Monday, October 31, 2011

We Won Super Bowl XXVII!!!

As I mentioned in the last blog, we had a big game on Sunday. And we won!!! It was a championship game called the Super Cup (Jen and I read an article today that was translated from Portuguese into English, and it said something about our team winning Super Bowl XXVII so we thought that was kind of funny). It's a game in which the team who won the league championship from the previous year plays the team who won the Portuguese Cup. Anyways, we knew it was a very important game, and we are really happy that we won. Our team played hard, and people stepped up and made big plays at important points in the game. Jen was named the MVP during the awards ceremony after the game (she was 2 rebounds away from a triple double: 10 points, 10 assists, and 8 rebounds + 3 steals). They gave her a gold basketball so that's kind of cool :-) We had a good time celebrating with our teammates in the locker room after the game with some champagne and cake. After we got all cleaned up, we drove back to Alges and went out to dinner at a Chinese restaurant. It was a fun day/night, and we are looking forward to many more wins :-)

Getting ready to take a team picture after Jen got our coach wet

Super Bowl XXVII Champs! :-)

Bringing out the victory cake!

Me and my buddy Susana :-)

Ana, Joana, and Ba

Ana (again), Joana, Sara, and Duca

Susan, Ana (again), and Catarina

Ana (again), Sofia, and Jen

Me, Jen, and Alfredo

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Random Adventures

Jen and I had a good week last week. We ventured out a little more on our own so that was fun :)

A couple of weeks ago, our teammate, Ba, told us that there was a church closer to where we live. She drew us a nice little map on the back of a receipt and gave it to us. This past weekend we decided to try to go to Mass there. I think we successfully followed the route on the map for about 5 minutes, but then we must have taken a wrong turn somewhere. In very broken Portuguese, we were able to ask a couple of people for directions, and we eventually made it to the church! It's a big church, and it seems like there's a lot going on there. Unfortunately, what was not going on there when we arrived was Mass. We thought that Mass was at 10 am, but it turns out it's actually at 11:30 :-) We stayed for a little bit, and then decided to just go to Mass at Cristo Rei (the church we have been going to). As we were walking back to our apartment, we realized that our walk to the new church took us about 25 or 30 minutes, and our walk home took us about 10! I think we may have found a slightly more direct route for next weekend :-)

After Mass, we went to lunch and then went to the gym to shoot for a little bit. Then, we went home and relaxed for a little while. Around 7, Ba picked us up to take us to her house. Her mom's birthday was on Friday, and Ba had planned a little surprise party for her mom. It was fun. We got to meet Ba's aunts, uncles, and grandparents - very sweet people. We also got to hang out with Ba's 3 year old little sister, Rafaela. She is our new little buddy. Sometime soon, I think we are going to plan a Beauty and the Beast movie night or something :-)

We didn't have morning practice on Monday so Jen and I slept in and had a lazy first half of the day. We went to practice early so that we could lift before. After practice, we decided to try a Mexican restaurant that we kept hearing about. The restaurant that we normally eat at is closed on Mondays so Monday is our day to try other restaurants. It was good. Mexican food is definitely one of our favorites, and it's one of the foods I crave the most when I'm overseas

Wednesday after our morning practice, we went with Sara (our manager) and Ze (our coach) to some place to file some legal paperwork about the fact that we are living in Portugal. After that we went to a big sports store called Decatholon (it's similar to Sports Authority or Dick's Sporting Goods). Jen and I tried on some basketball shoes (just for fun) and really liked them. Shoes in Europe are sooooo expensive. These shoes were 150 euros which is probably somewhere around 200 dollars. I could never pay that much for a pair of basketball shoes!

We didn't have shooting on Thursday morning so Jen and I decided to take a trip to downtown Lisbon. This was our first time going there by ourselves. We had talked to some of our teammates about where we wanted to go so they explained the different forms of public transportation that we would need to take. First, we needed to catch bus 11. We got on the bus, and we were expecting it to take us to the center of Lisbon. We drove for about 5 minutes, and then the bus driver stopped and told us that we were at the last stop. We were clearly not in the center of Lisbon! :-) We got off the bus right as it started to rain - perfect! :-) We found a woman and tried to ask her some questions, but she spoke too fast for us to understand. Then, Jen saw a police car driving by, and she flagged it down. They were very helpful! He helped us get back on bus 11, and told us that we had taken the bus the wrong direction! Haha! Once we got on the right bus going in the right direction, we were good to go. We successfully made it to Marques de Pombal - a huge monument dedicated to the prime minister who was responsible for rebuilding Lisbon after it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1755. We got on the subway and took it a few stops to our destination: El Corte Ingles. El Corte Ingles is a huge store from Spain. It has about 7 floors (supermarket, food court, movie theater, clothing stores, electronics, etc.). We looked around for a while, but we were mainly there to go to the supermarket. They carry a lot of different kinds of food that you can't find in some of the normal grocery stores. It was fun looking around. We didn't get much, but it's nice to know what they have just in case we are ever really craving something! :-)

There is a lot more that we want to see and do in Lisbon, but it was kind of a cold/rainy day so we didn't feel like walking around very much. Now that we know how easy it is to go downtown, I'm sure we will go much more often :-)

We have a big game today (the Super Cup)! It's against the team who won the Portuguese national championship last year! We're excited. Gotta go get ready.

Jen and Tina

The new church that we tried to go to last weekend - I don't know the name of it

Ba and Rafaela


In Decatholon trying on shoes

Sara helping Jen - such a good little sister :-)

Hyperdunks 2011

Jen trying out some ab thing

Beginning of our adventure to downtown Lisbon

We took the bus the wrong direction, had to get off, and then it started raining :-)

Back on the bus! Woooo!

Marques de Pombal

We made it!

About to take the subway

El Corte Ingles

Jen taking a few minutes to practice guitar. Peter Kremen, you would have been proud! :-)

Waiting for the bus to go home :-)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mom!!!


Today is my Mom's birthday! Mom, I wish that I could be there to celebrate your birthday with you. I would clean the house, comb your hair, make dinner, and tell the twins to make cookies (since you know that my cookies just don't compare anymore)! I hope everyone at home makes you feel extra special on your birthday, and even though I can't be there, know that there are a couple of people in Portugal hoping and praying that you have a wonderful day! :-) I love you!

Here's some pictures of my beautiful Mom! :-)


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Playing With Kids

(Jen): On Thursday we went to another school to play with kids and promote our club. We had three different groups of kids come and learn a few basketball skills from us. When we got there the first group was ready for us, but we didn't have any basketballs! Tina and I improvised by organizing a race against the kids. Just want you guys to know that I'm undefeated. Yes, they were 7 years old, but I'm a competitor, and I don't like to lose. Anyways...I love playing with kids. It is truly amazing how you can play with kids of all ages from any part of the world. Why? Because kids just want to have fun. They love to play games, run, and laugh. While we were waiting for another group of kids to come outside, Sofia and I started playing soccer with some boys. I played goalie and blocked a few shots. Then we both hit a few goals. It was a lot of fun. I wish soccer was a little more popular in America. Hopefully in the near future, Tina and I can go see our first professional soccer game!

We have a game later today so we are going to eat, get some rest, and then head to the gym in a bit. We hope everyone has a great weekend!


Jen and Tina


(Tina): Today is the Feast day of Blessed John Paul II. Jen and I had the amazing opportunity (along with my Dad) of attending his beatification last May in the Vatican so we are both very excited about today. He left behind and amazing legacy of what it truly means to live for Christ and to proclaim the Gospel to the world. Blessed John Paul II, pray for us!

“Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.” -JPII

Jen getting ready to race the kids

Ana and Jen

Group picture with the first class of kids

Jen and Sofia taking a break from basketball

GOAL! :-)

Jen hanging out with some new friends

Teaching the kids some simple skills

I don't know how to spell her name, but this little girl was so sweet. She couldn't play because she has a broken arm so I sat with her and had a surprisingly good conversation. She's only 9 years old, but her English is quite impressive :-)

Group picture :-)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Trip to the Azores Islands

This past weekend we had a game in the Azores islands. Ever since I found out that Jen and I were going to play in Portugal, I was looking forward to visiting these islands. The Azores islands are a Portuguese island chain in the Atlantic Ocean. There are a total of 9 islands, and on this trip we stopped in 2 of them (one for just a short layover).

Anyways, we went to the airport early Saturday morning. Our first flight was from Lisbon to Pico island, and it lasted about 2 hours. When we landed in Pico, we weren’t allowed to get off the plane, but we were allowed to peek outside. We took some pictures, enjoyed the beautiful breeze, visited the cockpit, and talked to our teammates. After about an hour, we were back in the air for a quick 30 minute flight to Terceira. We landed in Terceira, split up in a couple different cars, and drove to the center of town. The island was very green, and there were a lot of cows :-) It only took about 20 minutes to drive to the “downtown” area, and when we got there we had lunch at a restaurant. After lunch we had about an hour to just walk around and explore before we had to be at the gym. We walked down near the water and took some pictures. Some of our teammates wanted coffee so we went to a coffee shop with outside seating. Jen and I wanted to walk around a bit more so we left our bags with our teammates. We didn’t really know where we were going so we didn’t want to walk far, but we had seen a beautiful church while we were driving, and we knew we were close. After walking for about twenty seconds, we found it! :-) It was the Cathedral of Our Holy Savior. It was very beautiful and peaceful inside. I have noticed that every Catholic Church I have been to in Portugal has a statue of Our Lady of Fatima (which makes perfect sense). It reminds me of how close we are to Fatima, and it makes Jen and I so excited to go!

We didn’t have much time to spend in the church because we had to meet up with our teammates to walk to the gym. On our way to the gym, we stopped at a little convenience store. We were told that there is an United States’ Air Force base on this island, and as a result, many of the stores carry American foods that you can’t normally find in Europe (ex: Reese’s peanut butter cups, Mrs. Butterworth’s pancake mix, Country Kitchen maple syrup, and Butterfingers to name a few). Some of our teammates bought a few things, and then we headed to the game.

I wasn’t really sure how our team would start the game considering that we had been traveling for about 10 hours, but I was pleasantly surprised. Our team took control of the game early and maintained control throughout. After the game, we showered quickly because we had to get to the airport to catch our flight home. During the flight we played some trivia games with some of our teammates, and before we knew it, we had landed. It was a long day, but Jen and I really enjoyed the experience.

We had the day off on Sunday, and since we had been up late the night before, Jen and I slept in Sunday morning until about 9:30. Then, we got up, went to Mass at 11 and then went to get some lunch from the restaurant we eat at. After lunch we ran into our teammate Barbara on our way to Pingo Doce (our favorite grocery store). We had invited some teammates over in the afternoon so we needed to pick up some snacks. Our teammates came over around 2 in the afternoon, and we just sort of hung out. There were a few movies on TV that we kind of watched, and then we ate some chicken wings, caramel apples, caramel brownies (Jen says: They were a hit. Talia, Tabitha, and Natasha – I can’t wait to make some with you when I come home!), and some other unhealthy food. After we were done eating, we played a game called Farkle. It’s a game that my family played all summer. You roll 6 die, and different combinations have different point totals. Ultimately, the goal is 10,000 points, but there is a lot of gambling involved. It was fun. I played one of the worst Farkle games in the history of Farkle, but my scorekeeping was pretty darn good! :-) Congratulations to Joana for winning both games of Farkle. She’s a natural! After Farkle, we played cards for a little while. Then, my sister, Theresa, skyped me so I was able to talk to her. She is a freshman at the University of Denver so it was fun talking to her and getting caught up on all of her new college experiences. All in all, it was a fun day off!

We have a pretty normal schedule this week with 2 practices a day and a game on Saturday. We’ll keep you posted! :-)


Jen and Tina

On the plane on the way to Azores - Jen sitting with Sara and the referee for our game!!! :-)

Jen was really excited for this trip

Isn't she cute?! :-)

Joana, me, Barbara, and Susana

Jen learning about the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Fatima, Portugal

Pico island

Terceira island

Susana, Jen, and Joana before lunch

Semi-awkward team picture :-)

Our teammate Sara always winks at us, and we love it ;-)

Sofia and Jen

Jen in front of the Cathedral of Our Holy Savior

Blessed John Paul II

Inside the cathedral