Sunday, August 12, 2012

Coming full circle.

Three months, two states and one hell of a summer later and I’m back in Germany. I get to start hooping and traveling again and you get to read my blogs about it—sounds like a win-win. The dichotomy of leaving was particularly striking this time around, perhaps because I have a greater understanding and mirrored excitement for what awaits me over here; or perhaps because after being away for a season already I gained a greater appreciation of everything/one I leave behind. No matter the cause, my emotional imbalance upon boarding my flight was, admittedly, delicate. And I gotta say, saying bye two times (once in Ventura and then again in Seattle) didn’t really help the situation. Just leave already, right? Next time I may just forego the whole “bye” component and leave unexpectedly. Tempting.

Speaking of Seattle, I am so glad I went back during the summer rather than…well rather than any other time of the year when rain is virtually guaranteed if you stay for more than a day. Still, going back for 11 days was a frustrating tease, but rather necessary since I had camps to work, a wedding to attend and people to see. The people seeing was by far my favorite part; I’m a sucker for a good old sappy reunion, don’t judge me. The wedding was also a real treat. One of the guys from our practice squad at UW was getting married and I was fortunate enough to still have his email so I could ask him for an invite (and fortunate enough that he obliged). It was a gorgeous, intimate outdoor ceremony in Snohomish. It was such a privilege to witness their disgustingly endearing exchange of vows and genuine adoration for one another. Good times.

Summer seems like a blur. I’m not even sure what I did; I just know it was pretty magnificent. In fact, it’s hard to recall a better summer—hard to recall a busier one, too. Amidst the blur of events however, there was at least one that I will remember for the rest of my life: my baptism. This was a considerably significant and personal moment for me, thus, having my family and loved ones present was crucial. My generous uncle, the pastor at Malibu Presbyterian, engineered the entire thing on the final Sunday of my stay in Ventura at his church and then at Zuma beach. It really was lovely and such a special experience. I truly am blessed with amazing family and friends and I can’t thank them enough for supporting me that day.

I hate flying; matter fact, I hate all travel related things when it comes to flying—security and luggage and crowded, smelly airplanes. Flying is always a terrible nuisance and that is when nothing goes wrong. And it seems I don’t know how to do anything without irritating, problematic “wrongs”. Morty and I flew first from Sea-Tac into Amsterdam, but not without a 45-minute delay. Subsequently, this would affect our  connecting flight to Hanover. As we forced our way off the plane, we swerved in and around all the frustratingly oblivious, casual airport walkers and frantically flailed to our terminal. Winded from our 300-yard dash, which I totally won, I was engulfed in relief (and sweat, ick) when I noticed our plane hadn’t left our gate. Boom shaka laka. Evidently though, the plane’s promising status had no merit in our boarding of it. “We have officially closed the plane’s doors and aren’t allowing anyone else to board,” the lady informed us, apologetically. Wait, wait, wait; hold the phone; back the truck up—you are telling me that even though the plane is still here, we cannot board? Even though the plane probably won’t leave for another 20 minutes due to some lame excuse about paperwork, we cannot board? Even though we are here now AND so is the plane, you can’t let us on because the doors are “officially” closed? Ummm…that’s quite possibly the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Oddly enough, my diatribe didn’t sway the attendant’s verdict, and so, we were swiftly rebooked on the later flight. 
Our day was becoming intolerably long and overwhelming when Mort and I stumbled across our silver lining: gigantic glasses lady. Just look at the picture—pretty sure I don’t need to elaborate. I don’t know if it was our particular mixture of delirium and anxiety, but this woman and her unreasonably oversized glasses had Morty and I laughing till we cried for about 15 straight minutes. She was pure entertainment. Eventually we did make it to Germany. Our prize?  We got to practice nearly an hour after reaching our apartment. Nailed it.

Okay so let’s get down to business—Mort and I have been here for a week now practicing and living the dream and I assume you are all dying to hear the details, BUT first, I must address something of far greater significance. This is exceptionally important so if you are standing while reading this, first of all stop that, it’s weird; and now go ahead and find a chair…or a stool…or a bench…or a recliner and cop a squat. All set? Good. Folks, #32 is coming out of retirement! Yup, no more #7 or some other awful number. I miiiiiight have cried tears of joy when I learned this, so don’t be ashamed if you are, too. Alright, moving on. One week of practice under our belts and my sophomore season has already proven to be optimistically unlike last year.

The city is significantly smaller, about 50,000 people to the 200,000 in Chemnitz. Morty and I got our car the other day—brand new Ford C-Max with our names on it. Yup, our names are on the back bumper of the car. Really couldn’t tell ya why, but I sorta like it. Our apartment is pretty standard: spacious rooms with smaller common areas. When we arrived our apartment was still being built…literally. Our kitchen didn’t have a stove or sink etc and our rooms were in shambles. Our flat is set-up now, but we still don’t have Internet; probably the one thing we actually wanted. Forget our beds or the running water, but not the internet! Not okay. The best part about our situation here is the team and the coach though. The players are really cool and the coach is just a delightful character. He is this 60-year old Czech man with a wicked sense of humor coupled with legitimate coaching chops. My mind is blown. Practices have been tough, but great and I am loving playing with Morty again. Life is good. 
Morty and I road tripped to Chemnitz this weekend to inaugurate our new car. Talk about coming full circle—visiting the city I was so desperate to leave, but that started this whole overseas adventure for me. Amazing how things can change in a year or a few months really. I’m not mad.

Whew. That was a lot. It all needed to be said…I feel better now, don’t you? Doesn’t really matter if you do. Hope you all have a splendid weekend; we will talk to you soon! Ciao J

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