It has been over a month since I last wrote and oh boy do I have a lot to tell you!
Starting with my family visiting over Thanksgiving! I had classes all morning the day my parents and little sister came to visit so we decided after classes we would meet at a diner in town to get some food before my game. It was hard for me to concentrate in my classes knowing that they were in Vermont and I had to wait to see them. As soon as my classes were over, I rushed to the diner and ran in to give huge hugs to everyone. We sat down and started talking about how their flight was when someone came up behind me and said, “I hear the food here is excellent.” I turned around and standing behind me were my aunt and uncle…SURPRISE! I had no idea that they were also coming to visit and I am still amazed that my family was able to keep such a big secret for so long, but I am glad they were able to because it really was the best surprise ever!
That night we played Plymouth State College to a 2 – 2 tie and then we beat the University of Southern Maine 2 – 1 the following night. On Sunday my family and I took a trip to Burlington to see the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory and do a little window shopping. We took a tour at the factory and got to see how they make their bears. They take their teddy bears very seriously and each bear comes with a lifetime warranty so if your bear gets damaged you can send them to the factory and they submit them to their hospital wing; yes, they really do have a hospital wing in their factory to repair or replace the bears that are sent in, and it’s staffed with a nurse to make sure your bear gets the best possible care. They are very creative with their bears and have many different kinds to choose from. They had army bears, firefighter bears, medieval knight bears, biker bears dressed in leather, Santa bears, Eskimo bears, nurse bears and the list goes on! You could even create your own bear and customize everything about it from eye color to getting a tattoo embroidered on it. It was fun to walk around the store and see all the variety of bears. Just when we thought we were going to be able to leave without buying any teddy bears, my aunt found a Captain Kirk from Star Trek and she had to have him! After doing a little walking around the different shops, we ate dinner at the Vermont Pub and Brewery where I had one of the best pulled pork sandwiches I have ever had, my uncle claims his pulled pork is better, but I think I will need proof 🙂
Unfortunately, I still had classes on Monday and Tuesday so my family did some exploring on their own. They went and saw a maple syrup museum, and The Hildene-The Lincoln Family Home. Between school and hockey keeping me busy I have not had the opportunity to get out and explore so it was fun to hear about all the things they did without me. Finally, after my class on Tuesday, we headed out to spend the rest of the week in Boston. On Wednesday we decided to take a trolley tour of the Boston area. We went to the Old State House Museum where we saw some really cool artifacts and paintings of Boston’s history. I would have to say my favorite thing they had on display was the walking cane that Congressman Preston Brooks used to brutally beat Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner in 1856. We went to see the USS Constitution, also known as Old Ironsides, but they were closed for the holidays so we had to settle on looking at the ship through a fence and going to the USS Constitution Museum instead. We then made our way down to see the Paul Revere House and this house was really interesting because they had it set up to look like it would have when the Revere family lived there. The next day was Thanksgiving and everything was closed so we decided to just go out and walk part of the Freedom Trail. We stopped and saw the cemetery where Ben Franklin’s parents and Paul Revere are buried. The cemetery was really cool, all of the headstones were so worn down that it was hard to read what was on them and the plots are so close together it was hard to tell were one ended and were the next one started. I was also amazed to learn that a lot of the headstones marked the graves of multiple people just buried one right on top of the other. After walking around for a while, we decided we were getting a little hungry. Now, it is not officially Thanksgiving until you eat a turkey dinner and all week we were talking about what we were going to do for turkey dinner. We asked some people at the hotel and they gave us a list of restaurants that were serving turkey dinner, but none of them sounded right. We started asking people who lived in Boston where they recommended we go and no one really gave us an answer so we decided we were just going to keep our eyes open while we were out and about that day and hope for the best. While we were wandering around, we stumbled across an Irish restaurant that was advertising turkey dinners. We were allstanding around the menu debating whether or not to go in or to keep looking, when a couple came out and told us how great it was in there; so we took their advice and went inside. The couple was telling the truth, it was awesome inside and our waitress was from Ireland so we had a great time talking with her and the turkey dinner was incredible. I was not disappointed in the least and I was very happy we took the couples’ advice.
Friday morning we packed our stuff up and headed to Massachusetts to check out where the Salem Witch Trials happened. There is a lot to see and do in Salem and we tried to do a lot in only half a day. We ended up going to the Salem Witch Museum and then we walked around to see all the little shops. After eating a late lunch, we got on the road back to Castleton. I had a great time with my family and I felt like the week went by way too fast so before I knew it, they were dropping me off at my dorm and saying good bye. (Thank you for coming Mom, Dad, Megan, Aunt Maurine and Uncle Kelly, I love you guys!)
After an awesome Thanksgiving break it was time to focus on school and hockey again. With only two weeks left in the semester, it was definitely crunch time in my classes and we only had 3 games left in the semester and we wanted to have a strong ending. We had our first away trip of the year on December 3rd and 4th against Manhattanville College and Nichols College and we knew it was going to be a tough weekend of games. Manhattanville has always been a good team, and we have always been pretty equal with Nichols. We lost 6-0 to Manhattanville and 3-2 to Nichols, and even though it was a long bus ride there, it felt twice as long on the way back. We ended the semester with a game against New England College on December 11 and it was Girl Scout Night. That morning a few of my teammates and I brought some of our gear to show the girls what we wear and then we pulled out some street hockey sticks and some tennis balls to show some hockey techniques. We set up three stations, one for shooting, one for stick handling and one for passing, and the girls split into three groups and rotated between the stations. It seemed like all the girls had fun, I know I sure did, and they all came to our game to cheer us on. Even though we played really hard and we fought until the last buzzer, we lost 3-2. Only losing by one goal is encouraging in a way because that means we are competitive with these teams, but at the same time it is extremely frustrating to play so well and be so close and still lose.
We still have a lot of games to go this season starting with our Rutland Herald Invitational Tournament on January 7th and 8th against Buffalo State, Plymouth State and Potsdam State. The end of the semester pushes can be really stressful especially when you have a really weird schedule for finals like we had this year. They started on Wednesday the 15th and ended Tuesday the 21st. I was one of the lucky ones who had my last final on Friday so I was able to fly home on Saturday, and let me tell you it feels great to be home!!
I hope everyone is enjoying the holidays!