When I was in elementary school, along with a majority of my peers, I dreamed of becoming a professional athlete. At the time, I wanted to be a softball player and turn myself into a left handed pitcher that looked exactly like Cat Osterman, but I was right handed and I never made it as a softball player (I have the focus of a middle school kid, and that makes it hard to pay attention to flyballs in the outfield). I also dreamed of being a CSI investigator (I told all of my college recruiters this as they frantically looked up forensic programs for me to look into at their university, only to find out I did not become anything close to this) , a musician (preferably Beyonce or an electric violinist in the performing group Barrage), a cancer researcher, and a fashion designer (I seriously considered applying to the art school at Michigan with no art background whatsoever. My sister also wants me to note that I am currently wearing yoga pants, a sweatshirt made from a quilt, and rocking the Birks with socks). It is still honestly hilarious to me that I am becoming a professional volleyball player because it wasn’t even at the top of my list of dream careers.
Had you asked me two years ago, I would have told you being a professional athlete was the last thing I wanted to be because I thought pro athletes were the dumb ones who couldn’t get a job and were unaware of the real world working lifestyle. However, my perspective changed after watching (yes, this is the real truth) Eat, Pray, Love, when Julia Roberts is done with her basic, monotonous life and just leaves America behind to go travel the world alone, find herself, forget what everyone thinks (especially guys, as she completely inhales all the pizza from Italy disregarding the calories with the amazing quote: “In all of the times you have undressed in front of a gentleman, has he ever asked you to leave? …No, because he doesn’t care! He has won the lottery!”), and do what makes her happy.
So, in a few days I am headed to Hameenlinna, Finland to play volleyball as my real job. (I have to put real because some people, aka my banker, are confused and I had to explain that yes, professional volleyball is a REAL thing, but I do understand it’s hard to believe). I don’t want to bore you with all of the questions I asked my agent about moving there, but I will reveal to you the unasked questions that have been roaming around in my head for a couple weeks now…
What is this sauna party I am invited to? Will I have to get naked the first day I am there and get in a sauna to sweat my ass off while simultaneously trying to make new friends? If I cuss at my coach, but do so smiling, will he know what I am saying? Honestly, my club manager and coaches have been awesome and set up someone to pick me up from the airport. What will Marina and I talk about on the hour drive from Helsinki to Hameenlinna? Wait, will we even talk? Oh my gosh.. What if we sit in a car for an hour in complete silence and smiles? What percentage of Finnish people are brunette? How much is a beer? How do you say beer in Finnish? Do women shave in Finland? A friend recently reminded me that Europeans eat much smaller portion sizes, so will I be able to eat less or will I end up hoarding food in secret spots, similar to fat camp, so they don’t judge my American-ness? Can I substitute broken spanish for Finnish? Please let there be Mexican food, actually please let there be Chipotle? And finally, just a minor concern… where am I living?
With all of this being said, I am very excited to head to Finland to start a new, crazy adventure. I am scared at times, but I have amazing support (mostly via Skype) that will be hard to leave, but who will continue to be there for me through it all. I am looking forward to sharing all of these crazy, hilarious experiences with you! (Well, at least you, mom)