Tuesday, January 28, 2014


We just crossed the halfway mark here in Rio, and I've found that around the halfway mark is where the exhaustion sets in. The beginning of every city is so filled with newness; Physically, mentally, and spiritually, I find myself renewed by unfamiliar surroundings, like the first snowfall of winter or finding a new favorite restaurant in a city you've lived in your entire life. The unfortunate side to this beginning phase is that, at some point, the freshness wears off as the city becomes more and more familiar. The fortunate side to the halfway mark is that, by this point, I don't feel guilty staying in and relaxing or going back to that one restaurant instead of trying another new one, and I definitely don't feel guilty spending all morning in bed recovering from the first four or five weeks of shows.


It's kind of like this hike that Max and I went on a week ago. We decided to hike Pedra Da Gávea, the largest mountain that directly connects to the ocean. We heard it was around two hours up and two hours down, but kind of like life, it was an unexpected 7 hours total, including some free climbing up steep, slick rock, multiple cliffs with sliding gravel, and a headache because I forgot to have my morning coffee. At the starting point of the hike, we were excited and anticipatory of what the day would bring, and so it began.

The of Pedra Da Gávea from our hotel room

Near the beginning of the 844 meter hike up Pedra Da Gávea


I know this halfway mark is the hardest for me. I begin to miss my family, and there are days when the tears start flowing just at the mention of my sister's name. My body doesn't seem to function like it did at the beginning of the city; I rely on more coffee, more sleep, and I accept the fact that I will go to sleep with pain and pain will still be there in the morning. I keep pushing through because I know this season will be over in short time. On the other side, toward the end of the city, it's as if the freshness reappears, and the excitement of the future carries me to the finish line. This city is especially unique because my father-in-law is coming to Rio, and he will be our first visitor on tour. Max and I are also heading to Houston after Rio, and I know that I will get to follow my big sister around like the little sister that I am, refusing to leave her side and indulging in her overprotective, motherly, and irreplaceable friendship. I won't stop kissing my nieces and nephew, I'll cuddle on the couch with the dogs, and I'll laugh when my brother jokes about... everything. I will cry tears of joy when I arrive, and I will cry for days after I leave, and when I arrive in Porto Alegre, the entire process will begin again, as if life is less linear than it is circular.


The beginning of the hike was a steep brick path, and I remember joking about already being out of breath. Sometimes when we start our journey, we are expecting it to be effortless, sweat free, and untroublesome. The brick path was by far the easiest part of the hike, and from there, the difficulty continued to amplify and expand until we reached the top. 

Making our way toward the top


Lately, my mind has been wandering and wondering more and more about life's seasons. I feel like I am at a place where I understand the importance of life's highs and the lows, the stagnant and the moving, the bitter and the sweet. Since we have been on tour, we have missed birthdays, family holiday gatherings, and the birth of our first nephew on the Schmidt side. While we were missing those events, we have a whole list of amazing, once in a lifetime opportunities that we have had on tour.

Before I go to bed, I often scroll through Pinterest craving the season of life that will allow me to pick out paint for the guest bedroom or try that new crockpot apple pie and ice cream recipe that makes my mouth water when I see it. I long for the feeling of home; The smell of dinner fresh from the oven, a pile of overdo laundry next to the washing machine, my husband sitting on the couch yelling at the Buckeyes, and sounds of children playing in the background. The longing comes on fast and strong, and I quickly have to remind myself that I was longing for the exact place that I'm in right now less than six months ago.

I'm learning that I shouldn't feel guilty for longing for the next season or missing the season before. In fact, if I allow them too, the past and present are capable of boosting my appreciation for my current season. When I think back on the time when I was single, the period of dreaming on a contract with Cirque Du Soleil, or the years I spent training 5+ hours a day as a gymnast, I am inclined to realize how blessed I am to have a God-given husband, God-given career, and God-given talent. I don't believe that life is random; the season that you're in, the season that I'm in, the season that your neighbor is in, maybe it's all part of a plan, and those plans are probably all linked somehow.

I know some who have recently lost friends, parents, and unborn children. I know some who, like me, miss their families and long for home. I know others who are new parents, recently received promotions, or another who is doing her best to do more of a starting over than a renewing, kind of like switching to Verizon rather than staying with T-Mobile (which I recommend). Whatever season you're in, maybe it's not time to ignore the past and present, but to use them to help you embrace the exact place that you're in right now, at the specific longitude and latitude, this instant.

I might be really missing a home cooked meal, but like roasted lemon pepper chicken or crispy cinnamon and sugar apple slices, life's seasons continue to season me, making me more appreciative of the bitter and the sweet.


Sometimes, most of the time, the seasons are worth it. If we choose to let the beautiful and the rough mold us with new impressions, then we are able to see more clearly, be more appreciative, and accept our seasons. When we remember what it feels like to be at the top, we learn to welcome each season, every opportunity, any occasion because we know where it leads us.

Flyers... get it?

The man who convinced, and still convinces, me to do it all

Sorry, mom.

Embrace it; All of it.

Friday, January 10, 2014

2014 Has Begun!

New Years

It's tradition in Rio to wear white for New Years as a representation of a clean slate for the New Year. Max and I put on our white, and we had a great time celebrating the New Year with our friends on Corteo. The hotel has a room that we use as a common room, so we spent some time there before hotel room hopping to spend time with friends. Just before midnight, we headed down to the beach for the New Year. We watched fireworks, toasted to the New Year, and, as is another tradition, we jumped seven waves! 

Hanging in the lounge!

Ringing in the New Year on the beach! 

Since when did Max turn 50? I was expecting cigars, beards, and beer at
a much later date.

Olga, me, Alix, and MC

Wearing all white on a beach was a lot different than last year's celebration spent with Erin, Brandon, and our nieces! Last year, we spent the night on their couch, woke up and had waffles, and made tents in the living room with the girls. We missed it so much this year and we can't wait to get back to have a slumber party with the girls! Our nephew will be there by then, too!

Cliff Diving in Leme

Max and I made a bucket list for Rio, which I was supposed to have already posted, and on that list was cliff diving in Leme! In one of the Lonely Planet books that was gifted to us, we read about a place in Rio where the locals often cliff dive. We just happened to be in the area a couple weeks ago, and Max talked me in to checking it out. We walked to the spot, and my crazy husband talked me into checking it off the list!

Leme/Copacabana beaches from the cliff at Leme!

One of the local kids going for the dive!

Max sizing up the drop

Max's jump!

The rope climb back up

The locals talking me into the jump!

Going for it!

Climbing up!

Sunset at Arpoador

Also on our bucket list for Rio was visiting Arpoador at sunset. Arpoador is a point where a large rock sticks out between Copacabana and Ipanema. Supposedly the best sunsets are at Arpoador, so we made the trip out after cliff jumping! Unfortunately, it was a bit cloudy and we didn't get the best view. Fortunately, we are here for several more weeks, so we can see it again!

Botanical Gardens

Last week, Max and I ventured into the Botanical Gardens. Also on our bucket list was climbing a tree in the Botanical Gardens. We checked that off the list! Unfortunately, I don't think Max and I are Botanical Garden type of people. Before we went, we had heard from so many people that it's beautiful and easy to spend hours there. It is definitely beautiful, but we decided there's only so much time we can spend looking at plants before we get really bored and need to get out of there. The nature was pretty and we got some great pictures, but I can't say we were super enthusiastic looking at plant after plant.

Japanese lily pads

Max standing by a giant tree. It makes me laugh when he stands
by things that make him look tiny!

Jaca, or JackFruit, the world's largest edible fruit! The grow up to
3 feet and hang from huge trees!

checked off the bucket list!

me too!

Elephant ears! :)

Christ the Redeemer is visible through the trees!

Another tree making Max look tiny

I'm glad we went because it was beautiful, but it wasn't the most exciting day that we've had in Rio!

Pedra Bonita

One day while I was at work, Max sent me a text message that said he had just hiked a mountain, and then he sent me some pictures of some of the most amazing views I've seen of Rio. Apparently, Max and Derek, Alix's boyfriend, had this great idea to walk from the hotel to a nearby mountain... and hike it. It took them 4.5 hours to walk to the top, but they did it! I'm a little jealous that I couldn't come, but if he would have made me hike for 4.5 hours, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be able to move for the next several days.

The boys hiked the mountain that's on the right;
The left mountain is the mountain from the view in our hotel

The walk up!

The view on the way up

The hang gliding take off location! This is also on our bucket list,
so I'm sure we will be back soon!

Someone just after takeoff

The top!

Looking north! The beach on the right is our beach, Sao Conrado

Looking south toward Barra! Barra beach on the left and the Tijuca rainforest on the right

A view of the mountain behind our hotel from Pedra Bonita. Max will probably
hike this next!

Wifey thinks that's a little too close to the ledge...

We've checked a lot of things off of our bucket list the past couple of weeks, but we have so many to go! We are excited to keep exploring together. We know these memories will last a lifetime! Also, Max's dad has booked his flight to come visit, so we are preparing for his arrival in February. We can't wait to have our first visitor on tour!!!!