Life Lately, Ohio Edition

Blogging coming at you from another hotel room, another city, another state! Thanks for bearing with me through my biannual finals week struggle and the subsequent drop-off-the-face-of-the-earth! But I’m back, and after I write a conclusion for my last paper the semester will  IS officially be over and I’ll only have two classes left for both my degrees…whaaaat?

Here’s the rundown on what’s been going on recently:

I surprised my family for (American) Thanksgiving…again.

Like junior year I flew home for the holiday without telling a soul but my mother. With other thanksgiving plans falling through and a flight credit to use it turned out to be an easy decision! My grandma thought I was my sister, my sister was most definitely surprised, and my Dad was completely speechless too! Showing up unannounced was a blast and I enjoyed a chill weekend at home (before getting delayed flying through Dallas Fort Worth, grrrr…every time!)

My Senior Meet was two weeks ago,

and emotions were at an all-time high. Not only did my mother come down to celebrate the weekend with me, my sister flew down and surprised me this time!! Turns out they had it planned forever, weeks before I decided to surprise her. The weekend was full of highs and lows, great dives and average dives, and just a lot of weird feelings about it being my Senior meet. I can’t believe it went by this fast (even though our Senior meet was pretty early in the year!) and it meant the world to me that my mother and sister could be there with me.

We beat Iowa State for the fifth year in a row

Yeeeeeeeeah Haaaaaaaaawks!!!!!

And well now I’m in Columbus, Ohio!

Took all my finals early, classic. I swear every second or third semester I’m out of town somehow and have to take all my finals in a day or two. Last week I had a paper due Thursday, paper due Friday, one exam Thursday, two exams Friday, and one paper due this upcoming Friday. Why I like torturing myself like that is beyond me!! Despite the literal hell that was last week with minimal mental breakdowns, I survived and headed to Ohio State for the USA Winter Senior National Championships!

I’m looking forward to a great week of training here in Columbus and a motivational kick in the butt before heading home for Christmas, and then coming back to Iowa for training camp! This year has been flying, I’m borderline uncomfortable with the rate that college will soon be over. That’s a lie I’m not borderline uncomfortable- the thought of life after college makes me want to cry because of how amazing these last four and a half years have been. Those will be blog posts for another day…

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Families That Are Not My Own

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.