Thursday, October 31, 2013


I'm currently sitting in an airport in Saint Maarten! Max and I are waiting for Pops and Mama Kate's flight to arrive. I don't have a lot of time because I have a beach to get to :), so I need to be quick!

We were in Belo Horizonte for one week exactly. I wish I could tell you all about the city, but I really spent one day out with Max because my days at work are very long while I'm integrating into the show.    We mostly spent our time walking around and exploring while we were out. We went to a shopping mall and perused, ate outside at a butequim/bar, went to the Mercado Central, and worked out at a gym that Cirque provided for us during our time here!

 Honestly, that's all I've done outside of work, but it was a blast. It's been hilarious, frustrating, and really embarrassing all at the same time because we don't speak very much portuguese, but we are practicing and hoping to pick it up quickly.

Like I said, I'm short for time, so I'm going to quickly make a top 5 moments in BH in no particular order:

1) Mercado Central:
The central market is listed on every Belo Horizonte website's to-do list, so I figured we had to do it. It was...interesting. I'll start off by saying that there is a pet section where you can buy dogs or cats. Also in this pet section, you can buy chickens... to eat. Pet and food section weirdness aside, we did buy some hot sauce that I'm excited to try. There were also some...interesting... craft and knick knack stores,  protein/supplement stores, and smells. Yes, the smells were very... umm interesting. Needless to say, we've been there and we did it!

2) Performing in my first two shows! On Sunday, the last day that Corteo was in Belo Horizonte, were my first two days in the show. Everyone was so helpful because I was completely lost running around backstage, but I did it. I had a great time, and I can't wait to get back out there in Curitiba!

3)Watching the show! During the shows on my first two days of work, I was able to watch the show as an audience member. It's been so long since I've seen the show that I barely remembered any of it. Max also got to watch with me, and he really liked my main act, paradis. He wasn't able to watch me in my first two shows, so I'm looking forward to him being in the audience while I'm on stage sometime in Curitiba!

The above is my first ticket to a Cirque Du Soleil show as a little girl next to my first ticket as a performer. It's such a blessing to see how God has ornately been planning this for His perfect timing.

4) Capturing this picture of Max and his beard:

and this one:

It's obviously not tamed in these photos, but he is still fully committed to growing it out for six months. There are four months left, and I am hoping he changes his mind sometime... last week. I catch him combing it in the bathroom. It's his new baby. I don't really know what else to say about it.... someone please help me.

5) Dinner with Max on our last night! We ate at a restaurant called Tizé. It was outside in the middle of the city on a busy corner and we sat there for a couple hours talking. The food in Brazil couldn't get better when it comes to beef, so our tummies were happy. It was a great way to end our time in Belo Horizonte!

Now, it's time for vacation! I'll be updating as soon as possible with pictures of the beach and precious time with family. I'm warning you ahead of time in case your the jealous type :). There will be two cute babies, one sexy pregnant lady, plenty of perfect beach pictures, and lots of love in my next blog, so beware!

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Hello from Brazil! Max and I left Montreal Monday afternoon. We traveled around 20 hours from Montreal to Atlanta, Georgia to Brasilia, Brazil to Belo Horizonte, Brazil. We got lucky with free upgrades on our flights, so we had extra leg room and the entire row to ourselves 2/3 of the flights. Neither of us slept well, but we were fine watching movies and pretending we were comfortable :). There were actually two guys from Columbus on our flight, one of whom has a son who plays lacrosse at Dublin Jerome! It's a small world.

We got bored between flights.

While we were waiting for our bags in BH, Max saw an ad for Corteo! It definitely increased my excitement level and woke me up after the long day of traveling. I'm so grateful to finally be here.

We had about a half an hour ride from the airport into the city. It was immediately apparent that we were in a different country. Not only is it extremely lush and tropical, but the temperature was in the upper 80s and the humidity felt like Texas. I hear it froze in Ohio yesterday, so I'm happy to be wearing shorts and flip flops. We drove past many poverty stricken favelas on the way in, and it broke my heart for the Brazilian people. I felt really blessed in the cab headed to our hotel realizing that these people are barely surviving. It was also a reality check for me when I thought about how much my materialistic belongings have no worth after we leave this world. They're just things, and most people on our planet manage without them.

When we arrived at our hotel, we were pleased to have a shower where it's possible to stand without touching all four walls unlike in Montreal. Max took some great pictures of our view of the city! It's great to see trees in the midst of concrete. My mom would love that.

 We were exhausted, so we snuggled up and took a long nap before heading to dinner with some of the people that I work with. It was so thoughtful of them to invite us, and it made my first day of work a lot less awkward as I wandered around. At least I wandered around and occasionally bumped into people I knew! We ate at a Brazilian steakhouse, and we had endless amounts of the best grilled beef I've ever had called picanha. The food here is so fresh and delicious; I can't stop eating the fruit!

We ate dinner with three families who have small children. I am missing my nieces and nephews so much, so it warmed my heart to be in a family atmosphere once again. I'm blessed to be a part of such a wonderful cast, and I know this already after only two days.

Yesterday (Wednesday, I headed to site for my first day of work. My day mostly consisted of meetings and meeting new people, but I also got to fly with my new paradis family and watch the show from the audience! It took me about 5 minutes to adjust to the height while we were training, but I thought it would take much longer! It's going to take more time have better air awareness, but that's something only time can fix. Visuals are much different flying on stage where there are spotlights shining bright and everything else is pure darkness. When I was getting passed from guy to guy, it was hard to tell where up was! Only time can fix this, but it was a great feeling to work with the team.

It may be cheesy and totally uncool, but I don't care; Yesterday was everything I've dreamt of since I was a little girl. I'm aware that repeating show after show after show will continue to change my perspective as a performer and acrobat, but I hope the passion I felt yesterday continues to dwindle within my soul throughout the remainder of my career with cirque. There is nothing quite like the innocence of the first day, and I hope I never feel "too awesome" to admit that my first day on the job felt like Christmas mixed with endless amounts of candy and puppies!

On another cheesy and totally uncool note, watching the show last night brought me to tears. I know I'm a 'chick', so my point isn't that I cried but that a part of myself was touched. I had a moment when I realized how blessed I am to be in the position that I'm in. Most people don't have the chance to fulfill their loftiest goals. While I was sitting in the audience, I realized that God has handed me all of these blessings on a golden platter. In return, I hope I never take this for granted and that I never make this about myself. The show is also very spiritual for me because the story is a funeral and the juxtaposition between life on earth and life hereafter. The mixture of feeling so blessed and watching a show where there are characters as angels present was an ironic twist. Anyways, thanks to my cast for touching my spirit. I'm blessed to be here with each of you.

Tonight, Max will be able to watch the show from the audience with me! I couldn't be more excited for him to watch the show. He's currently with another guy who is here because of his wife, and they are doing Crossfit together. It took him less than 48 hours to find someone to be a meathead with... go figure.

Dream big everyone. Until next time...

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Last Week In MTL

Last Thursday, I went to to talk to the people at cirque who had information on our visas. They gently told me that the Brazilian consulate was telling them the visas wouldn't be ready until October 24th or 25th, which is over two weeks from the original date we were given. I fought back disappointment tears and went home to tell Max. Between picking me up from my mopey state and hugging me as I fought back tears, he decided we should have faith in prayer.

We embraced in our tiny little room and Max prayed for a miracle. 

Work resumed on Friday, and about halfway through the day, someone came to tell me that Max's visa had come through and that someone was going to the consulate to pick it up. We were told that Max's visa was probably processed faster because he has a tourist visa and my working visa might be more difficult to process. It was ironic because we have been nervous that Max's visa wouldn't go through; and there it was, first to arrive.

Friday afternoon, Max and I went upstairs to discuss flight options for the following week and pick up Max's visa. When we got upstairs, we were quickly informed that BOTH of our visas were picked up at the consulate and that we needed to book our flights immediately! Less than 24 hours after we were told it would be another week at the earliest before our visas were processed, we were holding both visas in our hands. God is teaching us His faithfulness through the power of prayer.

God is good, y'all.

Our flight is tomorrow, Monday, around 3PM and we arrive in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Tuesday around 1PM. We will be in BH for less than a week, and then the tour changes cities and moves to Curitiba, Brazil. Between cities, Max and I are flying to St. Maarten in the caribbean where we will be vacationing with our Schmidt family for the week!

It's summertime in Brazil, and I have absolutely no ill-feelings about skipping over winter!

We have had an incredible time being back in Montreal, but the time has come for us to move on, and we are feeling so excited and blessed about what's to come.

On another note, Max and I went to a morning church service a week ago where we saw this guy...

You might be seriously questioning why we were taking pictures of a stranger during worship at church. If you're this person, then you probably don't know my dad very well. If you do know my dad, then you're probably freaking out as much as we were! The man in front of us a church looked like my dad's twin! His posture, skin tone and hair color, glasses, ears... I could go on and on. Needless to say, I don't remember anything from church because I couldn't pay attention with my dad's clone next to me. It kind of felt like my dad was on a date with me; I'm comfortable around my dad, but he just wasn't supposed to be there. It made me feel warm inside to think of him though! I'm missing my favorite Japanese man! Love you, daddy.

Yesterday, Max and I went to our first MLS game together. We know some Terps on the Philadelphia Union team, and one of them was kind enough to remember we were in Montreal and get us tickets for their game against the Montreal Impact. The stadium was right next to the Olympic stadium, so I finally got to show Max! We also had a blast at the game. We didn't know what to expect because we haven't been to any soccer oriented events in Montreal, but the stadium was packed and the crowd was typically rowdy and chanting in French for the duration of the game. I guess we better start getting into futbol since we will be in SA for the World Cup next year!

Montreal Olympic Stadium

A Soccer Selfie From the Game
(yep, the beard is still there.)

After the game, we headed back because we had plans with friends for dinner. We went to a delicious italian restaurant in Little Italy with Alix Croop, a former EAGL gymnast and artist on Corteo, and her boyfriend who is visiting from Massachusetts. We sat and talked for hours. It's been lovely having Alix here with me in Montreal, and I'm even more excited to be a part of Corteo with her. Max and Derek are already planning their life on tour with the wives club... I think mani pedis, the book club, and late wine nights are in their future. ;)

The next time I write, it will be from Brazil! I can't believe it's finally here. Max and I are shutting off our phone service this weekend, so if you need to get a hold of us, then you'll have to rely on other avenues apart from our phone numbers! You can e-mail, FaceBook message, iMessage (through e-mail), or Skype us, but we won't be able to text or call through our phone numbers.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Max's 25th Birthday

Max and I are supposed to be leaving for Brazil this Saturday, but our visas haven't come through so it looks like we will be delayed a week or so. I've had a hard time accepting it because I am ready to be on tour, but I know that there is purpose in our presence in Montreal. Besides, I've waited a pretty long time for this, so what's a week more?

Last Saturday morning, Max and I rode bikes that we rented from Cirque to Jean Talon market. The market is in Little Italy somehow secretly tucked between buildings even though it's large size doesn't implicate being... tuckable. We got our much needed morning coffee and egg & cheese panini's from a small café, and then we browsed through the market buying this weeks produce. Unfortunately, the fruit was so delicious that it didn't last through Wednesday. I'm going to have to go back for some more plums! They were heavenly.

We headed home from the market around noon so Max could get home to watch some college football. I was glad football was the excuse because I used that time to book a hotel in the Old Port for the night so that we could get away and celebrate his 25th birthday. I booked a night at The Westin and asked him to pack an overnight bag. We took the Metro into the Old Port and walked the short distance to our lovely home for the evening! At the Residence, we have full beds, one community television, and internet as slow as dial-up, so room service, a king size down comforter, and personal TV including the Buckeye game felt like pure luxury.

at The Westin when we arrived

After we checked in, we walked around the corner to Notre Dame Basilica and then to the Old Port. It was supposed to rain the entire weekend, but God provided a day full of sunshine on Saturday. It was the perfect little getaway!

Notre Dame Basilica

Euro style architecture at the Old Port

The fall colors have arrived! I would like to state that this picture was taken on my non-fancy Olympus digital camera and there was no editing involved. It was absolutely beautiful.

Views from the St. Lawrence River looking back into the city

After a couple hours of walking around, we took the short walk back to our hotel and got ready for dinner. Normally it's about a half hour to an hour Metro ride in and out of the city, so it was really nice to be living in the action even if it was just for a night. We walked from our hotel to Crescent Street, famous for its bars and restaurants, and went to a place that Max picked out called Burger Bar. I'm still full just thinking about it.

Max ordered a burger called The Hangover, and it included a burger patty, a fried egg, carmelized onions, and poutine (fries, cheese curds, and gravy). I ordered a burger that had crispy macaroni and cheese balls in it. I'm full just thinking about it.

We ate early so that we could make it back to the hotel room to watch the Buckeyes play Northwestern. It might sound lame that we rented a hotel room in the middle of downtown and ended up staying in and watching football, but we have spent a lot of time exploring and adventuring; We needed a football-filled American Saturday to get back to normalcy. It's a strange feeling adapting to this traveling lifestyle where home is wherever city you are next, but at least for that day we had college football (especially because the Buckeyes won!)

The late night of football called for late night room service ice cream and a great nights sleep. We slept in until 10 AM the next morning, which I'm pretty sure is something Max hasn't done since college. When we finally pulled ourselves out of bed, we grabbed some Tim Hortons, explored a bit, and relaxed until it was time for church.

We've been attending a church called The Living Room, which you can read about here. Our church meets in the Student Union at Concordia University in a place called Reggie's Bar. The church made a deal with the bar to clean the bar before church every Sunday in return for use of the space. The congregation, probably around 40 people, take turns cleaning out everything from the bathrooms to the sticky tables after the bar's busy weekends. I think it's an amazing way they get to love on the owners of the bar.

We have really liked having a church home in Montreal, a place where we know we will go routinely every Sunday to be around people outside of Cirque. It has been comforting and spiritually filling for us since we've been here in Montreal. Less than 1% of people in Montreal claim to have a relationship with Jesus, and it brings tears of joy to my eyes to think about the commitment The Living Room has made to this city.

Max's actual 25th birthday was on Tuesday, October 8th (still enough time for a belated happy birthday!), so I had to work. I wish I could have spoiled him all day, but I did my best to love on him. He wanted sushi for his birthday dinner, which my Japanese self was very excited about, so we went to a place a girlfriend of mine recommended called Coba. We ate our body weight in sushi. We watched a movie later and I gave him some Reese's cups because they're his favorite and apparently they're expensive and impossible to find in Brazil. If you come visit us in Brazil, please bring him some peanut butter cups :). 

Birthday Boy <3

We are going to be here for a little longer than expected, but we have faith that God has us here for a reason, so we will be all here. Please pray for us over the next week or two. Pray that both of our visas go through. Pray that I remain safe and healthy. Pray that we have safe travels. Pray that we are fulfilling our purpose.

Sunset from the balcony at the Residence from Monday.
Max said it looked like the sky was on fire. I think his words are perfect.

To our immediate family,
Brandon, Erin, Willa, Tatum, Baby Schmidt, Mama, Pops, Leah, Chad, Bubba, Syssa, Foster, Hadley, Harper, Mom, Daddy,
We miss you guys so much. Everything reminds us of you, and we can't wait to see you guys in November/December. We miss the laughter, cookouts, and family time, and we can't wait to give hugs and kisses to all those babies. We love you!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Parc du Mont Royal

After training today, Max and I headed downtown to a clinic so I could get my vaccinations. I feel better knowing my chances of getting Yellow Fever and Typhoid Fever are slim. I don't feel too positive about the fact that I haven't had a tetanus since I was a child. Oops. My arms are already feeling the soreness from the vaccinations, but I did break both of my legs once so I probably shouldn't complain too much.

After the clinic, Max and I walked a couple miles through the city to Mont Royal. This is one of our favorite places in Montreal, and we took pictures there last year that you can view here. I was hangry, so we made a quick stop for a $5 footlong. Side rant: It ended up being $5.75 because taxes in Canada are debilitating. Max wouldn't let me have the sandwich until we got to the top of Mont Royal because he wanted me to walk fast enough to make it by sunset. Who does that?! Well, it worked.

 The path we took was fairly steep and contains what feels like a million stairs (I have quads the size of my 4 year-old niece's). I was gasping for air, sweaty, and REALLY hungry by the time we got to the top. Unfortunately, it was a waste of exercise because the view faces south and trees completely block the view of the sunset. Needless to say, I sat down and ate my sandwich while Max took some pictures of the nearly dark sky and night time city lights. It was a delicious sandwich.

View of the city at the end of sunset

 We love selfies

Isn't he adorable? He's claiming he isn't shaving until we get back so get used to the beard.

 In love with this city

 Sometimes taking a little risk is worth it. 
Don't show this to my Daddy.

 The lookout

 My favorite of the night! 

View from the base of the park looking up to the cross at the top

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

After a night of scenic views and an unplanned workout, we came home and my husband made us his favorite meal.

I think I've got it made.

I have about 20 minutes before I have to head back to work, but I wanted to write a quick update. I've been in Montreal for almost 4 weeks! I've been pretty busy getting ready for the tour, but it's been an extremely positive experience.

Hand-to-hand training with my coach, Sergei

Similar to my stint on general formation, my days are spent at the headquarters mostly training. Instead of taking random classes like dance, bouffon, and music, my entire schedule is geared toward my position on Corteo so I can be as prepared as possible for the show. I have been learning everything from the lyrics to the music to my performance makeup. All of the artists do their own makeup, so we spend a lot of time perfecting the routine. Luckily, my makeup won't be too crazy! I'll have several roles in the show, so I have several costumes as well. My costumes aren't totally finished yet, but every time I have a fitting I get really excited. One of the costumes is an angel costume made of over 30 meters of silk. I think my nieces would agree that it's a pretty great princess dress!

Learning the makeup routine

 Max joined me a week ago! It's been great to finally be together. It's not easy on him because he likes to be a busy-bee, but it's hard to stay busy here. Montreal is beautiful in the fall, so hopefully our last week and a half here will be filled with fall colors and lots of adventure! There are a lot of adjustments, and it's strange for us to think that being on the road is now our "home". We pay no rent or mortgage. "Home" is currently Cirque Du Soleil's residence and will soon evolve into hotel rooms. We are blessed that we have each other, but we are also adjusting to only having each other!

He's going to kill me for this. Max officially becoming a member of cirque after being accepted by security :)

We miss our sweet girl a lot, but by the amounts of pictures we are getting from my siblings, I know she might actually be getting more attention in Texas than she did with us. There are lots of kids to play with, and I think her cousin, Foster, seems to like his new doggy cousin. I can't imagine what I'm going to be like when we have real human children. I already treat my dog like royalty!

Hope everyone back in the States is doing great. We miss our families a lot, but we know we are supposed to be here. Thanks for the love, support, and prayers, and we can't wait to see you guys soon!