WRITTEN BY VERA GIACOMAZZI
I left Europe to go to America a couple years ago and America brought me back to Europe in the best way possible - with the whole Ohio squad.
The real journey started 10 days before our flight from Columbus to Rome last month. We put a lot of hours in the gym working as individuals and as a group, competing, scouting and eating together. By the end of May the whole freshman class was on campus and we worked hard to get ready.
During this preseason I can't even remember how many times the coaches told us to start packing. A good 80% of the team started the day before - me included. On the June 6 at 9 a.m, we were all set and ready for our 12 days overseas.
We landed in Rome and immediately visited the city. We were caught up in emperors, popes and some old fashion ruins that make Rome the incredible city it is. Ohio had the chance to also play some good volleyball against an old friend of mine, VolleyRo'. Both of our teams won their games and did a great job adapting to a lot of new variables like the heat, the gym, the ball and a different game style.
After three days of pizza, pasta and Colosseo we left to go to Pordenone. It was a special moment for me because for the first time after two years my family had the chance to meet my American family. I might have been tearing up a little bit at that point, but I guess you guys will never know for sure.
After another practice in the Italian heat we had the chance to visit the little city where we were staying, on the border in between Veneto and Friuli. The day after the team and parents came to my hometown for a visit, some good food and a chat with the mayor of the city.
On June 11 we hopped on a train and went to Venice. Actually, we got lost in Venice and almost found ourselves swimming in the not so tempting waters of the city. In the floating city we saw the San Marco church and square, the clock tower and the beautiful architecture of the houses.
On the June 12, a bus ride took us to Slovenia where we watched sunsets and played volleyball. In Slovenia, we learned that riding a bike is not always as easy as just riding a bike.
After Slovenia we were ready for some wienerschnitzel and potatoes – we were off to Vienna! After visiting the city for couple hours, our loyal driver took us to Prague. In the city of the one hundred towers we had the pleasure to play two national teams and to visit the city for an entire day and a half. We were lucky enough to see the change of the guard in front of the presidential house and to visit the impressive church right behind it. After a day of shopping and walking around the city we headed back to the hotel to pack our bags to fly back to America the day after.
It was a trip fulfilled with emotions, new adventures, wows, excitement, food, volleyball, growing and learning. I believe this experience changed a lot of people and it will help us reach one of our goals for the season - to be the best version of ourselves. Thank you so much to everyone who made this possible and gave us the possibility to grow and mature as individuals and as a team and to be a part of such an amazing and unique opportunity.
Your very own Italian bobcat,