Dorothy couldn't have said it better – there’s no place like home. I didn't click my shoes, but 2 plane rides later I was home. It was great to be back on the West Coast for the holidays and catch up with the ones I hold closest to my heart. In a previous post I wrote about how I missed the little things while being away; I now know I will never take them for granted. My break allowed me to cherish these little things and strengthen already strong relationships. It's funny, when you are gone for a long time you find out who your real friends are and the people that are most important in your life. I'm lucky to be surrounded by a lot of great people.
Stumbling off the plane, jet lagged and tired as heck only to find out it was 4:30 pm, I was unsure of what do. Sleep and be out of sync for a couple of days, or rough it out until 9 pm and try to get my internal time clock on track. Since I was excited to see my family I decided on the latter and grabbed some coffee at Starbucks, (Starbucks - yay!) caffeinating myself enough that I could hold the conversation without nodding off. It was great to be able to hang out with my parents and be in their company. They are wonderful people who have been so supportive throughout my athletic career. I love them! Of course the two of them wanted to hear anything and everything about my first 3 months, so it became a one sided conversation for the better part of an hour. With my voice becoming raspy and my stomach rumbling I knew exactly what I wanted to eat - Japanese food! I had been craving chicken teriyaki and California Rolls like it was nobodies business for the past 4 weeks. After my hunger was satisfied, it was time to go home. Home sweet home. As I walked in I paused to appreciate how much I missed the comfort of the house I grew up in. My mom outdid herself this year and the Christmas decorations were gorgeous. After a quick walk around the house to enjoy each room, I went straight to bed. What a luxury - sleeping in a Queen rather than a twin...
The next couple of days allowed me to hang out with my parents and grandparents, catch up with old friends, joke around with my brother and become a movie buff. While home I was able to catch National Treasure 2, Atonement (great movie, go see it), I am Legend and Juno (another great movie, see that one too!) After finishing up some last minute Christmas shopping and buying tons of groceries to bring back to Finland, (I needed my Shreddies and peanut butter, ok?!) I felt I had completed most of my errands before I had to fly back on the 1st.
On the 21st Kyle (my bro), our friend Elliot and I decided to head down to Seattle for the night and catch the UW game vs. Purdue. After limited success at the Marysville outlets, we reached Seattle and shopped around the U Bookstore, grabbing dinner on the Ave. By that time it was time to head towards Hec Ed. I didn't think to prepare myself for what it would be like walking into the arena - especially as just a fan. It was crazy as I was overwhelmed with a lot of different emotions. I missed this place - a lot. This is where I played basketball for 4 years, where I experienced exciting wins and tough losses. It was the same place where I worked my butt off everyday, sweating and bleeding purple and gold. UW was where I met my best friends and developed relationships with a lot of great people. Sitting on the padded purple arena chairs, I realized how much I missed college and everything it gave me. I was naive to think I could just walk in and cheer on the girls with no problem. During the game I reminisced of what once was. A couple of times I almost ran on the court after a big shot or great rebound. I wanted to be on the court taking part in the win. Watching on the sidelines was a tough experience, but a good one; it was time to move on. After a back and forth battle, the Huskies pulled out a one point win at the buzzer. The last 5 minutes were exciting and it was great to see the ladies pull out the 'W'. I caught up with the girls, some friends and fans during the game, while also managing to chat a bit with Steve and Elise during pre-game. I love UW. I miss UW.
Following the game, Kyle, Elliot and I went over to my friend Kara's place where we met up with a bunch of people I had missed most. It was great to see everyone and we all picked up right where we left off. Kyle and Elliot got along right away with the guys and gals, making the night that much better. Later that evening we hailed a few taxis and all headed downtown to spend the rest of the night at Twist, a trendy bar in Belltown. I enjoyed myself and was thankful to spend it with great people, great friends. The next morning Kyle, Elliot, Kat and myself enjoyed breakfast at Beth's Cafe by Greenlake, then bid farewell. Time to go back to Vancouver! A memorable trip in less than 24 hours.The next couple of days were great, including a neighborhood party on Christmas Eve with appetizers galore, wine aplenty and a competitive game of Trivial Pursuit to close out the night. Smiles were contagious and laughter drowned out the Christmas music. It was good to be home! Christmas day was awesome and the best part was spending it with my family. We enjoyed each others company and spent the whole day together, something we don't get to do a lot of now because of our busy schedules. After a Christmas dinner to make anyone jealous, (nicely done Mom!) the 4 of us spent the night watching my gift from Kyle, the Planet Earth DVD box set (click on the link to watch the trailer). If you haven't seen it, fix that and check it out. It's breathtaking and very educational. The 4 of us were hooked and stayed up later than we should of. On the 27th the fam and I went out for the 'last supper,' as I would be spending the rest of my break in Seattle with friends. We dined at our favorite Greek Restaurant in Steveston and talked about my future i.e. getting a job after the season is over in Finland. Anyone want to hire me? I can start April 1st...
With my short time in Seattle, I wanted to get the most out of it and did just that, seeing almost everyone I had planned to. Dessert with the McDonalds, grabbing drinks at the Kangaroo & Kiwi with Jason, singing in the car and talking about guys with Kara, shopping, eating Mexican, catching a movie and running Greenlake with Amy, beers with Bryce, working out with Lindsey, coffee with Tori, enjoying the sun with Ado, going to a UW men's game with Jill, watching the Seahawks game while eating homemade fried chicken and waffles with the guys in the Winona house and enjoying the company of Keeler, Kayla, Amy and Ado at the Ram. Courtney and I never found time to connect since she's pretty much a celeb in the state of WA, however, we made up for it on the phone - with my 'pay as you go' running out...twice! It was great to see everyone but it started to make me sad as I had to leave them all soon...
I spent New Years Eve at a Black & White themed party our two friends threw at their apartment on Queen Anne (nicely done Eric and Andrew!) I don't think anyone had a better view of the Space Needle than us. It was awesome. With a perfect view of the fireworks and great company, you couldn't ask for a better way to ring in 2008. After bringing in the New Year with style and celebrating a bit more it was back to Kara's place to catch some shuteye. Up at 9 am and on the road back to Vancouver by 9:30, I had to get home so I could catch my 4:30 pm flight out of Vancouver to Finland. As I said goodbye to my parents and stepped on the plane, I smiled and thought "There's no place like home."
Click play on the video above to see the view of the Space Needle from Andrew's deck.
If you would like to see more pictures of my time at home, click here.