O hey there... bet you thought we were passed all of this distance stuff?? I was hoping that this "virtual me" would have 3 dimensions for at least a few weeks in the US... but like the ancient Chinese proverb says "don’t assume, it makes an a$$ out of you and me". I was an a$$ to assume that I would get those weeks. So, here I am sitting on a plane leaving the Portland airport a mere 6 days after I flew into Portland and a mere 16 days after getting back into the US, ready to take off to Duisberg, Germany.
Now, now... pick your jaws up off the floor and pull yourselves together, I was just as surprised as you are. This week has been one hell of a busy week! I had booked a round trip flight from Denver to Portland from the 12th to the 25th. (By the way, I bought flight insurance to get a refund on my ticket just in case I chose to cancel it… turns out flight insurance only gives you a refund if you die or are severely hurt but they don’t tell you that as you spend the extra $20…really solid insurance policy) I told everyone that was kind enough to spend time with me in Colorado that I would see them upon my return to Colorado on the 25th. I had given hugs and kisses believing there would be more to come before having to say a big goodbye again. I packed a half-full backpack with mostly underwear and workout clothes to Portland because Becca had taken one of my bags from our European tour back with her. I didnt bring my passport thinking I could get that when I went back to Denver before heading abroad again. Those were all poor decisions.
I got in on Monday about one in the afternoon after seeing my parents off on their 25th wedding anniversary to Jamaica, and met Becca outside of the PDX airport! The Portland summer weather, which is my FAVORITE summer weather in the world, was absolutely perfect! The sun was shining (but not too hot), the air was clean and the pungent smell of Portland food cart food hung in the air... I was in heaven and back in my comfort zone, my element. Tuesday I spent time catching up with Emma Nelson (my most clever friend to whom I have sneakily made many an undetected reference to, knowing full well she would be the only person a certain word or phrase would carry any significance for). We ate at my favorite breakfast joint, Beaterville (not only do I love the weird Portland feel of the restaurant but they have gluten free biscuits), worked out, practiced with UP, rode bikes around town, sat under the St John’s Bridge, hung out with Buddies, drank beer whilst listening to bluegrass, basically packed the day full of the things I love to do most in Portland. Wednesday I awoke with a similar no-planned schedule, only to receive a call from my agent just as I was getting ready to get my work out started. He said “Well, it looks like we got you a tryout in Germany, when can you leave?” I bit down on my lip because I didn’t know if what would come out was a side fist pump, a side-skip-kick and a scream “YESSSSS!!!” or a mix between an angry, sad and tearful “NOOOOO!”
So, instead of reacting, I simply took a deep breath and calmed myself enough to respond to his question. I thought, “Well, UP plays North Carolina on Friday (which by the way THEY WON on a goal from the one and only Skinny Marink, Ellen Parker of course!), have to have lunch with Olympic bronze medalist and one of my best friends, Sophie Schmidt, and I have a wedding to attend Saturday morning, so the soonest I could leave would be Sunday.” And a couple of minutes later I was talking with a travel agent booking a ticket on the first flight out Sunday morning. I don’t even remember how my workout went after that… I think I blacked out.
The next few days flew by. Becca and I spent as much time with the people I wanted and needed to spend time with before leaving again. We made dinner for some friends, got coffee with some others, worked out, rode bikes, basically did anything we could to keep our minds off of the impeding deadline. But as it approached and plans were finalized it got harder and harder to say goodbye to people once again. The most difficult part of playing abroad and traveling is leaving. Once you get there you get into a routine, find new things, explore, and live your life, but leaving is the hardest part. Don’t get me wrong… I am beyond excited about the opportunity to play in Germany. I mean after all, I will be in the same country as two of my best friends who are playing in Germany as well, Keelin Winters and Elli Reed. I get to play soccer again and this time I wont be in Russia! But, leaving home is hard.
After Wednesday, I didn’t have much time to think, I just turned my thoughts on silence so that I could pack and fill out my traveling forms. And finally, after a whirlwind week, I finished my packing late last night and crawled into bed but didn’t sleep.
And, may I take a second here to apologize to everyone that I didn’t get to see much of or at all, I am sorry. Please understand how much all of you mean to me and how much I wanted to see everyone.
This morning I turned my phone off before the alarm even went off at 5 AM because I was watching the minutes count down. I brushed my teeth, made a peanut butter and jelly on a rice cake and put my stuff in the car. I didn’t allow myself to think until Becca had left and I made it through security and there was no possibility of turning back. I know that sounds silly because who wouldn’t want to live in Germany and get another opportunity to play professional soccer?? I of course want all of that. Deep down the unknowns in this opportunity and experience over power the comfort of the things I know and love in Portland and Denver but it is hard to leave it all so abruptly.
When I boarded the plane and took out my computer to write again I had to take a second to just let the emotions flow over me. I am so excited to leave, but I was not ready to leave yet. I know I will get over it and I will be ok…but here I go, once again, abruptly leaving all the ones I love and miss, trying to get myself together enough to take on a new culture again. I started this whole thing out at the Dulles airport bar with a beer, and made it to a beach in Turkey, hid from the snow in Russia, wrote from hostels in Hungary and the Czech Republic, laughed and learned with friends in Berlin, watched the Olympics in England, was welcomed home by my family in Colorado and fell back in love at a food cart in Portland… and now, I ask you to once again, to join me in a toast as I sit in my window seat in the 15th row with a cup of Coffee People joe… To being brave and facing your fears head on. To leaving what you love to seek what will fulfill you. To making the most of your opportunities. To living a roller coaster life. To missing those you love and letting them know that, even if it’s from across the world. To experiencing new cultures, being comfortable in uncomfortable situations and to being unprepared. To my friends and family. And to all of you for following and for once again, joining me in this experience.