Posted in Guest Posts, Life Abroad, Travel

PT 2: 5 More Things I Love About Denmark

Hi Friends!

It’s been a long time since I left you, and I’m sorry for that. But I’m so happy that my new bestie Ev aka twin tower aka swan decided to gift me with a wonderful blog post. Next week I’ll catch you up on my life but this week enjoy Ev’s views on 5(ish) things to love about denmark that completes my mid winter list.

(Ij’s additions)

To start this blog, I’d like to take a second to tell ya a little bit about how much we just love your dear friend IJ. As you all know, we got the pleasure of meeting this crazy chick back in December. We should’ve known then that we were in for quite the adventure 😉 I don’t think there’s been a time yet that I’ve been around IJ without dying laughing. Practice, during the middle of a rally in a game, hanging in Room, you name it and this girl has us cracking up about something. I’m not even sure we know what we are laughing at half the time, but anyone who has met IJ knows that once the “IJ cackle” starts there is no stopping it yes, you all know exactly what I’m talking about;). I can honestly say I don’t know how we would’ve made it through this season without IJ and I’m just so thankful for all of the support you guys have given her so that she could come spend 6 months exploring Denmark with us ❤ I think I speak for us all when I say that we have quite a special friend xoxo (you are the sweetest bestie)

Now that I’ve let you all know how much we love Miss IJ, let me tell you a little bit more about what we have grown to love about Denmark! At first when IJ asked me to write a guest blog this week I was kinda nervous…but once I got writing I realized even more how much I have fallen in love with Denmark and I actually ended up having to add a couple more points to my post. I just couldn’t choose what I loved most!! Anyway, here are a few more things that we have enjoyed during our time here:

Things We ❤ About Denmark- Part 2

  1. The parks: Over the last few weeks we have been blessed with some amazinggg weather. Unlike in the winter, when going outside was a rarity (at least for those of us in Room 2), (this is an absolute understatement, Ev was actually a bear in hibernation for the past 5 months only coming out of Room 2 for practice, games, and the occasional drink). the spring has brought out a whole new sense of adventure in us. It’s like we’re living in a completely different country! After almost forgetting what sunshine was, we took full advantage of the nice weather and ended up exploring several new parks in the area. There’s actually one right down the street that has become our new favorite lunch spot. Who would’ve known there are so many within walking distance of Room1 and 2 in the great suburb of Kongen’s Lyngby.
  1. The Language: Okay, I know I’m NEVER going to hear the end of this and I’ll probably regret saying it, but yes, I am admitting to having a sliver of love for this bizarre language lol. If you are reading this and you have been living with me over here the last 6 months, I can already see the faces you’re giving. Yes, I know, I know, I’m not exactly what you would call “good at Danish” (another understatement). For those of you who aren’t over here, lets just say I don’t necessarily have the best track record with learning the language BUT it has been a lot of fun attempting to speak it☺
  1. Outdoor activities: Yes, again, obsessingg over all of the warm weather! The past few weeks we have gone canoeing, found new running trails, laid out by the lakes, and enjoyed some BBQ by the campfire with some great friends☺ If that doesn’t say summer, then I don’t know what does! (Ev also got a beautiful burn tan that we were all worried envious over)
  1. Beach Volley: So yes, surprise surprise volleyball made the list! Beach volley in Denmark is in full swing now and we couldn’t be loving it more. Lucky for us there is a super nice beach court at our home gym just 10 minutes away. The Copenhagen area also has several beaches designated for volleyball in the summer and although we haven’t made it out to them yet, we hear they are the place to be. The beach, sunshine, volleyball, and summer drinks…what else could you want?!?

Which brings me to my next point….

  1. Beer: Thank God for the Dane’s love of beer. I have always been a fan, but these past nine months have taken my love of beer to a whole other level. Ij and I were the only ones of the Americans that shared this appreciation, but I’m proud to say we have finally converted Amanda to our side haha …D, on the other hand, is still taking some convincing.
  1.  Family: We have been so blessed to meet some truly amazing people during our time in Copenhagen. So many people have gone above and beyond to make our experience here unforgettable and that has meant the world<3 We just adore our Danish families<33

Mange tak min ven for letting me be your guest blogger this week! Jeg elsker dig!

Xoxo,

Evyn (aka your neighbor aka the other twin tower aka swan aka your beer drinking buddy aka your best friend;)))

Thanks Evy for writing this wonderful post and for welcoming me into your life on that cold snowy November day. Girls like Evyn are the reason I love being a part of a team and she (you) are so missed already! Until we meet again love.

Ever Wanderlusting,

IJ

P.S- Just a little teaser on the hilarious Ireland trip I had, one of the many hilarious moments Casey and I had occurred as we drove through the beautiful Ireland countryside, on the wrong side of the road on the wrong side of the car narrowly missing huge tourist buses while eating things they shouldn’t even sell in stores (12 pack of chocolate buns…why not).

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Posted in Life Abroad

The Final Countdown

I sincerely apologize for my better late than never posting as of late. The most wonderful and miraculous thing has happened in Copenhagen that has prevented me from staying inside and writing down my eventful life stories that I pretend people care about. SPRING IS HERE. After 5 grueling months of freezing cold weather, that no human would willing leave the nonexistent Texas winter for, spring temperatures have arrived and the sun has come out to play.

I really can’t describe how beautiful Copenhagen is when it’s 60 and sunny. In Texas if it were in the 60s we’d be wearing uggs, tights, and sweatshirts. Some of us brave “trendy” girls would be pairing uggs with shorts (how this ever made sense to me I don’t know). Now my body is completely comfortable wearing a tshirt or tank and shorts (with converse of course) in 60 degree weather. Who am I.

This past week was jam packed with either hectic times at work or relaxed moments with friends.

One of my best days to date in Copenhagen was with my favorite Lyngby americaners, D, Ev, and Amanda plus an American basketball player that lives in our apartment complex. We spent all day out in Copenhagen and I swear it’s the longest amount of time we have hung out in the daytime all together. It started off with various porridge meals from Grod a restaurant stall inside Torvehallen. I’ve never tasted more delicious porridge in my whole life (sorry mom). It is definitely a must on my list of “places to bring people to eat when they come visit Copenhagen”. After food we set off for….none of us could tell you. But it ended up being a mission to do something reckless. D has been wanting to get her nose septum pierced for sometime now and even bought a fake septum piercing in Budapest to try it out for the weekend. It was a hit and something we all decided she needed to get. And since she was getting something we all began to think of things that we could get as well.

Thus began a walk up and down the same street (Strøget one of Europe’s longest pedestrian streets) knocking on tattoo/piercing shop doors to ask for a price and a time. Much to our disappointment no shop could get us in that day, leaving us unpierced and/or tatted (well some of us). Unfortunately, either way, after racking my brain for hours I realized that either my time for reckless decisions was over or I’ve run out of reckless things to get. It was a sad sad moment.

Instead, we ended up at a burger joint called Cocks and Cows. Um so good. Another place added to my ever growing list. (Something I really need to know is if everyone loves food as much as I do? Is it normal that most of my travel/visit itineraries revolve around food?). After getting stuffed full with burgers, fries, and aioli, we decided to grab some adult beverages and throw our feet over the picturesque Nyhavn Harbour. After plopping down on the harbor laughs, shared memories, and plans for the future ensued. I really can’t put into words how grateful I am to be bonded to these three girls through our past years experience so I’ll end this memory with “can’t wait for Greece 2017 lady pops”.

D and I, however, capped the night off by watching William Singe perform in a small intimate venue. It was amazing but so hot. At certain points we couldn’t focus on the music because William was wearing a sweatshirt and we were both legitimately concerned for his welfare. He ended up in a tank top and we ended up with the peace of mind that he would survive the night and a day for the books.

Another hyggeligt night was sushi night with my Bopa girls. Kirstine, one of my fellow bopsters invited a few us of girls from the cafe, Anjou, Sidse and me, to her house for homemade sushi. Omg so good. (I’m also realizing that the highlights of my week surround food…thus solidifying my unhealthy love of delicious foods). We started off the evening with wine outside of Bopa, then headed up to Kirstine’s apartment just a few steps away. Up the four flight of stairs (queue heavy breathing) we walk into the nicest apartment I’ve seen in CPH thus far. We listened to music while chopping vegetables, rolling sushi, and then devouring it. The highlight of this night was when Sidse decided to learn the lyrics to Slem Igen (a super dirty Danish rap song please don’t look it up) after which the Danish girls listened to music from what I can only figure to be the Danish version of The Lonely Island group, while laughing so hard I swear some ice cream boat flew out of someone’s nose at one point. Even though I had entirely no idea what was going on it was still pretty entertaining. Considering 60 percent of my life now consists of not knowing what is going on I’ve gotten pretty good at enjoying the parts I do and don’t understand equally.

Within the past two weeks I’ve found my new favorite spot in Copenhagen, the Staal/Alstrup garden oasis. In the middle of Buddinge, another suburb outside of Copenhagen about 15 minutes away from my own, lies the most perfect setting for relaxing in the sun. Flowers, soft grass, patio furniture, a pool, and great company make for days that disappear. I’ve briefly mentioned both Bettina the owner of this wonderful oasis and her son Topher Grace, their home has become my home away from home away from room. 10 hours in the oasis feels like 2 and numerous days have now come and gone all too fast due to this new discovery. Days at their home have consisted of delicious home cooked meals, movie nights, Greek night with friends of the family (including Danish game night — part of the 60 percent of the time I have no clue what’s going on), and pretending to do homework while online shopping. You could blame Topher and his family for my lack of tinder/bumble/happn/everydatingappknowntomankind stories but I’ll let you draw the conclusions, all I can saw is I’m not complaining and their company has been a great addition to my life.

Having my new home away from home away from room plus having a new group of friends has given me hope. Hope that I won’t be entirely lonely without my fellow Americaners (all leaving within the next two weeks ughhhhh). Hope that this Danish summer will be a beautiful one. Hope that no matter what foreign land I plop down into next everything will be more than okay.

School Update: A new grad school class has begun and I started off strong by working super hard on my first paper and then forgetting to submit it once it was saved and finished (go brain go)! I’m also officially a Danish school drop out (oooooh ooooh) now that I’m sure I’ll be moving away from Denmark my drive to get to Danish class has completely dissolved. Just call me Frankie. (If you don’t get the Grease reference your too young for me, JK I still love you…ish).

VB Update: As of now I’m still waiting to hear back from the club I went to go try out for and visit. If all goes as planned I’ll be able to call Sweden the next foreign land I plop down in to.

Travel Update: My trip to Ireland is less than two weeks away now! All of our hostels have been booked and we’ve even planned a quick getaway out of the bustling city of Dublin to the Cliffs of Moher in Clare County on the west coast of Ireland. Thailand is also coming together and now includes a Trek out of Chiang Mai that calls for the perfect sandal shopping hunt. I also have NEW TRAVEL PLANS! Okay maybe not travel plans but I’m officially going to go see Beyoncé in Copenhagen in July and that’s basically as big of a deal as a trip to an amazing country…it’s Beyoncé.

Ever Wanderlusting & TTFN << that felt right for some reason don’t ask why,

IJ

Posted in Life Abroad

The Rapture

It has begun. Slowly but surely over the next few weeks my newly found volleyball friends will be taken away from me. Whether they are a new lifelong friend or an acquaintance whose company I may never have the pleasure of having again, they are leaving me.

As I’ve stated before, coming on this journey I signed on for two years and planned to live in Copenhagen through the summer which is unusual for hired players. Most go home immediately after the season is over or in Lyngby’s case a month or so after season, in order to participate in the teams’ tryouts for next season. This means that throughout the month of May all of my friends will be leaving me. What’s a girl to do. Like I’ve said so many times before one of the beautiful things about the amazing sport I play is the relationships that come from it. I literally only have friends because of volleyball (some would beg to differ but they are lying) and even my friends from volleyball often wonder why they are friends with me (twin towers). Although I am extremely bummed that my friends will be leaving I’ve had opportunities pop up that keep me excited for the future. One of which is occurring as I type..

I’m currently sitting on a high speed train heading towards a town in Northern Sweden for my first try out ever. Literally. I don’t even think I had try outs in middle school. (I take this back, club volleyball…but all of us know those teams are set long before tryouts anyways). The excitement of the day began at 7am this morning when I got a text from the train company saying that my 8:20 train had been cancelled. I headed to Copenhagen Central station anyway in hopes of finding a solution where I was told the train hadn’t actually been cancelled, score! The nicest worker helped me find what he called the Harry Potter Track due to it’s elusive location (down some stairs, through doors, past tracks 5/6, up outside, over, and down) at this point I had a slight jog going since the lady at the booth yelled at me to hurry, only to be notified by the security checkpoint that the train in fact was not coming. They tell me to hop on a train to the Airport and then catch a train from there. Um okay, what train??? Should’ve been my response, but instead I just headed for the airport. Once arriving at the airport I rushed to the next train, (What train are you rushing to? you ask, NO IDEA, I answer) where another security man I asked for help said just get on this train you have 10 seconds….um okay?? where do I get off? I should’ve said, but I instead got on the train no questions asked.

Finally I found myself in Malmo having missed the 9:11 connection by about 5 minutes, I now had 2 hours to kill until the next train. Not gonna lie, I sat outside for a second and shed a tear or two. But then I pulled my big girl pant(ies) on anddddd went shopping, nothing better than browsing through Zara to remind you everything will be ok. Fast forward back to the present and I’ve got about 1 more hour till I reach my destination and soon enough it will be full speed ahead in my first professional visit/tryout. Send all your good vibes to me like 24 hours ago.

The past week flew by as fast as the next ones will. I finished my latest grad school course which was by far the hardest one I’ve taken so far. Grad school really put a damper on my fun this past week, but I still managed to squeeze in a few practices with the boys team, 3 nights of going out to celebrate the end of the season, and work work work work work work. Literally so much work, but luckily my coworkers are really good company.

In addition to my Bopa hours, I also worked my boss’ daughter’s confirmation party with D aka Ebola aka best Roommate ever. When I think of confirmation I think of going to classes at my Catholic Church for weeks in order to stand in front of the church in all white, finally being able to eat holy bread and drink holy grape juice. Danish confirmations my friends is not like that. The closest thing I could think to describe a Danish confirmation is if you mix a sweet sixteen party with a turning 21 night out and add parents? Lost you in the last part I know but that is the most perfect description. The honorary of the night was 14 and the evening consisted of a very nice 3 course meal for family and close friends followed by a turn up with about 20 of her closet friends ranging in age from 14-16 with an open bar…hilariousness ensued. At one point, we had to cut the kids off. One super tall guy kept wandering into the back kitchen not saying a single word to D or I, grabbing a piece of bread, wandering out, and then back in. Another kid came in asking if he could have a bottle of wine, we said to go ask Jesper, the guest of honors Father, instead of doing that he stayed in the back chatting it up with us about NBA teams and how he’s spotted us on the volleyball court before. Somehow he managed to, on the first guess, say I was from Dallas, I have mixed feelings towards that. Lastly, a group of three kids came in asking for more beer and as we were telling them there is no more, their mother trucking jam came on, because one guy started dancing like an actual fool and dabbed on us at one point. Too freaking funny.

Another little something that I get to look forward to aside from Asia in 7 weeks and the journey of finding a new team, is an adventure to Dublin. WOOHOO. At the end of the month right after all of my fellow Lyngby Americaners depart, I’ll be taking my own short trip to Dublin with my favorite red head, that’s right ladies and gentlemen, Caseface. SO EXCITED. Casey’s sister is taking an Orchestra trip with the Aggies to Dublin so we are going to visit her and to explore all that Dublin has to offer two besties from Texas.

Ever Wanderlusting,

IJ
P.S. You may be wondering what happened to all of my awesome tinder/bumble/happn/somanydatingapp adventures, well you’ll just have to keep following along to maybe find out….

P.P.S. I’m now on my way back from my visit! I’ve talked a bit about being on the other side of being on a recruiting now but what a trip it was to be on the other side of a visit. More details next week but all went well and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ve found my new home.

Posted in Guest Posts, Life Abroad, Travel

Running for the metro is the only constant in my life; a post about the unknown.

I am BEYOND excited and have been waiting for the moment Casey aka bestie aka favorite redhead would be gracious enough to write a post for me. She is one of my FUNNIEST friends, so funny I don’t do abs prior to hanging out with her because I know I’ll get enough of a workout laughing at her stupid stupid self jokes. Last weekend Casey came and visited and it was some much needed girl time. Best laughs of the weekend came from Casey doing push-ups at a bar on a Sunday night, Casey falling up the stairs in order to catch our train, and Casey trying to jump on top of a giant rock failing multiple times in what made a hilarious snapchat video. The arrival of her post also comes at the perfect time because of our recent Bronze match loss. I’m certain if I had to write this week it would be all doom and gloom but instead you get a super sweet, extra funny post that I hope will inspire you like it did me.
**WARNING SAPPY POST BELOW**
(parentheses plus italics plus ** = IJ’s comments)**
IJ is the kind of friend that meets you at the airport with a beer in one hand and her phone recording you for snapchat purposes in the other. She’s the kind of friend that tells everyone all week that her ‘best friend’ is coming into town so that by the time you get there they all hate you because they’re so sick of hearing about you. She’s the kind of friend that has 18 best friends (including Evy McCoy)*- and all of them really are her best friends- because she has a heart the size of Texas and a knack for making people feel special.  She’s the kind of friend that takes you on a  boat tour of Copenhagen even though it’s her 6th time to do it in just a few months, because she wants you to see the city she now calls home.  She’s the kind of friend I want to be, and the kind of friend i’m extremely lucky to have in my life.
…She also happens to be the kind of friend who posts TERRIBLE photos of me on Facebook just because she looks cute in them, but thats a story for another blog post, and I suppose we all have our faults. [I will get you back someday.] (Best picture of Casey ever she looks just like Mr. Burns, hotttttie)*
Being able to live across the pond with IJ in my own time zone has been one of my favorite parts of being here.  We’re having our own adventures but doing it side by side, comparing notes and commiserating along the way.  This weekend visit could not have come at a better time for either of us, as we both needed some TLC and best old friend time. And by old I obviously mean longtime friends— apparently we have to clarify these things now as two ‘dang near 30’ ladies who are both the [beloved?] ‘grandmas’ of their respective new friend groups.
It’s a time of unknowns for both of us. For those of you who follow IJ’s blog posts religiously [you should], then you know that she is dealing with a lot of unknowns about her life in the near future—where she will live, what she will do, etc. For me, I’m finishing up grad school, beginning to write my thesis, and starting to look for jobs. Neither one of us can tell you where we will be living in the fall, who we will be working for, or where our lives will take us.  Neither one of us can tell you our preferences for what our life will look like, either, except: Not home. Now Mom, before you read this and start crying, know that home, to me, is a beloved, sacred place that I miss all of the time. But it feels right for me at this point in my life to miss it- sometimes an insane amount- but not to return there permanently. Yet. IJ, I know, feels the same.
“Is there something wrong with us that we don’t want to go back home?” She asked me as we were walking one day. “Are we running away from something?” I have always looked at my move to Berlin as running towards something I have wanted for a very, very long time. But in a way, running towards this dream meant I was running away from others.  It’s impossible to run towards one thing wholeheartedly without simultaneously running away from something else, so I guess in a way we’re both right. But I know for her, she was running towards a dream as well. She doesn’t truly in her heart believe she is simply running away, because playing volleyball is one of the great joys of her life and she has spent most of her life single-mindedly running towards it. It requires some significant sacrifices to be here, chasing this particular dream at this particular time. Sacrifices she and I would both like to continue to make in the Fall, if at all possible, even though we complain and cry and feel overwhelmed about them at times.
Between the eating*, boat tour, rock climbing [loose term for me struggling with one, singular, medium sized rock] (SO FREAKING FUNNY)* and general exploration of Copenhagen, I had the distinct pleasure of watching IJ play the game that she has given up so much to play. It was the best part of my weekend, watching her on the court.  This was the crux of the thing we had talked about on and off all weekend— this is the thing she has given up so much for, the thing she is dealing with so many unknowns about in order for the chance to keep going, this is the thing that makes her heart beat fast and the thing she can never get enough of. This game, the opportunity to play again, the opportunity to have an adventure while pursuing her passion, is what makes all of those other things worth it. To watch IJ play volleyball is to watch my friend live out her dreams, and, by the way in case potential recruiters are reading this, she is DAMN good at it.  [You can find IJ’s playoff highlights here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4yg-9jrZRM&feature=youtu.be  she is an athletic, beautiful, volleyball unicorn. hire her.] (Biggest eye roll ever and probably a punch you know where Casey and 18 best friends)*
(IJ at this point hates me, but just trying to help a sister out. also I want somewhere new to visit in the fall, please and thanks.)
…To watch IJ play volleyball is also a horrifying reminder of the huge gap in natural athleticism and ability between us, she is a graceful, agile athlete through and through and I often times trip while trying to jog, but I tried to not think about that too much as it makes it difficult not succumb to insane jealousy when your bestie is so perfect and talented. (barf)* side note: IJ and I first met on a volleyball court in 8th grade. it was apparent even then that one of us was meant to be there and one of us was perhaps *slightly* less naturally inclined towards the sport.
Despite the grossly uneven distribution of athletic prowess between us, she has remained one of my oldest and bestest friends.  Her ability to face her current difficult situation with grace and poise is yet another example of why I am proud to be counted in the very elite, exclusive, small, tiny group of her 2 dozen best friends. 🙂 Unknowns will always be in our life, and despite the best planning and making the necessary sacrifices and decisions, we still aren’t guaranteed everything we want. But I believe, as cheesy as it is, that nothing meant for you misses you.  And I firmly believe that IJ has some incredible things meant for her in this life. At the end of the day, no matter where we travel, we take ourselves with us. There is no running away from that.  This is something you learn when you pick up and move halfway around the world. For some of us expats, this can be a difficult thing to face,  this idea that moving across the world for a fresh start will fix your problems or change you in some fundamental way, and people can be severely disappointed and surprised to find out this is not the case.   But for IJ, this is great news, because she’s been traveling with the best company for years now, and will continue to do so no matter where she goes and what she ends up doing.
So for now, the unknowns are the constants in our lives. The only thing we can really count on is not being able to count on much right now.  Being okay with the messy in between, and trying to live life to the fullest in between fighting tooth and nail for a future that involves living abroad.  And knowing that we did our best to be present, to enjoy the time we had here, and tried our hardest to fight for the dreams and plans we wanted to see come to fruition. And, unlike trying to eat as much ice cream as IJ does, that will never be a mistake.  (never regret eating ice cream)*
IJ, my wanderlusty friend, thank you for being an adventurer, the greatest friend, and simultaneously an inspiration and a terrible influence on my life [going out the night before a flight is a TERRIBLE idea, and I blame you for the less than ideal flight home]. You are a slice of home for me and Copenhagen is lucky to have you, although I am quite sure I will never be allowed back in.
Snove,
Casey
*every single solitary thing IJ had planned revolved around food. which works great for someone who is a professional athlete and has the metabolism to match, but for myself, I found that my pants had shrunk by Monday morning. I mean obviously it was worth it, but for those of you planning to visit, I recommend an intensive workout plan before and after. and not just for the food, but for the running to catch the train because IJ always underestimates the time it will take to walk there.… not that i have started an intensive workout plan. Its more like, my fat pants are now just my pants and i’m learning to be okay with it. #moretolove

There you have it. My amazing, talented, wonderful best friend spewing about our current lives and relationship. Casey’s presence this past week has been the perfect reminder of the precious people I have supporting me both near and far and how I couldn’t chase my dreams without them.

Ever Wanderlusting,

IJ

Posted in Life Abroad

Metro City

One of my favorite movies of all time is one that probably doesn’t touch the top 100 for most of you. Last night I rewatched Megamind, THE funniest cartoon in my opinion. The first time I watched this film was senior year with my ACU Volleyball team right after I tragically rolled my ankle, having my first injury EVER, during the second to last match of my forseeable career.

At that moment in my life there was literally nothing that could be worse. Yes we had just won our match in the first round of regionals but our next match was less than 24 hours away and my ankle was swollen, bruised, and h u r t i n g. I tried to act like I was happy and excited to play my last few matches but would sneak away to the bathroom and just cry. I didn’t stop to enjoy my last match because I was so bummed by the setback that I had endured. I ended up wrapping it up and popping Jordan’s magic pill pack to play through the game (all legal of course) and finished what I thought was my last competitive game of volleyball.

The reason why I love the movie so much is because of how they play with words. I may not be the most academic person in the world (ask my girly pops about my math skillz) but I do love words. Megamind is based in a place called Metro City but the “villain” of the movie refers to it as metrosity.

After last week I updated you all on my current life situation and after being reminded of these two options. One being to view a situation as metrosity and the other metro city. I want to chose to look ahead to the future living in metro city. Which works out great since I’m currently sitting on the metro. (Don’t worry I made it safely through the doors).

This weekend we have our last two matches playing for 3rd place in the Danish Elite Volley Liga. If I’m being 100 percent honest with myself and facing facts, there is a chance that these could be the last two competitive matches of volleyball that I ever play again. Granted I will fight tooth and nail and do everything in my power to make sure this isn’t the case. But at the end of the day, we aren’t always guaranteed the things we want. What we are guaranteed are opportunities and how we approach and use those is what is promised to us. Going into these last two matches I am more than ready and mentally prepared to have fun. To play with passion and intensity, serving my teammates and giving them opportunities to be the best they can be. I’ll do my part, they’ll do there’s, we’ll get our bronze medals, and ride off into the sunset to metro city. So wish us luck and we hope to see you there.

Weekly funnies: Since we had no games this past weekend, there was plenty of time for work hours and social hours.

Work hours: A normal day at work for me consists of breaking at least two things. Waiter/bartender friends is this normal? I would have never considered myself a clumsy person I’m actually pretty not clumsy. But literally everyday I go to work the kitchen asks about every hour if I have broken something yet? To which I more often than not have to reply “yes, twonwine glasses”.

Social hours: the Americans on my team as well as a few from Holte one of the other teams in our league decided to have a good old Mexican night. And all the people said amen. To a Texan, there’s literally nothing better than some tacos and good ol fashion margaritas. That being said we all over indulged a bit on the margarita part but ended up having a really good time, ironically back at my work place. Bopa (my cafe) was hosting a party that evening so the night was filled with work friends, volleyball friends, dancing, drinking, and just a good ole fashioned time.

The night before also proved to be a good time. D aka Ebola got an invite from our men’s team libero, the notorious Fabio aka most underrated aka best libero in the league, to attend a silent disco in studenthuset, a bar that college kids flock to. We ended up going entirely too late, missing the silent disco part, searching for Fabio for about half an hour in a sea of 18-20 year old kiddos. Grandma felt old. Luckily a couple of the other boys from the team were at a nearby club and we caught up with them. Upon arrival the adorable setter Lasse aka Niel because Lasse is entirely to hard to pronounce, picked me up and spun me around. What a grand entrance. Considering the “men” on our men’s team range from 18-22 years old I still felt like a grandma but I loved one.

Side Side Note: Why am I on the metro you ask? Because my best best friend (no one be offended there are so many of you) is arriving in literally 8 minutes. My beautiful redheaded crazy hilarious best friend is coming in from Berlin for the weekend. That’s right ladies and gentleman Case Face is making a second appearance. The getaway we talked about while living so close in Europe is actually happening. Hopefully next week I’ll have highly entertaining tales to tell of, from the adventures that are to come.

EVER Wanderlusting,

IJ

side side side note: I just discovered metrosity isn’t a real word. But in my mind it meant a really really bad situation….thanks case face for the realization

Posted in Life Abroad

When Life gives you lemons

It’s officially springtime and my season is coming to an end here at Lyngby. We went 1-1 again this past weekend, including taking one set from undefeated Bronby, which was glorious. Looking forward we now have 2 matches vs Amager for the Bronze medal. One home, one away and if we split those matches we’ll play a golden set immediately following the second match. (Golden set=1 set to 25 winner takes all American friends crazy right??). With my first season back coming to an end, having gained new friendships and experiences, and with my amazing Asian adventure in the horizon, it should be all rainbows and sunshine.

But instead of rainbows and sunshine, I am currently getting hailed on with lemons. So many sour sour lemons. My club announced this past Monday that due to unforeseen financial circumstances they will not be able to fund an Elite team this coming fall.

Um excuse me?

Back in November I decided to pick up my entire life up because I was guaranteed 2 years of playing overseas with which I would use to get back into playing shape and becoming a better setter under the guidance of ex-Olympian Coach Fred Sturm in order to move on to another league. **Okay, full disclosure, I did have an inkling that this might happen but it wasn’t 100 percent truly confirmed until Monday**. But thinking that you may be homeless in Europe in July/August and actually realizing you will be homeless in Europe in July/August are two completely different experiences. Instead of having another year to network and get better, I now am on the other side of the glass. For the past 3 years I’ve been recruiting girls to ACU. To be back on the other side, cutting film, hoping for responses, praying to land somewhere, is a trip to say the least. The anxiousness of thinking and wondering “am I good enough?” can really push a girl to confirm that she is at least good enough at eating a gallon of feelings ice cream. Did it help? No. Do I regret it? Never regret eating ice cream ladies and gentlemen. 

I’m now in this weird place of finishing up a season for a team that will no longer continue. One thing that is so great about the situation is my girly pops. This team has literally gone through so much adversity. They started off the season with 1 American and literally 6 danish girls and the group has continually shifted and changed throughout the season. The perseverance and hard work of these girls has not ceased to amaze me, especially when it comes to the girls that are nearly a decade younger than me I’m cringing as I type that. I feel confident knowing that the 10 girls going into the bronze matches will be ready to compete and leave everything out on the court for each other. Thinking about the last time I’ll play with these girls actually brings tears to my eyes. Okay, I’m not actually tearing up but I’m sure when the time comes I will.

So what now? Lemons, so many stinking lemons. As I mentioned previously the girls have dubbed me dang near 30. Dang near 30, no home in July/August, no volleyball contract for the next season, no plane tickets home to the states, no worries. Gotcha yah. Right when you think you have your life figured out, God closes a door that you thought was the right one for you. I sat down for a meeting with Fred, our Head Coach, a few days after the news hit. One thing he said to me was,”When one door closes, another one will open” I know this is a fairly common phrase but he followed it with,” and one day you’ll say thank God that, that other door closed”. Amen brother. Just because my plans have gone askew doesn’t mean my future is something to be worried about. Yes for the first 2 days I flipped, I cried, I ate lots of ice cream, kebab, and fries, and watched a string of sappy movies for when my tears dried and I needed more motivation. But at the end of the day it’s all going to be okay. I’m going to continue to work hard and leave everything I have out on the court and when the day comes when I can no longer play, I’ll know that I gave the pursuit of my dream my all and that’s good enough for me.

Good Vibes of the week:

One of the sweetest ladies I’ve ever met, Bettina, aka the Men’s Team Manager, aka Topher grace’s mother, came over to Room after the news hit. D’s sister was in town for the past week so she knew I would be alone and graciously invited me to her house for dinner and a movie. I usually am the type that wants to do what I mentioned above *stuff face *feel sorry for oneself *pretend that the human race no longer exists. But spending some time with a family, eating a home cooked meal, and laughing my face off watching Suki in Tammy (where my Gilmore girls at) was just as needed as the forementioned. I will be forever grateful for people that give so freely and ask for nothing into return, Bettina is one of those people and I hope that one day I can aspire to be the same.

Work friends are a real thing. I’ve become good friends with two girls in particular now at Bopa, Anjou and Kirstine. Both of these girls are in two completely different phases of life than me but I have officially become my new Bopa partners in crime. Anjou is a tiny adorable 21 year old outspoken newly single girl. And Kirstine is a tall athletic 24 yr old thesis writing, experienced traveller, newly engaged girl. The funniest part of this past week with them was as we were talking about going out. I kept saying, “Guys I’m entirely too old to be going out with you girls”. First off Kirstine thought she was older than me (eye roll) and Anjou just said no way. I then told them for the second time that I’m 26, when they IN UNISON got bug eyes and exclaimed you’re 26???? Then tried to play it off saying that that isn’t that old…..cool guys real cool. I can’t decide if everyone thinking I’m way younger than my actual age is a positive or negative reflection of my personality and actions but until anyone convinces me otherwise I’ll keep believing it’s a great thing. I blame spending the past 8 years of my life around girls 17-23 for my stunted maturity.

This past week has been riddled with major downs but has had its ups as well. When life gives you lemons, what will you do with them? I’m choosing to take this lemon in order to change it into something that will positively benefit my future. Nose to the ground, bronze medal first, 2016 volleyball contract second, maybe home in july/august after priorities right?.

Ever Wanderlusting,

IJ

 

Posted in Life Abroad

So Fresh and So Clean

It’s currently 45 degrees and I’m sitting outside at my favorite cafe “working on homework”. Ask me 6 months ago if I would go anywhere in 40 degree weather and my answer would probably be hard no. Now, 45 feels like heaven. My how perspective can change. This entire week…(and a half now) I was contemplating whether or not I would have anything to write about. It’s officially been almost 4 months in my move and I’m already running out of material?

I made the big jump and now enough time has passed that the newness of adventure has faded away. Moving across the world is no longer new. I walk around places in Lyngby (my Copenhagen suburb) thinking about the first time I was introduced to a grocery store or shown where to buy essentials for living. So after the newness and excitement of something big happens what are you left with?

This past week has been one full of work and volleyball. I was either at the cafe or at the gym. Luckily it was my week off of grad school (and tinder/bumble) so I had enough time to breathe. We had our first two playoff matches and split for the weekend. Going into playoffs I wanted to have the mentality of working hard and letting the wins come after. I think my team did a great job of just that, even though we split for the weekend. Although the newness of this particular adventure has faded, there are new adventures to look forward to and continuous ones to push through. We only have a few more weeks left of volleyball and my desire to compete and play has not faded. Going into our last weekend of the first round of playoffs all of us girly pops are focused on doing our job on the court for each other as best as we can and letting the wins come after that.

Two people that play a big part in my real life and not as much in my blog life are the rarely mentioned “twin towers”. I literally can’t think of a better way to describe Ev and Amanda. Both giants, both hilarious, and both share my love for adventure. These two girls could literally survive in Room #2 with no other human interaction for a solid few months. Although they aren’t exactly twins (in looks or personality), they are both such a good time and have the relationship of sisters which I absolutely adore. AND they are both amazing middles and teammates. Hopefully you’ll get to hear about more adventures with them in the coming weeks, if we could ever have PG ones…twins…

So yes months have passed by and the newness has faded but the reality of my life feels pretty great. I’ve made new friends that will hopefully be lifelong ones, I get to continuously work towards my aspiration of being the best volleyball player I can be and though I miss my friends and family, living life in my new hood feels pretty good.

Ever Wanderlusting,

IJ

Notable laughs of the week:

Some good family time with the girly pops. We had the past weekend off so we decided to have a family meal consisting of pizza, popcorn, and (p)laughter. A running joke that we have on the team comes from one of our Danish girls’, Sarah, aka secret lover aka don’t tickle her, obsession with sweaters. I think her shopping problem is as bad as mine was…is but she’s in the shopaholics stage of denial. She wears a different sweater literally every day and claims to only own 4….don’t worry girly pop I used to have the same problem.

A traumatic incident on the bus. Some of you may or may not know this but sometime during my adult life I’ve developed a fear of closing doors. Like so bad that I actually broke hands with someone (a tinderoni a few weeks ago) going into revolving doors and left him on the other side of the glass to walk the circle alone….embarrassing. Anyways I was getting off of the bus, which is like the safest public transportation doors in Copenhagen (freaking watch out for the metro) and the driver closed the door on my hand!!!!!! I was still inside of the bus trying to check out and the doors started closing so like the genius I am I stuck my hand in the door only to discover these automatic doors don’t have a sensor and just close on your hand. My friend on the other side of the doors literally saw my fingers poking out on the other side. I wanted to say “I already have one deformed finger lady can we not ruin all of them?????” But all i could muster was stop….stop. It was the worst.

Sent from my iPad

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 Guest Posts, Life Abroad, Tips and Tricks

D’s guide to Surviving Roommates

Hi Friends!!

I’m super excited this week because my wonderful newfound twin has written this week’s blog post. I’ll give a few life updates at the end of her post but get ready to enjoy D’s/Ebola’s/my wonderful insight on how to survive roommates overseason or home side..

As a professional volleyball player living abroad, you have to get used to the idea that you don’t always have the final say in the details of your life. Your living arrangements is one of those details that can make a huge difference. If you don’t already know, the club we play for has lovingly provided us a spacious room suitable for 1 or maybe 2 people. My roommate Ijeoma (aka IJ aka DJ aka pain in the neck) then just ask me about her, you will be surprised how fast you can learn about someone when you live face to face with them 24/7. Room has enough space for 2 beds, a table, tiny kitchen area, bathroom, and closet we like to think is a “walk-in”. Please don’t get me wrong! I love IJ and Room but I’ll let you in on how to survive and make the best of a situation like this. That’s what roommates are right? Two people with a mutual agreement to survive under the same roof.

Space

We all need it. Give it. Receive it. Maybe in the states we would usually say a roommate might be someone you share a house or apartment with but that is not the case here. Room is the place where I can wake up, get ready for my day, cook, relax, and work all with IJ no more than 6 feet away from me at all times. No wonder we have morphed into the same person. Learn what the best way is to give each other space. In the case of DJ and Room, put on your headphones and go about your business while still tagging each other in amusing Facebook posts.

Understand

There are things you will not understand. No matter how much you have in common there’s bound to be things that seem completely irregular to you. For example, there is something called mother that my roommate washes her face with (you’ll have to ask her about this one). Could it bother me that there is  strange, discolored goo in a jar on our bathroom sink? Yes. But I understand that this is her home too, she should be free to do what she wants.

Refrain

Such an underestimated concept. Use your best judgement for this but there will be times to just DON’T. Don’t tell your roommate that her obsession for the Danish style rolls with jam and cheese is excessive (learned that the hard way). Don’t take the Facetime call from your friends or family from home at 1 am when the other is trying to sleep. Don’t take pictures of any strange habits your roommate has. Sometimes the best action is no action and your roommate will be thankful you didn’t.

Voice

As with any relationship, communication can be about anything and everything and is definitely necessary. It’s important to be able to talk about the latest episode of whatever show we are watching but also be able to go on and on about whatever is happening with life whether that’s something like family, work or volleyball. By the way, one regular season match left this Sunday and then we start playoffs, send good playing vibes our way!

Invite

You should be able to feel like time spent together is time well spent. Inviting your roommate to join in whatever it is that you are doing can only make things better. Something like inviting your roommate to sign up for a Danish language class so you can struggle together is perfect bonding. In case you were wondering vi snakker lidt dansk nu so feel free to test our skills.

Value

Appreciate them for their similarities and differences. Be grateful for the little things! I have grown to like my roommate’s love for wine. I love the fact that both of us love to get kebabs at all hours of the night with The Twin Towers- Evyn and Amanda. And what would I do without someone to let me back in our room when I lose my key. Take the time to thank your roommate for being them and for whatever they do for you, thanks Ijeoma!

Enjoy

You have to enjoy any situation and moment you’re in while it’s still here. So far in this room here abroad I have learned to enjoy my experience for whatever it is. And really, how can either of us can complain? Okay, so we are both in our mid-twenties one of us dang near 30 and have had serious conversations about making bunk beds to save space and I’m sure we spend way too much time together for it to be healthy. But we are getting to live our dream of playing professional volleyball and we are doing it in a great city. We have the opportunity to travel and experience new cultures. We have made great friends who are like family and we have some of the coolest teammates (shout out to LIVE girlypops!). And I’m just going to assume that all the loved ones back home are a little jealous that our roommates are the ones that get to experience this part of our lives with a front row seat. So if you ask me, this Room with this roommate is a pretty good way to survive.  

-D/Ebola/DJ

There you have it! Tools to survive living in a room with another human being that isn’t your significant other or sibling. Coming into this experience both of us were expecting to live alone in an apartment but D put my feelings of the current situation best, “this Room with this roommate is a pretty good way to survive”.

Biggest update to scream at the top of every rooftop would be Ricky Bobby aka Ericka aka best partner in crime EVER booked her roundtrip flight to Singapore. This summer my wonderful cousin Melanie gets married in Malaysia where I will be reunited with my mom and dad. Naturally, I invited Ricky Bobby to join for the tail end of the wedding festivities and then partake in backpacking around Thailand? or maybe Cambodia. We don’t really know. All I know is that Ericka will be in waiting for me in Singapore on June 23rd and I should probably go ahead and book a flight to make sure I’m their too.

Coming up this week for us we have a huge match Sunday vs #4 Amager. Unfortunately last week our team hit another snag and lost to the #5 team in the league Aarhus in 5 sets, after being down 7-1 in the fifth set we came back to almost win but fell short at 13-15. If we win the match on Sunday we will hold onto our #3 spot and if we lose Amager goes up and we go down. We’ve been working hard in the gym this week and are ready to defend our spot going into March playoffs.

Following the game on Sunday I have a personalfest aka staff party at Cafe Bopa. The owners of my Cafe also own two other restaurants/bars in Copenhagen so we are all getting together on the owners tab..with that being said wish both the girly pops and I luck with the game and my liver luck as it celebrates sweet victory with old and new friends.

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