Women’s World Cup update in which Germany loses and the USA wins, hopefully

Hello again!

So the end of the Women’s World Cup is upon us. I’m sure you share my sadness (if you even knew it was happening to begin with). Germany played England last night for third place, and the number one team in the world faced another loss, this time in overtime without penalty kicks. I’m sure I’m not the only one disappointed in Germany’s performance, but it is also good to see proof of the chances in a soccer match. When it comes down to it, the chances are always 50-50. As Sepp Herberger is famously remembered to have said: “Der Ball ist rund und das Spiel dauert 90 Minuten.” I have to admit, I’m happy for the Lionesses who’ve never made it this far in a world cup… who doesn’t love an underdog?

So, we’ll see what happens as the 2011 rematch gets played out tonight. During the Women’s World Cup four years ago, USA played and lost to Japan. In 2011, Japan proved itself as technically superior to all they played against, and a lot of that skill seems to have returned. The US has a strong team with the motivation to beat Japan.

Not to mention, the US has made it to the finals in the past three World Cups, and lost each time. Fourth time a charm?

In Review

My WordPress Reader has lately been filled with posts in which bloggers comment on their year 2014 and talk about what they hope for the year 2015.

While I am a fan of keeping private matters off the web (after all, the internet is not an ideal location for diary entries and clouds are not thick enough for nude selfies), I see a strong value in the work done to reflect and look forward. Ultimately, putting things in perspective is one of our defining actions as humans; our ability to think about moments in time and not just re/act “in the moment” is a distinguishing factor (as far as we know and can tell) “separating us from the animals.” Species-ism aside, I think that while such a post may be slightly boring for most readers, it’s hugely beneficial for the writer. The writer can articulate pride, anxieties, and issues that otherwise are left to float in champagne glasses that reflect the lights of fireworks in the sky. Plus, posting about it causes some desire to remain accountable about one’s goals.

So here are my articulations. I actually feel a bit apprehensive of starting a new year, because I fear that nothing can top the one I just had.

I feel like I accomplished so much to be proud of and have been blessed with so many positives, that I worry 2015 will be anti-climatic. On the other hand, I realize an equal number of things that I am not so proud of and have to work on, and those may be the things I want to improve upon in the new year.

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A Good Year – my best five experiences of this past year

5. Teaching university freshman. While this seems ages ago, I am grateful to have successfully completed two semesters of teaching. Since I plan to enter academia and have many more “first days of classes” where I have to learn all the student’s names and second-guess my authority every other minute, this experience will be something I can always look back on with pride. I especially enjoyed being able to design the syllabus myself and chose the works and pace my classes worked at. I kept a teaching journal, so I know there are a lot of things I need to improve upon, but I learned that I can feel comfortable in front of the classroom, and that makes me happy.  Honorable mention: I presented at my first conferences! One was inter-school, so the audience was not intimidating. The other was international! I try not to let that accomplishment inflate my ego.

4. I play forward for a German soccer team!! Of course, not the German soccer team, and not even a huge one. But, I am part of a group of women who play soccer competitively, and I’ve been placed in a great position. Usually relegated to midfield or defense (of course, no less positions that the forward), I have been given responsibility for the team’s success in a way I’ve never had before and, as my confidence slowly grows, I kind of like it. Honorable mention here (since it’s sport related) is running my first trail race in February and securing a PR in the half-marathon.

3. Sugar-free 2014. While it has been a struggle (sometimes more challenging than other times–especially at the beginning and around Christmas), I managed to cut out all sugar out of my diet. I did eat fruit and dairy, so I guess it’s not all sugars, but I cut out the majority of what one would consider sweet food. Catalyzed by a decent amount of self-loathing about how undisciplined I am around chocolate, and news from health professionals that I could be a happier and healthier person (and a better runner!) without it, I stopped eating sugar. No matter the benefits in physical and mental well-being I’ve gained from this move, the discipline I was able to hold is a source of strength from which I will be able to draw upon at any point in the future. I plan to continue being sugar free in 2015, but with a little less vigilance.

2. Based on the promise of my thesis prospectus, I was given permission to write a thesis. I am such a nerd, but I am really excited to be writing about my topic. I am comparing two novels (one English/one German) and examining the use of voice in the “migrant novel.” A better articulation about that here. I also passed my MA oral comprehensive exam. Now the “only” things in the way of my MA degree are completing my courses and the thesis. This work will be defining for my year of 2015.

1. Topping this list, of course, has been my first months studying abroad in Hamburg. This time last year, I didn’t even know if I would be studying abroad, and I remember being able to study abroad through the VDAC as being my main New Year’s wish on Dec. 31st 2013. Wish granted! I’m a student in Germany!!! I continue to be one through the end of the summer term 2015. Through this experience exploring another culture and possibilities than the one I grew up in, I learned a few things about myself that have made me a much different person than I was a year ago. While I hope I don’t have to experience such another transition anytime soon, I feel okay about having the chance to start the new year as more free-spirited and continue exploring.

A few hopes for the year 2015 (but not telling you my specific new year’s wish because I’m superstitious that it then won’t come true):

I hope I complete my requirements for the MA in time so that by the end of July, I have my degree!

I hope my brother successfully earns his BA degree.

I hope to attend another conference and to actually publish an article (or two) in academic journals.

I hope I will be granted a teaching position Fall 2015 as a adjunct somewhere while I wait to be able to apply for PhD programs. In a way, I’m glad I couldn’t make the deadlines for US applications for Fall 2015, because now I’ll have a bit of breathing room post-MA thesis, and maybe have the chance to get more experience teaching something like literature.

I hope I recover from my latest running injury in time to train for and complete the Hamburger Marathon.

I hope the move my family is planning within Florida (planning for retirement, empty-nests, etc.) goes well.

I hope my family and friends make it healthily and without major catastrophes through 2015 to 2016.

I hope the world has a better year than 2014. I realize that while my personal year has been incredible, for the rest of the world it has not.

Here’s to a good year 2015.

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Liebster (blog?) Award

Yesterday, I was nominated for the Liebster Award by saraybennet. I can only put the link for her wonderful blog “Glittering Wanderlust” here and hope that you click on it and read at least one or two posts about her adventures abroad in Spain. Thanks for the nomination! Liebster Award

So, let’s get started. First off, what’s the Liebster Award? When I first saw it, I had to think of the superlative form of the word “Lieb” in German. Liebster is a way to refer to your favorite… so I could start a sentence with  “Mein Liebster Kuchen” and you’d be about to hear about my favorite cake.

But really,

The award aims to expose new bloggers and help mark their blog in the blogging world. 

And the rules are as follows:

  • Post the award on your blog. check
  • Thank the blogger who presented this award and link back to their blog. (whoever designed these rules wants to make sure that we have manners) check
  • Write 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 5-11 bloggers who you feel deserve this award and who have less than 200 followers.
  • Answer 11 questions posted by the presenter and ask your nominees 11 questions.

I decided to answer the questions first, because I figured random facts about myself will be enough of a draw to read to the end of this post (not that I’m innocent of long posts, generally)

Questions from “Glittering Wanderlust” (seriously love the name of that blog!)

  1. What is your favorite way to spend a rainy afternoon? On WordPress with a cappuccino
  2. Do you prefer to travel to warm or cold locations? Prefer mild climates, but I like to explore in shorts and t-shirt
  3. What is the top item on your bucket list? this changes. Right now, it’s the Hamburg Marathon
  4. What is the strangest food that you have ever eaten? Where did you eat it? Labskaus, actually, and it’s a specialty of Hamburg (though can be found in Norway, Sweden, Dennmark, and, oddly enough, Liverpool. It looks like this:

    "Labskaus" im Speisestübchen Eva-Maria Bilder Restaurant Speisestübchen Eva-Maria

    The mush under the egg, sunny-side-up is a mix of salted meat (can be corned beef), potatoes, and onion in beet juice. Then on the side one usually gets roll-mops (herring), pickled beets, and gherkin. A lot of salt and vinegar, the weirdest mix ever… but it tastes quite “not-bad.” I’d even go so far as to recommend it.

  5. Do you like solo or group travel better? I like being in transit solo better, but I enjoy actually being in a place better in groups.
  6. Would you ever go skydiving? If the opportunity presented itself, yes.
  7. What is your dream job? A professor who is also paid to write on the side
  8. Who, if anyone, inspires you to travel? My imagination
  9. Who do you admire most? My mother
  10. What is your favorite book or movie? Right now, The Lord of the Rings books AND movies are occupying a lot of brain space, but I’m also enjoying Wir neuen Deutschen as well. I’d like to do a blog post about it soon.
  11. Do you write your blog with or without music? Since I’m listening to music now, it’d be a lie to say that I don’t. Yep. Listen all the time when I’m doing any pleasurable writing or reading. If I have to read political history in German, I’m less likely to be listening to music. Right now, “Rolling in the Deep” is playing (though not because I picked it.)

Now, instead of posting my facts about myself, l’m going to mention nominees and questions, and then answer those questions myself.

I nominate Rural Running Redhead, pscapp, trying to get faster even as I get older, Cadence Runner and run fast, puke left for the Liebster award and to answer the following questions. I’ve asked them because they’re the folks (sorry, not sorry about using that word) whose response posts I (and maybe others) would like to read.

  1. How much did you run from Oct. 13-19?
  2. Do you have a set time you try to blog, or does it just “happen?”
  3. When you are ready to blog, do you make yourself a drink first? If so, what kind?
  4. What is something you would like to accomplish before the end of 2014?
  5. If you have children, which of your traits are you most happy that they picked up?
  6. Beach or trail run?
  7. If you (and anyone else you with you) were given a travel stipend and a week off, where would you go?
  8. Which language do you think sounds the most beautiful?
  9. What kind of movie would you like to star in?
  10. (for the laundromat-savvy) If there was one machine almost done, and you needed to do a load, how long would you wait for the person to show up before you (nicely) took out their laundry so that you could do yours?
  11. Do you blog with the hope that others read your blog, or do you really not care?

All these questions are optional!

My answers:

  1. How much did [I] run from Oct. 13-19? 47.8 miles
  2. Do [I] have a set time you try to blog, or does it just “happen?” I don’t have a set time, but usually do it when I’m not distracted by anything else pressing.
  3. When [I am] ready to blog, do [I] make [myself] a drink first? Yes, usually a coffee or tea
  4. What is something [I] would like to accomplish before the end of 2014? Feel at home, to some extent in Hamburg. Set a half-marathon PR. Have at least 20 pages of notes for my MA thesis
  5. If [I] have children [which I don’t], which of [my] traits [would I be] most happy that they picked up? My conscientiousness and thoughtfulness
  6. Beach or trail run? Trail
  7. If [I] were given a travel stipend and a week off, where would [I] go? Moscow
  8. Which language do [I] think sounds the most beautiful? I think the Khoisan languages sound neat, but I really like Brazilian Portuguese
  9. What kind of movie would [I] like to star in? I’d love to get the training to be in a martial arts movie with a powerful philosophical message
  10. (for the laundromat-savvy) I would wait 15 minutes
  11. Do [I] blog with the hope that others read [my] blog, or do [I] really not care? I do have a set audience in mind for my blog sites, and I do kind of hope that my posts get read. Yet in the end, it really only matters to me that I can go back and read them myself.