Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing EVERYONE a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving 🙂

Being in another country away from your family and friends for holidays is tough. It makes you think about what and who you’re missing. And on this Thanksgiving (as with most of them) I want nothing more than to be waking up in my bed in West Chester, having my dad whip up some French toast while we watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade; and start digging out the Christmas decorations with Hanson’s Snowed In CD playing while mom mans the kitchen. (Us Hagglund’s are not one bit ashamed to say that we LOVE the Hanson Christmas CD. Our Xmas music go-to) But alas, I haven’t actually had that Thanksgiving in 6 years now.

Even though I want nothing more than to have that Thanksgiving morning at home, I am so thankful that it is a memory these days.

For the first 4 Thanksgiving’s I missed, I was out playing volleyball at UW. Every year we had a match the day before and the day after Thanksgiving; we’d practice the morning of, with Jim always calling, “Pilgrims! Come here!” to start it off. UW was such a blessing for me and I am thankful that I played volleyball at that program, got my education there, and lived in Seattle. The friends, relationships, and experiences from those 4 years are untouchable.

Last year’s Thanksgiving I was in Vienna, Austria in my first season as a Professional Volleyball Player. How blessed am I to be able to say that I lived in Vienna for 7 months, being payed to play a game I love? It still doesn’t register to me that I’m a ‘Professional Athlete’ most days. Even with it’s ups and downs (there were plenty), there were so many life lessons I figured out, places I got to see, and new experiences I would NEVER otherwise be exposed to and I am thankful for the good and the not so good that came my way.

And now I’m in Nantes, France. Currently in my second professional season. Still waking up in the morning, and if someone asks me what I do for a living, the first two words I say are “I play…” I’m thankful for my Kristy and Coop, my fellow Americans keeping me sane, as well as the rest of my teammates and staff who only want us to succeed and be happy.

I’m glad that Thanksgiving memory at home is just that: a memory. It means I have been LIVING. So many adventures- new places, new people- I have been blessed to have opportunities to travel and try new things and see the world.

Like I said earlier, being away from friends and family on holidays is tough, but it’s because those people are so loving, so supportive, so precious to me that makes it tough. I am THANKFUL that you all make the holidays hard on me, because missing you would be easy if you all weren’t so amazing.

I hope everyone has a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!

We (Coop, Kristy, Kristy’s boyfriend Shawn, and I) celebrated a day early. I made the meat, stuffing, gravy, and some pumpkin pie; Coop whipped up the most unbelievable yams as well as mashed potatoes, and Kristy brought the green bean casserole, some red velvet cake, and of course wine 😉 We had a small but amazing feast and celebration together.

Couple funny stories

First, I couldn’t find an actual turkey here in France. I tried the 2 main super markets without luck. So I had a contingency plan. I picked up a turkey leg and some other turkey ‘ball’ (I think it really was the turkey’s butt). I also wanted to grab a small chicken since Coop and Kristy didn’t usually have turkey for Thanksgiving anyways. So I grabbed one from the ‘special offer’ sale section and headed on my way. Little did I realize that I didn’t grab the ‘poulet’ (chicken), but some ‘pintade’… Guinea Fowl! What the heck?! Yeah, well there was no turning back! I told Kristy about my blunder and she says, “Well, are we still gonna eat it?” “Heck yes we’re gonna eat it!!!” It turned out to be a big hit too. Maybe we’ll even buy it again sometime 🙂

So, like I said we ate our large Thanksgiving meal (no one in their right mind wants to and is able to practice self restraint on Thanksgiving) Wednesday evening. Pretty late too, since our practice let out at 8pm. We walk into practice the next morning, still pretty swollen from dinner and what prey tell is our coach setting up? The SCALE. Yes. We were weighed in less than 12 hours after our Thanksgiving meal. That is just cruel and unusual. And ridiculously bad timing!