just D, Amanda (half of the twin towers) and myself (Evyn (other half of twin towers) we missed you!!). Not even 6 hours into the trip Amanda was already saying she knew that it is was a bad idea to go on a weekend getaway with the one two of us, in which we replied you are now an associate. Thus began the associate adventures.

Naturally immediately upon arrival we sought after food and wound up in a restaurant called “Gringos Amigos”. You guessed it, Mexican food in Budapest, makes sense! said no one ever. We were hungry and maybe a little hungover from the butt kicking we received the night prior and there is literally no Mexican food in Denmark, therefore I firmly stand by our decision of making $4 mexican plates in Budapest our first meal.

We stayed in a conveniently located hostel/airbnb in the VII district, Jewish Quarter, which is also known as the party quarter. It was about a mile walk to a number of different tourist attractions and a lot less than a mile walk to ruin pubs and nightlife which made it the perfect location for 3 20 somethings. Highlights of the trip include, shopping at a 4 story mall which may not seem huge to you Americaners but Danes it was HUGE, walking across the lock bridge to Buda Castle, climbing up to Fisherman’s Bastion in front of Matthias Church overlooking the Danube and Pest side of the city, visiting various Ruin pubs (beautiful old stone buildings filled with modern party decor), admiring St. Stephen’s Basillica, enjoying goulash, langos, and other hungarian delicacies, cruising on the Danube at night while tasting 7 Hungarian wines, and laughing until tears rolled out of our eyeballs.

We were also able to catch up with our old teammate Jamie. Jamie just happened to get hired by a team in Budapest, right after we booked our weekend trip. We were so happy to be able to meet her for our first real breakfast of the trip (on sunday) at a great brunch spot called Cirkusz. Up until until then we were waking up around 10am, eating a lunch around 12pm, a post nap snack around 6pm, and a pizza and/or kebab around 3am. After brunch we went and explored Vajdahunyad Castle, Heroe’s Square, and took a glimpse of Széchenyi thermal bath. Later on that day we played adult beverage games in our apartment, before heading out for some dinner and wine. Sunday was a perfect combination of fellowship, sightseeing, and most importantly real food. 

We probably walked about 1000000 miles over the whole weekend. My knees were aching at the end of every day, Amanda had blisters on her feet that I wouldn’t want to touch with a 10 foot pole and D’s joints were pop lock and dropping, not in the good way. But all of this was so worth the memories that I will have forever in that city with those girls. We laughed, we walked, we shopped, we ate, we talked, we danced, we drank, we lived, we made the most of our time in Budapest.

This is the other half of the reason I chose to pick up my things (or leave behind) and move across the world. Discovering different parts of the world is not only a good time, but a humbling experience. We all live in our own little bubble and sometimes it feels like one defeat ends the world. But being able to travel and experience different cultures and lifestyles helps keep my world view in perspective. Getting on a plane back to Denmark I can’t say was bittersweet. Heading back to “reality” wasn’t so hard when you realize your own reality is your dream.

Until next time, ever wanderlusting,

IJ

 

Posted in Fitness, Volleyball, & Motivation, Life Abroad

Sacrifice

I’ve officially lost all sense of time, it’s been two weeks since my last post?Certainly not. The past two weeks have flown by and have been filled with some memories that will last a lifetime and some I can’t even remember now (just ask the girly pops…on second thought definitely don’t ask anyone. Ever.). One win, one loss, one big party, lots of early nights, work shifts, practices, Danish classes, grad school work cafe days, and some sleeping in between but as I sit down to write this weeks’ post on Feb 6th of 2016 I have one major overwhelming feeling: I’m the worst daughter ever. It’s the day after my father’s birthday and I forgot to say a single word to him.

Daddy I’m so sorry!!!!!

I’m the selfish daughter that moved halfway across the world for the second time now, pursuing ambitions that don’t exactly fit into the typical engineer, lawyer, doctor route that a traditional Nigerian father would expect. And then couldn’t even write him to say happy birthday. Seriously the worst. Lucky for me though I have a loving, giving, selfless father that has continuously sacrificed for me throughout my entire life. He responded exactly how I thought he would saying, “it’s okay, I love you too”. (In more or less words).

This made me think about sacrifice. Sacrifice is moving your entire family across the world away from your own family to provide for them the opportunity to have the best life you imagine they could. Sacrifice is driving countless hours through the flat lands of West Texas to watch your daughter play the sport she loves for 1-2 hours and then saying hi and bye in less than 15 minutes. Sacrifice is going to work every single day for half of your life in order to provide for the daughter that doesn’t wish you happy birthday. Sacrifice is letting her pursue her dreams even though on the inside you’re secretly terrified of her going off for some frivolous seeming dream.

I thought that I sacrificed a lot by moving to Denmark . I sacrificed my career as a collegiate D1 coach, my dream job. I sacrificed watching my my nieces and nephews grow up. I sacrificed precious time with my mom and dad, my sisters, and my friends. For goodness sake I sacrificed tacos. But after this horrific mistake of mine I realize that sacrifice runs on a scale. Mine are so minute and selfish in comparison to my father’s big sacrifices based off of love.

Realizing the amount of sacrifice my father has made for my life makes me want to take advantage of the time I do have here. In the past two weeks we played two matches adding one win to our record and one loss. In the match vs the lesser of the two teams I literally had the worst warm up OF MY LIFE. Like legit forgot how to set. It was the most bizarre thing I had ever seen or experienced. The game went on and although we struggled in the first set we played well and had fun the last two sets. Having this little (catastrophic) meltdown of a warm up made me reanalyze my whole role as a setter. Not only do setters HAVE to be apart of every single play but I’m the only healthy setter that we have at every match. I literally do not have the option to suck. My team depends on me to work hard and deliver them a good ball to score points for our team, that is how we win. The magnitude of all of this came crashing down on me and I think I had a panic attack…or my hands had one and I had no control over it.

But this week in practice I realized that I do have control. I control the ball, I control the tempo, I control the distribution, I control a lot of the outcome of a game because of my position. Wow, how much sacrifice will it take, working hard in the gym, working hard at practice, getting to know each hitter, giving confidence to my passers by sacrificing my body for pursuit balls. The altruistic sacrifices my father has made for his family gives me confidence in knowing that I can do the same for my teammates. If he can give half his life to me the least I can do is give my full effort now to make him proud.

This past week there was a loss in the lyngby-gladasaxe volley ball family. Lars Møller the man that raised up the boys on our Elite team finished his battle with cancer almost a week ago now. Our men’s team is seriously the sweetest hardest working team in the men’s league and it’s a reflection of Lars. Hudson Wade a little boy in the ACU community that was diagnosed with cancer this past fall finished his battle with cancer last week as well. These two losses and all of the worlds hurts make me realize how for granted I take my family and friends. When making the decision to move I thought to myself, “my family and friends will always be there if and when I move back to the states”. How naive. Life is short, yes pursue your passions, live “selfishly” when it’s appropriate, but ultimately sacrifice for OTHERS, sacrifice out of love, sacrifice for the greater good. Don’t ever lose sight of what should be most important and cherish each and every moment with the people you love the most.

This time next week I’ll be in beautiful Budapest and will be relishing every moment of my current season of life.

Ever wanderlusting,

IJ

Posted in Fitness, Volleyball, & Motivation, Life Abroad, Tips and Tricks

Lessons Learned

Low of the week

Dropping my phone whilst riding my 6 mile trip to work. So so sad. I’m the type of person that has dropped their phone entirely too many times to count and somehow miraculously it stays uncracked. Not so lucky this time. Which is understandable since I was obviously riding about 40mph (just call me Lance) when it happened…and then ran over it. But some part of me still hoped everything would be ok, but this time it just wasn’t. I am now constantly reminded of my failure every time I look at my phone, but such is life.

High of the week

Beating Amager in 3! They were ranked one spot ahead of us until we pulled out the win and moved ahead into the number 3 spot. A lot of people were surprised it didn’t take more than 3 sets for us to win. Including our precious Libero Stephanie. After our match she said that she couldn’t believe that we won so quickly. And my setter self having no doubt in my mind that we would for sure win asked her why she was surprised and she responded with “I guess I just have to get used to us being good”. I mentioned she was precious right. The statement is more acceptable considering the team started out the season with no setter one American MB that is supposed to be on the OH and a handful of Danish players. Fast forward to now having add a couple of Americans that played at big time D1s and my response to her is get used to it.

Amended low of the week

Losing in the semis of the Danish Volleyball Cup. This is the first loss I’ve had as a player in a very long time and it still sucks. Losing is probably the worst feeling in the ENTIRE WORLD I didn’t even know how to act. Yes I’ve lost (a lot) as a coach the past 3 years which also sucks, but it’s a different kind of suck when your on the court. I felt like I was going through the 9 stages of grief. Anger, denial, and then I got delirious and forgot the other 6 stages. As an athlete the ultimate failure is losing especially when you play such an intricate part in the success of your team. As a setter you can assume that every loss is our(my) fault and I willingly take on that responsibility. There’s always something I could have done different to make my hitters more successful. So what now? Not only did we lose but we lost in 3 pretty handedly, just saying that almost brings tears to my eyes. But the Danish Cup is not the end all be all and neither is winning or losing (grimace) It’s what we do with the loss that matters. Will we work harder in practice to reach our full potential come playoff time? Will we settle for who we are now and be content with 3rd place? Only time will tell but for me there is only one choice, to go hard all the time (right wildcats?) and to commit to the process of becoming greater tomorrow than I am today.

Other highlights of the week. I went on a second date with a nice German man I met online (online=on tinder sorry mom and dad) Last week we met up at a coffee shop. Unfortunately during my bike ride there my phone died which means I had no idea where I was going nor could I pronounce the name of the café to ask someone for directions. After biking a mile in the wrong direction I ended up stopping in an electronic store and sat there charging my phone while memorizing directions and messaging (hmmm we’ll call him “B”) B to let him know I wasn’t standing him up but am just lost, scared, and alone. I ended up making it there and it was a great time, so good that we decided to go for dinner the following week. Sidenote: how horrifying is it that if your phone dies you can literally do nothing!!! Okay maybe not you, but me in a foreign country still finding my way around was rendered so helpless without my phone. That extent of reliance on Francesca the 2nd aka my iPhone is a bit scary especially since she’s now cracked and losing power at a rapid pace, she just isn’t the girl she used to be.

Anyways the second date went equally well, he’s been to so many places around the world and has a huge trip planned that’s coming up including stops in Amsterdam, India, and Tanzania. How cool is that?? As the night came to a close I realized that the expectations of adult dating in Copenhagen Denmark are a bit different than those in Abilene TX. So this may just be my last tinderoni story for a while. I’ve decided that I’m fully capable of meeting friends the good old fashion way, so I’ll pretend to be a normal social human being and let them figure out how big of a weirdo I am later on in our relationship.

Last highlight of the week would be dinner at the enemies house, Brooke, a player for Holte that used to play for our club invited us (Myself, Jamie, D) over to her place for risengrød some delicious rice pudding cinnamon dish and some games. Of course what turned into a chill evening with tea and coffee ended up a late girls night with wine and chips. Those of you that know me know how much I love my girlfriends so it was so great to have such a fun evening with new friends. The whole evening D (the girl that deserves an Emmy for getting me out of my first tinder date) and I roast each other. Typical of our new found friendship. She left the night with the nickname “ebola” for mistaking the outbreak of E. coli at Chipotle for an outbreak of Ebola at Chipotle. Seriously. SO. Funny. Still laughing as I type right now. I left with the nickname of 4 in reference to the number of times in a row that I got tooled by a 19yr old in our match vs Amager. Brooke mentioned them being good at tooling and D cough laughed immediately and threw eyes at me…..it is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Someone asked me the other day if it was weird to be playing again after coaching for 3 years. It is weird. It is weird because it feels as though I never stopped playing. I literally didn’t play a competitive match for the past 3 years and all of a sudden I’m practicing everyday and playing matches. When does that ever happen?? The critical coaching part of me hasn’t gone away so a lot of the times I think about what I would want to change if I were coaching the team or what I would do with specific players, including myself, but I wholeheartedly trust our head coach and can’t wait to see where we are months from now when we play for the championship (that is the setter in me).

The past week I learned that sometimes you mess up over and over and over again and everything is fine, like it never even happened. But sometimes it breaks and you have to be reminded of it every single day you look at your phone. But that’s ok because stuff happens. I learned that it’s not the loss on your record that defines who you are but what you chose to do with that loss. I learned that tinder is scary. Lol just kidding. I learned that it’s better to live your life content and satisfied with the relationships you have and to not seek out unnecessary relationships with a naive mentality. I learned that I will gain great friends from this experience. And I learned when you follow the desires of your heart and trust God everything will be a-okay.

Ever wanderlusting

IJ

Posted in Fitness, Volleyball, & Motivation, Life Abroad

The Good News

It was worth it.

Okay okay, it’s not “the good news” but, I’m 6 days, 1 practice, 1 scrimmage, and 1 game in and it was worth it.

Not to discredit my AMAZING life for the past three years. Getting to be an Assistant Coach at a D1 institution that I absolutely bleed (purple) for (GO WILDCATS!), being with my ACU Family and my bestie (shout out Ricky Bobby), being able to disciple to young women (shout out girly pops), being close to my family and best friends in the world. These were all things that I am so grateful for. But now being thousands of miles away, alone, cold (but not really thanks to the BEST PARKA EVER), and “lonely” it was worth it.

I can’t get over my love for playing volleyball.

Things haven’t been perfect, no wifi in my apartment, bike that switches gears every two seconds, phone that doesn’t work, competition that was so bad (for real), the list could seriously go on…. but none of that is phasing me right now because all I can think is, I get the opportunity to pursue my passion.

What is stopping you today from doing the same? Each of our desires and passions look ENTIRELY different. Not everyone is charged to sell all their belongings, leave their family and friends behind, and move half way across the world. But what does pursuing your passion look like? I can tell you right now that it will NOT be perfect. It won’t be now, and maybe it won’t ever be, but will the process be worth it? Knowing that I get to wake up and go to practice tomorrow, despite the obstacles makes it worth it for me.

More updates to come

Ever wanderlusting,

IJ

Posted in Fashion, Fitness, Volleyball, & Motivation, Travel

I’m Taking the Scarf with Me

The past month or so has been an extremely challenging one for me. Like many Americans living in our comfortable lives I fell into the shopping consumerism trap of buying literally anything I laid my eyes on that I wanted. I’m talking everything. My closet was filled to the brim, so much so that I had not one, but two additional clothing racks in my room. Plus the dresser, vanity, luggage cases, full of out of season clothes, on top of my shrine of shoes (I worked at Dillards for 6 months its not my fault). After deciding to pursue my passion for volleyball I quickly decided this unholy sacrifice of material items had to happen. Thank God (literally) for the devotional I was charged to start about two months ago with some lovely physical therapists. Seven by Jen Hatmaker made getting rid of literally almost all of my earthly possessions easy because I realized I was living in excess (maybe more on that later). All this to say, only a few more days till departure and I have a few boxes that are to be kept in my parents house in Fort Worth, TX, two bags to be checked in, and two bags for carry on all packed up and ready to go for my (at least) one and a half year adventure. I know I know, two bags…I struggled with this choice for a long time, one bag or two, but when it came down to it two bags is already a victory for me (ask anyone that knows me) so why set myself up for failure by trying for one right? I had been doing so good not shopping, selling all of my items, and saving up money (did I mention because of this haphazard fearless decision I still have a car and rent to pay for on top of, now full grad school tuition?). Up until a fateful shopping trip in Nagodoches, TX, this is how much of a shopping addict I am. I managed to escape the Houston Galleria Mall, Acadiana Mall in Lafayette, LA, and other various boutiques and stores but could not however survive downtown Nagodoches, TX. (If you are not from Texas and don’t know where this is please google it, epitome of small town Texas.) I walked into this precious little boutique and my eye was instantly drawn to a shelf full of scarfs, I may or may not have been yearning for a plaid blanket scarf for the past few weeks almost succumbing in Houston. I should have never tried it on. It was perfect, and plaid, and perfect and I just had to have it. I struggled for about 10 minutes. The angel on my shoulder was telling me “get the scarf”, the devil was saying “put it down you don’t need it”…or was it the other way around… Anyways $20 later and with a guilty conscience, I’m taking the scarf with me.

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