June 01, 2012

The ankle...

Day Four

Game day! It was time to play Australia. This is a huge deal for New Zealand. It doesn't matter if it's an international volleyball match, game of chess, rock paper scissors...the Kiwis will always get fired up for any kind of competition against the Aussies.
Had a good training in the morning.

More great food.

I got to watch online as Ryan and the Jets took on Auckland in the NBL Final Four. It was hard to watch from so far away. Not only because they lost, but because all I wanted to do was give Ryan a huge bear hug and tell him how proud I am of all his hard work.

This was our welcome to the stadium. Our match vs Australia was the first of the tournament and would kick off the competition.

We're hoping to snag a few of these posters to take home. They are hung all over town.

Making our way to the...

It was so exciting playing in a big match like this again. Took me right back to my days at Pepperdine. {Wow, that sounds like a mature person thing to say. I am the nana of the team, so I guess if the grey wig fits.}

We had a great first game, beating the Aussie girls 25-17. About half way through the second set, this happened...

I was hitting a quick and I landed on their middle blocker's foot and went down. It was already pretty swollen by the time I got to the bench.

After our match {we won in three, 25-17 28-26 25-20} was the opening ceremony. I tried to power through standing on one foot, but ended up sitting through most of it.

Day Five

The next morning, the ankle looked like this...

...and we decided it was time for a trip to the hospital.

The closest to our hotel is an army hospital. I was truly blessed that not only our translator, Tang, but her mom and husband all came with us. When we first arrived, the X-ray technician was less than enthusiastic. We were the only people in this part of the hospital, and the gentleman nonchalantly straightened chairs and stacked paperwork as he was clearly telling our translator that he would not be seeing us.

After quite a bit of heated Vietnamese, we were finally told that without some kind of referral paperwork, I would not be seen. Tang's husband, Sau, left the building on his phone. Not seven minutes later he came back with a single piece of paper. The tech looked at it and immediately ushered us in.

This was the X-ray room. I would have taken a picture inside, but didn't want to push my luck. The table and equipment looked like something out of an old Frankenstein movie. No lead aprons in sight.

That little bit of red in the bottom left corner is the plastic bag wrapped around my foot to keep it from touching the dirty dirty floors.

Once the X-rays were developed {?}, the army doctor came to look them over. Nothing broken, sleep with your foot elevated, now get out.

We had to leave the hospital grounds to get a crutch. Just across the street were all the shops with various medical paraphernalia. That's Tang and Sau picking a crutch for me.

And this is Pam, president of Volleyball New Zealand, checking to see if it would be tall enough. She's a good five to six inches shorter than me, so my guess is no.

That afternoon was going to be our first excursion out of the hotel to the local shops here in Bac Ninh. I was hurting, but also didn't travel all this way to lay in bed. Crutch in tow, I hobbled through a few small clothing and shoe shops. Hindsight? I should've stayed in bed.

Day Six

Here comes the bruising.

I watched from the bench as we took a beating from the host team.

Day Seven

We took the morning to make the hour bus ride for some more shopping and sightseeing in Hanoi.

I got pushed in a wheel chair through the Hô Chi Minh museum.

One of my favorite parts of being here has been reading the English translations on large signs. "Residence for giving luggages of passengers in Museum Hô Chi Minh."

Day Eight

Finally able to fit back into my shoe!! I was still not training at this point, but I put on an ankle brace and walked a bit during practice.

That evening was our final match of pool play. Winning this would put us into the top four. So I strapped the ankle myself. {We did not travel with a physio. Good thing I watched John, our trainer at Pepperdine, do it hundreds of times.}

We lost in four. I played the last game and a half, contributing more emotionally than physically.

Post game. The pain and swelling I'm used to. But the bruising has been a complete surprise to me.

~ Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone ~

May 29, 2012

Hit the ground running.

Day One

There was no rest for these weary travelers after our first steps in Vietnam.

As soon as we arrived at the Phoenix International Hotel in Bac Ninh, we were asked to drop our bags, get ready for training, and head straight back to the lobby ready to eat. And eat we did. Everything is served family style, and almost everything is delicious.

You know I miss my girls and Ryan like crazy, but having every meal prepared and served and cleaned up after by someone else is divine.

After lunch, we hopped on our bus en route to the stadium where all of our trainings and games are held.

Need a little motivation during practice? Well here it is...a larger than life posterized Ho Chi Minh, going hard at those weights. The caption reads, "I exercise everyday."

My goodness is it hot. And muggy. And sweaty. And gross. But I'll definitely take that over the alternative. {The current temperature in Palmerston North is 33*F...that's 1*C. No thank you.}

Day Two

More training. More eating. More sweating.

Day Three

After another training, we played in a practice match against one of the local teams. Talk about getting the jitters out, it was pretty ugly. Thank goodness though, we worked out a lot of kinks so we would be ready to take on Australia the next day!

That evening, the sponsors threw a welcome party for all the teams. We had such a blast getting ready as a team.

That's my 'buddy' and roommate, Margy {and Eseta and Debbie in the background}. We all picked buddies at our training camp back at the beginning of May...a fast track activity for getting to know you, take care of each other, make sure everyone is on the bus.

Side note: Remember My Buddy? Every time we talk about our buddies, I start singing the song in my head, "My buddy, my buddy...wherever I go, he's gonna go...my buddy and me!" 80's commercial? Super cheesy? Spawned a girl version called Kid Sister? Google it. Must have been American release only, because I got the funniest looks when I asked my teammates if they remembered too.

The party was fun. We were formally welcomed to Vietnam and the tournament, introduced to the sponsors and rice wine {it was so strong, just a sip gave me goosebumps}. The was our first opportunity to taste the warm beer. It was actually delicious once I took a hint from one of the sponsors and put a few pieces of ice in it. I can hear Ryan saying, "Alcohol abuse!!"

When in Rome.

HAI!!! {at least that's what I think they were yelling every time one of the men from the sponsor's table came to us to fill and raise the rice wine shot glasses!}

~ Posted using BlogPress from my iPad ~

Location:Bac Ninh,Vietnam

May 27, 2012

Our journey.

Leaving Ryan and the girls was rough. I thought I had it all under control at the airport. Big hugs and kisses and barely a tear from me as I waved goodbye and walked out to the plane. Feeling pretty proud of myself for not breaking down, I turned around one last time to wave from the top of the stairs.

I got about halfway up the aisle before the flood gates opened. As I sat in my seat, the poor gentleman next to me had no idea what to do. It was clear he wanted to say or do something, but what can you say to the blubbering girl next to you? Knowing one tissue just wouldn't do, the flight attendant brought me the box.

As we boarded our midnight flight from Auckland to Kuala Lumpur, I called Ryan to say goodbye...again...and cry...again. Then I got this text...

...and I listened. No more tears.

Flying Malaysia airlines was an...ahem...experience. I believe the cool word would be "retro".

Despite the throw back video, the flight was fine. It wasn't full, so we had lots of room to stretch our volleyball length legs.

And the sunrise was stunning.

Kuala Lumpur was a beautiful airport. We had some time there to stretch our legs, relax at a cafe, and start getting to know each other.

Oh, and pick up some snacks.

Side note: Reese fully recognizes this bright orange package now and says, "That's me! That's Reesie chocolate!" Don't worry, Baby Girl, Mommy grabbed lots for herself you!

Vietnam's Hanoi airport was definitely more utility than beauty. I found it strange that this was probably the first airport I can remember coming into that didn't have a large "WELCOME TO OUR BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY! WE'RE SO GLAD YOUR MONEY'S YOU'RE HERE!" sign. This is about all the welcome we received...

...just in case we were interested in marketing our brand in a Vietnamese airport.

After an hour long drive on a bus, some near misses with bikes, scooters, and pedestrians {the traffic laws here are really just suggestions}, we arrived at our hotel safe and sound.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad