Friday, May 4, 2012

My newest Nickname

Again, I apologize for the long break between blog posts… I have been a bit tongue tied as of late due to some conflicting emotional peaks and valleys I have been experiencing.  But, not to worry, my head is held higher than ever! I don’t know if any of you have heard about our last game, but we unfortunately lost the semi finals 2-1.  It was a very interesting game.  But, enough about that… I have been able to keep my head high by focusing on things that I really enjoy like taking pictures, and walking around town with my good friend here, Ximel. 

I should first tell you that I have taken on a new nickname that I find to be a bit of an insult... a couple nights ago before going to dinner I decided to take out my contacts because my eyes were burning a bit.  I put on my glasses and went down to dinner. As I walked in all the coaches started laughing and one of them said "Oye, Hillary!" Of course, not knowing they were referring to me I just proceeded to stand in line to get my food.  But again... "Hillary! Hillary Clinton!" And then the Russian girls were laughing too... and then it hit me that they were talking to me... they were calling me Hillary because she is probably the only American female they know who is not just a body or a face on the cover of a magazine... and I have glasses on soooo clearly I look like Hillary Clinton... I chuckled a bit thinking ya ya, real funny... American women... sooooo funny how smart we are... ha ha.  But the Russians got a real kick out of it, so much so that it has since stayed.  They never really got the hang of my name "Zaneela" as that was a mouth full plus we already have a Danny on the team... so I was just "America"... and now I am either "America" or "Hillary" (pronounced "Am-ed-eeka" and "Heel-a-dee").  The worst part was that one of the Russian girls said "choo choo"... which meant that she actually thought I looked a little like Hillary Clinton...

I see NO resemblance (except maybe the cankles)... but maybe I am biased. 

A few days ago Ximel and I took a long walk into downtown to soak in the sun and pass the time.  Here are some pictures of our adventures!

 The flowers are beginning to bloom
 Cherry blossoms

 The usual protection around a neighborhood
One of the Voronezh Sea bridges
 The same bridge
 Couples attach locks on the bridge and throw the key into the seas

 I dont know who this guy is but he looked important
 A WWII memorial
 Some of the flowers in front of the memorial

 We stopped at a cafe that looked nice

 The typical house
 Another typical house... hope they didnt see me standing on their front porch

So, anyways, as I said when we returned from Krasnada, we came home to summer and it has stayed!  The trees and flowers have bloomed, the clouds have vanished and I have got that Turkish tan back!  But, because we are no longer in the Russian Cup we don’t have another game until the 14th, which means that we have 2 weeks of training. So we have will be using those 2 weeks to get fit for two big games we have coming up.  We first play Zurkey, which is the team in 3rd place followed by Rossiyanka, the team in 1st place.  In preparation we have been doing two-a-days.  In the morning we drive about 30 minutes to a forest.  It is so beautiful and it feels so good to be in nature again!  I think that is the one thing I have dearly missed.  The running is tough, but nothing compared to a T-Fav workout, which, I might be crazy to say that I miss! Then in the afternoon we do a bit more of running/some lifting/ some odd ball work.

We have done 3 days of hard work and will have tomorrow off and then 3 more days of the same thing before we start training again for the games.  But, because of UP’s preseason schedule I feel more than prepared for the hard work that we have been putting in here.  I am actually enjoying these days more than the days when we had practice once a day because we couldn’t really do much else on those days, which got pretty boring after a while… that explains why I successfully finished ALL the Harry Potter books in 3 weeks.  Pretty nerdy if you ask me… but what ever!

Needless to say I CANT WAIT for our next game on the 14th in Moscow!  I feel the team is getting prepared.  I also know that none of this work will matter if we are not up to working hard come the 14th

I have also been filling my time with Spanish.  It is ironic that I go to Russia and come away better at Spanish.  I have kind of given up my efforts to learn Russian for two main reasons… The first being that the best way for me to communicate with my friends here has been in Spanish, and the more I fill my mind with several other languages, the worst all of them become, even my english.  I start losing my English words and speaking in broken sentences, not to mention how the few Spanish words I know just go right out the window.  Secondly, there was a point when I understood a tiny bit of what the Russians were yelling at me, and I made the conscious decision to stop learning Russian because I didn’t want to know what they had to say because it was mean.  So I stopped learning to hear the language but I have still work on reading Russian.  

Because they use a different alphabet, learning to read was our first lessons and I still enjoy reading signs I see. This got me to thinking… in the US we have so many statistics about underprivileged people who are illiterate and the importance of being literate and educated… and then I realized that I am that underprivileged person.  As an educated person I have become underprivileged by moving here… I can’t read, I can’t write and I can’t speak.  If it werent for the players on my team helping I wouldnt be able to use the buses, get a job, or even order a coffee. What an interesting place to be. I suppose I would be putting in more effort to learn this language if it were completely necessary but it is an interesting role to play for the time being.  And, every once in a while, when I am trying to read signs as we drive or walk anywhere I find a word that I am able to sound out that is an English word.  I always get so excited when this happens… like I just decoded a secret Russian code or like I am a little kid who was able to read their first word.  Learning to read is a tough task, but it’s sort of exciting! But that’s all… I am more interested in speaking Spanish, which as many of you know is not my strong suit either.  But I am giving that my best effort as of now!

Wish me luck with the remainder of the two-a-days… as G says… “The day AFTER a day off is the hardest…” So, I will let you know how I feel come the end of this mid-season-pre-season haha.  Hope all is well!!




  1. Ya I can totally see the resemblance :P

  2. Ok..first u look nothing like hillar:) and have once again given me such amazing perspective. You are working so hard and are celebrating some amazing achievements...from scoring to reading and communicating! I find myself telling everyone I know about u:) we were buying shoes for the kids the other day at a kids store and I was telling one of the clerks about u! So inspired by you. Love u so much and can't even imagine how much work it is to keep your positive attitude...I know its tough being away. Big squeezes from me to u!

  3. love the pics - thanks for sharing with us!

    love pops