4 months of blog vacancy, oops!

So what have I been up to all of Summa ’16? I am so happy to say that I have had my first summer that was school, practice and job free. And it came at the perfect time too, allowing myself to have the ultimate recharge after my first heavy and long season abroad in Korea.  The only responsibility I had this summer was to recover physically, mentally and emotionally to a place where I then could make the strides needed to be ready next journey ahead of me!

I spent the first month at home with my lovely family and familiarity of Cincinnati, Ohio in a place of ultimate comfort.  And got my finger all fixed up with a 5 week rehab grind. (Seriously underestimated the physical demands for that….don’t be fooled, little fingers are no joke). The rest of the time I spent with friends, cats and family soaking in all the love and celebrating all the mini milestones I had missed the past 8 months.

 

The following month of May was a whirlwind of travel and fun.  Three kids all college graduated, and a parent’s 30th anniversary called for an ultimate family vacation, so all 5 McMahons hopped the pond for the first time all together and headed to Ireland for 10 days!! The country surpassed all expectations I had and the natural beauty, history, and warm culture and values left such a positive impression on me.  And I got to experience it all with my lovely parents, brother and sister.

I then opted for a completely different taste of Europe and trekked down to Greece with my sister and best friend Julia to explore yet an all new setting in Athens and the islands of Santorini and Mykonos.  With all the baklava, gyros, beaches, and views for days, once again I was blessed to see the beauty in the world in all new perspective.  I’ll update more on my travels soon 🙂

 

After filling my heart and soul with the goodness and happy vibes traveling always tends to touch you with, I headed to Orlando for adult nationals where I got to play volleyball with amazing people again.  Reuniting with teammates that go back as long as grade school and winning the tournament made it inevitable to re-fall in love with the game of volleyball all over again, and ignite that same passion that us teammates had when we were all 13 years old just starting out. I was refocused to continue my pursuit of progress in my craft that I love.

Next I made the move to South Bay LA for the rest of the summer.  What many people thought to be random, it is something I’ve always wanted to do, and this summer was one for crossing off several bucket list items.  Hermosa Beach was my home for 2 months and the lifestyle mix of training, beach, volleyball, new friends and flawless weather made for incredible memories.

 

It was mid June when I officially made the decision to play abroad in Dresden, Germany for DSC (Dresner Sport Club) and embark in a new 9 month season and what will be a new chapter of my career. By August 9th I was packed up and wheels up to Germany.  I had been eager to find a fit in Europe this time around, where the transition of life wasn’t as dramatic as the Eastern hemisphere.  But why DSC? There are so many reasons that made the opportunity seem almost unreal.

First off, Germany does not limit the foreigners allowed per team, which helps share the load on the court, but also shares the idea that people are coming from all over the world and we all are conquering a new home and new life.  As of now, there are only 2 Germans on my team, a handful of girls from Czech, Belgium, Netherlands, Canada and America (specifically Illini!!!).  It’s gonna be a blast.  This melting pot also means that one common denominator happens to be that English is the main language.  Having a professional coach speak English to me is a first, and I have never been happier to be “critiqued” 😉 Although it has only been a week, the abundance of communication in English has allowed for personalities to be shared easier on and off the court.  For example, the first practice my assistant coach was commenting on my arm swing and stopped to tell me “I understand your hitting point is from the Empire State building, but that doesn’t mean you should stop, keep following through,” …a tall joke that didn’t have to get lost in translation. Love it.

 

Secondly, the city of Dresden is a place that I actually really want to live in.  It is absolutely beautiful, and large enough to find various neighborhoods with a lively city center and easy access to other major cities and new countries.  Dresden likes their sports, as there are also soccer, basketball, ice hockey, and even american football clubs here, as if the amazing beer and food weren’t enough to keep me busy 🙂  The quality of life is great, and it doesn’t hurt that I get my own apartment and my own car.  I also was relieved to know I was going to a country that was advanced, organized, and where I would be taken care of.

But by far the most important factor that led me to Dresden was the level of volleyball.  The country, the city, and this club is elite in that it is driven to succeed at some of the highest levels.  DSC has won the German championship the last 3 years, and have been runner-ups the prior seasons, and no doubt the expectations are equally high for this 2016-2017 season.  We not only play in the German league, Bundesliga Damen, but also get to participate in Europe’s Champions League.  Champions league, just like Euro soccer takes the top teams from every country and they get to compete against each other all over Europe. As high a level as you can get in this pro world, bring on the challenge!

Speaking of challenges…I went straight from my airpot arrival to my gym’s parking lot to receive my first and only brief intro to driving stick.  After a handful of stalls and drives where I think I held my breath the whole time, I have to say after a week, I now feel like I am not putting mine or anyone else’s life in danger. 😉

Our first exhibition game is not until October 16th in Berlin at the Mercedes Benz Superdome, where there is a goal of 10,000 fans to be expected to come watch a rematch of last years championship teams, Dresden and Stuttgart. This will kick off what will be a long journey to reach our goals as a team by season’s close in April/May. I have completed only my first full week of practices and workouts, and it has been a great week to ease back into the grind, especially because our head coach and half of our team are still finishing up their summer obligations with their respective national team training.  But these first days has got me so excited and even more determined to get after it this season and accomplish a whole new set of goals, both individually and as a club.

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I left my mark in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean life, I left my mark on South Korea in the land of Asia, and now I’m ready to give all I got to Germany and this Euro adventure.

Stay tuned, you won’t regret it

xoxo Lizzie

 

 

 

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