The 13 Best Things of 2013

I’m DOOOONE finals! (No that’s not one of the best things). And I am HOME for the first time since mid-July, so this homecoming has been so so far overdue. This semester has been good, not my favorite but not my hardest, but 2013 has without a doubt been one of the coolest years of my entire life. I’ve been thinking about this post for a while, but the following are in NO particular order. If anyone has a similar list, I’d love to read it! (And keep an eye out for the 14 things I’m looking forward to the most for the next year…)

1. My trip to Tallahassee with my coach and best friend for a little self imposed training camp. Florida State was hosting the World Championship Trials, which my qualified for(!!), and with my nationals the week after I tagged along! Training outside was a treat, along with the weather and inspiration from some incredible diving.

2. The finishes I posted at the Big Ten Championships. To be clear, the finishes at the time felt like failures. I was upset, and angry. My goal for the year was to come Top 8 on 1m and 3m and I came 9th. Twice. By a combined total of a single point. Yet, as my coach pointed out, those finishes were WAY higher than I had achieved my previous two years I was coming 18th, 28th, 30th… Today I can reflect and feel proud, and still work my ass off to make sure it never happens again.

3. Attending my first MLB games in Chicago! Go Cubs go! Labor Day weekend we got to spend the days at Wrigley Field, wandering downtown Chicago, and getting to not only see the games from the iconic bleachers but from right behind home plate and the Cubs dugout.

4. Being a part of the Inaugural Iowa Diving Camp. Not only did I get to live in the dorms with our first group of campers, as a team we got to coach some amazing kids from all over the state and the Midwest. It was one of the busiest weeks of all time, but the most fun I have ever had coaching. The atmosphere was unlike any other I had experienced, and I can’t wait to see it grow.

5. Experienced my first Fourth of July. This was a goal of mine when I moved to the States three and a half years ago, and I finally got the chance to be around that week! David and I spent the day out in the Amanas, where were treated to one of the most spectacular (and by far the longest!) fireworks shows I’ve ever seen. Makes me wonder what I’ll be doing next year, being in Indiana (more to come on that soon :) )

6. Spring break in the BAHAMAS. The trip of a lifetime occurred this March, and it. was. unreal. I could not be more thankful for the opportunity to travel down there with David and his family. We spent a week touring the Exumas on a yacht, doing nothing but fishing, snorkeling, exploring epic beaches, and living off the grid for a week. It was probably one of the best vacations I have ever gone on (considered I only really travel for diving related stuff anyways!)

7. Finally seeing Quebec,and being able to go with my Dad and Stepmom. Quebec was the only major province I had not seen, and directly after my week in Tallahassee I flew to Laval for a week. To be clear, the competition there was maybe one of my worst meets ever recorded, but seeing able to see Quebec City, old and new, was a great way to make the best of the week!

8. Buying a car. My first car that I bought with my own money, registered in my name, all that jazz. It was the ultimate feeling of independence, and my first big real adult purchase (besides apartment leases and such). It seems like such a little thing, but it’s given me much in the sense that I can travel out of Iowa City whenever I want to, I can look at opportunities a state or two over, I can drive to see David and his family and my Hawks at away meets. The first week after I bought it I would just go look at the registration to remind myself that it was, in fact, mine all mine!

9. I got to spend the whole freaking year with this guy, and I could not be happier or feel luckier.

10. The YOGA Opportunity. No, this point has nothing to do with yoga. In the fall I applied to be the Youth Olympic Games Young Ambassador with the Canadian Olympic Team. I would have traveled with the Canadian Olympic Committee as a member of their delegation to China for a week in March and for all of August for the Youth Olympic Games. the position was to promote the educational and cultural opportunities for the Canadian athletes. And no, I didn’t get it. So why was this a highlight? 1. Because I wanted it sooo bad, it really helped me clarify what I want to go into in my future career and really showed me the opportunities that are out there. And 2. I came so close to actually getting it. After over 100 people applied, they interviewed the top 9 candidates (which I was fortunate enough to be!) and a week later I received news that while they were extremely impressed by my application and interview, I was not selected. However they told me I was their second choice, so all in all the experience for me was a win.

11. Fergus. Okay, so I just found out about him yesterday, but he still makes the list! Best housewarming ever was the sweet little 12 week old labradoodle that my mom and sister had kept quiet for a WEEK to surprise me at the airport. My heart was stolen instantly.

12. Rediscovering my love for writing. Mostly through this blog, to be honest. I used to keep a journal that I would write in on such a regular basis, and I kept up those journals for years. I loved to go back and read through them, every time I came home or if I had one with me in Iowa. I kept a journal from the age of 9 to college, and it slowly fading out after that. I missed it. I tried again and again, but it felt like a chore. It felt like something I had to do, to record my life and my thoughts and my feelings. Starting a blog allowed me to write and feel more grounded. While it’s obviously not as personal as a journal,

13. Alberta. Every single day I got in Alberta this year I cherished, going back to Iowa January 2nd, coming home for the shortest summer break yet, and home now means the fewest days ever in a year I have spent in Calgary. Coming home right after the Southern Alberta floods was an incredible experience, and I felt for my city. I was proud of my city. I got to see the mountains, and the Stampede, and my family. Every, every day in Alberta was a gift, that I plan to take better advantage of in 2014.

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Finals Fuel You Guys

talenti Mediterranean Mint gelato. No, I did not eat it one sitting, but it didn’t last the week!

Seriously, this stuff is the best. I hadn’t tried the brand before but I would HIGHLY recommend! As far as Christmas baking goes, it came from a box mix and it was delicious all the same :) David picked it up for the weekend and teased me for trying to make a Christmas tree on top with red sprinkles. Hey, I didn’t own green!

Happy finals people if you’re still like me and still writing them! Back to studying…

What Would You Do With $37 Million?

The Canadian Olympic Committee announced earlier today that they would be pledging $37 million to Own the Podium over the next four years, an increase from the $25 million pledged between 2009 and 2012. This funding comes from the private sector, and amounts to nearly a 50% increase for the next quad. While no details have yet been released on how the money is going to delegated among sport science and research, and the various sport’s National Governing Organizations (you can find the amount that has been delegated to specific sports on the Own the Podium website), the amount of money is nonetheless an incredible advance in the support of Canada’s high performance athletes.

“We know it takes a village to raise a champion,” stated COC President Marcel Aubut this morning. Anne Merklinger, CEO of Own the Podium, said “Canadians love hearing our national anthem and see the Canadian flag raised above the Olympic and Paralympic podium.” National Team Ice Dancer Kaitlyn Weaver said that competing for Canada on the world stage is her greatest accomplishment.

AVSvictoria said “If the government was really interested in supporting sports and athletics, they would invest money in elementary and high school physical education programs. This is what will give us a healthier population, more Olympic quality athletes in the future, and more Olympic medals.” Spondytoo said “Where exactly would we find out the compensation packages and expenses of the COC and OTP crowd?” Phritz stated” Screw the olympics! …unnecessary and boring! Give it to the food banks to feed the mentally ill and hungry youth/parents and create some affordable housing for the homeless! No one would miss the olympics anyways!”

AVSvictoria apparently thinks Olympic championships are made in high school gym classes. I sincerely hope Spondytoo is protesting a lot of norms in our society, considering that the NHL salary cap for the 2013-2014 season was $64.3 million dollars, and the combined salary of the top five players in the NHL far exceeded $37 million. And I would like inform Phritz, that since 2001, Canada has invested $305 million in fighting homelessness across the country.

Call me an activist, or call me a super-fan. I believe that our Canadian athletes have EVERY right to fight for gold, not only in Sochi but in Rio, Peyeong Chang, and Tokyo. I would challenge any Canadian to watch Sidney Crosby’s “Golden Gold” from Vancouver in 2010 and not feel a hint a pride. These athletes do not belong to major professional leagues, whose earnings easily go into the double digits of millions. These athletes don’t get the same media attention, the Hollywood treatment wherever they go, and ESPN analysts debating your every move for points (yup, I’m making fun of you, Fantasy Football). These athletes function under a system of where their successes and failures are reminiscent of a gopher- they pop up, then they vanish. Every two years, we celebrate their accomplishments and cry when they reach the podium and sing along when they get gold (Adam Kreek in 2008 anyone?). How can we cheer them on and shout “Go Canada Go” from our living room couches without supporting their struggle and their process leading up to the Games? This $37 million might not make a massive difference in Sochi, but I hope Canadians are intelligent enough to understand the difference those funds will make in 2016, and 2018.

With glowing hearts, we see thee rise, the true North strong and free. And on top of the podium, with tears in our eyes and gold on their necks.

I do not own the photos or quotes associated with this post

Finals are not Final

Like soooo many other students right now, it’s finals time. My last day of school is this Thursday, and next week I’ve got five finals in four days! Yikes! Most everyone else is taking finals now with school ending last week, so strike against Iowa. I decided to compile a to-do list of how to survive your finals with minimum PTSD allowed, just going off of what I know has worked for me in the past!

  • Sleep. If I don’t stay up till 2am doing homework any other time of year, don’t expect me to start now. Knowing me if I sacrificed hours of sleep to learn the material I would forget when and where the final exam was even being taken.
  • Walk or ride. Seriously, walking on the treadmill or riding a stationary bike is the BEST way to memorize note cards. Whether it’s a three inch stack of note cards, five pages of review sheets, or a small book, get your butt moving. If I just try to sit down and read them all it would take is a spec of dust to distract me. Set the resistance or the incline higher so you don’t have to worry about speed and bouncing around too much.
  • This isn’t really a study tip, but I’ve been making a really big effort this year to go to class looking a college senior and not like a freshman dude (sweatpants, ponytail, tired eyes). If I spend zero time on my appearance for finals week, I will feel pathetic and I will act pathetic and I won’t want to leave the house. Take a shower, blow dry your hair, wear jeans to the library because they’re warmer anyways and I swear you’ll be more productive
  • Eat and drink more than coffee and granola bars. You will get a headache.
  • Lay off the computer and spend some time with your books and notes. If you stare a screen all day you will also get a headache.
  • Chill. Just the chill the eff out because finals week will not ruin your life in any way shape or form. As I’m sure you could tell from my earlier bullet points, I’m pretty chill about the whole exam thing. Don’t let it get to you. This time will pass. The exams will come and go, and then it’s Christmas and how can anyone’s life be “over” when Christmas is right around the corner. Just breathe and study what you can and don’t try to cram. Take care of yourself and your body and your mental health and the rest will fall into place. Don’t fight people at the library and don’t chug Red Bull, and don’t fall into the trap of “it’s Finals Week and I have to study more than anybody else to get an A.” Think quality over quantity. Ask for help if you need it. Make time for shopping and baking and laundry. Finals week is just a week.