Monday, October 10, 2011

October Updates

9/27/2011-10/4/2011 3:10 pm Alcobendas

Tuesday 27th-

Today was a great day we just hung out all day and did laundry waiting for the first practice of the week to start at 630.  We lifted in the morning which was ehh just alright since the lifts here are simple compared to penn state's for the past couple years.  Although they have told me that I have great form which means that I had great teachers at PCX and Penn State when it comes to lifting technique. So thank you to all of those people :) it even works at the international level.  Anyways just a typical day of shopping for groceries at the beginning of the week and hanging out waiting for practice to start.  Tuesday's I think are going to be my least favorite day of the week for sure though because practice is so slow and technical that the spanish girls struggle a bit to focus even though its all important stuff we need to cover.  Well short journal entry since today wasn't much of a day at all haha. More to come tomorrow! Goodnight :) Oh my goodness I almost forgot to share the best news of the day. Angela and I after lift went to the International College of Madrid (I think this is correct) and landed coaching jobs. We are in charge of the Infantiles and the Alevines (10/11 yrs olds) for their volleyball season.  I am so excited as is Angela because we both LOVE coaching and we get to do it here...oh and for those that are wondering its all in ENGLISH so there is no language barrier here for us. We are supposed to start tomorrow but we have to talk to our club managers before it is approved financially. Yep so it was a good tuesday even though its my least favorite day of the entire week lol. Goodnight again!

Wednesday 28th-

I felt great today.  First time in a while that I went for a fast paced 2 mile run and then did some great abs and body weight workout at the apt.  Actually I doubt I would be able to do these workouts without remembering some of the killer body weight exercises that I got killed with at PCX back home in NY.  I did some slideboard mountain climbers with some washcloths on our tile floor (improvising).  A bunch of other fun ones that I learned when I was 15 years old but still love to do now and still kick my butt now.  Anyways it was a great work out and I loved it.  We were supposed to start working at the International college today but got an email from Paolo saying to wait until Monday to start because we don't have everything we need financially squared away in order for things to be clear.  So we did not go coach today and instead we had an english lesson with Carlo at Starbucks before practice.  Its so nice that we get to just go sit somewhere and talk to someone in English and help correct them and get paid for it.  Plus Carlo is fun and very generous as everytime we meet him he buys us drinks so Ang and I both got a free Americano from Starbucks.  Then Carlo drove us to practice and it was a little bit better than the day before but mostly because we got a new player.  She is a former Spanish National Team libero that played in Superliga 1 in Spain for about 4 years before stopping to get a teaching job.  She lives in Madrid for with her husband and wanted to play a little bit again so she came for a tryout to see if we could use her as an attacker rather than a libero.  She decided she liked it and we signed another libero so our serve receive is 3 liberos (outside, libero and right side).  As our manager Fabian put it if we don't have good serve receive he will die. Haha.  But I love having her here because she can communicate with the younger spanish girls and keep them on track when we don't necessarily know what to say due to the minor language barrier. Hopefully she will find a way to motivate the younger girls to work hard since we struggle with that.  Well anyways that was the day today and Ang and I were planning on going to Burger King tonight to watch some tv shows and just lounge around when all of a sudden our door bell rang :) and we had a visitor.  Heather was here for the night because her flight back home is tomorrow and she is flying out of Madrid so she is crashing here for the night and Lily is picking her up and taking her to the airport in the morning for her flight home.  So we all went to Burger King together one last time and just chilled out skyped with family and watched tv shows on our computers.  It was a nice night as the three amigos together one last time before Heather got to go home. Welp goodnight for now more to come tomorrow :)

Thursday 29th -

For the first time since being here I got homesick.  I think it was Heather going home and just being so excited to see her family and be at home reminded me of how much I miss people at home.  Not that I want to leave because I truly love Madrid and being here is a blessing, I guess it just made me realize that unlike being at college in the US when I get homesick I cant just expect a visit from my parents or drive home to NY for a few days to see people that I miss.  This is kind of a permanent thing until the end of march so I am just gonna have to learn to deal with days like this.  The hardest part for me is knowing that Christmas is going to be potentially alone which inspired me to look into flights to come home.  Too expensive for too little time since my sister, Kaitlin and Erica are all flying over here the 29th.  It would be a nice break since we do have off for at least a week and a half at some point between dec 17th and january 7th.  Just don't know when that is yet but all the flights are at least a grand. So I guess I will start looking into flights to go to see people I know that are going to be in Europe for christmas.  Poland and Italy seem to be my options or if Angela stays here and her friends come to Madrid maybe thats an option. Either way I miss home today.  Practice was alright just really blah and Paolo had a screaming session at one point in Italian which honestly I find entertaining because it reminds me of how my grandma used to just explode without warning in her italian rampages in the kitchen mostly.  Made me smile but then it also made me miss home and miss her since she has passed.  I guess one day in about a month of being here isnt a bad ratio for missing home :). I also think that Carlo taking us to the Taste of America store triggered it since there are things in that store that I deeply miss like oatmeal and peanut butter (not that I even ate those everyday in the US just the option of having them is what I miss).  Well Heather is home by now and practice got done a bit earlier than usual so Ang and I went home ate some dinner and went to the BK lounge as we are now referring to it. I caught up on some grey's anatomy season opener that I missed and then shopped online with my eyes rather than my bank account lol.  It was a great end to a not so great day here in Spain.  Well goodnight and hopefully I sleep on it wake up refreshed for a new day. 

Friday 30th- 

Today is Erica's and Justin's birthday and I wish that I could be there to help them celebrate the special day but I am in a different country so I sent some nice messages to both of them to wish them well. The days here are starting to blur together as to what happened when and what day we did what. I know that every tues thursday we lift and every sunday monday we have off but otherwise its all a big blur to me haha. I guess thats a good thing because the weeks are flying by and before you know it people will be here visiting me and we will start playing real matches/traveling Spain for our league play.  Today's practice is going to be really really slow I can picture it now simply because we have a match tomorrow at Leganes the same team that we scrimmaged first and that we played last weekend on Saturday in the Madrid cup.  We only practiced for an hour and a half and did serve receive rotations with some technical hitting practice (aiming for chairs placed in spots on the court) which was my favorite part since I love working on my control with hitting.  After practice Angela and I went to BK lounge until it closed because we had skype dates with people. Me with my parents (state college and real parents) and angela with her boy/mom and dad.  I also watched another episode of grey's anatomy on my computer which was awesome to just be able to still catch up on those episodes.  It was GREAT to get to talk to all of my parents at the same time in the same place and hear about the Penn State booster luncheon.  Although coach did not give me any credit for talking to him which I have it was still good to hear about it and live vicariously through them.  This weekend (tonight) the banners for Penn State are being raised for Big Ten Champs and National Champs which makes me miss PSU a whole lot. I remember those games the banners get raised and coach would say this night is NOT for this team because this team has done nothing, its simply a night honoring last years teams accomplishments of which you have yet to accomplish anything.  Such a great guy he is keeping us grounded and focused on the match ahead rather than basking in the glory of the previous year.  As much as I disliked it then I appreciate it from a whole new viewpoint now.  You have to admit that man knows what he is doing and I just have the greatest respect for him as well as love for him. He is seemingly like a second father to me in some ways and just is the most accepting welcoming big teddy bear through all the harshness.  Anyways another random sidetracked thought sorry.  The night ended well and got to bed early since we have a match at noon tomorrow in Leganes and Lily is picking us up at 1030 near the Fat Lady statue as we call it.  Goodnight

Saturday 1st -

Amistosa (spelling might be wrong) but it means friendly game which is what we have this afternoon.  Made some oatmeal with some banana and then had some yogurt for my pregame meal. Made a cup of coffee to wake me up for the game and then walked with Ang to meet Lily in the round-a-bout by the Fat Lady for our short trip to Leganes. When we got there we were super early so there was a little cafe right outside the gym that Lily said we could go get some coffee at which sounded brilliant.  So we went and got a little coffee and just chatted about randomness before heading over to the gym for the match.  We walked in and you know that feeling that everyone knows you are the foreign players, yep that happened which I guess we should get used to.  The warm-up for the match was kind of flat and strange but we started out alright and won the first two sets pretty handily with Ang setting and Audra hitting outside with me and Estel on the rightside.  Worked out some kinks that we had since our starting libero had to sit with a leg injury and we had the youngest girl on the team playing libero.  After the second set Paolo decided to rest Ang and Audra and put in our back up setter and outside.  We lost the next two games then went to a fifth and he started Ang and Audra again. We won the fifth game pretty easily then followed the match with a little social afterwards.  They had empanada a typical spanish treat with tuna and veggies all baked inside a kind of pie crusty thing.  It was delicious. Then they also had the typical plates of cheese and meat slices on the table and little chex mix type bowls.  We had some aquarius which is the equivalent of gatorade here and then Lily took us back the apt for the night. We napped for a while then woke up and made some food then decided we would spend our night skyping people in burger king and just laying low. We were just exhausted and did not want to do much since tomorrow we were planning on going to see Audra's husbands basketball game.  So after more skype time with family and friends as well as more tv episodes on my computer we went back to the apt and stayed up later than usual because the only thing we had in the morning was an english lesson with Carlo's cousin at 1230.  Well goodnight for now then. One more win in the books and another week coming to a close in Spain. It is all flying by. 

Sunday 2nd -

Penn state won last night against Minnesota in 3 which is great.  Ohio state swept Minnie in 3 and then Wisconsin beat Ohio State in 4.  The Big Ten is in for another season of everyone beating everyone.  Illinois was ranked number 1 at one point which is insane because that means that there is us, minnesota, illinois, nebraska, purdue, ohio state all within like the top 15.  Seriously a stacked conference and just loving following even though from afar.  Plus having Audra on the team we have something in common that we get to follow both our teams and talk about how messed up the conference standings are.  Well english lesson went superbly and we found out that the metro stop is literally right behind our house haha.  If we walk down our back street and through this absolutely gorgeous park with fountains and benches, trees, plants and just wow so pretty...anyways the metro is right there. Ang and I decided that we want to explore some more that way since everything that we have to do is the other way in town.  It was gorgeous park and I wanna go sit there and read since I do a lot of that now. I have read three full books since being here. Something borrowed by Emily Griffin and also Something Blue by the same author, both great books. Then I also read A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard.  Now that I have no actual school books to read and no crazy hectic busy schedule I get to enjoy reading about other people's lives, real or fake, it doesn't matter it brings me to someone elses world which I love.  Passes the time and is highly enjoyable.  Anyways sorry another tangent, for those that read this regularly you are noticing a pattern I would imagine.  :) and for those that know me I am sure that you are not surprised at all. 

The second part of our sunday was great. Angela went to workout and I cleaned a little bit doing some dishes and running some errands that we needed to Al Campo for dish soap, paper towels, toilet paper, fabric softener, and other shared necessities.  Then she returned and we got ready for Audra to come pick us up for her hubby's game that was back in Leganes at the same place that we played the day before.  She picked us up at 6 at te BK lounge and we then had a quite entertaining drive to Leganes since Audra has never driven manual and is still learning. We got off at the wrong exit so she pulled a U-turn right back onto the on ramp but stalled out in the process. We tried to get going at least 5 times before she finally got the car up the on ramp and running without stalling back out. Angela was in the front seat navigating and she was DYING laughing as was I in the back seat. Then once we got off the exit Audra's iPhone gps was telling us all sorts of wrong directions through a mall parking lot, on one way streets which we drove the wrong way down...just highly entertaining.  Then we stalled out maybe 10 times in the parking lot trying to find our way out onto the street that we needed to be on to get to the stadium.  Once we got on the right path we were set and didn't stall out anymore. We got to the stadium and proceeded to park in a no parking zone so Audra had us wait outside the ticket office while she went to go park and walked to meet us for our tickets. We made it inside after the first few minutes of the first quarter had passed.  Kirk was playing really well and ended the night with 28 points even though they lost in the final seconds of the game.  We drank a few beers during the game and enjoyed ourselves for sure.   After the game all of us met Kirks teammates at Hard Rock Cafe in Madrid for some dinner and drinks. Audra treated Ang and I to some Sangria which was delicious and then we had an American dinner so yummy. Some appetizers nachos and then some Salmon dinner with veggies and dessert was a bite of an apple cobbler that the table shared. Kirk was very nice and simply told us to pay for our meals rather than the appetizers and desserts/drinks.  So quite a delicious dinner for about 15 euors rather than 30 that we were supposed to pay.  It was a great night and we got back to the apt and crashed hard. I loved the night in general though.  So thats all for now goodnight :) we have our first day of work tomorrow at the schools.

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