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US Christmas time trip - Roller derby world cup & visiting with friends & family

Last December was the 2nd Roller Derby World Cup in Dallas. Since we definitely wanted to go to that we planned a month long US trip to try and visit most of our friends and family. It was nice to have a long break and visit with everyone again.

Since we had some flight delays we got into Dallas later than expected, but that was alright. By the time we got downtown to where we were staying and found some food it was bedtime. Really when we went to get some dinner and I was half asleep and could have just laid my head on the table and took a nap. It was bad.  

Dallas was more artsy than I expected. The day after we arrived was the first day of roller derby! We got up early and walked out to get some vegan doughnuts which were super tasty. It is not the most pedestrian friendly city though. We were walking to the doughnut place and all of a sudden there were no more sidewalks. Odd as it wasn't like we were walking outside of the city or anything...

I was most excited to watch Team Japan play! The first Asian roller derby team! Very exciting for me. There were teams from every continent there!! Team Japan didn't do that well, really I didn't know that they would since they are one of the newer teams, but it was still fun to watch. They also had some pretty amazing skater names - my favorites were Ninja Plz, Secret Asian Slam, and Slamurai.

Really the whole thing was so much fun. In 2011 the first world cup had 13 teams, this time there were 30. That is a lot of derby. It was set up kind of like the football world cup - the teams were put in groups and everyone played everyone from their group. Then the first and second place teams played against each other (1st of one group vs 2nd of another) and so on until you got to the final winner. I just love how many teams there were and how big the sport is getting. It really is not just a US sport anymore. I remember in 2011 watching and thinking aw, poor Argentina who was just getting killed by everyone, but this time round they did much better. They got to the quarter finals before losing to the US. It was fun seeing how all the teams we had seen before had improved and whatnot There were three tracks set up and derby going on all day on each of them. I had tried to put together some kind of viewing schedule so we could see everyone, but then we realized if we sat at the top of the bleacher at the one track we could see all three if we wanted so we just did that.

Team West Indies played Team Japan at one point and man...the Japanese girls looked so tiny next to some of them.

A lovely Miller Lite display at the one grocery store that also was showing A Christmas Story

From where we were staying we looked out the window one morning and could watch all the people that were going to be in the Holiday parade getting ready. While eating breakfast there was this giant group of clowns that walked by. It was entertaining.

Then on the walk to derby we saw some of the giant balloons - including Pinkie Pie!!! She is only my favorite pony so it was quite exciting.

We showed up early for the last day because the last time it was a mess trying to find a place to watch the finals from. This time there was plenty of room and comfy chairs too. We had brought our lunch and everything so we didn't have to leave in case there wasn't a lot of room. It was so so much fun. So much derby, so many countries, so much fun. The last time Team USA just destroyed everyone - the final was vs Canada with a final score of 336-33. That is a huge point difference, but last year it was much closer. Team USA still won, vs England, but the final score was only 219-105. Still a big gap, 114 points, but much closer than the 303 point difference the time prior. I think next time it will be an even closer bout. So much fun!!

After the final bout we went and got some dinner, then wandered back to our hotel. It was such a good time. Then the next day we flew to Portland in the afternoon, but my one online book club friend lives near Dallas so we got to meet up for lunch beforehand! That was really nice, even though I was kind of tired and still not on the time yet. It was just nice to meet up and hang out with someone I had only ever talked to online. And she was super sweet and it was just really nice.

Apparently we didn't take many pictures in Portland except of the food. Definitely not any of the people we saw which I really need to get better at that. We stayed a few nights with Katy and Max, who we met through couchsurfing. They had visited Berlin last summer so it was nice seeing them again in their hometown. Then we also stayed with Melissa a few nights, another couchsurfing friend. And of course met up with Neal and Kristen for dinner one night which was really nice since it had been a really long time since I had seen them last. We really just hung out, ate foods, and visited with friends. Oh we did go see the Boxtrolls as well which I enjoyed. Not what I was expecting and the filmmakers were not being subtle with their message.

After our time in Portland we drove up to Seattle to visit everyone there.

We stayed with Pete, Frank and Poncho a few nights and the above photos are from our walk at Dash Point State Park. Really beautiful while we were there, but a little cold.

One of the best things about staying with Pete? Poncho sleeps with you. He curls up next to you and it is so nice waking up to puppy!

A tea break and some very important planning - where to eat while we were there.

We also stayed with my friend Gillian a few nights. On the Friday night we were there we had a meet up with some of our friends at a place near her house and she made me all pretty. Well she curled my hair which is a task. It takes forever and it doesn't like to stay curled. My hair definitely likes being straight.

The view from her place. Our last day in Seattle we spend with Raymond's family. We went on the Great Wheel, had lunch at my favorite pho place, and checked out the Chihuly Garden and Glass at Seattle Center. Below are the photos

It was a really nice day.

After Seattle it was off to PA for Christmas with my family. Again I don't really have any photos from there, but it was fun nonetheless. We went to see The Hunger Games and Big Hero 6 both of which I really enjoyed. Big Hero 6 was so cute!! We also had a game day and just lots of fun.

Then Suzi picked us up and brought us down to her place to stay for a few days. We got to see Dave and eat lots of treats and just hang out with her. Really the above photo is from my birthday this year, but I only have cookie and cupcake photos from our time with Suzi. Then back to Berlin for New Years Eve, which probably wasn't the smartest idea. We got her around lunchtime on New Years Eve and well...I was really tired, but tried to stay up. There were so many fireworks and everything I thought this was a bad plan. How an I ever going to sleep? Luckily I was tired enough to do just that. Really it was a nice trip. We got to see most of our friends and family and just had a really good time.


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