It has been too long since my last post! I have SOOO much to catch up on! I have been incredibly busy since I left Tucson and haven't had the time to write! So... here we go....
I came home from Tucson having only 5 days before leaving for Team Processing. It was Frontier Days week... to only increase my busy-ness ;-)But it was so much fun and a great distraction for just before leaving. A good friend came into town for the weekend. We had a great visit, going to Rocky Mountain National Park with my family for the afternoon (which was exceptionally beautiful) then later in the evening we went to the Taylor Swift concert. It was so much fun! I was given free VIP tickets for standing room as a gift for being an Olympian! Beth Edwards and Dave Johanson are to thank for that special eveing!
Monday morning, I attended our traditional Pancake Breakfast with my family in downtown Cheyenne. It was delicious! The next day I rode in the Frontier Days Parade as the U.S. Olympian from Cheyenne. I received so much support from on-lookers! So many people wishing me good luck and "Go USA!" It was a great motivation to me! Later that day my family and I went to the Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo. Again, thanks to Beth Edwards, my family and friend and I enjoyed another memorable expereince before my departure. The last day at home I WATCHED the parade then ate lunch with my family and the Smith ladies. In between all these activities I was continuing to train and attempt to complete all my preparations for leaving the country. This was a bit of a stressful time for me. Too much to do in half the time I needed. My family was incredibly supportive and helpful during this time, trying to do as much as they could FOR me to cut down my load. There were others during this time who also encouraged me and lifted me up. Don Rabska, our assistant Olympic Coach sent me many emails filled with positive reinforcement and great conversations. Sue Smith encouraged me with scripture and has been praying for me faithfully (as I know many others are as well). And Beth Edwards... that woman just inspires me so much! She has spoken a word in due season to me so many times! Her words have encouraged me and her example of a positive, sweet-spirited woman challenges me. I just want to say thank you to EVERYONE who has encouraged me, written notes, emailed, prayed for and supported me. The Lord has strenthened me through all of you! And I am so grateful for every bit of input you have had in my life.
On Friday I left very early for San Jose where I met my team and went through Team Processing. It was so goog to be back with the team again, like coming back to my second family. In team processing I received SO MUCH clothing! I had to send a 37lb. box home because I couldn't fit everything in my bag! We had a suprise visit from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who came in while we were fitting our clothing. My teammate, Khatuna, and I got our picture with him. It was a building excitement being with all the athletes as we were getting ready for the Olympics. The overall anticipation was rising.
Later in the evening, after re-packing, I had a spur of the moment visit from my Aunt Jo and three cousins! It was so good to see them after a minimum of two years since our last visit. We went out for hot tea and some catching up. My cousin, Kristen, was married only a few weeks ago while I was in France. So this was my opportunity to meet her husband who seemed to be a very kind man.
We left early the next morning for Beijing. The flight went so quickly because I slept for over half the flight! There was a young mother and her two month-old sitting in front of me. The baby was SO GOOD during the flight and her mother let me hold her for a few minutes before we got off the plane.
When we landed they announced that the Beijing airport is now the largest building in the world for square footage. And when we deplaned, I was so impressed! The airport looks amazing! But that was just the beginning. We were taken to the Olympic Village after receiving our bags, of which we hardly had to carry at all because the chinese people are SO helpful. They were anxious to do ANYTHING to help us out and were so excited to have us! They took us into the Village which, I must say, is amazing!!! It's beauiful, decorated in a definite chinese style. We came in on the opening day of the village...we were some of the first to arrive! The food is excellent and our accomodations very comfortable. So far it's been a two thumbs up for China on everything.
Training is going really well. The venue is beautiful and only a few minutes drive from the Village. My shooting has been better and better each day and my confidence seems to rise with my shooting quality. Everyone has been very supportive and I am increasing in excitement for all that's to come. Each day more and more people come into the village and I look forward to meeting more people and making new friends.
I will write more in the days to come now that I'm in Beijing and am getting settled. I'll have more time to update. But now I must get to bed since, as you can see, I'm beginning to ramble. Goodnight!