What I will say, however, is that I left Europe far better than I arrived--and that is true in both performance and attitude. I came to Europe probably in the best shape of my life and I couldn't do anything with it because mentally I was still the #1 guest at my very own pity party. But thankfully, I realized soon enough that that party was a real drag. Truth be told, if I could have stayed in Europe another month and done 10 more competitions I totally would have. Athlete's always like to say how they can't wait to come home but home for me right now doesn't seem all that great, and the gelato isn't nearly as good. Over the years I have really come to appreciate competing and living in Europe and all that being away from home has to offer… for the most part. There are a few things, however, that I am glad I will not have to deal with for a while.
Here is a list of my top 10 things I won't miss.
10. Lukewarm drinks. Nothing is cold and ice doesn't exist… so there you go.
9. The worst internet connections. Ever. There were literally times I would wait 15 min for a page to load.
8. European breakfast. Scrambled egg soup, hard bread, and mushrooms?! Eww. In fact, at one hotel this was ALL that was offered. And yes, you could bounce that roll off a wall.
7. Siesta time (in some countries) during the day and Sundays when all of civilization just shuts down. I'm used to what you want, when you want it, mentality. If I forget to eat lunch before 13:00 (that's 1 for the yanks) or don't go to the grocery store before Saturday, I end up with starvation as my only option.
6. The non-existence of lines. We are not a herd of animals and I stick out like a sore thumb, so please get behind me and wait your turn.
5. Cold, rainy weather. It's summer, but the majority of time I got ready for competitions dressed like this..
4. Smoking. Everybody. Everywhere
3. Sandwiches, especially when that is the only thing offered at airports. Hard bread, one slice of the most thinly sliced meat you can imagine, and butter.
Beds not made for full-sized human beings and put so close together that you should be married to the person sleeping next to you, but instead it's a person who doesn't speak your language and prefers to be a nudist all day. (sorry…can't include picture of nudist)
1. The Euro. And all other forms of currency I encountered, that put my measly American dollar to shame and forced me to dread conversion calculations.
That being said, the things I actually enjoy and appreciate about being able to live and work on another continent would make a much longer list than this one. I'm bummed to be home, and I am even more bummed that it is going to be many, many months before I get to compete again. But, everything happens for a reason and I plan on making the most of my time off. Mostly eating.