Hi! Hola! Hallo! Bonjour! I am 29-years-old from California and have been living in various cities in Germany since 2011. I graduated last year with an MBA from Arizona State University and started a blog called Kicks & Chronicles. I love cuisine, traveling, exploring and finding new adventures that life and the world has to offer.
What brings you to Germany?
In late 2010, I contacted a soccer agent because I wanted to play professionally abroad. Shortly thereafter, an agent offered me a contract to play in Cloppenburg, by Bremen in the north, and I’ve been playing in this country ever since.
How do you like your life in Germany in comparison to your home country?
There are definitely advantages and disadvantages of living here, but here are some major ones:
Likes of Living in Germany:
- Food: although we have German food in California, nothing beats fresh and authentic Schnitzel, Käsespätzle (cheese egg noodles) and Eintopf (stew).
- Cost of living: it is cheaper, but you usually have to buy or bring every appliance and furniture piece with you
- Apartments: I love having no closed closet like in the USA because you have more room and you can buy whichever closet system you like
- Freeway (Autobahn): driving safely at 200 kmh is so freeing and fun
- Culture: Oktoberfest, Christmas Markets, Stadtfest and Beer gardens – enough said!
- Location: You are smack dab in the middle of Europe and have short travel times to major European cities
- Social culture: people are blunt and somewhat rude, so elbows out as they say!
- Doctors: everyone has health insurance, which is great, but you feel like just a number and unimportant at the doctor’s office
- Payments: many businesses do not accept credit or debit cards (some only take German chip cards)
- Grocery stores: when stores are a little packed, everyone goes into a frenzy
- Weather: coming from California, it is extremely difficult not to see the sun and be so cold
- Social culture: You have to be patient with some, but voice your thoughts when someone is being rude or demeaning. For me, there are still many cultural and social surprises after 5 years of being in Germany, but you learn to laugh them off after awhile.
- Doctors: search for good doctors on websites and voice your needs on your first appointment to your doctor. You will be able to weed out the good from the bad.
- Payments: sign up for a German chip card (debit card) from your bank or keep a safe at home with some extra cash
- Grocery stores: be patient and voice when you are being disrespected. Some will not change, so you have to deal with it.
- Weather: buying a lightbox or red lamp from a drugstore will help with winter blues and weather sadness. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a real thing!
Could you tell me a few words about your blog?
Kicks & Chronicles is for kicks on the soccer field and chronicles for the countless stories of life. A “Soccer Girl Playin’ Around the World” is, well, because that is what I do 😉 I came up with the slogan with my aunt and uncle. I want to share my life and story because I know a lot of girls want to play overseas, but have hesitancies, angst, worries and anxiety. I also want to show that it is also possible to play while achieving your educational or career goals. On a more general level, anyone who loves traveling, cuisine or fitness will find Kicks & Chronicles relevant to them.
How does Germany fit into your success?
Everything is a stepping-stone. For my soccer career, I definitely know it will end in Germany. Playing in the world’s top division is a dream come true – considering where I started, all of the injuries along the way and other circumstances I came across. I want to start on my business career, of course, but I also feel my body has played 25 years of the beautiful game.
Oddly enough, just the other day, I came to the peace and tranquility of actually starting the next chapter in my life. It only now makes me happy to know I can live in Europe as an American and experience more than I did before (e.g. traveling).
I always had to give 100% in all aspects of life – school, soccer, friends, family and hobbies. When my soccer career is over, I can give that extra energy to my other career. I feel I will be starting a second life in a way. Part of that “business” life will start here within the next two years to get my feet wet and then find a more permanent position in the USA.
Could you compare briefly soccer scenes in the USA and Germany? Which one suits you better?
I love how the USA puts value on being physically fit. Only when a player is in top form can they play to the best of their technical ability. As you could see in the women’s World Cup 2015, Americans have amazing skills and it is only getting better year-by-year. However, I also love how German soccer emphasizes a more technical and tactical game. Every pass must be accurately timed, placed, played to the correct foot and in a position telling the next player what they should do with the ball.
I’ve seen on your blog that you give advice and tips on healthy lifestyle… would you say German cuisine is a healthy one? 😉
I would say it is easy in any country to indulge and lose sight of a healthy lifestyle, but living in Europe, I have noticed the sugar and salt content of foods is greatly less than it is in the USA. I prefer the cakes and sweets here now much more than when I have them in California.
German food is typically heavy, meaty and saucy, but delicious! I must admit, I cannot eat it every day and it’s even harder to eat in warmer temperatures, but I do crave sauerkraut, schnitzel, knödels and käsespätzle! One of my favorite restaurants is Spatenhaus in Munich. They have traditional food, but it is so fine and delicately made. Of course, you also need a tall Weizen to wash it all down!
Is the concept of “nationality” important to a soccer player and to you personally?
Of course, I am proud to be a Puerto Rican-American playing abroad, but once I am on the field, the only thing that matters is the team. With my current club, 10 different nationalities are represented on the field! I have also had teammates from Brazil, Canada, Germany, Croatia, Czech Republic, Puerto Rico, China, Bulgaria, Poland, Australia, Japan, Mexico, Haiti, New Zealand, Switzerland, Sweden, Portugal, Spain and Austria teammates. It is a very unique and special thing to share on and off the field. I have learned so many different cultures that I cannot imagine my life without a “Multi-coolty” (multicultural) mix.
What is the first thing you do when you go back?
First thing – hug my entire family. Second – buy an organic, cold-pressed coconut milk and green juice from Erewhon. Third – eat some real Mexican tacos. Fourth – play ball at the beach with my family’s dog, Carl.
What does 2016 look like for you?
Other than deciding on the future of my soccer career, I would like to grow my blog to reach and connect with as many people as possible. I will also be studying for my German fluency certificate (C2) test in May. Toward the end of spring, I will start researching for a future career in marketing or license merchandising.