April 19, 2013

10 Months Later

Where do you even begin after a 10 month hiatus?! I mean, I basically just skipped over writing about an entire season. I guess a quick catch up is in order.

Let's see....

I could tell you about the trip to the Croatian coast and surrounding islands. Perfectly blue waters along a rocky coastline. Reminded me a lot of the Greek islands.

Or about that jaunt over to gorgeous Venice. Sunset over the Rialto bridge was breathtaking!

I promised myself I'd make it to the Plitvice Lakes National Park and I did. Would have never imagined such a tropical looking place in Europe.

Oooo, how about the outdoor hockey game in a 2000 year old arena in Pula, Croatia? In the middle of a warm September weekend. Once in a life time opportunity!

Or you might like to hear about the north eastern Italian countryside and wine region. Who knew it even existed?!

Paris, anyone?! Yep, we finally made it to the City of Lights after 5 years in Europe. It was bigger and better than I imagined! 

But I think the most important 'trip' we took all year was the one where we loaded up all of our belongings and drove the 10 hour drive to Germany.

Yep, we are back in Germany. Where our European adventure first started.

To make an extremely long story short, I'll just say this...if things sound too good to be true, they probably are. The hubs getting a chance to play hockey in a big city, with a warm climate, with a ton of North American guys sounded too good from the start. We'd heard the team had, how shall I put this, 'issues' about paying guys on time - or at all - in the past. But, we knew guys on the team and were told that it wasn't as bad as it sounded.

They were right...it was way worse. And apparently hadn't been this bad ever before. Paychecks were weeks late, paid out in small, 'shut up for now' increments. And not deposited in a bank account like any other normal organization would do. Nope. You had to meet the GM in some weird location and were handed a wad of cash. No paystubs, no receipts, no telling where half that money ended up.

When the hubs got injured at the very beginning of the season, it only spelled more trouble. Not only did this mean that we had to worry about not getting our paychecks, but it also meant that he had to pay all of his hospital and doctor's bills out of pocket....sans any kind of insurance. Not cool.

Outside of hockey, the city and the girls from the team were ah-mah-zing. It was so great to be in a big city (over a million) and we had a really fun and special group there! But, I guess we weren't in Europe for me to solely make friends and party, now were we?! (Seriously, that was news to me).

So, when we had a chance to leave the team in November, we jumped at the chance to start the season over somewhere else. And who else took our pathetic butts in but Germany. God love ya, Deutschland! haha.

We've been here since November and are still trying to chug through this seemingly never ending season. Once again the hubs is in the playoffs and trying to make the most out of this bizarro trip around the world. The finals start tonight and we're hoping it will be a good series!! Cross your fingers for his team (or be German and press your thumb for luck).

It's definitely been an up and down year, that's for sure! And there's no telling what next year will bring. All I know is that we've been through it all and are somehow still ready for more.

As you can tell, blogging hasn't really been a priority of mine of late. And I don't expect it to be anytime soon. But, I couldn't just abandon TGN, my labor of love, without at least addressing the issue. This blog was something that I put so much effort into at one time. And I'm really glad that I had the experiences I did running it.

Our adventures in Europe may not be over, but I think I'm through chronically them through TexaGermaNadian. I'm not sure if I'll post in the future, but just in case I decide to pick it up again one day, consider this a 'goodbye for now' kind of deal.

Sincerely hope everyone has been doing great! I try to sneak a peak into ya'lls writings every now and then. I finally joined the Twitter machine. Find me at @LindsLeav. I don't tweet much (or, at all), but would love for you to find me so that I can find you and keep up with all the clever stuff you have going on.

And a quick note on all the happenings in the U.S. this week. Once again, after seeing all the good in people that emerges after such disastrous things happen, I'm so proud to call myself an American...in any country! Thoughts and well wishes are with everyone in Boston, West, Texas, and everywhere else back home.

Peace out Bloggyland. It's been real!

June 4, 2012

Is the month-long suspense killing you?!

Man, do I know how to hold suspense or what?! I tell ya'll that I have a secret to share and then wait long enough for no one to care any more and then, and only then, do I decide to reveal. :)

Meh, I kept remembering that there was 'something I was supposed to do today' (random Billy Madison reference…anyone? Don't blame ya, even the hubs as a movie-phile has a hard time getting that one. What can I say, I like classic, thought-provoking cinema…)

Drink five Daiquiris? (No, I didn't. It's a quote, nerds ;)) (source)

But I guess I never really got around to writing again. So, a good month has passed and I'm back at it. At least for today.

And now for the time to reveal where we are jetting off to next. It's officially official now. We are heading to a brand spankin' new country for next hockey season. Once again, our belongings are being shipped out and bound for another league and team.

Instead of going some place that's known for hockey, such as Germany or Finland, who lives, breathes and dies with hockey, we're going to a country that isn't particularly known for hockey. Or ice, really. (It does snow a bit). Or even really cold winters...although I'm sure for my Texan blood, it will be cold enough.

So where oh where are we headed in August??

Someplace with gorgeous islands, pristine national parks and lakes and a country that's become a popular hot spot for celebrity vacations.


Looks like SOMEONE wanted to hog all the coast! (source)

Yes, stop worrying they do have hockey there. The hubs isn't hanging up the skates to go live on an island and sell drinks served in coconut shells. Although, that sounds mighty tempting.

Do I need to say it again?

Croatia. Or, as they would say in Croatia, "Hrvatska"

Apparently you pronounce it like this: [xř̩ʋaːtskaː]  

Super clear now, right??? I'm pretty sure that's a mathematical equation, not the pronunciation of a country.

Their flag...in case you couldn't guess (source)

Talk about a complete 180 from Finland
. Which, speaking of the country, we will really, really miss. We loved it there, cold winter and dark days and all. Beautiful country, even better people and fun hockey. I really hope we get a chance to head back up there some day :)

So, as you can imagine my warm-weather loving self, I am pretty stoked about being back in a hotter climate. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure there will be colder days (we aren't living right on the coast, anyways). And maybe even some snow from time to time. But the sun should be around more and the fall and spring are bound to be gorgeous.

I want to go to there. (source)
Plus, this gives me an amazing chance to see a part of the world that I have wanted to see for sometime now. When I worked in Greece, the sailing company I worked for often went up to Croatia and sailed along the coast. Everyone who went absolutely loved it, so I am excited to see the Greek-ish islands there as well.

Now, for what you've all been waiting for. Want some random Croatian facts?? Of course you do! I haven't done a history lesson/fun facts session in a while, so now is the time to bust it back out.

Did ya know…

That there are over 1,000 islands off the coast of Croatia! The country strings along the Adriatic coast and is dotted with big and small islands the whole way down. Like I said, they look very Greek-ish in style, with a bit more tropical island feel mixed in. There is so much history among these islands and I can't wait to at least check some of them out during our stay there.

That Croatia is super close to Italy and Austria? I think when most people think of Croatia, they picture it being extremely east of most of Europe. You might be surprised to know that we'll only be about 3 (I lied) 4 hours from Venice and about the same from most eastern Austrian cities.


But, even though it is pretty westernized, Croatia was a part of Yugoslavia up until the early 1990s. It has been an independent country since the last declaration in October 1991.  Along with Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Slovenia, it was in the socialist republic until it became an independent country with the declaration of independence in October 1991. That was only a short twenty years ago. I think it will be very interesting to see what people my age had to go through when the  various wars broke out when the socialist republic began to break up.

And I like freaking people out and telling them I'm heading to Yugoslavia for a year, just to see their reaction. They have no idea.

That the necktie was invented in Croatia? Ever heard of the term 'Cravat' for a tie? (I hadn't until I got to Germany). Well, that derives from the name Croat, which is the official name for the people of Croatia.

I'm pretty sure I've used this picture a number of times before. Classic. (source)

And you better believe I have already worn out the phrase, "I invented the piano key necktie. I INVENTED IT!" Zoolander never gets old.

That Croatia is home to the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Plitvice Lakes National Park. You may not recognize the name, but the pictures might look familiar. Set among the karst in central-ish Croatia, the lakes drop into one another and create gorgeous water falls and pools at different heights. I cannot wait to see these in person, in both summer and winter!

I also want to go to there. Gorgeous!! (source)

Dalmatians get their name from the Dalmatia Coast in southern Croatia. The breed's roots trace back to the beautiful, island spotted region. Appropriate name for a dog covered in island-like spots.

And last, and certainly most random, did ya know that the White House was built out of stone from the Croatian island of Brac?? Yep, the residence of our Commander in Chief has materials gathered from the islands along the southern coast of Croatia. That's a long way to haul all that material, especially back in the day!

Well, there you have it. Random facts, where we're going next season, and hopefully a fun preview of what's to come. There hasn't been too many exciting things going on back at home this summer, which is kind of the way I like it. Hence the lack of blogging. But I can imagine that things are going to be pretty different down in Croatia (in a great way) so there will be lots to discuss once I get over there.

For now, we're still enjoying the summer. I'm heading up to Canada in about a week and will have about two months up there until we go back overseas. While winning the championship was pretty amazing last year, the longer than normal summer has been pretty nice too. One small advantage to being on a not-so-hot team, lol.

Looking forward to seeing what all is going on with you and your bloggyland life!

April 23, 2012

Greetings from...

Am I doing this?

Am I actually staging a comeback?

Can you stage a comeback and say that you're staging a comeback yourself?

No excuses, no "I'm sorry I didn't write", no nothing. Well, maybe an "I've missed ya'll!". Which is the real truth.

So, like a giant band-aid, let's rip off all the things I've missed writing about over the last month and a half.
Love this kid's face! (source)

1. We're back in Texas….and have been for over a month now. Yeah, a month. With the spring weather being absolutely perfect, do you blame me for taking a hiatus? I needed the sun after only 4 hours of it each day this past winter.

2. Speaking of Texas, I just spotted my first pair of Truck Nutz. Le sigh. I've missed ya, you nasty, nasty things. And, right after I saw the Truck Nutz, I saw a pair of something else truly….trash-tastic. Apparently these babies are going by the name, Fuzzy Danglers. I've blacked out the nips so that you folks at a work computer won't get into too much trouble.

See, you knew you could count on me coming back and showing a slightly inappropriate photo! (source)

Like a pair of dice, only fleshier, these nice swinging pair were hanging off the rear view mirror of a SUV at the gym. Needless to say, I didn't have my camera with me, or you know I would have gotten a shot of them. I'm thinking that there might need to be an updated Nad Watch 2012, but with these instead. Have ya'll ever seen anything like it before? If so, move cities and run for your life. Sheesh.

3. We're actually headed to the Big Apple this week. Getting to see the hubs' brother and then a quick stop by Canada to see the gramps. Really excited to head up there. Should be a great time! Any 'off the beaten path' suggestions for us in NYC? We did an ah-maz-ing all-day bike tour of the Burrow's last time we were there. And while it might be hard to top something that bizarre, we're game for just about anything. I'm all ears!

4. (Update, because I forgot-ed). I FINALLY got to see the Northern Lights!!! EEEEK! It was our last week in Finland, and the amazingly awesome Megan over at A Suitcase and Stilettos messaged me to say that a big storm was coming through and the Northern Lights were supposed to be great that night. She's in Norway and keeps an eye on these things. So the hubs and I drove out of the city to 'find' them. He about swerved off the highway as they Aurora came into focus and I screamed at the top of my lungs, "THERE THEY ARE!". It was pretty cool. Because of the full moon that night, they weren't as bright as they could have been. But still, they were visible and like nothing I had seen before. And, of course, I don't have a picture. Lost my camera somewhere between Helsinki and Houston in January. Not that the pics would have come out anyways. But for those of you that breeze through the blog (let's be honest, we all do that to some extent), I'll let you think the picture below was them :)

Not quite this spectacular, but nonetheless, this Texas girl was impressed! (source)
5. There may or may not be a new little hockey dude going at the top of the blog, hint, hint, wink, wink. (no, don't mistakenly congratulate me on being pregnant. I'm talking about a new league, a new team and a spankin' new country name jammed into the already over-crowded TGFN). Which I'm really excited for. You see, Finland was awesome. Seriously, if you ever have the slightest chance to visit Finland, I highly recommend doing so. The people are friendly, the country is beautiful and everything is just laid back and easy there. Which left me little to complain about, and felt considerably  less 'foreign' than Germany did at times (still love ya, Deutschland! You were so fun!).

I honestly felt like I just did this for Finland. Where has the time gone?! (source)
But, because it was so easy and North American-like in Finland, I had quite a bit less fuel to feed my bizarro blog fire. When things are 'normal', they often aren't too exciting to write about. But, there's a new country on the horizon. One that you probably don't know much about. And one that I think might be just the thing to kick start my writing back into action. Curious, aren't you?! Well, I'm going to make you sweat it out. (And if you already know, help me keep it a mini-secret, at least for now!)

Other than that, things have been going great here. Time is flying by, which it always does when we're back. But, we're really trying our best to make the most out of it. Seeing friends, traveling, doing lots in Houston and taking in every single second at home. Which, as you can imagine, is why I have been a little MIA.

I'm thinking the 'big reveal' will be next week. Something like I did for Finland. You get a history/geography lesson AND get to learn where we are headed for next season. You lucky, lucky dogs, you :)