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I'm Doin' it! Realllly Doin' it!

January 23, 2017 it's only taken me six months to get this new blog out. But to be fair it's been nothing but a constant run since I first arrived here back in August, and I wouldn't have it any other way.


Let's just get started with the most common questions that I've gotten asked so far...

How's your German Linds?

Well, German is real freakin' hard. Luckily my roommate Femke Stoltenborg, Netherlands finest has been giving me complimentary German classes during dinner and our drives to and from trainings. Currently I'm learning basic sentence structures and reviewing common verbs. I used to say, "I can understand more than I can speak," then I found out in power (weights) that I've been answering "How many more reps do you have left?" with the most confident "Yeah." Soo I'm not as advanced as I thought. I will say that I'm finally starting to enjoy the act of learning the language. I think the breaking point was when we played a game of "Memory" in our German class.

*We have an instructor come in twice a week for German lessons. Up until now, the class has been a bit tricky since we're broken down into two levels of German speakers. One group (aka The Dutchies) can easily get by in a conversation, just could use the extra time to practice. The second group of us are true level one beginners.

The topic for our Memory game: Winter clothing. Totally suitable considering we're working with a comfortable -5° C on the daily right now. Femke had us first pair the word to the cartoon picture so that I could learn the German word and its article. Once I got that down, it was time to play. I surprisingly started to remember things. My confidence was building and I felt myself learning. Man how I forgot how much I miss learning. In college you're so wrapped up in your final grade that you tend to miss out on the actual enjoyment that learning brings. So there I was, finally breaking the streak of German classes where I sat frozen in a squinted eye, half smile of confusion statue. Finally the Deutch language was sticking. It may just be vocab, but this was the first time really any German word didn't just fly through my ears.

German is a tricky one. There's sounds and pronunciations that I've never used in my life. For example, the "ie" is pronounced "ee" and opposingly the "ei" is pronounced "ie" which in actuality is an error in proper English, but now I'm just making excuses for my slow pace in learning. At least now I know how to list off articles of clothing. Bayum!👊 But it got me thinking, as difficult as I'm making German sound, I'm starting to realize just how ridiculous English is! I mean, we have words that are spelled the same but have different meanings based on the context. And as if that wasn't enough, that same word can also have a different pronunciation based on the context of the sentence. Ultimately I'm finding that my English gets worse and worse as time goes by. The other day I was talking Basketball with one of my teammates about a recent upset. But I pronounced "Upset" the way you pronounce "I am upset." I sat in a ponder asking myself why it just didn't sound right. So you start to second guess the word itself, which leads to questioning all the education you've dedicated yourself to including your degree in Professional Writing until you just realize that you put the stress on the wrong part of the word. *breathe* It was an odd, out of body, confusing moment for me. A moment that made me really feel for all those German students out there currently studying our own English language.

I really do try to speak German, but the linguistics behind it gets really confusing for me. Even when asking to hear the pronunciation of a word broken down, it's difficult distinguishing the break in syllables. Even though there's words where you have to tap into the back of the throat, almost like gargling water, to properly pronounce, still the ability to communicate in this country (especially playing here in Aachen) is a huge goal of mine.


Aachen without a doubt has the best fans in the entire Bundesliga. Following the end to every match comes a rush of people who've now become your friends offering hugs, high fives and kind words. They have so much to say whether it's nice job, how are you doing or what'd you think about the match. Yet I've only been able to answer with a couple head nods and a smile. Which, let's be real in the beginning of the season was no problem, but now the 'nervous chuckle, awkward shoulder shrug to replace the silence of vocab, quick two-pat on the back and thumb point to the side hinting someone else needs me when really it was just an escape plan from a broken Germenglish conversation,' really needs to go.

So now during every dinner and ten minute car ride to the gym, I get a mini German lesson with Miss Femke Stoltenborg. I give her a solid 5 stars. Highly recommend her to anyone looking for a teacher of second grade level German. She's already got a 25 year old client but I'm willing to share. She's also an incredible chef, smoothie maker, sing- along partner to Disney Spotify playlists and various musicals, and a grade A converser over the wonders of life and travel.


It's really a treat for me to have a roommate who's so motivated to try new hobbies, different recipes and break the normal every day routine. It in turn inspires me to do the same. She's helped push me to get back in touch with my love for making art and music, and honestly is a big reason why this blog is finally out. We've spent many nights talking about our bucket lists and sharing our goals in life, big and small. Big News: After conversing over a bowl of home- made broccoli soup about my complicated relationship with painting back in my college days of all nighters and naps ON the canvas, I've decided to turn a page, bought a couple canvases, chose a set of acryclic colors and dusted off the paint brushes. Thanks to Fem, Someone's gettin' back into the patining game!

Have you had any time to travel around Europe?

Our schedule's been pretty jam packed ever since we first touched down in August. Our weekly program consists of either two ball practices every day or an afternoon ball training with a big morning lift. We go to physio treatment twice a week, a massage every two weeks and meetings/film on top of that. We're lucky to have some incredible sponsors supporting our club, so there's a fair amount of events/photoshoots to take part in during the free hours as well. My mind is in a bit of a different place now than from my past two seasons. I remember back in Switzerland I couldn't wait to plan trips or sneak in a quick adventure even if it was for only 24 hours. But going into this season, I wanted it to be about the volleyball. I wanted my focus to stay heavily disciplined on my improvement as a player and growth in my character.

Don't get me wrong, I am in Europe, and hell, Aachen specifically has the perfect location to visit about 10 different cities and countries with ease. So yes, I Cannot Wait to get out and travel as much as I can after the season ends, but right now my head is in the game and the off days are gratefully celebrated. This schedule is everything that I've wanted it to be.

I will say that we have been able to slide in a couple mini trips in between matches and training, where we straight up burnt the city down.

Though I love Europe, it did feel pretty damn good to be around fellow Americans. Even if Germans speak English, there still tends to be a small language barrier lingering in there. The delivery, the pauses and the stresses that come with how I speak are sometimes missed when talking with a European. So the jokes that you think are a hard 10, turns out to be a soft soft 2😔

Our off day is usually the day after our match home or away since we drive back right after the games on the a bomb ass double decker black bus. Talk about traveling in style. I've never gotten a whole row, across the bus, to myself before! I've been having trouble sleeping lately but I quickly catch up on it during our away trips since they're all on average 5-6 hours long. *Snaps for hitting the Rem Cycle at odd hours!* Our team was able to sneak in a mini vacation of two days off for Christmas where I went up to Luneburg to see Brinkley, who was also only able to get a small set of days off for the Holidays. One of his teammate's family was in town and had us all over for a home-made Christmas meal with a side of "The Grinch" playing on tv. Mashed potatoes and Fahu Foress, mm felt like I was right at home.

New Years Weekend

Impressive, is how I'd describe New Years solely based on just how much we conquered in the short amount of time we had to work with. Training was scheduled on the morning of December 30th followed by a day off on December 31 and back in the gym on the afternoon of January 1st. Like I said: Tight. schedule. So after practice on the 30th, Mac, Kirsten and I jetted over to Kirsten's old stomping grounds, Enkhuizen- a cute town only two hours across the border and into the Netherlands.

Operation "Celebrate the New Year, muggle style" was in full effect. We figured that if we were going to celebrate, I mean really celebrate, then we'd have to do it the night of the 30th, giving ourselves extra time on the 31st to relax before training the next day. We were greeted into Enkhuizen with a treat of a beautifully home cooked meal from Kirsten's parents in the Coooooziest of homes. It put me straight into Dowd house mode. I stood in front of the fire slowly turning like a rotisserie chicken getting every limb heated and toasted, curled up on the couch and sank into the pillows.

My mind was instantly back in California, ready to snuggle up and watch a mov- "Do you girls want any wine!?" "Yes Please!" mindset quickly changed. Mac and my eyes opened wide when we saw the chicken, broccoli and potatoes in front of us with a side of apple cinnamon for dessert. Between the two nostalgic yet delighted Americans and the "happy to be home" Dutchy, we looked like three giddy 12 year olds ready for a fun filled night.

The Shot Heard Around Enkhuizen

After a couple glasses of wine it was time to hit the town! We were invited to a Billiards Bar by Kirs' dad and his friends. This wasn't a regular game of pool but more like a game of trick shot pool. In this game, there's only three balls that you're working with: A white ball, a yellow ball and a red ball. You start off by first hitting the Yellow ball, which then has to hit Both the white ball and the red ball. So it's truly a game of angles. Between Mr. Knip and his friends, we each had our personal coach to talk strategy and line up the shots.


Apparently these guys had been working on their shots for hours with not much luck on the execution before we had arrived. So Mac was up first. Anyone could see that she was mesmerized by the game the second it was introduced to us. She grabbed the stick, walked to the left of the table, then the right, eyeing out each option the table presented to her. The rest of the bar...which was honestly only our group- it was a little bar, a fun bar, the best kinds of bars, but a little bar- was silent in curiosity and excitement.

She lined up.




She slung the stick to yellow ball number 1 directly on target, which then popped off of white ball number 2, then ricocheted off the far beam shooting to the side beam coming back to the front beam where it perfectly spins into none other than the Number. 3. Red. Ball.

Mckenzie Adams everyone. First Time, crushed it. From then on we knew that this was about to be one hell of a night.

So there we were a hot party of 12 kicking ass at the Billiard table. Well, Mac was kicking ass at the Billiard table. Kirs and I were doing a solid job at keeping the sticks properly chalked and spreading emotional support across the table.


The drinks were flowing, bita- balls steaming and people laughing in all corners. By the time we finished our game, Mac hit about 7 more successful trick shots and Kirs and I, well we ran out of sticks to chalk up. We decided to say our Tschuss' and hit the next destination of the night. We later met up with Kirs' fellow Enkhuizeners in a small club down the street.

There weren't a lot of people in this place but the dj was playing some bangerz and after Mac's streak of successful trick shots, our excitement level was on fire. We were hitting every beat that dropped on the dance floor, laughing with hugs and "Prost"ing to this hit of a night. The place closed down right when we started to lose our steam and by the time we made it back to Kirsten's place, we were down for the count. Waking up the next morning wasn't exactly, the easiest thing I've ever done.

After a traditional dutch breakfast, we were able to get ourselves together and walk around the town for a bit. The good thing about Europe's fiercely iceburg- like winters, is that the fresh air is the quickest way to shock your body back into waking up. We got to see buildings that have stood for over 700 years, listened to stories of a family who's transformed a boat into a home and now lives on the water, and walked into bakeries filled with fresh batches of oliebol. (essentially dutch donuts).

In Aachen we live in the city. Of course there's your fair share of historical buildings, but it still has a true city feel to it. Enkhuizen however was the epitome of what you imagine when you visualize yourself traveling around Europe. It was nice getting away and doing as the locals do.

After a full day to rest, recover and have dinner, we then headed off to our final destination to spend the last minutes of 2016 in a town called Amsterdam.

It was electric the second we rolled into the brightly lit city. Fireworks were shining on your left while fire crackers exploding on your right. The center was filled with people in proper NYE attire going to their anticipated spot; bottles and cigarettes rolled as the wind picked up and it seemed that the explosions only multiplied the closer we got to the midnight countdown.

We went to a massive club called Tik Tak that had a solid line up of top dj's and Dutch artists. Though we were pretty exhausted from our epic outing the night before, we wanted to make sure we still rung in the New Year. The music was once again on point. The venue of the party was impressively done and packed with people. It was the place to be. We did what we do best and danced the night away to artists like Dyna and dj's like The Party Squad- all people that I've never heard of leading up to this night but have now become a true lover. When the countdown from 10 come about, the place turned into a powerful unit of excitement spreading youthful vibes.


I came into 2017 with people that I am so stinkin' thankful to have by my side and make me laugh every day, in a country I only wished terribly to come back to after my first season, doing something that was once a far stretch goal for my career. I am thankful, I am blessed, I am so happy.

Overall a big thumbs up

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