Times a’ flyin!

Halfway through March already… jeez!

It’s been a while, peeps!  Another month down in paradise and I can say I have really been enjoying every minute down here.  Things got a little crazy about the time that Ryan left, but whats life without a few little speed bumps, right?   Things that I have been up to in the last month and a half include-

  • Put Valentine’s day into perspective this year.  When you normally think about Valentine’s day, what do you picture?  Chocolate, Roses, Candy, V-day cards??  I think that most of us would say that.  But in my growing faith, I took a step back this year to not only think about all of the people that I love in my life, but the strong and everlasting love of the Lord.  This is something that is very easy to forget in the midst of our everyday lives. When you are feeling down, remember that you are ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS loved.    “We Love, because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
  • Beaches on beaches- Btw wish I could take the pic credit, but I don’t have those mad angles so thanks google 😉
    • Playa Santa– About 45 minutes from where I live, and a super secluded beach (at least on a Wednesday, it was). Parking is easy and Ryan and I walked about 5 minutes to find a good spot on the white sandy shore.

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      Playa Santa, Guanica
    • Playa Sucia– the BEST of the best down here, in my opinion!  It was quite a hike to get to the actual beach, but once we got there it was amazing. Definitely the most white sand and blue water I have seen down here, so far. 

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      Playa Sucia , Cabo Rojo
    • Playa La Jungla– In spanish this means the jungle, and it really is when you drive in.  This is a great beach if you have a LOT of stuff you are bringing with you and you want to pull right up to the shore and unload.  There was almost no one there when we went on a Friday. Only downside, a bazillion potholes when driving there.  Be sure to bring your Jeep when you go on this wild ride!
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Playa La Jungla, Guanica
  • Crash Boat– talk about CLEAR water!  We were able to find easy parking, and walk about 10 minutes to our spot on the beach.  This was another one of my favorites because there is a pier you can jump off of!  Cool thing is, there was HUGE fish right below. Looked like Dory! Were able to swim (and by this I mean, with a floatie #offdayzppl) about a quarter mile and you could still see all the way to the bottom of the ocean.
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Crash Boat, Aguadilla 
  • Went to a Ponce basketball game.  Was super fun and we got to see some of the players that we normally see at the gym, in action!
  • Went to the opening of a Sports Bar in Ponce that was complete with athletes from the sports teams down here, live music and the recognition of our team! Super fun night.
  • Learning day by day to keep the faith and let God lead me in everything I do.  Four HUGE words for me this month- Love, Trust, Wait & Hope. “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
  • Showed Ryan Puerto Rico 🙂 Took him to multiple beaches, and got to spend some much needed quality time together.  Counting down the days, babe.
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Are we facing forwards or backwards? #mindgame
  • Had a fun weekend in San Juan with the girls, and then another with Ryan, complete with pool chillin’, acai from supermaxx–GAME CHANGER BTW & tons of beach exploring.
  • Guava anything and everything. Gonna be on a mission to find this when I get back to Colorado!
  • Rain!! Finally.  I can honestly say that I am a true cold weather person.  Learning that more and more after the constant heat down here.  Hoping and praying that we see a little more of this rain soon 😉
  • Volleyball!! Duh. That’s why I’m here, right?!  We are currently 13-3 after a tough loss last night.  We finished the second round of games last week and now we are in the last 3 weeks of the regular season.  Significant moments of this last month included-
    • Losing our first match and finding a way to #bounceback.
    • Staying undefeated at home.
    • Beating Caguas- the top ranked team in the League in 3 sets.
  • Special Shoutout to both of my sisters, Cierra and Gabby , as they are both on the road to recovery! So proud of both of you in every way, and can’t wait to see you completely healthy, and on the court soon 🙂 ANNNDDDD SEE YOU IN 2 WEEKS #SPRINGBREAK2017
  • March Madness y’all!  It’s HEEEEERE. And the cuzzo, Joe Schneider just killed it in the First Four last night.  UC-Davis vs. KU tomorrow night! Go Ags!!

Thats about all of the newest happenings from down here! The rest of the regular season is as follows.

As always, you can follow our team at our home website, here. And as of the later half of this season, all of our games are streamed Facebook LIVE!  Check us out this Friday at 6 PM MST/7 PM CT, here.

 

3/17/17 vs. Aibonito HOME 8 PM (6PM MST)

3/19/17 vs. Juncos AWAY 5 PM (3 PM MST)

3/23/17 vs. Naranjito AWAY 8 PM (6 PM MST)

3/24/17 vs. San Juan HOME 8 PM (6 PM MST)

3/29/17 vs. Carolina AWAY 8 PM (6 PM MST)

3/31/17 vs. Humacao HOME 8 PM (6 PM MST)

4/2/17 All- Star Game in Ponce 5 PM

4/5/17 vs. Mayaguez HOME 8 PM (6 PM MST)

4/9/17 vs. Caguas AWAY 5 PM (3PM MST)

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Have a fabulous day everyone!

XO

New team, who dis?

Hello February ❤ ❤ ❤

Happy to say that I DO NOT miss that cold winter weather back home right about now.  It has been blistering hot the past month, filled with visits to 5 different beaches, countless pool days, island adventures and lots of volley!

Fave memz of this last month include-

  • the BOAT trip. Had to top the list because I felt like I was in a movie the whole day.  We took a boat to the islands off of Fajardo, which is the Northeastern most tip of Puerto Rico.  We went to an island called Icacos, and were supposed to visit a couple others… but lets just say the day got a little too fun where we were at.  I hope this becomes a monthly tradition, because it was a blast! IMG_5204.JPG
  • Having the opportunity to play against the Dominican Republic National Team.  & BEATING THEM, twice! Pretty exciting taking on a national team as a club down here in Puerto Rico and having as good of a showing as we did.  On the down side, we played four games in a row.  Four consecutive days.  Can you say… EXHAUSTED?!
  • Watching a guy climb to the top of a palm tree, knock down coconuts & shell them right there. Pretty cool stuff to see!
  • Playa Sucia.  Week one finished with a visit to my favorite beach in PR to date!  Blue water, white sand, and summery passionfruit drinks, nomnomnommm 🙂 IMG_5161.JPG
  • Gilligan Island with the teammates!  Took a little ferry out to a mini island where we spent the whole day enjoying mimosas & good company.
  • Helping Deme’s boyfriend surprise her, all the way from Denmark!  Well not really.. he did all the work, I just made sure we were around the house when he arrived.  Even shed a few tears watching them see each other for the first time in a while. So precious!
  • Exploring new coffee shops, restaurants and favorite local spots around Ponce- Con Leche, Coffee House, Cafe Cafe & Melao!
  • Testing out my cooking skills, and exceeding all of my expectations.  Turns out I am a better cook than I thought! Or maybe I just have too much time on my hands 😉
  • Game nights with the crew! Anyone ever played Quelf?  Straight Fire!!
  • Super Bowl complete with friends, food & 3 of the cutest dogs ever! Had a great time watching the Super Bowl at a teammates sisters house up north win Dorado.
  • “the curves”, as Jane says—> these are some of the scariest mountain roads I have ever been on.  Literally a one lane road, that is supposed to fit two cars. YIKEEES!
  • Being 5-0! I am writing this before I head to our game tonight… so hopefully soon to be 6-0. Having SO SO SO much fun on this team.  Love competing with them & getting better each and every day.

As for streaming, some of our games are being Facebook Live Streamed. Click here to watch.

Our  team website is also up! Check us out here.

Our schedule for the next month looks like this-

2/12/17 vs. Humacao AWAY 5 PM

2/17/17 vs. Caguas AWAY 8 PM

2/19/17 vs. Mayaguez HOME 5 PM

2/23/17 vs. Humacao HOME 8 PM

2/25/17 vs. Juncos AWAY 8 PM

3/2/17 vs. Naranjito HOME 8 PM

3/5/17 vs. Carolina AWAY 5 PM

3/10/17 vs. Aibonito AWAY 8 PM

So thats about it for now… January in a Nutshell! & Ryan comes in 9 days!! SOOOOOOO excited 🙂

xoxoxo,

Tay

a glimmer of 2016 + new beginnings

Hello everyone!

2016 had its ups, and downs, and its good and bad moments. Here are some of the highlights:

  • fullsizerenderSpent New Years with an amazing win and with my favorite people minus two. img_2820
  • Made amazing new Korean friends, especially my Minjuuuu & learned more than I thought possible about the Korean people and their culture, and I guess about myself a little bit, too.
  • Made great new sisters and friends in my fellow Americans in Korea… especially Khat Bell & Leslie Cikra.
  • Celebrated the Broncos Super Bowl Championship at the parade in Denver!
  • Surprise trip to see the Kansas Crew… surprised Jax SOOOO good.
  • Spring break in San Diego.  Got to see my second fam- the Vivaldi’s!
  •  Found ARP wave therapy… my saving grace! Rehabbed & strengthened myself for the summer volley ventures ahead!
  • Reconnected with old friends in Boulder & Denver 🙂
  • March Madness in Denver!!!
  • Sister trip to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic & had two of the best weeks of my life with my sissssers.
  • Vegas & made the move to Hermosa beach with Liz! Enjoyable summer @ the beach.img_3812
  • USA volley Pan American Cup!
  • Back to blonde 😉
  • Scenic road trip home with an old friend. SoCal–>NorCal–>Utah–> HOME!
  • Got almost a whole 4 months spent with my baby sis, Riley.  Some of the best months this year!
  • Found my deep love and obsession for coffee.
  • RIO OLYMPICS! Amazing couple of weeks glued to the TV.
  • Met the BEST part of 2016… my amazing guy, Ryan ❤
  • CUVB Games with the Fam. So cool to watch the sisters compete together for the last time!
  • Super fun weekend with K^2, Ryan, Emily & Ashley for my 23rd in Denver. Have to do another one of those nights you guys!
  • img_4056Noni’s weekend in CO complete with the Rivalry FB game CU vs. CSU and volley. Love you Non!
  • Weekend in Chicago with Mama- Cubs Game, Navy Pier, the Bean & all things Chi img_4249City!
  • Italy. Experienced some of the best food, hospitality & volley for a little while!
  • Weekend at Lake Como with Heidi & Richard. Great scenery, shopping & company.
  • Finding OTF & their crew. Such an amazing bunch of people who were willing to open their arms to me, even for just a few months while I was home. I miss you guys already!!
  • Halloween as Clark Kent & Lois Lane.
  • Fall in Colorado… absolutely beautiful.
  • Watching CUFB DOMINATE!!
  • Ce’s Senior Night. So cool to see her come so far!
  • img_4567Nights spent watching movies & just hanging with Ryan.  Missing you a bunch, babe.
  • Thanksgiving Trip to Arizona & Utah.
  • NYC trip with Ce & Gabs. Sightseeing galore!
  • Christmas at home… how I’ve missed it 🙂
  • Found out my best friends is getting engaged!! Congrats Monica!
  • Headed off to PR!!

 

So unbelievably thankful for another year that our God has allowed us to be on this amazing earth.  Grateful for the memories I could make with these people, for a healthy body, and for all of the constant blessings that God continues to bring to us.  This year was unforgettable!  Excited to see what this year has in store!

 

To fill ya in-I am now in Ponce, Puerto Rico!  An amazing little havana just a hop, skip & a jump from San Juan, is starting to steal my heart.  I am playing this season with the Ponce Leonas in the Puerto Rican Volleyball League.  We have our first pre-season match tomorrow vs. the Dominican Republic National Team.

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To keep up with our happenings you can follow us, here.

For the month of January and our first round of League, our schedule is as follows:

1/12 vs. Dominican Republic National Team @ 8 PM

1/13 vs. Dominican Republic National Team @ 8 PM

1/14 vs. Dominican Republic National Team @ 8 PM

1/15 vs. Dominican Republic National Team @ 8 PM

 1/25 vs. Mayaguez AWAY @ 8 PM

1/27 vs. Carolina HOME @ 8 PM

1/29 vs. Juncos HOME @ 5 PM

2/1 vs. Naranjito AWAY @ 8 PM

2/3 vs. San Juan AWAY @ 8 PM

2/8 vs. Aibonito HOME @ 8 PM

2/12 v. Humacao AWAY @ 5 PM

2/17 vs. Caguas AWAY @ 8 PM

I believe our games will be streamed, but our website is currently being built 😉 More news on that in the next post.

I will also be posting all info about this season on my Facebook page- here!

Till next time my peeps! 🙂

XO

 

50 things that make me extremely HAPPY

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 A little change of pace here.  Back from Italy & want to take this blog in a new direction for a while- so bear with me!  Got to thinking and some of us (most of us) really tend to focus on the things that make us anxious or stressed and think less of the things that make us genuinely happy.  And with the holiday season right around the corner (think serious STRESS), I thought I would provide a little uplifting juju (on that beat, hehe) to get you going in the right direction.  I got this idea from a friend and I thought I would give it a try. 50 things that make me happy… ready, GO!

  1.  My fam bam  (Especially my 3 sisters who are all too similar to me).
  2. My man.  Only been together a short while, but I really think I hit jackpot on this one!
  3. Sunny, fall days.  Cheers Colorado, for hanging on through October.
  4. Seeing the world.  And oh boy, how I miss it now! Cant wait to get back to it in the Spring.img_0067

5.  My three pups who always seem so happy to see me and don’t mind the torturous hour-long squeeze & cuddle sessions.

6.Being in my car when its raining outside.  I feel all safe n’ stuff 🙂

7.Laundry done with Snuggle lavender scented fabric softener.

8.  A really deep massage on my shoulders, neck and feet.

9. Coffee shop hopping. And not Starbucks!  The really good local, hole in the wall kind of coffee joints. Did someone say Espresso?!

10. Scented Candles.

11. Acting super immature, and loving every minute of it with my sisters.

12.  Spending time with my cuzzo/brother from another mother,  Jaxson Waxson Flaxson.  Always a hoot with this kid.

13.  The Essie nail polish color, Bikini so Teeny.

14.  Beach, pool, beaching it in some tropical place with the fam.  Preferably Dominican Republic or Cancun! IMG_001315.  Funny Movies.

16.  I’m also a fan of a good action flick or an occasional tear-jerker (not a fan of rom-con though).

17.  Long walks.

18.  Summer nights complete with friends and a nice big bonfire (don’t forget the s’mores)!

19.  My grandparents.

20.  Meditating outside in nature.

21.  The Mountains and a good sunset.

22.  Yoga.

23.  Right after I finish an Orangetheory workout. Try it people!! Its pure bliss!

24.  The smell of freshly cut grass.

25.  Christmas.

26.  Reading a super intriguing book that you just can’t put down!

27.  Pulling out the cold weather clothes.  Especially the boots:)  Bring on the snow!!

28.  Hot Rhythmic X-overs, or Are & B playlists on Spotify.

29.  Avo Toast.img_752630.  Lower Highlands, Denver.

31.  Giving-  the absolute  BEST feeling in the world.

32.  Getting Baked in Boulder.  I mean Boulder Baked. hahahah

33.   Sitting in front of the ocean, with sand on my toesies.

34.  Jam sesh’s in my car on BLAST.

35.  Nice, genuine people.

36.  A long, hot bath with candles.

37.  Green tea.

38.  Spending time alone.

39.  Learning a new language.

40.  Jumping in the swim pool on a hot day.

41.  Sleep.

42.  Lunch dates with my besties.

43.  Sales @ lululemon! Rarely happens, so gotta seize the moment, right ladies?!

44.  Road Trips.

45.  Super squeezey- tight hugs.

46.  Crafting.

47.   Volley.  Taken me places I never in my mind thought I would go to!

48.  Italian Cappuccino + a Nutella Crostada + good company.

49.  Cooking dinner & enjoying a nice glass of Cabernet with it.

50.  This Blog. ❤IMG_2633img_0007

I tag every single one of you, reading this!  Share your 50. You’ll be surprised what you can come up with.  If you do decide to do this tag, don’t forget to leave a link below so I can check it out.

XOXO

Thnks fr th Mmrs

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Welp.. sad to say, but my time in Korea has come to an abrupt close.  A couple of weeks ago after our game vs. IBK , I found out via MRI that I have some severe plantar fasciitis problems in my right foot. Sounds painful, right? Well it is, but nothing to be too worried about.  I still believe that everything works itself out the way it is supposed to be, and that there is a meaning behind every setback God puts in front of you.

To clarify, I have exactly what our Super Bowl Champ Bronco quarterback, Peyton Manning was dealing with earlier this season, that had him sidelined for about 5 weeks.  So in the wide scope, its a relatively small injury, it just requires a LOT of rest. But, look at Peyton now! SUPER BOWL 50 CHAMPION!!! So proud of our boys and can’t wait to celebrate on the streets on Denver when they return home.  Unfortunately, the Korean season only lasts for another 5-8 weeks, so there wasn’t a lot of time to mess with.  The Pink Spiders are in 3rd place right now, and with a couple more wins… should make it to playoffs.  It will be the first time in 5 years for the team to make it to playoffs, so you can probably understand how important this is for them.  Sorry you couldn’t wait for me to heal up & get back on the court, but good luck with the rest of the season, girls! I will miss you all!!!

This adventure has taught me more than I ever thought I would be coming home with.  And even though I am not coming home knowing the final destiny of the Pink Spiders, I have learned SO SO MUCH, and I’m so happy to FINALLY be on American soil to cherish all that I love about being home, but also to remember all of the things that I love and miss about Korea, as well.

I want to thank my lovely translator and someone who has slowly become one of my greatest friends, Minju, for all of her time and dedication to me.  You made this season a breeze & I am so happy that we made it through this season (almost) alive.  I am going to miss having you by my side everyday, jubean. ❤ ILY ILYY

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The biggest thing I have learned from this experience is to be thankful for the here and now.  Not one moment in your life will EVER be the same, so its very important to acknowledge the present, whether good or bad and love & appreciate where you are at.  Throughout my venture here in Korea, I have been on an emotional rollercoaster, but it was a fun on at that. There were days where things were great and others where I would want to be anywhere other than Korea, but all of these things have made me an even stronger person than I was before I left. I have learned patience, and how to just let things be that are out of your control.  I have learned to only soak in the things that actually matter, and all of the extra stuff to leave it to the side. I have learned not to eat anything that you don’t know what it20160125흥국-기업경기117 is… because it will make you very, very sick. haha. :/ I have learned that a positive mind is everything. I have learned that that things that may seem ordinary and normal at home may be done completely differently in other cultures… and you just have to accept it.  I learned to adapt… BIG TIME.  I have learned to accept & tolerate differences.  I learned the virtue of independence.  Alone time has never been so frequent, but I have learned to be at peace with myself.  I have learned that things will be brought your way to test you, to make you tougher, to make you stronger, and most of 20160119흥국-GS경기204all to make you better.  I learned that only in struggle will you see progress.  I learned that you know your body better than anyone else and to trust your instincts. I learned that people may think they know what is best for you, but you can really only trust yourself. I learned to find happiness in the small things. People and obstacles will come your way, but it is completely up to you in the capacity that you let them influence you and your well being.  Korea’s awesome! I hope to be able to come back some day!  But, maybe for vacation 😉

Things I will miss from Korea:

  1. Impeccably quick service
  2. Scissors instead of knives
  3. Jap Chae & Rice Cakes
  4. My extremely fast driving Bus Driver, Mr. Sah
  5. Chocolate Almonds & Americano’s at our home gym before games
  6. The department stores b/c they are amazing- especially you, Panygo Hyundai
  7. My cooking & cleaning ladies (YOU MEAN I HAVE TO DO THIS STUFF AGAIN?!)
  8. The subway system because getting around has never been so simple
  9. Living 10 minutes away from Khat Bell & Lizzie McMahon 😦
  10. Jaju & E-Mart
  11. Garosugil
  12. Gorgonzola & Yuzu Pizza
  13. My teammates, especially da babies
  14. TAY-E-LAH TAY-E-LAH (watch vids of games here)

 

Now, that I have finally reached home, I’m looking at a short month and a half of recovery and rehab, enjoying some much deserved R&R at home and preparing myself for my next venture.  I have full trust that God knows exactly what he is doing and every change in direction or turn in the path just means that he is leading me to better things.  Thank you for sharing my journey here with me in Korea and wherever my travels lead me to next year, I will be blogging!  Thanks for following along this season 🙂

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GO PINK SPIDESSS! FIGHTING!

 

Over & Out -the Koko peep

Year of the Monkey

This year is the year of the monkey in Asian culture.  That meaning that businesses can feel free to put a cute little monkey on whatever they want and it has some significance because of the year.  Starbucks won my heart with the cutest monkey mug ever.  Thanks to my translator for getting me one! I don’t think I’ve really payed attention to what the year’s animal is unless if I’m at a Chinese restaurant with one of those little year maps to find what this years animal is and what my birth year animal is (which I don’t ever remember), but nonetheless, a kinda cool fact. The Red Fire Monkey symbolizes the meaningful and intelligent period that could grant us with clear picture of upcoming times.  Take from that what you wish…

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January has always been a hard month for me.  It’s usually the coldest weather wherever I’ve been, right in the middle of the school year, not a lot special going on during January.  However, this year has been a little different.  It’s been about 2  weeks since my family headed back to the states and time has been SPEEDING by.  I can’t believe its almost already February!  I also can’t believe that the season is almost finished.  One step closer to finishing my first professional season, and being HOME!!!!

 

The past few weeks have been jam packed with nothing but volleyball.  Off days have been far and few between, but I am happy with the development and growth that I a seeing.  At first, I felt a little burnout, but now all I am seeing is positive gains.  I once read a quote by Oprah and fell in love with it “For me, the path to success was never about attaining incredible wealth or celebrity.  It was about the process of continually seeking to be the better, to challenge myself, to pursue excellence on every level.  The question I ask every day is the same as its always been: how much farther can I stretch to reach my full potential? What I know for sure is that it’s only when you make the process your goal, the dream can follow.”  Oprah, you go girl! You have it all figured out.

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Game vs. IBK @ Home

Today we dipped into the single digits, as far as weather goes.  And I’m sure that the rest of my time here will be similar.  The weather reminds me of a good mix of Kansas and Minnesota.  In other words…. FREEZING. I’m a little inland in Korea, so I don’t even want to imagine what it was like near the water in Seoul, or the coastal cities in Korea.  With this blundery weather going on, it only made sense to go and see the movie “The Revenant.”  Leonardo DiCaprio takes on the wilderness as he and his frontiersman travel in winter on a fur trading expedition. A movie about pure integrity.  His fight for life after he was mauled by a bear and was left by his own men to die was empowering.  How could someone who has ALL of the odds against him, still persevere? Some good food for thought on this fuhhhreeezing day.

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Unintended “Pink” Spyder Brand headband from dad for Christmas.

 

Game updates: We are currently 13-8.  Sitting in 3rd place, top 3 go to playoffs.  Sights are looking good! Papa bear is due for his next visit, and that is hopefully going to be for playoffs.  So ya SPIDEYS are working hard to get him back over here to have summa dat FISH SOUP.  Hope you’re reading this pops. Ha!

 

 

In other news, my skin color has went from white to a nice translucent color in the past three weeks.  I have decided to relocate to California for the summer! Netflix is poppin’.  I definitely recommend checking out the new movies since the new year. I’m almost through four seasons of Sex & the City(not on Netflix).  Not sure if thats a good or bad thing yet.  Ordered swimsuits to get me in the summer mood. STOKED! &&&&& played enough volleyball to my hearts content.  But, it ain’t over yet!

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Shoutout to my cousins– Jaxson in Okie, KS & Siler (Joe) at UC Davis kicking butt in basketball!! Miss you guys, at so cool hearing about/ watching all of your success!! Keep it up:)  And not to forget my little sister Rilo, playing in her first year of club volleyball at Colorado Juniors.  Making me proud every single day, hootie.

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Short & sweet post this week folks..

 

STAY WARM OUT THERE.

 

xoxox

 

 

Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016

2015… a year jam-packed with many notable events, filled with ups, downs, smiles, frowns, laughter, tears, triumph, defeat, but most of all, JOY.  2015 started off with an adventure to Puerto Rico on my first ever Pro

volleyball venture.  I played for Las Changas de Naranjito, a team with the
best fans, best gym and most amazing atmosphere in the league.  Unfortunately, my trip in Puerto Rico was cut short.  I had to return home to get mIMG_0472y my knee figured out, and later, get surgery.   Not too late after that I took my friend Monica to Vegas.  We went to “watch CU men’s basketball team play.”  But had some fun at the clubs too! Must say, it was a great 21st birthday present to myself!  When I returned home, St. Paddy’s day followed and CU makes that a University wide holiday, so I spent St. Paddy’s the Irish way (I’m not Irish lol), at a handful of parties in my leprechaun getup.  Spring break was filled with a lot of beach and family time in Cancun, MX. Not the college spring break that we pictured, but it was one of the best trips I have taken in my life. We spent majority
of the trip soaking up the sun, but also went parasailing, snorkeling, and visited some Mayan ruins. I probably got

more skin damage than I ever have, too. Oops!  Nonetheless, it was super fun, and I hope to go back someday. I was out of volleyball for about 2 months, and that was just too long without it- so shortly after I finished rehabbing my knee, I headed out to Anaheim to practice with USA.    But, before I got to Anaheim, I got to spend Easter with the Vivaldi family.  SO grateful for them! A weird feeling being away from home for Easter, but they took the place of my family and we had a really great day. During USA training, I met one of my closest friends to this day- Nia Grant.  God definitely both brought us together for a reason, and I’m so glad he did.  Weekends during training consisted of visits to the Vivaldi household, where they made me feel like part of the family.  One of the weekends I actually spent with Ali, riding her boyfriends police boat in the harbor, it was awesome!  I LOVE YOU GUYS!  Before I headed home, I took part in the KOVO draft, in which I was drafted for the team I am on now, the Pink Spiders.

IMG_0318Graduation was in May and I flew home to attend it.  Probably the most unusual graduation ever, but I spent mine drenched in the rain.  Probably one of the coldest days of the year and I got to spend it in my cap and gown on Folsom Field.  Weird fact… those caps are made out of cardboard.  After standing in the rain for 3 hours, mine completely crumpled and I looked like a mushroom head… whatever that is.  ha!  Gabby and Cece came back out to CA for a week with me and then we all drove home together.  When I got home, Gabs and I went to the Luke Bryan/ Florida Georgia Line concert, IMG_0067aka the BEST concert I’ve ever attended.  I realized my newfound obsession for the FGL boys and country music.  The rest of the summer was spent listening to their tunes on repeat.    I decided to go to Korea for a week in May to check out my new place, and it turned out to be one of the best weeks on record.  There was no pressure, just chillin and partying in Seoul.  Doesn’t get much better than that.  Minju & I found our love for French anything and I think that was a little glimpse at how much fun we were going to have when I arrived for good in August.  I worked a LOT of volleyball camps this summer, which turned out to be a good and bad thing.  I had a little extra cash, but no extra time.  At the end of June I traveled quite a bit before slaving away at the CUVB camps in July and departing for Korea.  First, I went to San Diego to say goodbye to the Vivaldi’s, which was a weekend of a lot of good food and even better company.  Then, I went to Kansas which was one of the best trips ever, I got to see my Noni and PoPo, and my Aunt and cousin Jax.  To round out the traveling I headed to New Orleans to watch Ce and IMG_0092Gabs play in their USA vb stuff!  Making me proud as always.  When I got home, Manny, Cece’s pup passed away.  This was one of the most favored family dogs so this was a hard one to swallow, but we eventually realized that doggy heaven is where God wanted him.  CUVB  camps were super fun, per usual! Weird that this year they will be under new management.  I got to say goodbye to Boulder, Ce, Gabs and all of my friends up there before I packed and got ready for Korea.  2 weeks was what was left of my summer.  I spent those two weeks enjoying the sun, family time, and pure chillin’.  That takes us to our place now… KOREA!

This year has been filled with a lot of volleyball, and not a lot of time at home, but I am so thankful and grateful for everything that God has blessed me with this year.  Things fell apart, things were built, I went through a series of emotions- hurt, anger, happiness, joy, gratefulness, hope, despair, anxiety, excitement, but what I am most thrilled about is the fact that I am slowly but surely finding out who I am and who I want to be.  College years are hard.  You float along confirming to society- going to class, practice, etc, but never really have time to sit back a minute and see who you really are/ where you want to go/be.  This year has allowed me to do that.  I have had unlimited thinking time, and it has really done me dividends.

Christmas passed, and it was weird.  Majority of it was spent in my room watching Christmas movies pretending it was Christmas (which was hard

because it was sunny-no snow- and not family to share it with).  Later in the afternoon, I met with Liz and her mama and we had a nice Christmas dinner at Craftworks Taphouse, and American buffet place.  It rocked! It rocked so much that after my family arrived, we went there for NYE.  The IMG_0849owner, Jamie, is super cool and even prepared us our own buffet table since we showed up so late (after a game-a good one too!).  I was SO SO SO SO SO SO SO happy when my family showed up.  You don’t realize how much they mean to you, until they aren’t around every day.  Thats all I could think about was their arrival, for about 2 weeks before.  They got here on the 30th and we did a little fake Christmas for me since I wasn’t home. I gave them my Korean presents, and they weren’t as thrilled as I was opening the gifts, but I think they liked their “puffers” and Korean knick-knacks.  A few days after real Christmas  I got the news that my grandfather, Po, passed.  The news really hit me HARD.  I felt alone, sad, IMG_2670didn’t know what to do, how to feel, and was very choked up.  One thing I had to realize is that this is a part of life, and even though I thought that Po should have lived a lot longer, God decided that, like Manny, it was his time to go.  My family attended the funeral before they came to Korea.  RIP Po-dee.  I love you forever and always ❤

The next day we played Hyundai, who I currently ranked 1st and swept.  It was a great game, and a great official first day for my family!  After that we headed to dinner at Craftworks and celebrated the New Year a LOT differently than we were used to.  I was just happy that I got to spend it with my favorite people… just missing Pops and Rilo!  Last week was the longest and hardest week of my being.  No off days, 3 games, family visit, touring Seoul, and absolutely no time to rest.  My body is feeling it now, but I am recovering slowly… AND WE HAVE AN OFF DAY TOMORROW! So, that helps just a tad.  We also played KGC and won in 5 sets, with the girls

being closely watched by the cameras in the crowd.  I introduced the fam to Korean food (in which the were not fans of) they learned about the “AYE” in practice that I still don’t understand, they had their “what? why do they do that? WTF?!?!?” moments, I got to have super great snuggle time with the sissies, mama levin’ , and  most importantly got some energy back from having them with me.  Miss them sooooo much, but like Gabs’ reminded me of ” I’m on the 100m dash line in the 400m dash at Jenkins MS track.”  Thanks Gabs, that comment is getting me thru!  Now back to the grind for 2-3 months.  Got to pepper with Ce and Gabs, ah how I’ve missed big people lol.  Miss you guys more than you know.

Our next game is on the 12th versus IBK in which we look for our first win against them.  I’m feeling it… @LizzieMcMahon better look out for the SPIDESSSSSS!

thats all for now, xoxox

 

 

wuts happenin’ in the 010

IMG_2549As I watched Nebraska win the National Title today, a flooding rush of thoughts went through my head. First and foremost, I am SO excited for Cecilia Hall & Alicia Ostrander, former roommates and teammates during my time at Nebraska. This is an amazing program, with a fantastic fanbase… They were very deserving of the championship this year.  I also wondered… if I would have stayed and redshirted at Nebraska, would I be celebrating this championship with them?  Weird thoughts that I just can’t seem to stop thinking about.  Regardless, very happy for the  Husker volleyball program!

IMG_2633This month has been filled with ups and downs.  I am currently dealing with a little sprained ankle, so getting back up on my horse is where I’m at.  At the beginning of the month we had a pretty good winning streak going, but now have been kind of in a lull.  We have one team that we struggle with every time we play them and I think it has start to become a mental thing.  Everyone on the team thinks this team is so much better than we are, and its REALLY hard trying to convince 20 girls who don’t speak English that they are not unbeatable.  However, I remember that the more times the team beats us, the higher the chances are that we beat them in the next few rounds. We have out last game in the third round tomorrow night against GS (Khat Bell’s team) at our home gym, then we IMG_2577have a little break for Christmas.  But, this isn’t a break without volleyball… we still have practice.  We get our schedule tomorrow, but I believe that we have practice on Christmas Eve and Christmas day, YIPPEE!!

Slowly learning that culture differences are very tough to deal with.  5 months in and I’m just now realizing how different the Korean way of thinking is from the USA way.  There are things that will be disagreed IMG_2520upon between you and your club, but you can’t let those little differences and disputes get in the way of the rest of the season.  I have had plenty disagreements, but you really just have to adapt, do what they say (unless if its completely absurd), stick to your guns and get through it.  The biggest thing is sticking to your guns though.  You may be playing in a different country, but that doesn’t mean that you need to completely change who you are and your morals and values to fit into the culture your in.   These clubs will use and abuse you, and if you don’t stick to the a good training regimen, understand when it is enough for your body, and take proper time for therapy and rest, you will come back in WAY worse shape than when you arrived.  Not saying that mine has, but the training is definitely different here, its WAY more than I’m used to. Thats when the sticking to your guns part comes in.  You know your body better than anyone else does and if you don’t take care of it, who will?  Just some food for thought all of you NCAA’ers getting ready to play overseas.

IMG_2613Mom, Ce & Gabs arrive soon, and the timing couldn’t be more perfect.  They will arrive two days after Christmas, just in time for New Years and Holiday time with the fam!  Christmas is just a mere five days away and as badly as I wish I could be spending it with my family, I will be spending it with my other family… the “MCMAHONES.” The Korean’s still have yet to figure out the correct pronunciation of Liz’s last name.  Like I said before I think I have the usual practice twice on Christmas Eve, but I am going to try and attend some sort of English Church service over here, that is … if I can find one.  I had mentioned before that there is a Christmas Day All Star game, but apparently Liz & I weren’t good enough to make the cut (hehe), so with little complaints, we will be stuffing our faces with American Style Christmas Dinner.  “PRAISE THE LORDT!” as Tyler Perry/ my fam would say.

I started a countdown.  I know thats a terrible, horrible, no good idea… but I needed to.  All that is on my mind is summer, traveling and seeing my people! I have 102 days until my flight is set to come home from Korea.  That means that we would have made it to playoffs and the Championship and probably would have traveled somewhere as a team to celebrate our winnings! Really hoping for the best.  Currently we are in Third place, 4 points below IBK, and four points above Hipass.  In a good spot going into Christmas break, hoping tomorrow will cap it off!  After we successfully finish the season, I have my sights set on getting home.  I thought I wanted to travel and do all of this stuff over here, but I think when I’m finished here I will be ready to get home and see everyone!  For a few weeks… then when I get bored, travel and go somewhere warm! Decided to spend a month of my summer in California, so all of you people who will be out there, I will see you in July in CALICALIIIII.

Mentionable’s from the last two weeks:

  1.  Took a Macaron Baking Class with Minju.  Absolute success.  And super surprising how they can sell them from $2-3 a pop!  The ingredients are only about $0.50 worth.
  2. Attempted making Christmas cookies and brownies in the kitchen at our complex.  FAIL.  I charred the brownies and the cookies were much less than a success.  Don’t worry boys, I’m actually a really good cook. Just not in Korea.
  3. Chopped and dyed my hair. I’m now BLEACH blonde in Korea.  I fit in very nicely.  IMG_2614
  4. Disappointingly watched the NCAA selection show, hoping for CU to be picked, but they weren’t.  Such a RIP NCAA!!
  5. A teammate sprained her ankle and got to witness the most intense ankle sprain reaction in the world.  Complete with covering her with a mask and taking her out in the stretcher and all.  Luckily she is okay and back out on the court now.  The mask must’ve helped.
  6. Sprained my own ankle….. FML.
  7. Got to ride in a Mini Cooper.  Those things are cute, but way too tiny. I would not advise one for someone over 5’2″.
  8. Had toppoki (Korean Mac n’ Nasty) for the 992479234827th time.  NOM NOM ….
  9. Watched more cheesy Lifetime/ Netflix Christmas movies than I can count.
  10. Actually getting tired of Christmas music.  Been listening to it since November 16th.
  11. Visited Miss Khat Bell & had some good American time at our favorite place… BeerKing.  Complete with fried chicken, pizza & all thats healthy apparently. IMG_2620
  12. Successfully finished all my Christmas shopping by the first week of December.

Wine nights have turned into regular occasions.  The weather is slowly but surely getting colder.  Volleyball is always on my brain.  My body is getting very tired, but we have another 3 months before I’m outta here, so I gotta saddle up and figure out how to power through. Trying new things like singing and dancing. It’s always a party of one, but trying to get cultured peeps, don’t judge.  Wow, that just sounded like a terrible sob story.  It’s really not that bad, just very anxious to get home:)  But for now, goodnight Korea.

xoxoxoxox to my peeps back home &&&& CECE GABS AND MOM JUST GET HERE ALREADY k thanks bye

 

 

Does Korea even celebrate Christmas?

The answer to this is YES.  However, it is a very different version of Christmas that what we Americans are used to.  A couple of my teammates have asked me in the past few days “Single Christmas? Single Christmas?” And I have been utterly confused.  Why does it matter if I am single for Christmas?  Well its a BIG deal over here whether you are single or in a relationship because Christmas here is celebrated more like the American Holiday, Valentine’s Day.  So if you are Korean and you have a boyfriend or girlfriend during the Christmas holiday, it will be spent with your significant other, not with your family.  And if you don’t have a boyfriend the Korean myth is that you will be forever alone. Haha, only kidding!  Currently searching for a last minute boyfriend to fill the void  this Korean Christmas… any takers? Kidding again, I’m taken… by VOLLEYBALL. YAY.

Another difference in their celebration is it really is a celebration!  People are out and about, at theme parks, at parades, restaurants, bars, clubs on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  A friend I met over here is a DJ in one of the biggest clubs in Itaewon.  He said that on Christmas Eve all of the clubs and bars will be packed, so he will make sure to save me a table. Now that makes me seem like I party a lot, and I wish I could say that I have, but that would be a lie.  The good ol’ days of spending weekends in Seoul is long gone.  Even though I am in a new culture, I am going to try and stick with the norm of Christmas at home.  The only thing missing will be the fam.   All churches have a service on both days, but since Korea is only 30% Christian, you can definitely say that the focus of Christmas is not on Jesus’ Birth.  I am not saying this is a bad thing, just VERY different from what I am used to.   Since I am Christian and I am from America I will most definitely be attending church  Christmas Eve to celebrate the birth of Jesus, our Savior.IMG_2517

This year has been very eye opening for me in a number of different ways, but for one it has definitely given me the opportunity to get closer with God.  I have been reading a lot of the Bible, watching Flatirons re-runs and trying to make adjustments in my life that will honor the Lord.  In doing all of this I have also made a realization that after volleyball, I want to do something in Ministry.  I always want to be tied to sports, because that has been my life for so long, but more importantly I want to give all of the Glory to God by being one of his disciples. After all that God has blessed me with in my life,  I want to give it all back in the church.  After some serious pondering, I think I may have found my calling.   A lot of this thinking has been going on about life after volleyball, summer plans (always on my mind), and just about my general well being.  Being this far away from home and all of my friends, family and English speaking people in general has allowed me to get lost in thought.  I love it. But, USA, you alwaysss on my mind.

I have really been enjoying myself over here lately.  Dad left a couple weeks ago, and I thought I would be sad for a while about his departure and not having anyone to hang out with, but I have had time to catch up on my favorite TV show, Sex & the City, almost finished a book (4 months later, haha), started to take care of my body better as far as rehab and therapy go, and been playing some good volleyball with my Spider girls.  I really couldn’t ask for more this Holiday season.  Except maybe for my mom and sisters to stay a little bit longer on their visit, in a few weeks…  nonetheless, I am STOKED  to see them and ladies and gents, I only have 21 days left!! Christmas Day activities include the All-Star game and attempting to find an American Christmas dinner with turkey, stuffing, the whole shebang!  I am SO SO SO excited for Christmas Day because I will be reunited with my other American’s over here.  It’s been WAY too long and I can’t wait to catch up with them and have a little fun playing on the same team with them!

The sun finally came out today and I am thrilled about that because I feel like its been a few weeks since I’ve see it.  We had our first big snow last week.  It DUMPED on us!  But two days later it all melted.  Starting to seem a little like bipolar Colorado weather over here.

We are in Round 3 of 6 rounds of games, currently. The Pink Spiders are 8-3 on the season  and we have 19 games left in regular season.  Seeing development & growth each and every day in practice and in games.  So happy to be where I’m at! Realizing that I only have 3.5-4 months left here, going to enjoy each and every minute of my time left in Korea.

CAUSE IM STILL IN LOVE WITH THE KOKO (well some parts of it)  🙂

PEACE LOVE & BLESSINGS PEEPS XOXOXOXOXOXO

 

Thankful

Cliche, yes I know.. but tomorrow is November 26th in Korea. So I thought I would get everyone in the Thanksgiving mood:)  I will get to celebrate Thanksgiving twice, along with every holiday I am missing at home due to the time change. I haven’t figured out if this is a good thing or bad thing yet, haha!   I am SOOOOO very thankful to be where I am in life.  I am

thankful that God blessed me with two legs, two arms and a functional, healthy body that has allowed me to get this far in the game. I am thankful for my support system and lifeline, my 5 family members and extended family that are my everything.  I am thankful for the roof above my head because now that the temperatures are really dropping over here, I would be sure to freeze to death, without it. I am thankful for the food that is on my table everyday (korean or not, hehe).   I am thankful that I have a healthy family, great friends and love all around me.  The list goes on and on, but these top the list to name a few. Thank you God for blessing me far to much.

Tomorrow is also my little sister, Riley’s, 13th birthday & also my KSH_6315_흥국_테일러_김수지translator, Minju’s 30th birthday! Three major holidays all in one day!!! And to top it off, we have a game too:) Our schedule is going to look a little something like this- morning practice, lunch, game, CELEBRATE MINJU’s BIRTHDAY POST WIN, go to sleep, wake up & celebrate American Thanksgiving complete with a Turkey dinner and an off day!  Well that’s the plan for now, hopefully we can come out hangin’ and bangin’ so we can have a nice couple of days, here.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY RILO & MINJUROO!

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It has been quite some time since I last posted, and  its not because I don’t miss you all.  Because that is a constant.  It’s honestly because I haven’t had anything new to talk about besides the same ol’ practice and game schedule.  But, for the last 9 days, I have been lucky enough to have my Papa Bear come and visit me.  It was a SUPER awesome trip! He arrived home this morning.  I miss him a lot already, but my sisters and mama are coming in exactly a month from tomorrow!  So I definitely have something to look forward to and prepare for.  Dad showed up a couple weeks ago and we had nothing but fun.  On his first day here, it was late, but I took him to KSH_6211_흥국_환호Cafe Street and we had some Italian food to start off the trip.  That definitely started things off on the right note!  Food was spectacular, and dad already got to see a little bit of what was going on, on my side of the world.  We had practice the next couple of days and he got to tour around my facility and we took some mini trips to Starbucks and a little shopping area near me during my breaks.  Then he got to see

us play Khat Bell’s team, GS, we didn’t do as well as we hoped, but the next day we got to shake it off and spend the whole day in Seoul touring.  Pops and I went to Myeongdong to shop, Itaewon for dinner and we saw the new James Bond movie Spectre… definitely a must see! The trip seemed like it went by with the blink of an eye because of how much traveling around Korea we were doing.  When we got back from Seoul, we had another couple days of practice then we traveled to Incheon where we IMG_6947played KGC at our home gym, Hayley Spellman’s team and did very well!  Then it was time for dad to head home.  I am so glad that he was able to come over and see me play in real life instead of on TV at 1 and 2 am!  He was too:) I love having people come visit because it truly is such a culture shock.  Things are done so  differently here, and dad can attest to that.  Next up, Ce, Gabs & Mama!  I wish Riley could come over to see as well, but she is in school and very busy with club volleyball.

I now not only have one room at the “compound” as my dad calls it, but two.  The company was kind enough to set me up with a makeshift living room in the room right next to mine.  I am so happy with it too because it gives me more room to store my stuff and just to spread out and relax.  I have made that room the living/rehab room and my other room just a bed room.  Also– dad’s specialty is decorating for Holidays, and Christmas he always goes all out, so we set up a Christmas tree, bought Christmas wreaths, lights, the whole shebang and set them up in both rooms.  However, my teammates think the lights in my window are “silly”.  Well, you know what Korean’s…. you’re silly.  I also talked some of my teammates into having a baking/Christmas craft making party this week.  They agreed… but none of them know how to cook or bake, so I’ll be giving some cooking lessons as well.

Tomorrow is our last second round game! I am sooooo excited!! We are now 6-3.  Not a bad record, but I think that if we keep growing and meshing as a team, we will really like our results at the end.  I am very
impressed with my growth and hope that it continues to build as my stay goes on.  Dad reminded me that I only have four months left.  THAT’S CRAZY.  Where did the time go?  I remember four short months ago, I was nervous as hell getting off of that plane, unsure of what this experience was going to be like.  Well, the daily aches and pains, remind me of how thankful I am to be feeling those pains.  Some people go their entire lives wishing that they could be experiencing what I am experiencing.  Wishing that they could be living abroad, playing sports beyond college, or high school for that matter.  I am EXTREMELY THANKFUL this Thanksgiving.  And although I will not get to be with my family to share it, I will get to share it with my new family full of Pink Spiders.

Also– I created a FAN page on Facebook for all of my peeps at home that wanna see Pink Spider Action! I put the link to some of my games and will routinely keep that updated with good KoKo stuff! Click this link Taylor Simpson, and it will take you directly to my fan page.

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Happy Thanksgiving USA! While you are eating a fancy Turkey dinner, I will be eating Korean FFISSSHHHHH HEADSSSS YUMMMMM NOMNONOM  Gobble, Gobble..