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Planned Surprise Visit Home For The Holidays!


It has been quite awhile since my last update. I left off telling you about my Austrian Style Thanksgiving and the Christkindlmarkts in Vienna! That was over two months ago…lets catch you up to speed shall we?

When December came knocking on the door it was finally time to put up the Christmas tree! The Rothensteiner’s (my Austrian family) cut down a tree when I was away at hockey and set it up in the entrance of the hotel to surprise me. The tree was enormous. When I walked in the door it towered over my head and I swear it looked as though it was 20 ft tall!

The little girl I live with (Sima) wanted to decorate the tree with me. One night when her parents went out we went and dug out the ornaments from the storage room. Now if you read my last post you will know that I am allergic to Christmas trees…I bet you are already imagining where this story is going! Before we started I took some medicine and my inhaler and figured I would be OK for a few hours. Little did I know that I would break out in a rash from touching the tree! I had never touched a tree before because I never got close to them (knowing I was allergic). I had no idea how I would react to the tree if I were to touch it. Once I noticed the reaction starting on my hands I told Sima we had to hurry up before the rash got any worse. After about 15 minutes of decorating the tree we had to call it quits. My hands were swollen, itchy and filled with little red bumps. Even though we had to stop we were pretty much finished hanging all of the ornaments and the tree looked great. The sacrifices we make when we get older just to see satisfaction and joy on children’s faces!

In early December we played two games before our three-week break. We played Salzburg and Martin, unfortunately losing both. Before the Salzburg game, the team took a pre-game walk and had some fun on our feet sliding down the slippery road!

In mid September I decided that I would fly home at Christmas time to spend the holiday with my family in the States. My mom and dad knew that I was coming home but we decided not to tell anyone (and I mean anyone) that I would be home. We thought it would be cool to surprise my friends and family. This was a great idea in our minds until we found out how hard it was to lie to people…not to mention for 3 whole months! My own brother and sister didn’t even know! We slipped numerous times but covered up each slip with another great lie!

I landed in Montreal, Canada on December 12th and my parents were there to meet me. It had been 4 months to the day since I had seen them (minus the Skype dates)! From Montreal I had a 2-hour drive until I was finally home! I am not proud to say but my first stop back on that side of the pond was at a Tim Horton’s (to all my Canadian friends out there who talk up Tim Horton’s like it is heaven-it is pretty good, but not good enough to have an obsession over)! I finally touched down on VT soil and after a nice car ride catching up with my parents I finally made it home where my dog “Bauer” was there to greet me!

I brought all my stuff inside, including my 106 lb bag and took it straight to my room. I left no trace in the house that I was home. My mom invited my sister, her fiancé and my brother over for dinner so I could surprise them. They all came at different times so I had to perform my surprise three separate times.

My sister showed up first and when she pulled into the driveway I ran up to my room. When I heard her downstairs I called my mom on Skype. I was sitting on my bed and found one place on my wall that looked like my room in Austria so it would be convincing enough. If I moved at all they would know it was my room in the States. My sister was talking to me when I turned off the video. She told me she couldn’t see me anymore so I told her to wait a minute and let me fix the problem. Skype doesn’t always have the greatest connection so she had no idea what was going on. I then went downstairs and knocked on the door to the room they were sitting in. When I walked into the room my sister was in shock and looked as if she saw a ghost! Her mind could not process the fact that I was just on the computer screen, 5,000 miles away; across an ocean and 15 seconds later I was in the same room as she was!

To make a long story short, we did this three different times and got great reactions from everyone. I think my brother got whiplash looking back and forth from me to the computer screen! At that point my parents and I were so relieved to finally not have to keep a huge secret from people anymore! There were many other surprises after that to my family and friends who had no idea I was in town.

While I was home I was able to do many things and had the opportunity to catch up with my friends and family. I helped my sister coach her high school girls hockey team, played in my high school alumni hockey game, went snowboarding in my backyard, and went pond skating multiple times at my uncles.

Before leaving Vienna to go home I was on a hunt to find a pair of lederhosen to take home with me. I wanted to bring out my new European culture and wear them to my family gatherings on both Christmas Eve and Christmas day. I finally found a pair after searching high and low and they were perfect…Everyone got a kick out of them and had a good laugh!

Right before I left to come back to Vienna I had to go to a dress fitting for my sisters wedding this summer. We spent most of a Sunday morning getting all the details in order. How can you not have fun with eight bridesmaids, three flower girls (and their moms), the mothers of both the bride and groom and of course the bride to be! It was out of control!

I arrived back in Vienna on January 7th and left the next day for two games on the road. We played two great; close games, one in Salzburg and the other in Germany (vs. Planegg). I got to see my old teammate from UVM (Melanie Greene) and it was great to catch up with her again!

After our road trip we were back in Vienna for a bit so I decided to take Sima to a nearby rink and go public skating with her. She just got new skates from “Hofer” the local grocery store! They are bright orange and very stylish…I’m considering them for my next pair! All the local rinks have awesome “milk crates” for the kids to use while learning how to skate. When I was younger the rinks always stacked two milk crates together and let kids push them around the ice for stability while learning to skate. The ones here in Europe are friendly animals…it’s awesome! The rink we went to had penguins as their milk crates. I absolutely love penguins-I wanted to use it more than Sima did!

When I came back to Vienna the weather was very warm. The temperature finally cooled down and the outdoor skating rink at City Hall finally opened! I took Sima there to skate and despite the massive amounts of people, we had a great time and enjoyed the sunny, Sunday afternoon.

My mom and her two friends are coming to visit me and to have the opportunity to see a little bit of Europe. I am planning on showing them around Vienna, Salzburg and then we are all going to Italy for a week. We are planning to do many things in a short period of time so we will most likely be exhausted when all is said and done, but I can’t wait! My dad’s side of the family is from a small village, “San Costanzo” in Italy. We will visit there as well as Rome, Florence and Venice before returning back to Vienna. I will be sure to take lots of pictures and send in my next entry on time, with all my adventures with my mom and friends!

Thanks for reading…hope you enjoyed!

Until Next Time,



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