Happy American Thanksgiving friends! People always laugh when I say “American” Thanksgiving. I can’t help it, I can’t get it confused with my Canadian Thanksgiving in October! It’s been nice, to have two opportunities to reflect on what I’m thankful for and it’s an excuse to Skype in and see my extended family back home when they meet up for dinners. It’s two chances to have turkey and pumpkin pie, and keeps me in the fall state of mind for way longer than needed (there is snow on the ground after all!). After this weekend I’m 100% ready for anything Christmas related- I want hot chocolate and peppermint and Christmas music and pretty twinkling lights.
To add to the list of bloggers that write about what they are thankful for, here I am. Except I’m going to focus on one thing in particular. This blog post would never end if I wrote about my family, friends, team mates, coaches, opportunities, and experiences I’m been lucky enough to appreciate. In the spirit of this week especially, I am thankful and grateful and can never fully convey my thanks for those families that have made my time at Iowa feel like home. Calgary to Iowa City is a three day drive or a full day of flying, so I’m also thankful for technology that keeps my family close. But there are families, in the state of Iowa and the Midwest in general, that have welcomed me with open arms whenever they were in town or whenever I needed to get outta town. My freshman and sophomore year roommate’s parents have always invited me out to dinner, cheered me on at meets, and I even attended the US Olympic Wrestling Trials with them. My best friend out of Chicago, whose house I have stayed at half a dozen times, flying in and out of the Windy City with her family always offering to drive me to the airport or put me up for the night. My team mate who lives in Cedar Rapids, always extending offers of car pooling to the airport or even to her house if I’ve got a couple hours to kill. And my boyfriend and his family, whose place I am staying at over American Thanksgiving. They have been so welcoming, so warm, and have allowed me to see so much more of the state of Iowa and the friendliness of it’s people.
I make jokes sometimes about being the “orphan child” at meets, but I know when I look into the stands I see half a dozen sets of parents who I could turn to in need. I see friends and support systems I could not have imagined when I took the plunge and moved here. This blog post will never do those families justice. I know my parents and family back home appreciate the support system I have, as they feel better knowing I’m in great hands. And I know that whenever my parents come visit they are treated with the same welcoming and friendly hospitality as I have. I can only hope I have the opportunity to the same for others, to help make them feel at home.
The blog post I was planning on writing yesterday was going to be a long one. It was going to be kind of sad, and kind of angry. The blog post I was planning to write yesterday was fueled by getting bad news left right and center and fueled by an afternoon on the couch finishing an entire bowl of popcorn by myself. The blog post I was going to write yesterday matched the weather to a Tee- rainy, cloudy, gray, cold.
The blog post I was planning on writing yesterday would have been written if I didn’t have the greatest friends in the entire world.
With my trip to Montreal for the CAMO Invitational officially cancelled, my first international meet, and news that I would not be allowed to dive exhibition at our upcoming Invite did not put me in a good place. “I’m not happy, and I’m not motivated” I told my coach. He told me to persevere, to focus on the road ahead, and to use the discouragement as motivation for the future. All excellent advice, but not what I was willing to accept at the time. My mood continued to drop like the temperature outside, and by the end of practice I was no closer to feeling motivated. After speaking with my coach one more time, he told me to take the afternoon off. I burst into tears. I was crying because I felt like I was hearing no from every single angle, and crying because I was relieved to have some time to myself to work through the rut mentally. I was crying because I knew he understood where my head was at, and I appreciated the acknowledgement.
Fast forward about six hours and I was getting fro yo with my two best friends and team mates, the girls that have been with me since the beginning of our time at Iowa. We sat there for two hours. Fast forward another hour and my room mate brought me a cupcake. We talked about boys and school and anything but training. Fast forward to the evening, where after an hour and a half of skyping with the boy my best friend showed up from out of town to spend the night and go out for breakfast in the morning. We spent two hours at Brueggers early this morning talking about every issue we were having with our training right now, me feeling a little lost and her discussing her first meet since winning the USA National Championships in August. We talked about where we had come from and where we were going, and what we could do to support one another. We made goals to laugh at ourselves, and made promises to hold each other accountable to our attitudes.
I gave up a lot to come to Iowa to dive. I know this, and I understand, and I choose to accept all the trials that come with it. No one said it would be easy, but you can never truly be prepared for the days that it seems some one punched you in the gut. The best you can do is persevere. Sometimes the only thing you can do is let time pass. I know for me taking 24 hours of my time away from the pool makes me look forward to going back. And I know, without a doubt, that I would not be able to do this without my support system. Everyone back home I know loves and supports me, and the girls I have found here will never let me down. For them I owe my sanity. For them I am thankful, and for them I can only hope to return the favor.
Took my car on it’s first road trip yesterday! It was blast heading out to Pella, Iowa, to cheer on the Central College Dutch beat the Coe College Hawks at their last game of the season! We got a little rain but overall it was a windy but warm afternoon, perfect for some small town football. I’ve been seeing more and more of Iowa and even the Midwest, and I can’t wait to explore it more now that I have my own set of wheels. I’ve come to love football Saturdays, and even football Sundays to extent (I’m watching the Steelers beat the Lions right now, and David isn’t even here!). I love the post game tailgating and meeting new people. I love the fall colors driving on the back roads off the interstate. And I LOVE that there is only one more week of school before Thanksgiving break!
Happy Fall Sunday everyone, and Go Hawks