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 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

May 24, 2012


It's 5:30 in the morning here in Bac Ninh, Vietnam. The rest of my teammates are sleeping {I should have taken another sleeping pill last night to help get my body into rhythm}.

But, my sleep loss is your gain!

This is my first time blogging away from the comfort of my computer, so after some help from my mom {technology will never cease to amaze me} I should be able to keep you updated from the lobby of our hotel.

It's time for breakfast, but now that I'm up and running, I can't wait to tell you all my stories!

Location:Ngô Gia Tự,Bac Ninh,Vietnam