Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Hello everybody!  I made it home safe and sound, although there were some problems along the way.  Despite that, I am happily home now!  I arrived in Norfolk, Va. on Thursday at around 4 p.m.  My dad greeted me at the airport.  It was so nice to see him!  We drove home, and my mom came running out of the house with my new puppy, which I haven't met in person yet (only on video chat).  I had always wanted to decorate our house with Christmas lights, so my mom surprised me with Christmas lights outlining our house!

My mom also had another surprise waiting for me.   As I walked to my room, it had a "CAUTION" banner on the door.  As she opened the door, I had to close my eyes.  When I opened them, to my surprise, my room had been completely changed!  She bought new furniture for me and painted the entire room!  It looked as if she raided the store, Pier 1 Imports!  I loved my newly decorated room!  After seeing my room for the first time in three months, I had dinner waiting for me in the kitchen.  It was nice not cooking dinner for once!  One thing I really missed in Austria was sushi, so my parents had sushi waiting for me! 

I was only able to enjoy one full day at home on Friday for I traveled to Connecticut on Saturday to visit Quinnipiac and my old friends from my prep school, The Gunnery.  I drove 8 hours although I was already really exhausted from my trip home from Austria.  I arrived in Connecticut just in time for a 4 o'clock game at the TD Bank Sports Center.  The Quinnipiac women's ice hockey team was playing Princeton!  It was nice to see my teammates and some of the fans!  As the team beat Princeton the night before, they continued their winning streak and beat Princeton at home!  They won their sixth straight victory and Coach let them go out for some drinks that night!  I was really happy that I was able to party with my teammates that weekend.

After spending Saturday night with my old teammates, I traveled to Southbury, Conn. to spend some time with my prep school friends for I hadn't seen most of them in over a year!  We all went out to dinner on Sunday night, and then we went to a sports bar in Watertown to watch some football and have some drinks.  The next day, I returned home.  It was a great weekend seeing all my old friends!

I am tired from all my traveling, so I don't think I will be doing much traveling for awhile, although I am going to Washington, D.C. today.  My mom bought my brother and I two tickets to see a Washington Capitals game as part of our Christmas present!  My brother and I will be driving to Washington, D.C. to see my favorite team play the Philadelphia Flyers at 7 p.m. tonight!  I'm excited to watch the "Caps" play live since I had been watching them play on little screen on my laptop for the last three months in Austria!


Monday, December 5, 2011

My Trip Home for Christmas

On Wednesday, I will be traveling for 27 hours and four minutes in order to get back home to Virginia.  I leave from Vienna International Airport on Wednesday at 7:40 p.m. and arrive at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol at 9:40 p.m.  I have a 10-hour and 55-minute layover in Amsterdam, so I booked a hotel room so I could get a good nights rest before I travel in the morning.  I leave Amsterdam at 8:35 a.m. on Thursday and arrive at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport at 11:25 a.m. (Eastern Standard Time).  This is obviously my longest flight as I travel across the Atlantic Ocean for a total airtime of eight hours and 50 minutes.  My departure time from Detroit is 2:05 p.m.  I arrive at Norfolk International Airport at 3:54 p.m.  Hopefully, there will be no delays or cancellations for my trip is already well-over 24 hours.  My total airtime for my entire journey home is 12 hours and 39 minutes.  I'm looking forward to coming back home to the States and seeing all my friends and family!  I return to Austria from my Christmas break on Wednesday, Jan. 4.  A map of my trip home is displayed below.

View My trip home in a larger map


Friday, December 2, 2011

Wiener Christkindlmarkt

On Wednesday, my boyfriend, Michi Schmieder, took me to visit the Christmas markets in Vienna.  The Vienna Christmas market, or Wiener Christkindlmarkt in German, has been a special attraction to Vienna residents and visitors for more than 700 years.  Merchants and traders gather to form a market for potentially selling their products (sweets, toys, clothes, jewelry, and other Christmas goods).  Once we got into the city, there were several Christmas markets around the area, but we found a parking spot near Rathaus, or city hall, where a large Christmas market was located. 

An alignment of small huts created a market in front of the hall.  The smell of candied apples, roasted chestnuts (maroni), pretzels (Bretzeln), and glühwein formed an aroma in the air.  Glühwein is a traditional beverage offered and drunk in German-speaking countries during the Christmas holidays.  It is usually prepared from red wine, heated and spiced with cinnamon sticks, vanilla pods, cloves, citrus, and sugar.

We had glühwein on Sunday when we went to a soccer game, so we decided to have punsch this time.  Punsch is similar to glühwein in that it is also a traditional warm beverage in Austria.  It contains rum-marinated orange slices or berries that are usually prepared in a cup of hot-spiced red wine, like glühwein.  We had the berry punch, or Beeren Punsch.  It was delicious.  It tasted similar to a hot, berry-flavored tea.  I enjoyed it even more because it brought some warmth to my freezing body.

As we drank our punch in the cold Austrian weather, Michi was hungry, like all boys usually are.  He ordered langos toast, which was like a fried dough with meat and cheese in the middle.   We continued to drink our punch and we ate our langos toast.  Of course, Michi ate two on his own.

After we finished our drinks and food, we proceeded to look around the market for Christmas gifts for my family back home in America.  We stopped at one hut that made fresh crepes, so we tried one.  It was a warm rolled-crepe with Nutella and banana slices inside.  It was even more delicious than the punch!

As we walked around some more, we met up with Michi's brother, Alexander.  He bought us another round of punch.  After we finished this round of punch, we walked through the market once more.  Michi stopped at another hut and ordered some roasted chestnuts, or maroni, since I have never tried them.  They were also really good.

Once we finished shopping and walking around the market, we went to a nearby restaurant to have a couple beers.  It definitely was nice being in a warm atmosphere rather than the cold outdoor area of the market.  After we finished our beers, we went to his brother's apartment, which was located about 15 minutes outside the city.  There, I met his girlfriend, dog, and two cats.  After spending some time with his brother, we drove nearly an hour back home to Mürzzuschlag.  I had a great day seeing the Wiener Christkindlmarkt for the first time, and especially tasting all the delicious food and drinks!


"With Sturm, Glühwein and Cooked Rabbit"

"With Sturm, Glühwein and Cooked Rabbit"
1. November 2011
"The Neuberg Highlanders remain undefeated in the Damen Eishockey Bundes Liga, as we won our seventh consecutive match in the league.  We beat Gipsy Girls Villach on Saturday, 11:2.

After a great match, I decided to attend another sporting event the next day.  On Sunday, I went to my first futbol game.  In America, we call it „soccer“ and the sport doesn’t seem to be as popular as it is in Europe.  It was interesting observing how wild Austrian fans can be at these futbol games.  As the crowd cheered loudly for Sturm Graz, I silently enjoyed my first taste of gluehwein.  We don’t have such a drink back home in America.  It tasted like hot apple cider, and it seemed to really hit the spot, especially since I was freezing my butt off watching a futbol game outdoors.

After the game, my boyfriend, Michi Schmieder, and I went to have dinner with his parents.  This marked my second dinner date with his parents, so I was not as nervous as the first time.  I think I was more nervous for what we were about to eat.  His mom cooked rabbit, but they called it Gebratener Hase.  Rabbit is also not a popular dish that someone would eat in America, but I tried my first rabbit anyways.  To my surprise, I enjoyed it.  It tasted similar to turkey or chicken. 

Although I enjoyed trying rabbit and gluehwein, I am looking forward to returning home on Wednesday and having some authentic American food and drinks!"


Monday, November 28, 2011

Neuberg Highlanders Crush Gipsy Girls Villach, 11-2

Photo Courtesy of Harmut Marchl
The Neuberg Highlanders remain undefeated in the Damen Eishockey Bundes Liga (DEBL), as they beat the Gipsy Girls Villach, 11-2, on Saturday in Villach.  With the win, the Highlanders improved to a 7-0 record in DEBL while Villach falls to 1-7.

The Highlanders struck first as defender Jessica Jenkins skated with the puck into Villach's zone.  She shot the puck and captured her own rebound, sliding the puck passed the goaltender.  At the 10-minute mark in the first period, I was able to score a goal on the powerplay giving the Highlanders a 2-0 lead.  Four minutes later, I scored my second powerplay goal of the game.  I beat Villach's defender but was tripped.  As I was falling to the ice, I slid the puck between the goaltender's five-hole. 
Photo Courtesy of Harmut Marchl
The Highlanders were able to put one last tally on the scoreboard before the period ended.  Evelyn "Eve" Hochegger scored the final goal for the Highlanders.  The Gipsy Girls capitalized on one play and scored their first goal of the game.

Neuberg entered the second period with a 4-1 lead, but Villach came out bursting with speed, determined to tie the game.  The second period proved to be the Highlanders' worst period as they were unable to score even one goal while Villach cut its deficit to two goals.

Photo Courtesy of Harmut Marchl
As the Highlanders stepped onto the ice for the third period only leading 4-2, they proposed shortening the bench to two lines if the Gipsy Girls scored another goal.  I told the captains that they were not going to score, and they didn't!  The Highlanders scored seven unanswered goals in the third period and finished the game with an 11-2 victory.  Seven different Highlanders contributed goals in the game.  I received credit for three goals, while Hochegger and Julia Willenshofer scored two goals each.  Jenkins, Bettina Angerer, Sabrina Schlauer, and Katja Weiss each put one puck in the net.

The Highlanders play their final game of the 2011 year against HDK Maribor on Sunday at 4 p.m. in Kapfenberg. 



On Thursday, I celebrated American Thanksgiving in Austria.  My roommates (Courtney Bradley and Jessica Jenkins) are Canadian, so we celebrated their Thanksgiving in October.  Unfortunately, we could not find a turkey for their Thanksgiving, but  I was lucky enough to grab one of two turkeys in the grocery store a couple weeks ago!

On Thanksgiving Day, I opened the refrigerator to find my thawed-out turkey.  I proceeded to wash and clean out my turkey.  I made stuffing for the turkey, although the grocery stores here don't actually have a bag called "stuffing mix."  I used bread cubes, called knödel brot (dumpling bread), which are used to make knödels, or dumplings.  The grocery store also did not have all of the same spices and herbs that my mother usually puts in her stuffing mix, so I had to do without certain things like savory.  That is one thing I found difficult when trying to cook something from home.  The grocery stores here simply don't have the same ingredients as the grocery stores back home in America.  I had to work with what I could find at the store.  After making the stuffing, I opened the turkey up and jammed all my knödel brot stuffing inside.  I seasoned the outside of the turkey with rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper.  I also put slices of butter on the skin of the turkey.  I put the turkey into the oven at 10 a.m.  It was a "4,444 kg" turkey, which is about 9.7 lbs, so it needed to cook for about 4 to 4 1/2 hours.  To my surprise, the total bake time took about 5 or more hours.  This was my first turkey that I baked all on my own and I think it turned out great!

My boyfriend, Michi Schmieder, arrived at the apartment several minutes before the turkey had finished.  He was so sweet in that he brought me a bouquet of red roses!  I put the flowers in some water and continued my role as the master chef of the household.  I took the turkey out and carved slices of meat.  In addition to the turkey and its stuffing, I also served rice with gravy, green bean casserole, scalloped potatoes, deviled eggs, and crackers topped with cream cheese, smoked salmon, and a pepper (a tribute to the Quinnipiac women's ice hockey Thanksgiving feast).  For dessert, I made a sort of apple crumble-like thing.  It originally started out as an apple pie, but Austria doesn't have pie pans.  I had to use a spring-form pan for my apple pie...crumble...crisp thing.  All in all, it was a great first American Thanksgiving in Austria!  After cooking all day on Thursday, I don't think I will be cooking for a while!


Friday, November 25, 2011

"Neuberg's Grandma Celebrates Her Birthday"

"Neuberg's Grandma Celebrates Her Birthday"
24. November 2011

"We played a friendly match against Budapest on Sunday.  Unfortunately, we lost, 5-1, due to our lack of older players.  We played with the Highlanders’ second team, which has players younger than half my age!  It was difficult playing with girls, not only half my age, but half my size.  Because I am bigger, I skate faster than the girls and because I am older, I am more experienced.   Last year at my university (Quinnipiac University) in America, I was also the oldest on the team.  The difference between the Highlanders and my university team is that the youngest player at Quinnipiac was 18 years old, not eight!  I am considered the grandma on the Highlanders for I am the oldest on the team.

I just celebrated my 23rd birthday on 16. November.  For my birthday, I went to Graz with my boyfriend (Michi Schmieder).  We went shopping and walked around the city.  Over the weekend, I further celebrated my birthday as my roommates (Courtney Bradley and Jessica Jenkins), my boyfriend, and I went to Munich, Germany.  We bought tickets to see the Boyce Avenue concert at the Kesselhaus.  Boyce Avenue is an American band, so they sang all English songs, which I liked very much.  I enjoyed celebrating my first birthday in Austria, and I had a great weekend seeing my first European concert!"


Monday, November 21, 2011

Friendly Match: Budapest Beats Neuberg Highlanders 5-1

Photo Courtesy of neuberg-highlanders.at
In a friendly match, the Neuberg Highlanders found themselves in their second loss of the season.  Although the game did not count towards anything, Budapest beat the Highlanders, 5-1, in Kapfenberg on Sunday.

Budapest took a 1-0 lead within the first shift of the game.  As the Highlanders were down by one goal, I came back scoring the equalizer for my team.  We ended the period at 1-1.

The score remained even as both teams battled to a scoreless second period.  In the third period, Budapest took a 2-1 lead after two minutes of play.  Within six minutes later, Budapest extended its lead 3-1.  In the final minute of play, Budapest secured the victory as it scored two goals 22 seconds apart.

The Highlanders struggled as they were missing some key players in the lineup.  Since the game did not count toward our league standings, members from the Highlanders' second team were asked to play in the game.  That meant there were girls that were more than half my age playing on the team!

The Highlanders return to league play as they travel to Villach on Saturday to play Gipsy Girls Villach.


Munich, Germany

My roommates (Courtney Bradley and Jessica Jenkins), my boyfriend (Michi Schmieder), and I traveled to Munich, Germany on Friday for we had bought tickets to see Boyce Avenue in concert at the Kesselhaus.  The trip took about 4 hours driving.  We left in the morning hoping to get to Munich in the afternoon so we could walk around the city before the 8 p.m. opening act for Boyce Avenue. 

We arrived in Munich around 1 p.m.  We checked into our hotel and dropped our bags off at the room.  Michi and I went out for lunch.  We went to Pizza Hut!  It was Michi's first time at a Pizza Hut since Austria doesn't have any.  After we ate, we walked across the street to the BMW Welt.  The BMW Welt (or BMW World) was separated into two large buildings.  We went into the museum first, where we walked around gazing at all the different types of motorcycles and cars manufactured by BMW.

After touring the museum, we walked outside and crossed over a bridge to get to the second building.  This building was more like a shopping mall.  Rows of cars were on display throughout the two floors of the building.  Buyers could observe the cars and even take them on a test-drive, starting from inside the store.  While the museum was full of "Please Don't Touch" signs, this building allowed people to engage in a hands-on experience with the vehicles.  Michi and I sat on one of the motorcycles even though it was bolted to a stand, meaning it could not be moved or even turned on.  However, I enjoyed it.  Afterall, it marked my first time being on a motorcycle!

After spending an hour or two at the BMW Welt, we had to hurry back to the hotel so we could get ready for the concert!  Michi and I drank some wine as we got ready while Courtney and Jessica went downstairs to the hotel's bar.  All four of us piled into a taxi and made our way to Kesselhaus, the venue where Boyce Avenue would be playing.  Unfortunately, the first taxi took us to the wrong venue.  Apparently, the concert had been originally scheduled to take place at Theaterfabrik so the taxi driver took us there.  It was a 15-minute drive to the Theaterfabrik and we soon discovered it was going to take another 15-minute drive to get to the actual venue where the band would be performing!  The doors opened at 7 p.m., which was the time we were planning on getting there, but due to our detour, we got to the venue around 7:30 p.m.

Once we arrived at real venue, there was a long line outside the door extending down the street.  Jessica and I hurried out of the cab, ran across the street, and got into the line as fast as we could!  Michi and Courtney shortly filed into line with us.  Once we got inside, there were already tons of people piled in front of the stage.  We all got beers and worked out way into the crowd.

Tyler Ward opened for Boyce Avenue.  He is similar to Boyce Avenue in that he became famous from his cover songs he posted on YouTubeBoyce Avenue came on stage shortly after Tyler Ward's opening performance.  Overall, it was a great concert and we all had a blast at our first concert in Europe!

For more videos from the concert, check out my YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/skatingthedream


"Impact Shots and a Nice Dinner"

 Impact Shots and a Nice Dinner
18. November 2011

"We had a team practice on Sunday; however, there were only four of us because some girls had games with their other ice hockey teams.  Coach Werner Kerth compiled the practice with mostly shooting drills.  We worked on taking quick shots and slap shots.  The lack of a goaltender did not make for such an exciting practice but we figured out a way to make it work.   We flipped the net over and shot either on the left or right side, whichever side coach directed.  At the end of practice, coach had us get on the goal line and push the net down the ice one at a time.   We did this for a few minutes, but thankfully, I was able to leave early because I had a dinner date.
I made plans to have dinner with my boyfriend, Michi Schmieder, and his parents.  I was going to meet his mother for the first time.  Not to mention, this marked the first time I was going to meet someone’s parents that didn’t possess English as their first language.  My lack of knowledge of the German language put a great deal of nervousness upon me, but once we sat down for dinner, I felt a sense of comfort.  I found it funny but cute when his mother tried to speak English to me.  I’m sure his parents also found some amusement as I attempted to read the menu in German.   We enjoyed a bottle of wine as we ate our meals and it turned out to be a successful dinner date with the parents!"


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Celebrating my 23rd Birthday...in Austria!

Yesterday, I celebrated my first birthday in Austria!  For the big 2-3, I went to Graz with my boyfriend, Michi Schmieder.  We decided to go shopping for some Under Armour once we entered the city.  We went to ALLSTAR Sport and ended up spending just more than 300 (about 450 US Dollars) on Under Armour gear!  My boyfriend was so sweet in that he paid for all of it!

After we left the store, we parked at a shopping center inside the city and walked toward a giant wall of steps leading to the top of a mountain.  This sight seeing attraction is known as Schlossberg.  As we walked up the stairs, we observed the amazing view of the city.  We could see the rooftops of buildings as if we were on top of the city.  We climbed the steps further and we approached a tall clock tower, which was located on the top of the mountain.  There were several other buildings at the top, such as a café, but we just walked around overlooking the city.

We worked our way back down the steps, which seemed a lot easier than climbing up them.  Once we hit ground level, we walked to a unique bridge that crossed over a river, Murinsal - Island in the Mur.  The center of the bridge looked as if it was a bowl sitting in the middle of the river.  The unique architectural concept of this bridge really caught my eye since I have been planning to attend graduate school for architecture.  We walked across the bridge toward the bowl-like structure sitting in the center of the bridge.  A cafe and a playground resided in this "bowl."  We sat down inside the café for I was freezing cold.  I have yet to get used to this Austrian weather.  We each had a cafe latté to warm our bodies.  After we thawed out a bit, we continued on our journey across the bridge.  After we stepped off the bridge, we made our way back to the shopping center where the car was parked.  With my being a girl, I had to stop in a store and buy a few more items before we left Graz.

We arrived at the car and left Graz.  We drove to Bruck an der Mur, where we had dinner.  We ate a restaurant called Papa Joe's.  This place seemed like a Mexican restaurant, but it had an array of items on the menu ranging from burgers to burritos.  We ordered two beers each.  The funny thing was that these beers were 1/2 yard tall!  I struggled lifting the glass as I tried to pour the beer into my mouth.  For our meal, we ordered the Star of Santa Fe, which was enough for two people.  Our waitress brought out a giant platter that had an arrangement of meat (beef, chicken, pork, and bacon) hanging from a pole.  She set the platter down and lit the dangling meat on fire.  It was quite a sight to see!  After our meals, we ordered some dessert although we seemed pretty filled.  We ordered a chocolate fondue dish that came with an assortment of fruit for dipping.  After we finished our dessert and our beers, we drove home to Mürzzuschlag.

As I walked into the apartment, my roommates (Courtney Bradley and Jessica Jenkins) surprised with decorations on the walls for my birthday.  On our dining room table, I found a gift bag for me.  It contained two bottles of wine and my favorite kind of chewing gum!  After several minutes had passed, Jessica brought out yet another surprise, an ice cream cake that had two numbered candles on it, a "2" and a "3."  I blew our my candles and drank one of my bottles of wine (It was a small bottle) to conclude my birthday.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Ein Tag mit Kleine Zeitung

A Day with Kleine Zeitung

On Wednesday, I spent the day with Kleine Zeitung sports journalist, Christoph Heigl.  Heigl picked me up at my apartment in Mürzzuschlag.  From there, we drove to the headquarters of the No. 1 newspaper in Styria, Kleine Zeitung, which is located in Graz.  He took me on a tour of the company's building and I was able to meet some of his colleagues.

We sat in on the newspaper's morning meeting at 11 a.m.  The chief editor of the newspaper asked me to open the meeting by critiquing the layout and content of the newspaper that was issued that day.  I was in a room full of German-speaking Austrian adults, who had way more experience in the working field of journalism than me.  Of course, my nerves trembled as I began to speak, but after talking for a few minutes, I started to feel at ease.  I talked about the differences between the Austrian newspaper and newspapers back home in the United States.  I found Kleine Zeitung's newspaper easier to handle than the newspapers in the United States because you can easily turn the pages like you would a magazine or book.  The newspapers in America are folded several times, forcing you to unwrap the newspaper like a Christmas present.  Kleine Zeitung can relate to newspapers in America in that is also broken down into sections, such as culture, sports, entertainment, etc.  Kleine Zeitung has a "Thema" article each day, which is featured on the first two pages of the newspaper.  The "Thema" section is usually the most important story of that day's newspaper.  One person in the room asked me to look at a picture in one of the sections.  The picture displayed a topless celebrity.  The person asked me if that type of photograph would be allowed for print in the United States.  I said, "Of course not."  That is one major difference I found in the culture of Austria and the culture of the United States.  Austrian culture can portray such nude images and it is considered part of the norm.

After talking 10 or 15 minutes, I let the chief editor and the rest of the room take over the remaining minutes of the meeting.  Although they all spoke in German, I was able to understand a bit of what they were saying.  The meeting extended for at least an hour and Heigl suggested that we leave the meeting or else our boredom would get the best of us.

After we left the headquarters of Kleine Zeitung in Graz, we had lunch reservations at a restaurant in Bruck called BaderhausBaderhaus means "bathing house" in English.  As we stepped inside, it was as if we took a giant leap back in time.  With its historic stone walls, the restaurant dates back to the 9th century.  The restaurant was located near the water which made for a nice setting as we sat down for lunch.  Heigl ordered two soups for us to start our meals.  The soup was called Grammelstrudel, or crackling strudel in English.  Heigl attempted to explain that Grammel was the fat from pig skin after its been heated.  I don't think there is an actual English translation of what we ate, but it was good!  However, it doesn't really sound that good for you.  For our meals, Heigl ordered a pork dish with vegetables and noodles.  As I'm a girl that lives close to the beach, I ordered a seafood dish.  My meal was Tintenfisch, or calamari, cooked in garlic and oil with a side of potatoes mixed with spinach.  My meal was really good and I forced Heigl to try a piece of my calamari even though he hates seafood.  I don't think he enjoyed the rubbery texture of the calamari as he made a face of disgust when he ate it.

We finished our meals after an hour or so.  Afterward, we walked around Bruck for a little bit.  Then, we made our way over to Kleine Zeitung's Bruck office.  The office was smaller and had only a few employees compared to the large headquarters in Graz.  The people at the Bruck office seemed like a tight-knit group.  I worked with Heigl to edit my "Inside Neuberg Highlanders" article which came out today!  We worked for a few minutes, then we thought it was a good time to take a break.  We went into the "break room," where Heigl showed me their secret liquor cabinet.  We had a glass of white wine and took a shot of schnapps from Romania with one of his colleagues.  After our "break," we continued to work on the article and finished around 4:30 p.m.  After a long day, Heigl drove me back to Mürzzuschlag.  I enjoyed the day as I was able to observe the process of print journalism in Austria and see how it compares to the journalism field in the United States.  Below, you can find my article that was featured in yesterday's newspaper.

Finally I Found a Turkey
10. November 2011
"We won our sixth consecutive victory in the Damen BundasLiga on Sunday.  We beat Triglav 4:3.  This team had some of the biggest and fastest players we had seen so far in our league this season.  We did not play as well as we should have but we fortunate enough to hold the lead until the final buzzer.

After the match, we went to Sport Hotel as a team to eat a post-game meal and have some drinks.  My roommate, Courtney Bradley, invited her aunts to visit for the weekend.  It was nice hearing some English-speaking voices at the dinner table.  Her aunts showed their kindness as they paid for most of our meals, as well as donating some money toward the Neuberg Highlander program.

As all of us finished our meals at a very large table located in a private room in the back of the restaurant, I felt as if we were sitting at the dinner table celebrating American Thanksgiving as a family!  I have been hoping to still celebrate Thanksgiving even though I am in Austria.  The difficulty in this is finding a turkey!  My roommates and I celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving in October but failed in finding a turkey.  Luckily, I spotted two turkeys at the Merkur (grocery store) on Tuesday!  I, of course, had to purchase one for I was afraid I wouldn’t see another turkey again!  I placed my turkey in the freezer until I plan to cook it on Nov. 24 (Thanksgiving Day).  I look forward in celebrating my first American Thanksgiving in Austria!"


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Goals for Good

A friend of mine, senior captain Kevin McNamara of Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y., created Goals for Good in 2011.  Goals for Good is a charitable organization that works toward giving back to the communities that have supported the ice hockey teams of the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC).  The ECAC has been known as one of the most competitive conferences in Division I college ice hockey.  Goals for Good brings a similar competitiveness as it provides a charitable competition with various benefits for the top-performing teams and their communities.  The project allows ECAC Hockey fans to engage in some competitiveness of their own as they can compete alongside their favorite players in a charitable project to help those in need.  Goals for Good takes advantage of the competitive nature of ECAC Hockey to generate donations for various causes.

Goals for Good

Mission: To provide a vehicle inspiring people to donate to chosen non-profit organizations through collegiate ice hockey competition.

How It Works:  Each team in the ECAC has partnered with a charity in close relation to their team, school, or community.  Thanks to Pinkdingo.com, Goals For Good takes donations according to the amount of wins and goals that a team scores in a weekend or throughout the season. Follow these steps to help your favorite team raise money for the charity that they have chosen for this season.
  • Go to http://goalsforgood.org/.
  • Browse the “Teams” section on the menu bar or on the “Standings” table to see who each team has partner with, why they have chosen that charity, and what that charity aims to achieve.
  • Pick your favorite team or teams to give to by clicking on the “Donate” button at the bottom of the explanation.
  • You will have to pick if you want to donate according to the men’s or women’s team of that school. All of the donations from both teams will be pooled together for their charity.
  • This link will take you to the Pinkdingo powered donations page where you can select the appropriate donation.
  • The donation pages are set up so you can chose to donate by goal or by win for the length of the regular season.
  • If you don’t want to donate for the length of the season, you will be able to cancel your donations at any point.
  • Donations will only count towards ECAC games.
  • Keep coming back to http://goalsforgood.org/ to check on how your teams are doing in the charitable competition.
For more information and to contribute donations toward the project, visit the official website of Goals for Good: http://goalsforgood.org/.

Goals for Good is currently looking for corporate sponsorships for each team in the ECAC.  If you are interested, contact Kevin McNamara.

For any further questions or details, you can email Kevin McNamara at kevin@goalsforgood.org.

Stay connected with Goals for Good on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/goals4good) and Twitter (@GoalsForGood)


Highlanders Trounce Triglav

Photo Courtesy of Harmut Marchl
The Neuberg Highlanders remain undefeated in the Damen Eishockey Bundas Liga (DEBL) as they recorded their sixth consecutive league victory on Sunday.  The Highlanders beat HK Triglav Kranj, 4-3, in Kapfenberg.

Jennifer Pesendorfer scored the first goal for the Highlanders giving them a 1-0 lead at the start of the first period.  I scored the second goal for the Highlanders as I capitalized on a Triglav turnover and skated passed their final defender to score a lone goal. 

Photo Courtesy of Harmut Marchl
In the second period, Pesendorfer found me in front of the net.  I passed the puck over to Courtney Bradley who sailed the puck passed the Triglav goaltender, extending the Highlanders' lead to 3-0.  Defender Bettina Angerer skated the puck into Triglav's zone, beating several defenders and shooting the puck between the goaltender's legs.  Triglav responded scoring their first goal of the game before the end of the period.  The Highlanders skated off the ice with a 4-1 lead at the end of the second.

The third period proved to be the Highlanders worst as Triglav scored in the opening minute of play.  With the score 4-2, Triglav scored yet another goal to cut the deficit by one goal.  The Highlanders were fortunate to hold the lead until the final buzzer and completed the game with another victory.

For a list of the DEBL standings, click here.  For league leaders, click here.

The Highlanders return to action as they play a friendly match against FTC Budapest on Nov. 20 at 4:15 p.m. in Kapfenberg.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

"The NHL, Middle of the Night on the Computer"

The NHL, Middle of the Night on the Computer
3. November 2011

"I have been following the National Hockey League ever since I can remember.  Even though my home state, Virginia, doesn’t have a major league ice hockey team, I became an ice hockey fan as I watched Tampa Bay Lightning’s farm team, the Norfolk Admirals.  After going to many Admirals games as a child, I grew to love the game of hockey, but my heart has always been with a different team, the Washington Capitals.  I have been an avid "Caps" fan for many years.  Driving three and a half hours from my hometown to Washington, D.C. with my brother does not seem so far now that I am in Austria, thousands of miles from my team.

Although I can’t actually attend the games while I’m in Austria, I have found another way to see the games through websites on the Internet.  The only problem is that the games are usually at 7 p.m. in USA’s Eastern Standard Time.  This has forced me to stay up until 1 a.m. just to watch Capitals games online.  Being in Austria has turned me into a dedicated "Caps" fan as I have been determined in staying up for nearly all their games thus far.  I am looking forward to going home in December when I can watch live games on the TV at a decent hour rather than watching games on my little computer screen late at night."


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Highlanders Remain Perfect in League Play

Photo Courtesy of Hartmut Marchl
The Neuberg Highlanders remain undefeated in the Damen Eishockey Bundes Liga (DEBL), or Women's Ice Hockey Federal League in English, as they beat Gipsy Girls Villach, 5-2, on Oct. 26 in Kapfenberg.  The Highlanders stay as the top-seeded team in the DEBL standings with a 5-0 record, 6-1 overall.

Highlanders' Julia Willenshofer put the first tally on the scoreboard as she scored an unassisted goal in the eighth minute of the first period.  Jessica Jenkins added another mark to the score when she ripped a shot from inside the blue line.  Just over a minute later, I scored the third goal for the Highlanders as I skated down the right side of the ice toward the net.  I came in from the right side of the net, stopped in front of the goalie, and slid the puck passed the goal on the near post.

Photo Courtesy of Hartmut Marchl
After struggling in the first period, the Gipsy Girls managed to score at the beginning of the second period, cutting the deficit to 2 goals.  With a 3-1 lead, the Highlanders did not let up and scored a fourth goal at the end of the second period.  Jennifer Pesendorfer was credited with the goal while Courtney Bradley earned the assist.

In the third period, Bradley scored her ninth goal of the season giving the Highlanders a 5-1 lead.  Villach was able to score one last goal before the end of the game, but the Highlanders took a 5-2 victory on their home ice.

The Highlanders return to action as they play HK Triglav Kranj on Sunday, Nov. 6 at 4:15 p.m. in Kapfenberg.



"Our First Victory as a Coach with Neuberg II"

Our First Victory as a Coach with Neuberg II
"On Saturday, my roommates (Courtney Bradley and Jessica Jenkins) and I were asked to coach the Neuberg Highlanders II.  We gladly accepted.  We traveled on the bus with the girls to Linz as they were playing Ice Cats Linz.  We were excited to coach the young team but very few of them could speak English.  This made it difficult in our ability to coach, but I was able to speak to Captain Katja Weiss about the game.  She translated to the rest of the girls on the team for me.  I was in charge of the offensive lines while Jenkins covered the defensive lines.  Bradley was named „door girl.“  She opened and closed the door for the girls entering and leaving the ice. 

We rolled three sets of lines for the first two periods.  The Highlanders proved to be the dominant team after the first period, taking a 1:0 lead.  In the second period, Linz tied the game, 1:1.  I made a risky coaching decision by changing the lines.  I came up with two strong lines to play in the third period.  As Linz took a 2-0 lead at the start of the third period, I was worried that I made the wrong decision.  Luckily, the Highlanders responded scoring two consecutive goals and regained the lead.  With 0.2 seconds left in the match, the Highlanders put the cherry on top as they scored the final goal of the match.  Bradley, Jenkins, and I gave each high-fives on the bench to celebrate our first victory together as coaches!  Although we enjoyed coaching, the three of us are excited to move back to our player positions on Wednesday as we play Gipsy Girls Villach in Kapfenberg."


Kleine Zeitung Article 5

 "We played two friendly matches this week.  We played Budapest on Sunday and Denmark on Monday.    The match against Budapest did not seem too friendly as there were several fights in the match.  Unfortunately, we did not come out with a win in either game, but we tied Budapest, 3:3.  We did not play that well against Budapest and we should have beat them.  Denmark, however, was a very strong team.  We lost 7:3.  For the second game, we were missing some key players forcing me to double shift, which I found tiring.  In addition, my skate blade cracked in the middle and I played with a broken skate for most of the match.  It was nice playing teams that were more skilled than the teams in our league.  It provided some good competition for us.

My roommates and I enjoyed playing two games at home for we haven’t had a game in Kapfenberg in a few weeks.  We had also just returned from Venice, Italy on Thursday, so we were happy about not having to travel for a game.  We were in the car for 7 or 8 hours until we arrived to the beautiful city of Venice.  Some missed turns and bad directions extended our drive there.  It was my first trip to Italy as well as my roommates.  We did not expect things to be so expensive.  Because of our tight budget, we were forced to end our trip early.  On Thursday, we returned home to Austria with plenty of bug bites, which we received from the hotel’s beds the night before.  Our teammate, Evelyn Hochegger, said we need a better tour guide for our next trip.  Of course, I agreed with her!"


Sunday, October 23, 2011

From Player to Coach

Yesterday, my roommates (Courtney Bradley and Jessica Jenkins) and I traveled with the Neuberg Highlanders second team on the bus to Linz.  The second team, which has players aging from eight to 14, had a game against Ice Cats Linz at 8:30 p.m., or 20.30 is what they say in Austria.  Neither the head coach nor the trainer could attend the game due to prior responsibilities, so our team manager suggested that my roommates and I play coach for a night.  Jenkins was in charge of the defensive line-up while I coached the offensive lines.  Bradley was proudly named "door girl," as she opened and closed the door for the players entering and leaving the ice surface.  She seemed very intent on doing her job as Jenkins and I laughed at how focused she was at opening and closing the door.

Coaching the young Highlanders was difficult since most of them haven't learned a great deal of English in school yet.  I did not know how to say "good job" in German, so I hope my little pats on the girls' shoulders and heads let them know that I thought they were playing well.  Well, Jenkins and I actually knew barely any other ice hockey phrases in German to tell you the truth.  The lack of communication definitely proved to factor into our coaching ability.  I was able to speak with the captain of the team because she knew English.  If I had something to say to the team such as "take shorter shifts," I would go to her and tell her to talk to the team for me.

For the first two periods, we rolled three sets of lines.  After completing the first period with a 1-0 lead, we decided to keep the lines the same for the second period.  After Linz tied the game, 1-1, in the second period, I decided to just play two sets of lines in the third.  We changed the lines up and it like a promising decision before the third period started.  In the third period, Linz took a 2-1 lead and a sense of nervous came over me wondering if I made the right decision.  I seemed responsible for this change in the line-up.  However, the girls did not seem deflated after Linz scored.  They picked up momentum and scored two goals, taking a 3-2 lead.  This eased my nervousness.  With 0.2 seconds left in the game, 12-year-old Jennifer Pesendorfer put the cherry on top and scored the final goal of the game.  The rest of the "coaches" and I gave each other high-fives for our success in the 5-2 victory.

photo courtesy of Hartmut Marchl


Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Tie Against Budapest and a Denmark Loss

photo courtesy of neuberg-highlanders.at
On Sunday, the Neuberg Highlanders tied, 3-3, against Budapest in Kapfenberg.  Julia Willenshofer scored the first goal for the Highlanders, taking a 1-0 lead.  With one player in the penalty box, the Highlanders found themselves in a 5-4 penalty kill.  A Budapest defensemen had the puck at the blue line getting ready to take a shot on the Highlanders' net.  I attempted to block her shot and was successful.  I found myself on a breakaway and scored a shorthanded goal, making the score 2-0.  Budapest was able to capitalize off of a draw in the Highlanders' zone.  Budapest scored and finished the period with a 2-1 deficit.

In the second period, Courtney Bradley scored the third goal for the Highlanders as she walked out of the corner and wristed a backhand shot into Budapest's net.  Unfortunately, Budapest tied the game 3-3 after scoring late in the third period.  In the third period, Jessica Jenkins and Martina Kness found themselves in a fist fight against some Budapest players in front of the Highlanders' net, forcing them both to take a seat in the penalty box.  However, Jenkins did not let her previous penalty for fighting stop her from lifting up the gloves again.  She tackled a Budapest player in the corner of the Highlanders' defensive end and as punches came from both sides, the referee once again escorted Jenkins to the penalty box for a second time.

photo courtesy of neuberg-highlanders.at
The next day, we played Denmark.  This team was extremely fast and more skilled than most teams we have played this year.  The Neuberg Highlanders found themselves in their first loss of the season.  Denmark defeated the Highlanders, 7-3.

After being down 2-0 for most of the first period, I was able to score the first goal for the Highlanders off a rebound from Jenkins' shot that hailed from the blue line.  The Highlanders walked to the locker room with a 2-1 deficit after the first period.

The second period proved to the be the worst period for the Highlanders as Denmark scored four straight goals.  After the drop of the puck in the third period, the Highlanders picked up speed.  One of my teammates and I found ourselves on a two-on-one with a Denmark defender.  I passed the puck under the defender's stick and my teammate was able to get a shot on net which resulted in a rebound in front of the net.  Fellow teammate, Sophie Hellerschmid, was able to get her stick on it and scored her first goal of the season on the rebound.  Just 30 seconds later, the Highlanders won the face-off at center ice and skated down the ice toward Denmark's defensive zone.  Jennifer Pesendorfer passed me the puck and my shot drifted passed the Denmark's goaltender, making the score 6-3.  After scoring my second goal in the game, I found myself on the defensive side of a one-on-one.  Denmark's player was able to get a shot through me and the puck sailed passed the Highlanders' goaltender.  The goal proved to be the final tally of the game.

The Highlanders return to league action as they play Gipsy Girls Vallich on Wednesday in Kapfenberg.


Sunday, October 16, 2011


On Tuesday, my roommates (Courtney Bradley and Jessica Jenkins), one of our trainers (Axel Riegler), and I traveled to Venice, Italy.  We left around 9:30 a.m. or 10 a.m.  The drive was scheduled to take five hours, but some missed turns changed the road trip into about a seven- or eight-hour journey.  We had to pay nearly 50 in tolls because we turned around on the highway so many times and went through some of the same toll booths about three times each.  After the never-ending car ride, we finally made it to Venice!

We parked the car at a nearby parking garage and started walking around Venice.  The smell of salt water reminded me of home!  The first thing on everybody's mind was food, so we decided to eat at an Italian restaurant overlooking the Grand Canal.  We probably should have looked at the prices on the menu before sitting down at our table.  I ordered a small bottle of wine, of course.  That was one of the main "To-Do" items on my list: try Italian wine.  For a small bottle of wine, which is two glasses, it cost 17.  The bottle ended up being more expensive than my actual meal.  It was nice to see seafood on the menu because in Austria, there is no seafood, unless it is frozen section of the market.  As a girl that grew up near the beach, I love seafood!  I ordered Spaghetti alle vongole (Spaghetti with white clams).  It tasted really good but I feel I could make a better version of the dish.  It definitely was not worth the money.  Jessica ordered a pasta dish with tomato sauce, while Axel ordered pizza.  Courtney, the one of the family that doesn't try anything new, ordered Gnocchi with Gorgonzola.  I had a taste of her dish and it was delicious!  Courtney liked it as well, which seemed surprising to all of us at the table.  After we ate, we got our bill and it was 104.  That first meal killed our wallets and I don't think we were planning on going back there again.

After dinner, we walked around Venice some more and went into all the little shops.  We found that nearly everything was expensive.  Once the sun started going down, we were determined to find a place to stay for the night.  We searched around Venice for the cheapest hotel that would accompany a group of four people.  After failing several times, we finally found a place that had a quad-room vacant.  Once we paid for the room, we had to walk all the way back to the car to grab our luggage.  After we walked back to the hotel and put our luggage in the room, we decided to go walking and get some drinks.  We bought some beer and wine and then we went to a little bar known for making fresh fruit frozen drinks.  Jessica ordered a Bloody Mary and I ordered a Pomegranate Vodka frozen drink.  Axel showed how tough he was as he ordered a Pa Colada.  We returned home around midnight or 1 a.m.

The next morning, I got up early to run around Venice.  I was hoping that the tourists had not already packed the streets, but I was wrong.  It was difficult running in Venice as I had to dodge so many people.  After my run, I returned to the hotel to wake up my children (Courtney and Jessica).  They did not like my way of waking them up because I ripped open the curtains of our windows and shined the morning sunlight in their faces.  Once everyone was ready, we went downstairs of the hotel to eat breakfast.  After the meal, we began our adventure around Venice at 10 a.m.  We walked and walked...and walked.  I was determined to see the Basilica di San Marco, but it was a challenge to find it since we did not have a map.  We took a break at 1 p.m. to have lunch at another local Italian restaurant, but this time, we looked at the prices before we entered.  Jessica and I ordered pizza.  Axel ordered Gnocchi with mixed cheeses, similar to what Courtney ordered the night before.  Courtney ordered a Bolognese pasta dish.  We spent at least an hour or so resting at the restaurant as we were trying to post-pone the rest of our walk to the Basilica.

After asking several people along the way, we finally made it to the Basilica.  It was a crowded area and we were all very tired from our long walk.  There were a lot of pigeons everywhere.  Jessica and I thought it would be fun to interact with these pigeons so we held bread out in our hands.  All of sudden, a swarm of pigeons landed on our hands, arms, and shoulders.  Jessica and I were both praying that none of the pigeons would leave any "gifts" on our clothes.
After visiting San Marco for awhile, we decided to head back to the hotel, but we didn't know exactly where our hotel was located.  This made it difficult to ask locals for directions.  We just knew that our hotel was north of where we were.  Using the compass on Axel's iPhone, we continued walking in a northern direction.  On our way, we ran into another Venice attraction, the Rialto Bridge.

After observing the bridge, we proceeded to walk home.  Suddenly, we approached a bridge that we walked across as we entered Venice on the first day.  Smiles came over all of our faces and a sigh of relief was seen in our body language.

We arrived near our hotel around 7 p.m., so we decided to have dinner at a local restaurant.  With a tight budget, we chose a place that had pizza and other little snacks.  We all ordered kebabs and walked toward the back of the restaurant where there was outside seating.  The room was filled with these large, lit-up lily pads, some bar stools and bar tables.  We pulled a bar table up to the lily pad and set our food on the table.  We used a bench located under the lily pad to step up onto the lily pad itself.  We enjoyed our kebabs on our lily pad seats and watched the Italian news channel on a TV on the wall.  As people gathered into the room to enjoy their own meals, Courtney, Jessica, and I looked around us.  People we were sitting on the benches that were located under the lily pads and they had their food placed on the lily pad, which we discovered was a table.  We must have looked silly sitting on the table!  We were three Americans (Well, one American and two Canadians) sitting on the table in an Italian restaurant, eating kebabs, and watching the Italian news channel, which we had know idea what the news was saying!  After our faces grew red of embarrassment, we slowly crept down from the lily pad table and proceeded to sit on the benches like all the other Italian locals surrounding us. 

At the end of the night, we decided to return home to Austria the next day.  We did not plan how expensive Venice would be, actually we didn't particularly plan the trip at all.  I think for our next trip, we will plan better and not eat at such an expensive restaurant the first night...and we will try not to sit on the tables at the next city we visit!


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