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First Impressions

Easiest travel/move to a foreign country so far. The Sea-Tac airport was vacant yesterday afternoon when I arrived and it took me all but 10 minutes to check in and go through security. Then I got on my flight, sat for less than 7 hours and arrived to my destination. Piece of cake. Now for the fun part- settling in.

It was a bit shocking landing at the Keflavik airport here in Iceland. I was reminded that first impressions aren’t everything. I have no idea where I am right now or what is around me. It is a weird feeling. I’m not convinced I mentally prepared to be thrown into this country so quickly. I have entertained too many thoughts of a more American type place than compared to Denmark or France. What I forgot was that it is still a totally foreign country! That’s ok. I know after the first week and some good sleep I will be excited to explorer and will quickly fall in love with my new home. 

I didn’t know who was meeting me at the airport and so when I came out of baggage claim I just stood looking around. I got a bad feeling when nobody was walking up to me to pick me up. Well, the thing is, that the guy picking me up was writing some emails and not expecting me to get my bags so quickly. So ended up not being a problem. It was probably a 30 minute drive from the airport down a one or 2 lane highway with lava fields surrounding us and snow capped mountains in the distance and the ocean in sight. What a crazy landscape I have seen already. My flight arrived at 6:30 and it was already light out and looked like it had been light for awhile. I mean most of the flight was in the light as it was anyways. I learned that right now it really only gets dark from after 10pm until before 5am! There aren’t shutters on the windows and I was advised just to suck it up and get used to it being so light outside. 

I got dropped off at my apartment, which my roommate and I will get to live in until June. I get the cute little room with an awesome desk along the windowed wall and an itty bitty bed and dresser. I think I brought too much stuff with me! oops. 

 

Land of Fire and Ice

It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. -Deuteronomy 31:8

It’s that time again. 

Packing the bags, saying the good-byes, excitement is taking over, and I am off to the land of fire and ice! 

I’ve been recovering from a serious tear in my right soleus muscle (the muscle in your calf which you use for just about everything on a daily basis, not to mention the necessity of having a strong healthy one for playing soccer) which happened back in the first week of March. I have had great care and support while recovering at home with family and friends, but feel that it is time to go again. Why is it that the LORD has called me, undeserving of his blessings, to go and share his love around the world? I am blessed, I am loved, I am forgiven, and I am ready to go! 

Please be praying for a full recovery of my leg so I am able to be fully engaged with my new team and that I would be wise and listen to any warning signs from my body telling me to stop or at least slow down with training if I am close to injuring myself again. 

Also, I will be meeting my roommate for the first time and it will be the first roommate I have had in 4 years. Pray for a smooth transition, that all cultural and language barriers would be smashed to pieces, and that we would develop a really great friendship. 

I think this is the most excited I have been about going to a new place since I got my first contract in Denmark. Of course I am sad to say my good-byes, but am hopeful for the hellos that will follow when I come back again. 

France

What an adventure.
I wish I had learned French in school, but of course Spanish was the more reasonable choice, at least in the area I group up. At the same time am thankful for the Spanish I did learn because I think it is why I understand as much French as I do after 5 months of living here without going to language school.
I am pretty stoked today because I went to the sociology department at the University library next to my house and perused the hundreds of books in different categories for that one special book printed in English by some off chance. Well, I walked away with 4 interesting sociological type books to keep my mind going. Since my daily conversations consist of broken languages of all kinds I have noticed I am missing having intellectual conversations like we naturally engage in on a day to day basis with our peers/ colleagues and even teammates without even realizing it. I figured maybe I can start getting a little of what I am missing from some books. So far it’s doing the trick :)
Regardless of what I may be missing I still am trying to learn and engage in the language here, but it is really difficult. Have I mentioned I don’t get to go to actual French class (which is where you learn a bit of the important stuff to be able to make sense of the whole mess of stuff that gets thrown at you on a daily basis) so really I can only tell stories and communicate in the present tense. I can only imagine the inaccurate, or totally absurd, word pictures I draw in the French peoples’ brains when I speak to them in French. Poor grammar alongside made-up words hahaha I must really make their heads hurt…but I won’t mention how much my head hurts all the time listening to the English in this place. I am thankful for the amount that majority of people know combined with my capacity of understanding of their language, but it would be really nice to not have to speak in “French-English” as in insert words I would never use at home but know they understand quicker so I will use that word instead of the other one and place it in this location of the sentence instead of the right location because I know I will only need to repeat myself 3 times instead of 5 times by making these choices. No wonder I like living alone.
To sum it all up: if you are going to move to France take time to learn French as best as possible before you move here. You’ll be happy you did. Also, expect to have paperwork coming out of your ears!
This is only the beginning. I need to begin to write more. My grandma says so. If grandma says so it must be true because she is much older and wiser than I am even though I like to think I am wise and know lots of stuff about life and the world and how everything works. In all reality, I need to listen to my elders. There is a reason we are always told that growing up, there is a reason why we are stubborn about it, but there is a reason now why I am beginning to listen to more older wiser people in my life.
So, Cheers to all you loyal readers! Happy New Year if I haven’t personally greeted you yet this New Year and enjoy the journey of where the words take me on this blog. I am curious to know what will happen!

Barcelona Here We Come!

The flights are booked! Ao and I are going to Barcelona for a weekend. We have a friendly match next Friday night followed by a weekend off from games. So, naturally, I searched for an adventure and came up with a pretty good one! 

Plan of attack: I searched for places that I could fly directly into from Lyon airport. From there I searched for the cheapest option and best times and took into consideration where I have friends living right now. End result- direct flight Lyon-Barcelona (1 hour 15 minutes) for 70 Euros to visit my friend Tim. (I wrote about this 2 posts ago). Ao, my teammate and friend, thought about her decision to go for the past couple days and came over to my place this morning and said “let’s go!” soooo here we go!!!! 

I’ve never spent time reading up on the sights of Barcelona and thought it might be a good thing to do before going next weekend and it looks pretty awesome so far!

Coffee in my Cup

Roll out of bed, roll open the shutters that cover my windows and make it pitch black 24/7 if they aren’t opened, flip the switch on the electric kettle and get ready for a great cup of coffee. And right now it is like a big cup of “tastes like home.”

I went to Lyon last week to exchange my faulty MiCoach connector. Lyon is a 45 minute train ride from my city and with my awesome travel reduction card it isn’t very expensive if I go every once in awhile. Aside from doing what I needed to get done I had another idea. I found Starbucks, enjoyed a latte, and bought a bag of Christmas blend beans! Mmm. I also got to have lunch with one of my besties Co! Her and I played together for a year in Denmark and she is the one who helped me with my connection to my current team. We had an awesome French lunch of savory crepes. Again, delicious. 

Unfortunately the sun isn’t shining today, but I am still excited about the day. Hmm…maybe I’ll hang out with my new bestie Ao from Taiwan. This friendship is a pretty cool story of God’s orchestration of our life and how we have divine appointments and meaningful run-ins with those who seem to be coincidental. From all the people God has put in my path I don’t see any as coincidences. There is a reason and purpose for each person in my life and for that I am thankful. 

Back in May when I was living in Seattle and playing for the Seattle Sounders the coach told us that there was a girl from Taiwan coming for the week to have a trial with the team. We were all curious: Does she speak english or how are we going to communicate? I was excited to welcome her to the team and help her feel comfortable and included because I am all too familiar with being the foreigner on the team. We connected right away when she arrived at practice and had a fun training session. I asked what her and her boyfriend would be doing with their time during the week etc etc. I invited them to come to the gym with me in the mornings and became their taxi (their hotel was very close by but I didn’t think it was a good idea for them to be walking in the area they were staying in) for the week and we became friends. Unfortunately the coach didn’t invite her to stay on the team. In hindsight, it was a good thing for her because I have no idea how or where she would’ve lived during the season etc. Anyways, she ended up on a team in Spokane and I went and saw her play in Issaquah just to give some support. I kept in touch with her and her boyfriend as I made my decision to join my new team in France and encouraged them to contact my now coach. 

Fast forward to August when I arrived in the countryside of France at an agricultural boarding school for preseason and found my dear friends Ao and Kai there as well :) Her trial went well and she returned to Taiwan to await the approval of her work visa. Just like me, the paper work took forever and she didn’t arrive until the middle of October!  

Anyways, she is here now and we have apartments just 5-10 minutes apart and it’s great to have a friend around on the same schedule as me (free most of the day and train late in the evening). We travel majority of the time to and from training on the tram line together and it’s just fun having company.

She is only one of many amazing people and friends God has blessed me with over the past few years of living abroad. So, when you are feeling that little prompting from the Holy Spirit to strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to you on the airplane or the one you always see standing in line at the same time as you at Starbucks, respond to that prompting. Who knows what could become of it.

I feel so behind and that I will never be able to catch up on everything that has happened.

After 3 months living in France I feel like I am finally living here and settled in. I am beginning to become integrated into my club at the coaching level and am beginning to learn about the French Football developmental theory/program. 

I am trying to get myself to be a bit more busy during the week and so far it has been successful. I did two days of teaching English and an evening of being a fitness coach for the U19 girls team. I’ve gotten in some extra training and a bit of physical therapy to keep my ankles and legs healthy. Friday I am meeting with a person about volunteering with teens or youth (I’m not totally sure what this meeting is about as it was slightly lost in translation, but I got the point that it will be volunteer work and not paid) teaching English and organizing sports activities. I have this feeling that I am about to get a good busy. 

To add to everything, the sun was out ALL day and it was fairly warm for the middle of November. The difference in temperatures from what I experienced in Denmark for the past few years is greatly appreciated and warmly welcomed. 

I’ve also spent the day doing lots of laundry and figuring out how to properly use the functions on the washing machine and have my apartment FULL of clothes and sheets hanging over everything. Stone age? NO! Just being forced to be more environmentally responsible. 

Another new development has been my recent studying of sports nutrition and the increase in carbohydrates in my daily diet. I have way more energy at practice and am loving it.

We are preparing this week for our game on Sunday against a team called Juvissy. They are currently 4th in the French division 1 (my league) and are a strong team. I think we are going to play a lot better than we did last week and I am eager for Sunday to get here. In the meantime I am just going to do my best to physically and mentally prepare for the match for whichever position I play and have fun doing it!

Oh YEA! Another big thing that happened was that I finally got my annual public transportation card and it is awesome!  So easy and it is like this new freedom. At the same time, I am still loving riding my bike around (ok, not totally loving it because there is too much traffic and not enough bike lanes) the city. Despite my incident with the police pulling me over I will carry on. I’m glad they didn’t give me that 90 euro ticket they said they were going to give to me. 

Ok, one more exciting piece of news: I’m going to BARCELONA!!!!!!! It will be a very quick trip for FUN (NO FOOTBALL!) and will get to hang out with my awesome friend Timbo who was on my Athletes in Action team in Paraguay. So cool to get to travel to awesome places and reconnect with great friends!

Bon nuit! 

I found some motivation. I just finished reading my blog posts from my time in Denmark and realized how important it is to write things down. Grandma always tells me to write my memories. Most of the time I listen to what she tells me, but lately I haven’t felt much like writing. 

I write a lot in my head, but never sit down and type it out. 

I will not try to start with the last 5 months of my life, but I will just start with today (and hopefully fill in the missing gaps of time). 

Today was a big day for those in the NE USA. Hurricane Sandy made landfall and turned into what they are calling Superstorm Sandy now. I pretty much spent the bulk of my day listening/watching CNN and learning about the disaster happening back in the States. 

Being that tomorrow is Halloween, I had to go out and piece together my costume for tomorrow night. I am having my “Crémaillère” tomorrow with my teammates. A Crémaillère is a french word which describes a party at someone’s apartment who has recently moved in. So it is like a house warming party, except a bit different. I made it a requirement that my teammates come dressed up in costumes or else they cannot enter :) Should be fun. 

We train super late so my day doesn’t really start training wise until 6:30 pm and then I arrive home around 8:30 or 9:00 depending on how I get home. Sometimes I take the tram, other times my awesome teammates will drive me home. This week I have been diligent about prepping my meals before training so that it takes minimal time to eat a good, healthy, hot meal when I get home from training. 

We also started daylight savings here last week and that has been a great help with getting me to sleep a bit earlier than previously, thus making it easier to wake up a little earlier as well. 

The temperature has dropped drastically over the last 5 days and I have resorted to turning my heat on in my apartment. Otherwise I feel like an icicle. 

Upcoming announcement

Be on the look out for a big announcement coming sometime this week! Hopefully with the announcement will come motivation to pick up where I left off on the “regular” blogging. So excited!

Snow, Sun, and Soccer on Sunday

I wish I had had my camera with me in the car today. It was a beautiful 10 minutes snow storm followed by blue skies, sunshine, and an awesome training session I did for a couple of girls. We were down to our shorts and t-shirts running through the snow. It was AWESOME! Hopefully we will be blessed with more sunshine tomorrow (snow would be fine too).

I love to ride “my” bicycle!

After 2.5 years of non-stop biking followed by a short 3 month hiatus…I LOVE BIKING! (Picture to come soon of my new borrowed bike) It does help when there is sunshine instead of rain and roads which rarely have cars on them. Not to mention riding beside the beautiful water with both the Canadian Rockies and the Cascades surrounding me. I am not minding being at home as much as I may make it seem at times (mom, you’ll appreciate this post).

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