Catching Up With Paola

MUTIGERS.COM <i>Ampudia got to visit San Juan last week.</i>
Ampudia got to visit San Juan last week.

March 14, 2011

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Hola Buenas Tardes a todos from Ponce! I have been in Puerto Rico for about a month and I have enjoyed playing here. I live in Ponce which is like an hour and a half from San Juan. Ponce is the third biggest city in Puerto Rico. I like the coaches and my teammates in general, they speak Spanish so it is easier for me to communicate with everybody here. I have to help my roommates with the language because they only speak English. One of my roommates is the daughter of the head coach of the Boston Celtics, her names is Callie Rivers. She is really nice and I try to help her as much as I can with the language, she understands some words during practice or game time, it is just hard for her to speak it. So I keep practicing my English at home and Spanish at practices and games. Our apartment is like 15 minutes from the beach, but I haven't been there yet, LOL! I enjoy been at home reading, eating and sleeping. I went to San Juan last weekend and that was my first time at the beach. The beach over there is just HERMOSA (beautiful) and also there are more things to do than in Ponce, where I live.

Some people ask me what made me come here after Mizzou, and the reality is that I wanted to start playing in a country close to my hometown and Puerto Rico is really closed to Cali and I can speak Spanish here. I think this island is beautiful and people here are really nice - they drive a little bit crazy but I can handle it (hahahah). Also the food is similar to the food in my country, I basically can eat whatever I can here (beans, rice, chicken, steak) and the weather is similar to Cali. It may be little bit hotter but I prefer to be in a hot place than in the cold.

We practice during the week at 7:30pm, but we have to be at the court at 6 for therapy. We pass from 7:00 to 7:30pm and the we start practice, when we have conditioning our practice is longer, for example, we do some running exercises for an hour at the beginning of our practice and after that we play some volleyball for an hour and half and to finish practice. We do some lines and some jumping exercises, so our practice is done between 11 and 11:30pm, almost 4 hours. We lift three times per week - I try to go in the mornings around 9:30-10am so I can have the afternoon to do some homework and take my naps. When I don't do weights, I wake up later than 9:00 sometimes, LOL! I do it at lunch time, it depends how tired I am. I love the schedule because it gives me time to do my essays for my online classes and sometimes we don't practice the day after a game so we have the whole day to do whatever we want.

My family has played an important role during this time in Puerto Rico, they are everything for me. Also my friends have been there for me, a couple of them came like a week ago just to see me and make me feel like all this is happening for a reason and I have to keep fighting for my dreams and goals. God is the more important person in my whole life and he is the one who gives the strength that I need to wake up every morning thinking that each day has something good for me and I am here for a reason. I really enjoyed to be here and hope this season ends really well for my team - I think we can make it to the top eight and why not to the top four. We play three matches next week so I will let everybody know how my week goes.



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