Dear home, today I grew up, then down, then sang a song.

This blog is dedicated to a few of the people that I miss and think about when I am gone from home.

Home in Italy

1/25/12

Patrick,

Yesterday I had a moment where I could feel myself growing up just a little bit. It was a simple thing, really, but totally awesome. I am no longer afraid to drive the team van. How liberating to realize that I felt comfortable driving down a steep alpine valley and then navigating myself through a foreign Italian city. I was a little worried about parking because I haven’t parallel parked since my drivers test when I was 16, but it all worked out and I found a place I could pull in. No problem! Later, rallying up the mountain valley back to Antholz was the cherry on top.

I needed an adventure to take my mind off of being a little homesick. I wasn’t homesick for my home in Saranac Lake, but more for a person. This weekend after the world cup relay, I got to leave and go on a quasi-Italian vacation with Patrick. It was perfect.  He was coaching in the next valley over and I had a week off between world-cups. So he came to watch the races and then we skedaddled.

The Antholz world cup was again interesting for me, being so close to putting it all together but still so far. Feeling good racing, loving the venue and the place, digging the course and then whammy! I was in complete confusion (again) when missing lots of targets. Where did they go? Good question and definitely not in the black. I wanted so much for everything to fall in place so I could be totally happy and it didn’t. I got a text from my dad texted me that pretty much summed it up, “’Heartburn hotel. Loved watching the skiing, but that was about it. You two have a tough job so enjoy consoling each other, since as we learned in “Gone with the Wind” there is always tomorrow”. He was referring to the fact that I had two penalties in a relay (ouch) but that at least Patrick was around to give me a hug. It was such a treat to have the feeling that I was home even though I am not, because the person who is my home was there for me.

Italian Vacation

After Patrick and I parted ways again, the familiar ache of homesickness crept back in and I needed some distraction. Typically, I decided that maybe some shopping would do the trick. It’s too bad that retail therapy actually does help a bit. But more than that, it was wandering around a new place and having the opportunity to check out old old Italian buildings from a town that was established in 901….And afterwards, I drove home and enjoyed it immensely. Bravo for freedom!!!!

1/26/12

Dear Stephanie,

Forget what I said in that last letter about growing up a bit. Today I completely regressed backwards an entire step as I had a grumpy, tired, meltdown of a tantrum. It makes me laugh quiet a lot to think about this now… but at the time I was feeling quite put out. It’s sad to say that as a 27 year old, I still need my naps. LUCKILY that is one of the perks of being an athlete. Whether I take them or not is up to me. Well, I should have taken a nap on this day. I was tired but I ignored it and went online instead to talk to one of my other best friends early in the morning her time. When I got back to my room, I fell asleep for a moment and was awakened on the totally wrong side of the bed.

Nothing was right. I was completely one-hundred percent in my own way and I couldn’t for the life of me get out of it. I felt like the interval workout the next day was confusing and “stupid”, I couldn’t understand why we were having an off week that consisted of many hours of distance training, I didn’t feel like doing strength, I didn’t want to go outside…. On and on. My roommate being the normal sane person she is told me that she couldn’t deal with me. I couldn’t deal with me. Once you go that far into being grumpy it is pretty hard to turn it around and you end up just going for broke and being even more ridiculous, all the while knowing that you are being totally silly. You might as well revel in your absurdity and really enjoy the drama of it all. I think the high note was when I finally got my act together to go and pout outside on a run and I gave my teammates permission to “Laugh behind my back at my awful, immature, and silly behavior”. It was meant to be funny and hopefully give me an in for coming back in a better mood… but it kind of backfired. I tried. Ha ha ha ha. I hope you can appreciate this kind of moment where you feel so awful and embarrassed about your actions and you can’t take it back anymore. Plus, there is no escape when you live on the road and in a hotel. You have to own up to your own behavior. I guess everyone regresses once in a while. It’s pretty out of character for me to be this type of dramatic and therefore even more embarrassing. But what do you do? It happens sometimes. For most people, it is their families that get to witness your most awful and childish behavior. But after a long time on the road… your team becomes your family.

Well, I went outside and had a little cry (once again, for no real reason) and then called Patrick so that I could feel better. I really needed someone who I could go outside with and have a good complaining session with, in the same way you might call your best girlfriend if you were at home and had access to telephone service. With much patience and understanding of what it is like to live and work and just be with your teammates all of the time he told me to feed the elephant. I contemplated not coming back for dinner and hiding out in embarrassment, hoping everyone would get worried about me (once again using 10 year old logic) but knowing that I would just be thought of as idiotic. That approach was out.

So, I dried my tears and took a breath and laughed a bit to myself about myself. Then I went in and had a wonderful dinner extolling the tale of how a 27 can once in a while act like a 10 year old. In a situation like this, the only way I could deal with it is to acknowledge how awful I behaved and have a good laugh over it. No one minded much, and since I had been so completely absurd it just got to be funny.

1/27/12

Dear Julianne and Kristen,

Last evening I thought about you two a lot. I think you would have appreciated the ski I went on this evening. I have been hankering for a night ski for quite some time and I finally got out to do it. I love that feeling of freedom you have when you are skiing in the dark and your eyes adjust just enough to tell where you are. Everything feels faster, more exhilarating, and downhills are like flying. I have so many memories of our times skiing at Mt. Van Hovenburgh after it got dark, or at Dewey Mt. under the lights (of which there aren’t enough to light everything).  So many of my favorite skis have been at night. There is also such a peaceful stillness to the air that you just don’t get during the day.

I didn’t give myself the chance to enjoy the stillness of the night because I did something else I love to do to. I listened to music and sang out loud the entire time. I pity anyone that may have heard me huffing and puffing and trying to sing at the same time. It might have sounded like a dying whale. I’m not sure because I couldn’t hear myself and that is what really matters. I actually do think that while I was skiing across the lake near our hotel, that I spotted two people. I pretended that I didn’t see them. I even tried tap dancing to a song with my skis on. It seemed pretty awesome to me.

Arabian Ladies

I think it would have been a bit better if you guys were there to belt it out with me. At least then I wouldn’t have had headphones in and I could tell how I sounded…. So many times have we gone hiking or canoeing and spent the entire time singing to ourselves.  It’s one of my favorite things to do, but I just don’t have the guts to do it during the day when I know that people are around. So I save it for times like this, when only a few poor people have to hear the awfulness and I can just sing along in total blissful oblivion.

Annelies

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