Monday, November 28, 2011

Last October entry

Week of October 23rd-30th

First I must say it's Halloween week!!!!!! 

Second I have to add that this week we play against Soria which is the spanish youth selection team.  They live together and train together throughout the year, playing in Superliga 2 while also attending school at CAEP.  Some of the girls on our team are going to take this game much more personally because they haven't been selected or want to be selected for the winter camp during the league break.  Whatever their reasons there are going to be a lot of emotions flying high for the younger girls and the four older girls are going to have to be the stable players for us to have success.  

Monday was same old same old at coaching and no practice afterwards so we had an English lesson with Carlo and called it a night.  Mondays are quickly becoming my favorite day because yes we have a busy morning but the nights are filled with relaxation time and its just nice to come home early and chill out.  With all of our practices being later and then having to eat something afterwards, shower, etc bedtime is usually pretty late.  

Tuesday...lift was fine but practice...we got kicked out again.  Its just becoming normal that the first practice of the week is bad and we get kicked out.  When Paolo starts to get quiet we know he is verging on the edge of saying the forbidden word..."CASA" repeatedly until we finally start stretching and then head home early.  Most of the time I need to walk around the gym and cool off for a bit before I can  physically sit down and stretch without swearing up and down.  In a matter of two months I have been kicked out of more practices than ever before in my career.  Maybe its helping the younger girls learn though which is what I am here for basically so if thats the case I can suck it up and deal with it.  

Side note Halloween isn't a huge deal here but we went to the American store to get some treats for ourselves to have since we don't get to dress up for the first time in 22 years and go out on the town.  Mini reeses and then some free gifts with our purchase from the store (they must have over ordered something).  The larger holiday here is Day of the Dead which is the day following Halloween where you honor family members and friends that have passed. 

Wednesday again normal day of coaching and then straight to practice and it wasn't the greatest practice again. Paolo just keeps getting more and more Italian the longer he is living here in Spain and away from his girlfriend who is playing in Korea.  Nothing too exciting this week at all.

Thursday we played great and probably the best practice of the year but untimely indeed.  We don't have a game until Saturday and need to be on point then not mid week.  Apparently its "planned" though by Paolo with our lifting schedule and training regime that he has planned.  

Friday we just serve pass which is becoming more of a hassle just to get to practice and stay focused when all day we do nothing until practice at 8.  Plans for Saturday are to leave from the gym at 9 am, car pool to Soria and then head back to Madrid right after the match.  

GAME DAY we get to the gym and meet up with everyone, as usual the Spanish girls are late and we wait a little after the time we are supposed to leave top get going.  Our car has Pato, myself, Lily, Paolo, Ani and Angela.  We played Life and Monopoly on my iPad on the way there, which might I add that Pato and Ani got a kick out of.  Otherwise I read my book and listened to music on my iPad and tried to just focus on the match.  We are semi lucky because the best player for the youth team got called up to the full national team for a friendly tournament and will be missing our match this weekend.  We stop twice on the way there and grab some small snacks and drinks as well as coffee to get ready for the match.  When we get there we get ready and head out for warm-ups.  I LOVE getting to hit in hitting lines during warm-ups.  50-50 balls are just bounce balls at that point and its like showing off your skill that was hidden for the past 4 years.  The best part is that its the only time really that I hit the ball that hard because during the game I can only score when I play smart not strong.  

The match was a struggle for us and we could not pass to save our lives.  We got aced off the court and just didn't talk well or play together at times of struggle. This team by far serves the best of all the teams that we have played and Paolo says for the league they are the most aggressive servers.  I had a good match from the service line and attacking but was disappointed with my passing but mostly because that used to be my specialty for the last four years.  I think that for the match I had 27 points and we won 3-1.  Lily told me again that I might be MVP which I didn't believe mostly because I was so disappointed in my play from serve reception but I forget that points look great on the stat sheet and passing isn't looked at as much for awards unless you are a libero.  I guess I haven't forgotten the libero inside me.  The drive back took foreverrrrrrr.  We stopped for food which was needed since I was so drained.  Then we got back and Angela and I went to our corner store grabbed a few beers and wandered through alcobendas enjoying our win.  The next day we went to the American store and bought pancake mix because we wanted something from home and we had some delicious fiber one pancakes then made some goat cheese salad and pizza for our dinner.  We have so much more time to spend on meals on sunday that we get to spoil ourselves a little bit.  We also had an english lesson with Carlos cousin which is becoming and every sunday deal.  I love it though because seeing her exams that we help her with make my mind work in opposite ways thinking about the spanish translation for all the words.   Alright I guess thats a week.  On to the next one. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Second journey of Superliga

Week of October 16th-22nd

Monday morning SUCKED since I woke up feeling like crap and I had a fever the night before. Stomach was killing me headache the whole deal. I laid on the couch all day and Angela graciously took the little kids that we have to coach monday and wednesday at the International College of Spain for me and I stayed in bed.  I drank loads and loads of water but still felt like crap all day. I tried to limit myself to bland foods again and see what I could stomach and it turned out to be I couldn't stomach much.  This week will be tough since we play Sofi Muller, who happens to be the sister of Ani my teammate but more interesting is the fact that she is also the daughter of our manager Fabian and his wife Lily.  Her team from Barcelona is one of the top teams in the league and we finished 9th out of 11 last year in Superliga so it is a big underdog match (which I love for us)

Tuesday rolls around after Monday not being so hot and we have weights and then practice with the little kids that we have to help with now at the club.  I started to feel a little better but at practice was just so drained from not being able to keep much food inside my stomach.  Even Esther pointed out that I looked exhausted.  Never a good thing when people notice that you are tired cuz it means you look like crap.  Practices are going to be a drag this week if my body feels like this.  Good thing is that Lily and Fabian invited us over for dinner two times this week for lovely family meals.  Its nice when we get an invite even once a week which is not expected but appreciated.  When it happens more than once its just proving we are lucky to be where we are.  

As the week goes on I feel much better and Friday rolls around and Fabian, Lily and Ani ask us to join them at the Wok which is a chinese stir-fry buffet. We of course joined them and enjoyed Sushi (for the first time since being here) along with other fun appetizers from the buffet. Then we selected our items that we wanted for our stir fry and brought it up to them picked our sauces and pooof magic we had a plate.  It was delicious with chicken, meat, shrimp, or whatever else we wanted protein wise and fresh vegetables.  Dessert was fruit which was yummy and then some chocolate tart thing. Fabian said remember we have a match tomorrow you have to be able to jump, lol.  

GAME DAYYY rolls around and Angela and I are so so so excited to play a good team and see where we fair. . . . this is how we faired GANAMOS (we win 3-0).  They were a good team but we won 3-0 and played very very well in front of a fun home crowd since it was the day the club players had a family presentation.  I felt bad for Sofi who the girls cheered for after the match.  It was a nice gesture and she is a great player and person.  No surprise when she comes from Fabian and Lily.  Anyways that about ends the week for us with the match and we go to the Wok again after the match with Audra because we are starving.  Its a good post game meal with the American girls that are quickly becoming family to me.  After that we head home and I am exhausted.  Angela decides to go out with Ana that night and have a good time while I stay in because I am simply too tired from the week of struggling with sickness.  

We went Sunday to watch the juvenil game at the gym designated for volleyball in our club. Then afterwards we went with Lily to take Sofi back to the airport and joined Fabian, Lily and Ani for dinner at their house.  It's been a week full of invitations to go to dinner with them and they are never unappreciated. We stayed after for a while with them talking about anything and everything under the sun then went back to our house and made dinner together before heading to sleepy time. 

2 more October weeks...more to come

Week of October 9th-15th

Sorry for those that like the daily updates but I am going to start to do weekly because of the travel and game schedule. Since my weekdays are quite repetitive. I will still include all the juicy details that people love to read about that happen during my weeks or just the little funny blurbs that make people remember its just me, Alyssa (or nummy for the not so smart moments). 

So this will finish up the week of the 17th and our first match then I will continue to write this way for simplicity purposes and just consistency with mushing all the weeks together. :) 

This week has been a bit of madness leading up to the first game.  I think that Paolo is just nervous for the season to start but lately he has been sticking to his Italian ways and the mood swings of that are always included.  The plans for the weekend are that we go to the juvenil game on Saturday morning in Leganes and then we all leave from there together to travel to Lugo which is about a 5 and a half hour drive.  

That morning I wake up a terrible stomach ache and have some issues that don't need to be discussed in detail on this site.  So luckily I go to meet with Mario, who has therapy times with Angela and Audra scheduled for that morning.  He tells us the best medicine for my issue and we go get some together before heading to Lugo to meet with the rest of the team.  I literally am only allowed to eat bland foods by Lily for the entire weekend which is smart but stinks as well.  I eat apples, rice, tea, bread and other bland, plain, easily digestible carbs. We travel in cars and of course our car is Lily, Fabian, Paolo, Ani, Angela and myself.  Its perfect because Lily and Fabian have become like Angela and my parents while in Spain.  We stopped for a bocadillo about 2 hours in and some tea and I was allowed the bread and the ham which that I could hardly even manage to eat really.  Once we finally arrived at Lugo we went as a team on a tour of the town.  There is a very old cathedral in Lugo that has been standing for hundreds of years.  We went inside while mass was going on which felt rude but it was well worth it. The place was gorgeous and had shrines for each of the important pastors and people that have been a part of the church along with their burial arrangements.  We also got to see this one part of Lugo that is famous, a wall that runs through the town which was built by the Romans forever ago. We walked along it with its strength as if it were built in the modern era.  It was gorgeous.  My favorite thing about all the towns I have been to so far is they are full of small streets and Ma & Pa shops.  The cobblestone streets and little walkways are always lively and just you can't help but take your time walking through them and taking it all in as an outsider.  

Anyways that night we went to the Pabellon which we would play in the next afternoon to watch a mens Superliga 2 match before heading back to our hotel for our team meal.  We had a "family" style team dinner where they bring out platters of rice, pasta, veggies, salad, bread, etc for everyone to pick what they want off of.  It was delicious and then we also had a yummy apple dessert after our chicken/meat dishes were devoured.  By the way they use french fries as a side for everything here. Bed time for us though since we play at noon and have to be up at 9 for breakfast.

As soon as my head hits the pillow I am out because of not feeling so great.  I dont wake up until the next morning when my alarm goes off. We head downstairs for breakfast and its similar to the night before where there are platters of thing that we get to pick off of for breakfast.  There is coffee and  milk (which seems incredible at the time due to the massive headache that I woke up with) along with toast, jelly, nuts, honey and other assortments of European breakfast foods.  All Audra, Angela and I really want is eggs buttttt they don't believe in having things besides sweet things for breakfast here.  So we indulge in the nuts, toast and jam along with some coffee. The funniest part of breakfast by far was the fact that the nuts had to be cracked so we had nut crackers and there were shards of nuts flying everywhere. After breakfast we headed to the Pabellon where I finally started to feel better which either was the distraction of a game about to be played or a permanent fixture.  

The game went by fast and we played alright against an ok opponent and won 3-0. I had 11 aces which is about the only stat that I remember of mine because I served so so so much that match.  Lily informed me that each week the league awarded a player MVP honors and selected the top 7 players in the league (6 and a libero) and that she thought I would be MVP which was news to me.  After the match we went to have a typical meal from the north of Spain called Pulpa (octopus) which as gross as it sounds is delicious. They typically serve it with boiled potatoes.  We had salad, ribs and dessert at the dinner table also which was incredible.  Then we headed to the cars to start the long trek back to Madrid in our crammed car.  I think I slept almost the entire way back to Madrid except for a few moments one or two times when we stopped for food.  Oh and the minor fact of importance from the match that sticks out in my head is this....Angela telling me prior to a play to hit someone in the face on a two ball X-play.  I go up and hit the two ball at left back and whammm square in the face of the poor girl.  I usually am not one to laugh at this situation as I know what a concussion and head trauma can feel like.  I quickly scurried back to the service line and tried not to have the other side see my face because I was ONLY laughing at the fact Angela just jokingly told me to hit someone in the face and I actually did.  Paolo in the car on the way back played the hit over and over on his computer for a good giggle but I still felt bad about the post hit reaction I had. Here it is polite to say sorry to the player and I just ran away. Oops :) learning lesson.  

Once we got back to Madrid I was thrilled to just lay down and relax and feel somewhat better but who knew that it was all going to come tumbling down the next morning when I  woke up. YUCK!