Monday, July 21, 2014


The past couple of weeks in Buenos Aires have been a blast. I know I have to say goodbye soon, so every moment feels soaked in joy, filled with care and appreciation. I wish that time could stop, if only for a few minutes, so I could breathe it all in and remember the sights and smells and gratitude I have for this past year, for Corteo.

Where I've Been the Past Few Weeks:
(because lists are easier)

1) At work!

 I blog a lot about our travels, but sometimes I forget to mention that I perform daily, sometimes twice daily. We usually have 8-9 shows a week, so most of my time is spent at the big top. I wouldn't have it any other way! 

Friends between shows in the kitchen <3

Gabi and Abbey! Gonna miss this guy a whole bunch!

Gabi and Alix went into paradis as jumpers this city! Welcome to the best act in Corteo ;)

Novatos Trio <3

Almost there!

2) The Argentinian Experience.

Tonight I went to The Argentinian Experience with some co-workers and had a blast dining with traditional Argentinian food: wine, empanadas, steak, matte, and alfajores. The staff was great and entertained us with Argentinian cultural facts throughout the dinner!

That's hot sauce y'all, not ketchup. Can't forget soy de Tejas!

^^ I made that!

3) Flies.

Max was also here for almost two weeks. Alain, our French Canadian singer on Corteo taught Max how to tie flies! We were joking that we will always remember that Max learned how to tie flies from a Canadian singer in the middle of Buenos Aires. What are the odds? I surprised him with a trip to his friends lodge near Yosemite coming up, so he's officially ready to tackle the fish at Henry's Fork now. Thanks, Alain!

 4) The World Cup!

 Argentina made it to the finals (if you didn't know that then you need to get out of your cave), and we were supposed to have a show the Sunday of the game. We were all a little worried that absolutely no one was going to come to the show, and when we showed up to work on Saturday, we realized the show was cancelled! We have an extra show this upcoming week, so we will have ten shows this week, but it was well worth it.

Staff put signs up all over site to let everyone know that we didn't have work on game day. I don't know who had the idea, but it was brilliant and fun.

Max was in town, so we went to a cast mate's apartment to watch the game. We watched the first half at his part with friends, and then we headed next door to Inna and Roberto's to watch the remainder of the game. We are obsessed with their almost-two-year-old, Sofia, so we spent most of the game playing with her!

5) La Boca, El Caminito.

Max and I went with friends, Hayley and Matt, to El Caminito on a beautiful, sunny winter day here in Buenos Aires. El Caminito is a street museum and tourist area, famous for inspiring the music for a famous tango. We mostly went to see the bright colors and enjoy our day off. I got a new leather cross body because Argentina is famous for leather (and do I really need a reason for a new bag?), and we also got a few paintings from some local vendors. I'm excited to finally have a home to display our multi-national art!

Well, that's about it! Time to enjoy these next two weeks before I say "Ciao" to Corteo! Don't count the moments; make the moments count!

Thursday, June 26, 2014


I don’t really know where to start. Usually when I have this problem, I mumble roundabout phrases that lack little sense, and I end up never really getting around to it. “Uhhh.. so I have something important to say… but the weather is nice today… and how are the kids? And I know you weren’t expecting this… and I don’t really know how to say this, but…” My sister is usually on the other end of the phone line yelling, “Abbey! Spit it out!” I figure maybe her technique will suit me best here.
Max and I would like to share that I have accepted a position in Las Vegas at O. My contract begins in August; therefore, Buenos Aires, our current city, will be my last city on tour with Corteo. Max and I know this is best for our family, and as much as we would like to say that it should be an easy transition, we know all too well that new changes always come with new challenges. This time for us is simply bittersweet.

We are thrilled for new opportunity, but we are also devastated to leave our family at Corteo. While I’ve only been working for Corteo for just under a year, we have developed a special kind of love in our hearts for the adventure of traveling, the people we have come to know and love, and of course, maid service twice a week. ;)

I’ve been a bit sensitive about our situation lately, and although Vova K (my paradis coach) will definitely blame this on the fact that I’m American, I know it lies deeper than my cultural affiliation with dramatics, OMG-ing, and excuses for bingeing. This opportunity has been handed over to me on a golden platter. It has been handed to me like a free gift, as if God is just whispering in my ear, “This is for you, Abbey. Just take it.”

Meanwhile, my friend suffered from a C7 fracture in his neck last week after landing on his head during Teeterboard training. Days later, he is already back in England, home for him, where he will spend the next several months recovering. Even he trusts that this difficult time will lead him somewhere great, but as I make this announcement, I can’t help but feel a sting of guilt as he faces new heartache and I  delight in new opportunity. We are all on a different road, and I trust that our paths guide us toward a place of rebuilding and restoration.

With all of that being said, I still have five weeks left on Corteo. My focus will be here, and I will be spending every opportunity to cherish my time left on this show. Corteo has brought me so many gifts- relationships, art, adventure- I can’t express how grateful I am to have had this opportunity.
Corteo has required that Max and I be long distance during the months that he plays professional lacrosse, and this time has only made us give more attention and nourishment to our time together. O will enable Max and I to live our lives as one, in the same location, without 14+ hours of traveling that separates us.

Corteo has taught me Russian cradle and roué cyr, new circus arts that will forever remind me of special people, Vova and Stephane, and their patience as I made (make) mistake after mistake. O is an opportunity to learn more, nourish my art, and forward my career.

Corteo has given me international friendships, which includes appreciation for other cultural values and the ability to say just about every bad word in Russian. Spacibo, Genya! A stationery life in Vegas requires that Max and I make new friends and build a new community, but I’m guessing I can still use those words every once in awhile.

Corteo has required us to be far from our immediate families, and we are so looking forward to being a quick plane ride away from our loved ones in Texas and Ohio and, even shorter, drive to San Diego.
My costume will change from Angel to Zebra, from a woman of the late 1800s to a Flayed One above water. My makeup will change from an average human appearance to exaggerated show makeup, and my hair will no longer be my own, but a cap or a wig’s. Our home will change from hotel to house, and our belongings will move from suitcases to shelves. One is not better than the other, solely different. We realize it is time to move on, and in our fear, we realize that courage is fear that has been prayed upon.

We trust that change, when nurtured, fostered, and cherished, unfolds comfort.

So to my Corteo family, thank you for blessing Max and I with your talents, personalities, and encouragement. We never doubted our acceptance on Corteo; you have opened your lives to us and welcomed us since day one in Belo Horizonte. I know any form of whistling will bring me right back to being annoyed in my loge and the sight of wooden sticks will make me cringe in fear, but I will always smile back on these memories… on the funeral that is Corteo. <3

We build sandcastles next to the water realizing that the tide will come in and wash our work away. We push for things in our lives that God does not allow to remain permanent, but I do know that He does remain. He is. We will carry these days in our hearts; they will be treasured deep in the pages of my stories of Corteo.

 “He was making art because he has to, and because he’s brave enough to try and make contact, right there on the edge of madness, where he dreams.”

“It’s like: We made it, we love it – oops, it’s gone. But the best part is still here.”

-Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies

See you soon, USA.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


I realized that I haven't posted since we were in Rio, which was about four months ago. Oops. The best news that I have to share is that Max shaved his beard! The rest is fairly boring ;).

For a quick recap, we went to Texas to visit my family after Rio. From there, Max and I traveled to Porto Alegre, Brazil for six weeks of shows. Max went on the trip of a lifetime with his brother to explore in Santiago and Valparaiso, Chile and fly fish in Patagonia while I was performing in Porto Alegre. You can view footage from their trip here!

After Max and Brandon's trip, Max headed back to the States for MLL season. We have been doing long distance since then, which is mostly miserable, but we are doing our best to stay busy and continue living out our dreams. I'm happy to say that this is temporary, and we will be together again shortly! I was in Columbus for our annual leave in April, and after my two week stay, I flew to Córdoba, Argentina where we performed a quick four weeks of shows. I drank a lot of Argentinian and Chilean red wines, which is almost impossible when a bottle is about $4 US, and I ate enough steak for three people. If you like wine and steak, Argentina is your place.

3 pounds and 4 weeks later, I headed back to Columbus for a short five days before I had to be back on tour. We are now in Buenos Aires, where I'll be until the first week of August, and Max is due here in a couple of weeks! I'm so excited to have him back with me for a bit. In the meantime, I've had plenty of company because my best friend from Columbus, Nicole, came to visit me for almost 2 weeks! Nicole and I met through college gymnastics when she took a recruiting trip to Maryland. She ended up choosing Ohio State, and my close friend and former teammate, Kelsey McDermid, encouraged me to reach out to her when Max and I moved to Columbus. Kelsey knew Nicole through club gymnastics in Indiana, and she knew we'd hit it off. We went to get coffee and a movie together a few years back, and we haven't stopped talking since. Just ask our husbands.

Nicole and I at CoCo Cafe on Calle Cabello in Palermo, Buenos Aires

Nicole arrived on a weekend and was able to watch the show from the audience and backstage before Corteo had a triple dark, or three days off. Nicole, Gabby, and I went to El Calafate for the time off and had an incredible time. El Calafate, you ask? I'll save you the time it will take to look it up on Google and go ahead and give you the location: South. Really, really, really South.

Told you it was down there.

Monday morning, we left for the airport really early. When you go to sleep at 4 AM most nights, really early means anything before 11 AM. We had some much needed coffee and quiche at the airport before boarding our flight! We look like we are still sleeping because we were.

We should have asked for bigger mugs!

As you can see, I got stuck in the middle. Gabby is kind of a window seat hog, but I'm working on letting that go... 

Nicole, Gabby, and I at the airport in El Calafate.

We headed straight to our hotel, Hotel Kosten Aike, and we went and explored the area for the remainder of the day. El Calafate has an adorable downtown area with souvenir shops, fly fishing and winter gear, and some restaurants. It was a quick walk to the main drag from our hotel, and we grabbed some lunch before heading down toward the lake. El Calafate sits next to the tiniest portion of Lago Argentino, which is the largest lake in Argentina and is fed by glacier meltwater. The lake is surrounded by the Andes, and we instantly fell in love with the natural beauty. The best part is that the lake was frozen over, so there was miles and miles of activity space for us to play and take pictures! You can always expect fun photos with three acrobats.

I also want to mention that all of our pictures were taken on iPhones. Unfortunately, it's all we had! We did our best to get some good ones though! I guess I can put a professional camera on my Christmas list :).

A sign on the way down to the lake

Cause why not?!

As we were walking the couple of miles to the lake, we found this concrete lookout that had a view of the Andes and Lago Argentina, more specifically Bahia, our area of the lake. It just so happened that the sun was at its highest point of the day, which is still really low compared to pretty much anywhere else, and we got some great shots holding the sun! The sun rises around 10 AM and sets around 7 PM this time of the year, so even at 2 or 3 PM, you feel like it's almost evening.

Now begin the ice shots! 

We walked on the ice until our toes were numb, and then we walked into the city for dinner and a little World Cup watching. Who am I kidding? We just ate dinner.

Argentinian Parrilla 

Our favorite hangout, Libro Bar

Souvenir shops in log cabins! 

Gabby bought us a bottle of wine and dessert to share! How sweet is he?
We slept like babies the first night after a long day of travel and exploration, and it's a good thing because Tuesday was another long, adventurous day. We woke up early to catch a van that drove us an hour and a half through the Andes to our destination, Perito Moreno Glacier. On the way to the glacier, there were endless photo ops. It seemed like every curve in the road gave us a new opportunity to be amazed by the landscape.

Casual drive through the Andes


During the drive, I saw a hare in the middle of the road. Seconds later, we watched an eagle fly directly in front of our van and snatch it up with its claws! We were completely shocked. It's not every day you witness an eagle having its lunch.

After a scenic drive, we arrived at the glacier. We took a boat ride to the glacier first, where we got to see the glacier from yards away. We were so cold, but the views were something out of this world! 

Warming up inside the boat

Although this vacation was the trip of a lifetime, we did face one casualty. Fortunately, this picture happened! Unfortunately, this excessive leg lifting caused Nicole's phone to fall out of her coat pocket and onto the lower deck, and I guess the glass wasn't made for antarctic temperatures.

As my cast mate said, "She got the new Spiderman app."

After the boat ride, we made our way to an area of the Glacier National Park where there are a series of balconies to view the glacier from above. Because the glacier is constantly moving, every ten minutes or so you hear a thunderous roar as a chunk of the glacier breaks off into the lake. We got to witness two pieces falling off. 

I can't quite describe what it looks like in person! If you've seen Despicable Me, then you've seen the part where the Egyptian Pyramid was stolen and replaced with a blow up version. The glacier looked so amazing that it looked fake! I was expecting to reach out and pop it. I felt like their was a giant movie screen in front of me with a giant picture of the glacier on it. It seemed like an illusion because I've never seen something so large, bright, and mesmerizing.

The way acrobats "walk" down the ramps

Perito Moreno Glacier

Hand rails? Balance beam? Same thing.

I'm a bit embarrassed to say that I was sore for almost three days after taking these pictures. Maybe it's possible for me to get into these positions, but I can't say that my body can handle it quite like it could ten years ago! I think it was worth it though. One day I'll hopefully be a mom, and I'll have these pictures to prove that I was cool back in the day... as they push me around in my wheelchair. I'm 25 this year, so that officially means that I've been in the gymnastics/acrobatic world for 20 years! It's bound to catch up to me at some point.

We took some fun sunset photos at the lake that night after we got back from our glacier excursion, and then we headed to grab a bite to eat at our hotel and laughed over the videos we made throughout the trip. Hopefully I can convince my husband to put together a video for us of the trip!

After a night of rest, we woke with the sun (10 AM) and headed back to our favorite frozen lake for some ice skating! I wish my Olympic medal winning brother-in-law would have been able to watch our speed skating skills. According to the bruises that I still have on my knees over a week later, I think I can count my talents elsewhere.

I wore my Patagonia sweater in Patagonia just to be cool.

We should stick to gymnastics.

Couples skate :)

It's safe to say that our favorite spot was the frozen lake. It was about two miles there, and we walked there and back quite a few times! I'm so happy to have those memories with such special friends in my life. 

I didn't take advantage of the window seat...

Ciao, Patagonia!

...until next time. <3