Thursday, November 28, 2013

Just as lazy as I am.

I know, I know, I am waaaay behind again with this thing. But listen, it's not as though the blog will write itself--I mean, what do you think I've been doing for the past month, just sitting on my lazy butt doing anything but this? Alright yeah that's accurate, but that is only half true. I was also waiting to see if this blog would "write itself" like I keep hearing people insist, obnoxiously. Well, after a month of waiting and checking, I'm disappointed to announce my blog is just as lazy as I am. That was a real bummer. Looks like you're stuck with me.

I had my first visitor a few weeks ago. I know what you are thinking: why...why would anyone come to Slovakia to visit me? Valid question--rude, but valid. My high school coach and mentor Coach Joe Vaughan made the easy trip to Slovakia to hang out, and while I couldn't help but be surprised by the incredible gesture, I really shouldn't have been. He came to all my high school games (sure he was the coach, but still), he travelled to Seattle for my final home college game and to a handful of my college games over the years, he traveled to Chicago to watch me play (mostly sit the bench) for the Chicago Sky so, naturally, he'd come to Europe. Really, I should be asking why he didn't come sooner! Totally kidding, I know he was holding out for a tiny village in Slovakia to visit. Can't blame him. The man may be retired in theory, but he's still teaching, still coaching, and above all, still giving. It’s remarkable.

When I sat down to plan his visit as any good host would, I came up a bit empty. Of course we'd eat and nap and there would be the occasional conversation, but then what? Napping and eating, despite my best efforts, can't take up an entire day. So I talked to my teammates and they gave me a couple of touristy things I could do with him if we were feeling adventurous. My coach was visiting me in Slovakia, safe to say he's fairly brave. We took off in my car one day and drove to the mountains and went for a little hike and then we drove the opposite direction and found this amazing castle just 20 minutes outside Spisska. The castle was stunning and the perfect backdrop to get a picture together. Why is it that no one is ever hanging out around the castle to take a picture when you need them? The sprightly athlete that I am, I was able to set up my camera timer on a ledge and then leap across to the other ledge where we posed, all in 10 seconds. Don't act like you're not impressed. The rest of the trip was spent revisiting our favorite memories together and loads of laughter. You can’t pick your family, but you can pick your heroes. Coach Vaughan is mine.

Okay so I guess I ought to talk about basketball and our games. Let me just make this easier for all of us, though mostly me: we've played a lot of games, we won some we lost some. Yep, that about covers it. Gosh, this blog really might as well write itself with this kind of dodgy writing. Seriously though, we were struggling for a while there to beat a quality team. We could handle the less talented teams, but always came up short when challenged. There were meetings, arguments, debates and lots more meetings and then we beat a good team at the buzzer at home and it felt like maybe the monkey was off our backs. Then we beat another really good team on the road and then another team and now I think, perhaps, we have figured out how to be successful together. We are in 2nd place in our Slovak league but still in the bottom half of the MEL, which is the significantly more competitive league that we want to have success in, as well. 

Bri and I were finally able to do a bit of traveling this season. We had a Friday night home game and our coaches were kind enough to give us the weekend off a couple weeks ago. 48 hours is all we ever need to orchestrate a travel adventure—last year it was London, and this year Bri and I decided on Budapest. We drove the 4 hours early Saturday morning and came back Sunday night, as we had practice Monday morning. So I booked us a hostel and a couple days later we were off. We got to Budapest at noon, checked into our room, and headed directly to our first stop on our cultural awakening: Footlocker. This would perhaps be moderately shameful, however, I’ll remind you that Bri and I are professional basketball players, so maintaining proper foot ware is paramount for our success. It’s not that we wanted to go shoe shopping, it’s that it was our professional obligation, nay, our duty, to go. Now, were we also obligated to go to Victoria’s Secret and H&M? One could argue no. I assure you we dedicated a substantial amount of time to experiencing the beauty of the city, as well. We crossed the chain bridge, rode the incline up to Castle District and overlooked the stunning city at dusk, while sipping a coffee from Starbucks. Really, what is more culturally illustrative than Starbucks? We also checked out this amazing Basilica. Bri's basketball friend from home plays professionally in Romania so she hopped a train and met us that night as we hung out at some of the local pubs and tried to find fellow english speakers. We failed, though I say walking away with this little moment captured truly makes us winners. That blank stare flawlessly encapsulates our evening. 

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and Bri and I have once again successfully coerced our European teammates into participating in our delightful holiday. They'll surely thank us for this trespass whilst relishing in their tryptophan comas. Bri and I are responsible for the turkey, stuffing, mac n cheese (Kraft thanks to Dan!), green bean casserole and, of course, my famous deviled-eggs. Our Presidents are hosting the celebration at their hotel tomorrow night. I felt bad when I heard that Bri had volunteered us to cook so much food, cause her and I both knew she'd be cooking alone. So, this year, I decided to try something new. I'll admit this probably isn't the best time to be experimenting with recipes and cooking, but it's not like these Europeans know what a green bean casserole is meant to look or taste like. I figure this is my time to shine. 

Our Christmas break is less than a month away. I will spend this break traveling like I did two years ago. We have two weeks and as always I will be attempting to squeeze every ounce of fun and possibility out of those 14 days. I will spend a few days in Germany catching up with some of my former teammates from Wolfenbuttel and from there I will fly to Italy and meet Kindra in Venice. Kindra, if you recall, is who I traveled with to Paris two Christmases ago. We are eager to reproduce the fantastic experience we shared in France. We will see Venice, Florence and Rome. From Rome, I will fly to Madrid and see one of my favorite people and families, Theresa and the rest of the Olivier gang. I will catch them on their last day in Spain, so I will spend the rest of my time in Barcelona alone, including New Year's Eve. I head back to Slovakia the 2nd of January. I am overwhelmed just writing all of that. Yikes. 
Well, this will certainly be the final post of this year. That's insane. I wanna wish everyone an incredibly blessed Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday, and of course, a wonderful New Year! Look forward to catching up in 2014.


  1. Final post of the year what!!??
    OK I guess so— since you're busy seeing the whole world.
    Enjoy your travels. I was thinking; you must have a bulletproof stomach after all of the strange things you've consumed. Be well kiddo.

  2. Don't get greedy on me now!

    Strange things I've consumed? What made you say that? I only ate that zebra stripe once. I'll never live that down!

    Hope your middle finger finds warmth. Hate to see you lose that guy to frostbite.