Already Winter in Croatia

WElllllll there is so much to say….I turned 23. Eryk was here. My team is the fall champion of our league. It snowed a lot. I became an author. Christmas. Lots of stuff!! It has been a bittersweet last week or two…Busy, Fun, Cold, Unexpected, Happy.
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Eryk came about a month ago and we got to experience Osijek together. He found a team in Ireland last week and took off for Dublin to play only 3 days after he got the phone call! He started off his European career explosively with 30 pts and a show for the crowd I’m sure. He played his first game while I played my last game of the fall. It was good to have him here while it lasted and we got to do a lot of exploring before he left. Im just so happy that he got going with his career and it’s exciting for both of us to be doing what we have set out to do.

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So I had another long weekend on the road. Three trips to the Croatian coast in the last 2 weeks made me remember why i love the sun and summer and everything beachy. Returning to Osijek was torture after a glimpse of the sea and summer lifestyles. We played in Split on the coast and it was almost a 3 day trip. Drove down Sat. Hung out and saw the city Sun. Played Sun. nite and then drove back arriving home 6am Monday. It was the best game we’ve played all season. I am starting as a middle blocker and have been a very strong server- i go on point runs and this game I served an 8 point streak and ended 2 sets on my serve and blocked for match point. We won 3-1. So it’s nice to be an integral part of the team even if I am not playing my natural position. WE celebrated our win by eating with the team we beat. Havent done anything like that with a team we beat since we played Liberty and we prayed with them after the game and they said the better team won. The celebration got more interesting when the president of our club bought beers for the bus ride home and our coach got tipsy and kept saying the new words he learned…every 5 minutes it was “Crystal….Crystal….Merry Christmas Ho Ho Ho” or “C’mon” or “Are you Ready”. Someone taught him new English phrases so he wore them out on the long ride home and never got sick of hearing his own voice. We start up games again in Feb. and have a little break while my coaches takes the national team to the Olympic trials.

Marina's House
Marina\’s House
Jasmina & Denis
Jasmina & Denis

I slept most of Xmas eve since we drove all nite then went to my friend Maja & Vedran’s house. As I walked there it started to snow! We opened presents at midnight and had lots of sweets. Christmas day I went to my team mate Marina’s house for lunch and then in the evening to Denis Jasmina & Stela’s (the family who lived in Chico and the Bay and run the SF coffee shop). I wrote my article for next Sunday all about Christmas so if you read the article, ya know all the details.
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My article is in the regional newspaper for the Slavonija region. My column is in the Sunday newspaper and I have written 3 articles so far. They said I can write about whatever I want for however long as I want. It’s pretty wide open and it gives me something to do. As my friend said it’s cool that I am ” able to just be real and kind of a bare a part of my soul without any care to what people will think or how they’ll respond.” It is cool writing for people who dont know me and to actually be writing for pleasure not a grade!

Well, I hope everyone’s Christmas was warm and full of food and family. Miss you all!

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