Hello again, friends and family! November has come to an end, and I thought I should update my blog about this crazy month before December (and more craziness) comes along.
The first thing that I have to write is that my grandmother underwent open heart surgery this month- it was planned, and not an emergency procedure, but it’s not exactly the type of news I recommend getting via text when in another country. She toughed it out, and it went well, and she’s recovering now. I’m extremely grateful that her doctors and my mom, aunts and uncles were there to help her and my grandpa deal with the aftermath of such a huge surgery. That was absolutely the first thing I counted my blessings for on non-holiday Thanksgiving random thursday here in Italy.
Thankful for this strong woman
The month of November started with something rare- a weekend off! I met up with Kayla and Mac again for the weekend. The girls came down to Bolzano on Friday, we dropped off their stuff at my apartment, and we went into the city to walk around and stop at a couple cafes along the way. We had coffees and pizza bread, and eventually ended up at the Temple Bar where we had a beer and caught up. (Side note- the Temple Bar is my new favorite place in Bolzano. The owners are Irish, speak english, and it’s got the greatest pub atmosphere I’ve found yet!)
Eventually, we hopped on a bus, stopped at the grocery store, and grabbed a pizza at another restaurant before going to the rink to meet up with the rest of the Eagles. We drank a bit, went to a girl named Ele’s apartment where everyone ate pasta and listened to music before heading out to the bar. The night ended relatively early, and we took a cab back to Cardano to sleep at my apartment for the night, and rest up for the bus trip the next day!
In the morning, we woke up and packed our things for the weekend. We walked around Bolzano a little more and caught a bus in the early afternoon back to Munich. When we got there, it was early evening and we had a quiet night. The next day, we got on a bus for Zurich, Switzerland. We stopped and picked up two more imports, Sarah and Kaitlyn, who play for another team in Germany. Once we arrived in Zurich, we stopped at the Starbucks (!!!) to plan our day while we had wifi.
We wandered around the city, and happened upon a museum that was full of historic cultural artifacts. Honestly, I was glad we were there on a Sunday and shops were mostly closed, because Zurich is pricey! Glad I’m not spending six months there, because my lack of self control would make my bank account suffer. For lunch, we found a random spot that seemed nice enough to eat, and took an elevator to a 4th floor balcony to grab some food. We paid for the food by weight, which was new, and it all seemed to be vegetarian.. after googling the restaurants name, one of the girls found out that we were actually eating in the oldest vegetarian restaurant in the world! It was a very random discovery, but the food was good and we laughed pretty hard at our luck.
The highlight of the trip was taking a train to the top of a mountain to get the views of Zurich from above. We got very lucky, and the weather was gorgeous. The mountaintop had restaurants and there were people drinking beers and taking pictures everywhere. It was a very cool experience. After a little more wandering, we said goodbye to the other imports and got on our bus back to Munich. I left the next morning, and arrived in Bolzano on Monday afternoon. It was an awesome way to start my second month here, and gave me a good dose of friends from home to get me through the next few weeks.
I like to call this “Fabulous Jesus,” a stained glass window from the Zurich Cultural Museum
We had a good weekend 🙂
The other weekends in November were focused on hockey. We played in Salzburg on the 14th, at home the 21st and 22nd against Vienna, and this past weekend, we travelled to Bratislava, Slovakia for a two game series. This month saw the eagles improve to 4-6. One of the biggest wins of the month was a victory in the first game of the Vienna series. I’m not sure about now, but at the time they were the #1 team in the league. My second day in Italy we had lost 9-1 against them, and it was a good feeling to win that game in particular. It was a great moment for the team, and the girls are getting stronger each game. It’s difficult to come from Division I hockey, with certain principles and skills hammered into my brain to realize that Italian hockey doesn’t focus on all the same things. My team is also very young, and are still learning. I’m learning myself, and trying to fit into the systems here, and it’s definitely something I struggled with to start. In addition, the other American (Chelsea Furlani, who recently received her Italian citizenship) should be arriving soon, and as a leader on the team her return will be great for team morale. It’s going to be fun to see where the team goes from here.
Side Note: Bratislava is not exactly for everybody
On the 15th, I turned 23 years old (gulp). This was one of the tamest birthdays I’ve had in years, and I spent the day watching netflix, and went into the city for a hot chocolate with Bea, a friend from the team in the afternoon. It was a nice way to end the weekend. I loved hearing from friends and family back home, and it’s always nice to have an excuse to facetime with my family.
Unfortunately for me, Thanksgiving doesn’t exist on this side of the ocean, so I had to forgo my favorite holiday this year. While the lack of stuffing and pie might have been a depressing event, the Christmas market in Bolzano opened last Thursday, so I had a couple glasses of gluewein to celebrate instead 🙂 The market is open every day from now until Christmas, and I can imagine taking a few study breaks here and there to buy some gifts for friends and family. I won’t be home this year for Christmas either, which will be my first Christmas without family ever. It’ll be strange, but I’m looking forward to traveling some more with Mac and Kayla, and spending the holidays with Mac and her family.
Christmas market- opening night!
I never really explained the title for this post, but it’s an Italian phrase that means “I’m grateful.” I actually got it from a friend in CT, who likes to send me updates and keeps me sane. It was from a post by the author of Eat, Pray, Love, which is also one of my favorite film adaptions of a book (yes, it’s corny). She talked about being grateful and seeing the positives in every experience, and not comparing your life with anyone else’s. In this time of instagram filters and 140-character lives, it’s easy to get caught up in how amazing someone else’s life looks. I’m sure some of you are rolling your eyes right now, thinking “well you’re in friggin’ Italy, easy for you to say,” and you’d mostly be right. It IS beautiful here, and I’m soaking in as much as I can, but my pictures don’t show reality. I spend many of my days in a university library studying biochemistry, trying to figure out grocery shopping and maybe eat something other than pasta, and going to hockey. It’s far from an Italian dream vacation, but I am so grateful to have this chance. Sometimes/often I get lonely, or miss friends from home, or even start reminiscing about college hockey, which is fine. It doesn’t have to be a positive experience every day for the outcome to be a good one. Some days suck, but the good ones are really, really good. Those are why I’m here, and that’s why I’m grateful. So, that’s my deep, rambly thought of the day.
As another note- I have to mention my brother and sister here for a second. My little sister committed to play Division I Ice Hockey for UConn earlier this month, and made the US U18 team roster again recently. I mentioned most of that in my last post, and I’m still incredibly proud of her. More recently (today) my little brother announced that he’s committed to play Division I Ice Hockey for Colgate. He’s played two years of junior hockey, moving from the NAHL to the USHL, proving himself a leader each place he goes, and never giving up his goal to play #cawlidgehockey. I’m so proud that his hard work has paid off. For such a large pain in the ass, he is actually a pretty great brother, and he completely earned this. Might actually have to cheer for the toothpaste team someday…
Love these guys, and can’t wait ’till we’re all back together 🙂
Anyways, that’s all I’ve got for now! Same old same old here in Bolzano, really. Please stay safe in the snowy weather back home, and know that although I didn’t have a turkey this Thanksgiving, I am very grateful for each of you. Keep me updated on your own adventures!
Cheers from Italy!
Coffee break with some eagles (left to right Hannah, Samy, and Bea)