Saturday, February 25, 2012

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Mail Call!

Oooohhh I get so excited whenever I get mail here! TWICE in the past two days I received some mail from a couple friends! And like I always do, I'm gonna show you what I got!

Yesterday I got a letter from my friend and former Husker teammate, Brigette Root! Yes, a hand-written letter! Made my day! Also, with the letter she sent me a cute valentine, and some propel and crystal light packets! She is right, the water here could use a little help sometimes. And these are even more perfect now that I've completely given up all pop! Thanks B!

The second piece of mail I received today. It was actually a package. The return address was some guy in Des Moines. What the heck could that be? Well, it was actually from my best friend, Jess Yanz, who warned me a few days ago that she ordered something for me. Oh was I pleasantly surprised when I opened it up...

I saw this shirt online a couple months ago and thought about ordering it for myself but never did. And just as best friends do, she sent it all the way to me here in Vienna :) I'm already obsessed with it. Thanks Jess! 

In other news, we traveled to Innsbruck yesterday (about a 5 hour trip) to play the second match of the Austrian League Quarterfinals. The quarterfinals is best out of 5 matches. A little excessive, I know. We swept and we are now one win away from advancing to the Semifinals. Our next match of this series is on Sunday. If we advance (which we should, easily) and if my friend and fellow Iowan, Ellie Blankenship (who is also playing in Austria) advances, then we will play each other next round. Small world. 

I will leave you will a couple of pics I took in Innsbruck. From what I saw it was a beautiful town nestled right into the mountains. Boy, I would love being able to wake up to this view every morning! 

Til next time...


P.S. As usual, enjoy!

Monday, February 20, 2012


We had the day off today. So, this morning, Jenna, Coop, and I headed to a place called "Naschmarkt". Basically, it's a huge market in the city that you can go to to buy the freshest produce and some other cool things like souvenirs and wine and tea and those kinds of things. I always feel so "Euro" when I go here. Haha, whatever that means :)
After a busy morning, I spent the afternoon doing laundry and cleaning the apartment. This is a pretty good day for me! Nothing like a clean apartment! 

And word going around the team is that we are gonna be having next Monday AND Tuesday off! We NEVER get two days in a row off. I really hope that this is true because I'm already planning my trip to Paris! And I already have a giant list of things I want to do there! That would make for a pretty sweet blog post! So pray that I'll get two days off! :)

Now I think it's time to curl up and get cozy in my nice and clean apartment and watch a movie! I've been working my way through the movies that are nominated for "Best Picture" at the Oscar awards. I've already watched "The Descendants", "Midnight In Paris", and "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close". I would definitely recommend all of these. I think tonight is gonna be "Hugo". Gotta pass the time somehow :)

72 days... <3


P.S. Here is your "The Office" clip for you! Have a good laugh! 

Friday, February 17, 2012


So the other day we had the day off, and Jenna, Svenja, and I decided we were gonna do something fun that night!

We started off the evening with a tasty dinner at a Thai restaurant in the city. It was delicious! We had an amazing candlelit dinner and enjoyed a glass of wine! It was such a cute and homey little place. I loved it! I was even served a rose with my dinner :)
They even served us a free dessert wine. It was fabulous!

After dinner we walked through the streets of Vienna and made our way to a place called "Museumsquartier" which is where there are a bunch of theaters and showrooms where a lot of different kinds of shows and exhibitions take place. The three of us had bought tickets to see "Stomp".

For those of  you who aren't sure what "Stomp" is, here's a link where you can check it out. It's basically a group of people (in this case, 8) that use a bunch of random objects to make rhythms, beats, and music. They used things like brooms, matchboxes, intertubes, dishes, rubber tubing, and even their own hands and feet. It was truly AMAZING and inspiring! I would go see it again in a heartbeat! And I HIGHLY recommend that you go see it if you ever get a chance to. It's a show that everyone could enjoy. As a matter of fact, after the show I found myself wishing that my family could've been visiting me at the moment so I could've taken them with me to enjoy it.

The three of us loved it so much that we "stomped" the entire way home that night :)

Anyways, 75 days til I get to come home. Sending all my love to you (wherever you are in the world) from Vienna! <3


P.S. I literally laughed out loud when I saw this week's episode of "The Office". The opening sequence is hilarious. And here it is for your enjoyment :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Halfway Point

So, about a week ago, I hit my halfway mark of the time I'm spending here in Vienna. I seriously can't believe I'm only halfway done. But, whatever. Anyways, since I've been here, I've just been writing down my random observations of life in Austria/Eastern Europe, the people, the food, the culture, etc. It's become quite a large list of interesting things. Without further ado, here are my observations of Europe so far! Enjoy!

  • The men smell terrible. Like awful. The best way I know how to describe it is that it's like a weeks worth of BO all jam packed into one armpit. Not good.
  • They rarely drink their beverages straight out of a bottle. It is almost always poured into a cup first. One of my teammates even told me one time that she had NEVER drank a Cola straight from the bottle. 
  • The only thing they sell at airports is alcohol. Like they have a ton of stores there, but probably 75% of the things in the stores are alcohol. The rest is perfume and cologne.
  • Walk on the right side of the sidewalk? No. Austrians will walk straight at you until you move for them. One of the most annoying things I've encountered here.
  • Naked friendly. VERY naked friendly. As in coed sauna sessions. Oh, and they sauna naked here. So yeah, you can picture that for yourself.
  • Soup. Every day. Every meal. I've had more soup in the past three months than I have in my entire lifetime. No joke. 
  • Everything is overpriced. 
  • Sometimes after a plane has landed on the runway, the passengers will clap for the pilot. 
  • During a traffic jam, the traffic lanes become invisible and people drive wherever the hell they want, often hovering over the lines for several meters.
  • They don't put their napkins in their laps while eating. 
  • No ice in your drink. Anywhere.
  • Escalators: stand on the right, climb on the left. If you stand on the left you will get pushed aside.
  • They don't give you bags at the grocery store. They sell them to you, but they won't give them to you free. And they don't bag your groceries for you. So you better bring your own bags, and you better be prepared to bag your groceries yourself at lightning speed because they want you to get out of the way of the next person ASAP. Basically, epitomizing the phrase "Get your shit and get out."
  • Europeans have tiny feet. How do I know this? I was told that I wouldn't be able to find shoes over a size 9 probably anywhere in Europe, but I could shop in the men's section. Awesome.
  • European volleyball players are expert screeners (illegally blocking the opponents' passers' view of the server). And apparently the refs don't see the need to call them on it.
  • Europeans use the knife during the meal so much more than Americans do. We normally only use the knife to cut something or butter something. They use it do that, and to help neatly navigate their food onto their fork. So, they always have their knife in one hand and the fork in the other.
So, those are just a few of my observations as I've reached my halfway mark. I'm sure many more observations are yet to come. I miss home dearly and I am counting the days til I'm back in the States! 77.


P.S. Of course you get your "The Office" clip of the day :) Enjoy!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Krasnodar, Russia!

Since I’ve been in Vienna, our team has had to travel to a bunch of different countries to play our opponents. So far, these countries include: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Hungary, Slovakia, and Romania, which is super cool because I get to go to these places that I would never pay myself to go visit. But, it’s cool to say that I’ve been there. And I get to go for free! Anyways, for our latest match I found myself in a place called Krasnodar, Russia.

Our flight took off from Vienna on Tuesday, January 31st at approximately 12:10 AM. Yeah, we flew overnight, and it completely sucked. I don’t know why our club decides to put us in these ridiculous travel situations (another example would be a 20 hour bus drive to Romania), but whatever. We connected in Moscow, and I was passed out on both flights. I woke up as we were landing in Krasnodar. We collected our bags and headed to the bus. I’ve heard people call Russia “The Frozen Tundra”, and frozen it was. When we got off the plane it was about -17°C, which is about 1°F. IT WAS HORRIBLE! I had on my big winter jacket, a furry hat, and my scarf wrapped almost entirely around my face and I was still freezing.
My glasses tended to fog up a bit. Haha!

We went straight to our hotel to check in, and wow, the place we were staying was a class A dump. It was one of those places that you pull up and you are like, “Is this a joke?” Literally, we all asked our coaches if they were kidding. Sadly, they weren’t kidding. I don’t even know how to describe it besides it looked just completely run down. Britney Cooper and I got into our room and our jaws literally dropped. The beds were singles and the mattress was horrific. The beds were covered with the sketchiest bedding ever. It was just all around disgusting. It made some of the places I stayed at in China looked like five-star hotels.
We had lunch, which consisted of “mystery meat” that I think was supposed be pork, and potatoes.
This is one of the meals they served us. We were told it was sea tongue. Yeah, whatever that is.

After lunch we had some down time. I took a nap. We had practice that night. That only lasted about an hour and a half. After our practice, the Krasnodar men’s team was practicing! JACKPOT! I LOVE MEN’S VOLLEYBALL! And our team administrator just happened to have to go to some kind of meeting. So, we were forced to wait for him to finish. Well, shucks. I guess I’ll just sit down and watch these seemingly unattractive men become instantly hot in a matter of minutes. Oh it was beautiful. The level of volleyball that men can play at makes me so jealous! I’m jealous because I know that women will never be able to play at their level. They do things that women just can’t do. Men’s volleyball is a beautiful thing to watch.

After watching the guys it was back to the hotel, a quick dinner, and straight to bed. The next morning at breakfast we got our information about when and where our pre-game practice would be. Since we were staying at a “fitness hotel”, there happened to be a gym right there on the first floor! Convenient! It even had a volleyball net and everything! Perfect! So we had practice at 11. Upon entering the gym, we saw that the net wasn’t set up, and we only had one volleyball to work with. Ugh, alright, that’s okay. We could stilll find something productive to do with this space. All I needed to do was to get moving and stretch and loosen up a bit. Well, we ran a bit and did a dynamic warm up and stretched out. And what did we do next? Thanks to the brilliant wisdom and resourcefulness of our coach, we played SOCCER. Literally, we played monkey in the middle. ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?! Soccer!? Of all the things we could’ve done…you choose soccer? I mean we had a volleyball court, we could’ve done shadow defense, or at least gone over our scouting report (not that we even had one). Oh and I should add that the last time we played soccer in practice (yes we’ve done this before) someone got hurt. So on the day leading up to the biggest match so far in the season, we are playing soccer. Needless to say, I was pissed. I spent the next couple hours in my hotel room having a good old fashion bitch session with my American teammate, Britney Cooper. So, just from this last paragraph I think you can get an idea of how volleyball is going for me…

The team we were playing that night happened to have one of my USA teammates on it. Some of you may remember Foluke Akinradewo? She went to Stanford and is pretty much a shoe in for the 2012 Olympics. Yeah, she’s a beast in the middle. Her and her team (which I’m pretty sure consisted of four members of the Russian National Team from what I’ve heard) swept us. However, it was THE MOST FUN I’ve had in a match all season! Why? Because it was high level volleyball. All the teams we’ve played so far we’ve (for the most part) been able to beat them pretty easily. I’ve been waiting for some to absolutely kick our ass, which is why I was looking forward to playing Foluke’s team so much. I got to play at the level of volleyball I need to be, and want to be playing at. And it was refreshing to know that I could still keep up and perform at that level (I’ve been plagued with the paranoia that I’ve been getting worse here). So, even though we got swept, it was a great match to play in. And all the Americans (Jenna, Britney, Foluke, and myself) all played very well. And we got to chat with Foluke for awhile afterwards. Always so awesome to see Americans and hear the English language J Another bonus, the men’s team was playing a match right after ours! YES!
It was straight Vegas style in here, with girls dancing on platforms in the corners of the gym. No joke.

The next morning we headed to the Krasnodar airport to start our journey home. We had our layover in Moscow again. The Moscow airport was pretty big and there were a ton of shops (mostly selling alcohol, which I’m discovering is typical for European airports). I saw one of those Russian fur hats that was actually kinda cute, and I completely regret not buying it. And to my complete surprise, this airport had…a BASKIN ROBBINS! Woulda thunk it? Too bad the person working the counter was on break otherwise I would’ve been pigging out on ice cream.

We had a slight adventure figuring out what gate we were at, but once we did, we boarded right away and were heading for Vienna. I got home around 6:00 PM; just in time for dinner and it was early to bed for me! All in all, a pretty cool trip to Russia for me! And there is another country I can add to my rapidly growing list of places I’ve been too J