Playoff time!!

We have started playoffs! This last week we played Kastela in the first round, we ended up beating them in the first two games of a three game series. The first match we played at home and beat them in four games. We played the second match at Kastela Wednesday night. It was a well played match and very exciting. We played five games, with the final score of the fifth game being 15-13. It was an important match for us to win because if we lost we would have played them in a third game Saturday. We will face Rijeka, the defending champions in the semi finals next. We’ve lost both matches we played against Rijeka earlier this season, but both matches were very close. We will play best of three games again to advance to the finals, the first match will be played at Rijeka Wednesday and then at home on Sunday (this game will be live streamed I will post the link on my Facebook).
My time in Croatia has been going by very fast, I have one more month here. Can’t believe it!    Since the last time I posted we’ve done a few exciting things.

First we traveled to the town next to Split called Trigor to sight see. I went here with Lucy, her mom and mom’s friend while they were here visiting for the week. Trigor was a very beautiful place, a lot smaller than Split, but a cool place to see. One of the coolest things about the cities in Croatia is the color of the water, it’s almost a turquoise color–I’ve taken so many pictures that look like they could be on a post cards.

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We’ve had many visitors in the last few weeks, which has been fun to have company! First Lucy’s mom and moms friend came, then Dani’s husband, and Colas friends came to visit. Alyssa’s parents will be coming Tuesday for the week, and Lucy’s friend will also be coming.

Next, we’ve had our car towed twice. Okay this isn’t very exciting, the first time we had a good laugh, but not the second time. The parking in Split is very interesting, you will find cars parked in the most random spots and in odd ways. The population of the city has grown too large for how the city was built, so the main way to park here is directly on thr sidewalk.

imageWell there are a few laws we found out about, which you would never guess by looking at how other cars park. The first time we had went to watch a volleyball match, and parked up on the sidewalk next to another car. We walked out after the game and all of us, except Cola didn’t notice that our car was missing at first (there was another car parked there still that looked like ours). Once we figured out our car was gone we had to get a hold of our manager who helped us track down our car. We found out that you must leave one meter of sidewalk when you park up on the sidewalk… We decided after the second time our car was towed that the reason our car keeps getting towed, since there are cars everywhere parked just as illegally as ours is that our licenses plate is not Split (we have a rental car). We now are extra careful in the way we park. The picture is an example of how Croatians like to park, this is the parking lot of our restaurant.

Lastly, yesterday we had a day off so we decided to do some more sight seeing. We traveled to Krka National Park, which was about an hour drive. It was the most stunning National Park, there were waterfalls everywhere and a very cool hiking path. The waterfalls were the biggest I have ever seen, and the color of the water made it all extraordinary. The timing of going to the park was perfect because it is not yet tourist season so there really weren’t many other people around, which made it very peaceful.

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On our way back to Split we stopped at a small town called, Skradin. The town was a very unique little town, but had some awesome views. Our waiter at the cafe said there are about only 700 people who live in the town. We found a short hiking path that went up to a Fortress and looked over the whole city.

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I will give you all an update after our semi final games and let you know how they went!! :)

Experiencing & Exploring Croatia

Hey all,
We had another tough match this last weekend we played in Zagreb, which was about a five hour drive from Split. We unfortunately lost in four games, the whole match was very close, but with their home court advantage they pulled out the win. This first series you earn points based on your wins and losses, and also how many games you play in the match. We only have one point so far, and have three more games to finish this series so we need to win the next three matches to have a chance to finish in the champions league. We have confidence that we can win the next three, we got back into the gym this week focused on the areas we need to improve in and will be watching film for our upcoming match. We are in the second half of the series so we will be playing all the teams we’ve played starting with Rejika. 
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We played our game in Zagreb on Sunday evening. We traveled there Saturday, so we were able to do some sight seeing and exploring of Zagreb. Zagreb is another very beautiful city in Croatia, but farther north so it is a lot colder than Split is right now.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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 Zagreb, Croatia
Last week we went to the Split soccer game. Like I had mentioned in my last blog it was pretty crazy. The fans were very entertaining to watch, my picture shows at the end of the game fans threw large amounts of sparklers on the field. Definitely a fun experience to be a part of.
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We play this Saturday at Rejika, so we will be traveling there Friday. It will be a tough match, but a must win! 
 
Better is the end of a thing than it’s beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit–Ecclesiastes 7:8 :)
 
 
Meg
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Game time

Sorry for the delay in the update! As my new hobby I started to knit and I’ve been distracted in my free time knitting together a blanket. :)
This last Sunday we played our first match against the defending Champions in Croatia, Rijeka. We ended up losing 3-1 in a tight, hard battled match. Rijeka has yet to lose in the league, with much experience and chemistry as a team, they are a very talented team. Having been our first match together as a team after two weeks of practice, I am very excited to see how the rest of the season plays out with a few more practices and games under our belt. Seeing the way we competed with Rijeka I believe our team will be very successful this year! This last week we gained another player, she is an outside, in her mid 30s and a well “respected” player in Croatia having played on the Croatian national team.
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Tomorrow will be our next match against Porec at home again. This will be another competitive team, they placed in the top four in the league last year. These first games will all be tough matches because we are playing in a mini playoff tournament with the four top seeds from last year, and then will be seeded for the final tournament based on this mini tournament. We will play one match at home and one match at the opponents place. 
Exciting news tomorrows game will be live streamed again! The producer was satisfied with how many people watched our last match, so will be streaming this match also. Thanks to everyone who watched!! I will post the link on my Facebook for tomorrow’s game.
This last week the President of the club took all of the Americans out to dinner. It was very fancy and delicious, we had octopus, shrimp salad, fish, grilled veggies, bread and crepes for dessert. We also had high end wine and rakija (a favorite drink of the Croatians).
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A couple other things we did to entertain ourselves this week…. the sun has been out and has been very nice weather so we walked along the beach to a cafe and had a bijela kava (my new daily drink white coffee). We also went to the Cinema to see Identity Thief. 
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After our game Sunday we get to go experience a European football game, which is supposed to be a very big rival game, Split verse Zagreb. I think it may be pretty wild! I am excited I will let you know how it goes in my next blog.
That’s all for now. Bok!! :) 

“New Life”

I have soon came to realize what kind of lifestyle my life will entail for the next three months, much different than the last five years of my life. I am an individual that if I am not being productive I have a feeling of guilt like I need to be doing something..well… this will all be changing. Not saying that I am going to lay around doing nothing and waste away the day, but with volleyball my only commitment I have plenty of time on my hands. It still feels like I should be doing  homework or studying during my free time, but then I remind myself I am all done with college! And it feels good.

So what has happened in the last week besides the realization of my “new” life?..
First, last week I came down with a bad cold, which I never get sick so this was no fun. Friday I did not practice and saw the doctor when we all had our physicals (doctor spoke no English but luckily our manager was there to translate) and I was prescribed four medicines and thankfully started to feel better immediately.
We went to the men’s Split volleyball game and also a handball game. This was the first handball game I have ever been too, it is a popular sport in Europe. It is quite an interesting sport to say, since after watching half of a game I still have no idea any of the rules, except a lot of physical contact, guys getting hurt and random whistles from the  referees.
One goal of mine before I leave Croatia is to learn basic Croatian words, a few I have learned so far are Hvala (thank you), Dobro (good), Dobra Dan (good afternoon) , Bok (bye).
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It has been rainy here this last week, but it is supposed to get sunny the next fews. Lets hope so we can get outside and start doing stuff. To keep myself busy in our spare time I have been trying to find a hobby to pick up. It will be much easier to occupy myself when it warms up outside, but for now while it is still chilly if anyone has any hobbies that you would think I enjoy let me know! I have downloaded the max amount of apps for my iPad you can use without wifi, including ab workouts and yoga (which my roommate and I have made into nightly sessions and I think we get more of a work out from our laughs).
Yesterday we got to finally taste some of the best crepes–we all ate way too much, but it was definitely worth it. Here is a picture of my crepe..nutella, banana, and vanilla ice cream..
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This week we have a full week of practices and then we we will have our first match! We are playing at home Sunday against the team that took first in league last year.
Love from Croatia!

First week in Croatia!

View of Split
Officially have been living in Croatia for one week! It already has been such an amazing experience and I have been blessed to meet so many new wonderful people and see so much.
I am living with Lucy, a Canadian who played for the same club last year in Split. I have been very thankful to be living with her because she is familiar with Split and knows where everything is already. The name of the club I will be playing for is called Split ZOK 1700 and there are five Americans playing for our club.
This last week I have been able to experience a little bit of everything in Spilt. So far we have already walked through a famous palace in Split, which has a large market surrounding it (very cool they sell everything from fresh food to underwear and clothing at this market), walked along the sea to hike up Marjan Park, went shopping at the two malls, went out in downtown Split Saturday night, and started practicing.
Hiking up Marajan has definitely been my favorite so far. The hiking was a combination of walking up stairs (probably about 500) and walking along paths. The hike was very quiet, peaceful and had unbelievable views of the city. At the highest point of the hike you could see the whole city of Spilt. It was gorgeous to see the sea a long one side of the city and the mountains a long the other side.
I have been trying lots of new foods and have found the most amazing chocolate which I have been eating way too much of, called kinder bueno. Split has lots of delicious foods, another one of my favorites is called burek (croissant roll made with cheese in it). I have been trying a new food/meal everyday at the restaurant we go to get our meals at.

Palace in downtown
Palace in downtown Split
Our first team practice was last Friday night–we just did some serving, passing, and hitting to get in the groove of things. Monday we started two a days, so we will practice for an hour half in the morning and then an hour and half at night (9pm have to get used to practicing so late!) This upcoming weekend we will have off again because the locals on the team will finish their league they are currently playing in, and then our first match will be February 15.
We experienced an earthquake early Monday morning!! First and hopefully the last. It was quite an experience I was still asleep when I first heard a loud rumble and then soon after felt the whole apartment shake, it only lasted about 4 seconds.

I’m hoping to do a weekly post to keep you all updated :)