Former ODU women's soccer player and current assistant coach Jen Holton is playing professional soccer in Iceland this summer. She'll be checking in with OhioDominicanPanthers.com with updates from her travels this summer.
Hello all! Sorry for the two week break, I just got caught up with a busy soccer schedule full of games, practices, and coaching as well as having a few family friends in town. Just to catch everyone up, the season has been going really well.
We have won our last four games and currently sit third in the league. We must be one of the top two teams in our division to make it to the post season and I do believe that is a strong possibility. We have played the last four games at home and also have the next one at home as well which definitely helps by having home field advantage. The next game that we play is going to be a tough challenge for us because our opponent is the number one team in the league, undefeated so far and beat us 3-0 the last time we played them. That was very early in the season, though, and we have come a long way since then so our chances of winning are much higher. Keep your fingers crossed and hope that we can pull out a win in this game on Thursday :)
The best part about the last two weeks, however, was having a little taste of home in town with me. The two women that came to visit me are very close friends of my family and I would consider them family if asked. When I told my coach that I was having family come visit he was very impressed because typically foreign players do not have visitors due to the cost of the flights and what not. He allowed me to have the days off from work and practice while they were here. One of our team managers and his daughter were very helpful as well in getting me and my family members around Iceland and showing us all of the touristy sites. This was great since I don't have a car or an Iceland driver's license. The three days that they were here were jam packed however and were full of adventures. Of course the time flew by with them but it definitely helped me get through the half way point of being away from home for two months and has given me the strength to push through the next two months.
The two women arrived last Sunday and Siggi (one of our team managers) drove me to the airport to pick them up. On our way home we gave them a history lesson of the Icelandic landscape and environment as well as a tour of our town, Grindavik. Later on that night we decided to climb the town's dormant volcano, Mt. Thorjborn, and take in the sites from above. After the hike, Siggi picked us up from the house and we went to one of the coolest places I have ever been to, the continental plate divide. Here at this point I was able to be on two different continental plates at the same time, so basically in both the continent of North America as well as Europe. I didn't even need a passport to do this! Just as how we can be in four states at once in the U.S. I was able to be in two continents at once! That was pretty awesome. After the continental divide, we went site seeing some more and then headed home as the girls were tired from the time change, constant daylight, and the red eye flight.
On Monday we woke up early and of course started our day with a trip to the bakery ;) The girls said that this was the best bakery that they have ever been to and were even going to take goods home with them! After breakfast we went to the Blue Lagoon Resort and Spa and spent the morning relaxing in the volcano warmed water as well as in the sauna. In the early afternoon, Siggi's daughter, Anna, came to pick us up from the Lagoon and was our personal tour guide to downtown Reykjavik, the capital city of Iceland. We spent the day shopping and taking in the sites in Reykjavik as well as having lunch in an Icelandic restaurant and of course stopping at Valdis, one of Iceland's best ice cream shops (Definitely one of the best ice creams I have ever had). The waffle cones here are made fresh everyday with a bit of chocolate at the very bottom of the cone to help finish off your sweet tooth :)
After we shopped until we dropped, we headed back home for some in town Papa's Pizzas and a stop to the candy store. We finished out our night with a late night walk since the girls were so shocked with the daylight even at midnight! Sadly they had to leave early Tuesday morning but what a fun few days! It was really nice to have a little bit of America around me even if it was just for a couple days. I'm missing home but they definitely helped fill the void. So happy they were able to visit as well as see Iceland and check it off their list of interesting places to travel :) Got to go for now, will write more soon!