Samoa World Cup

samoa2Wheeewwww!!!!!!!!  It has been Sunday for two days. I arrived in Auckland on Sunday Morning over 24hours ago and then I arrived in LA at 1030am a few hours ago on Sunday! I love flying over the international dateline- it really makes the day go by so slow!!! The 12hour plane ride was pretty painful, in Auckland I managed to bruise my tailbone by hitting it on the edge of a wooden chair. I can't even describe to you how awful it is to sit on your butt for a long period of time, def the worse bruise I have ever had, and there is no way I can avoid sitting down. Funny, how I don't get a bruise from the tournament but I hurt myself doing simple everyday things, like trying to sit on a chair. Go Figure!!

I am on my way home from the Samoa World Cup. I was hoping to take home a Gold Medal to finish out the year on a winning note, but I am taking home the Silver Medal instead. Can't complain- this is my 4th World Cup Medal this year. I started off the 2012 season ranked #102 in the World and now I have climbed all the way up to #27. I am going to finish off the rest of the year, training and spending the holidays with my family. Basically I am going back to the same- Train, Work, Judo routine- and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

I really like Samoa, if you ever watched the show LOST you would know exactly what I am talking about. It is a tiny island. I love this place because it really makes you appreciate the simple things. The People of the Island all portray smiles on their faces; even though they don't have the luxury that we have back in the USA- they really concentrate on Family and personal relationships with one another. It's funny to think how American's freak out when they only have 3 bars, and slow internet connection. We had a little boy knock on our window asking us for a sip of our coca-cola. We gave him the whole thing and he took a sip and then passed it on to his little sister. I could only imagine how happy and grateful he was. When I say We, I am referring to myself as well. I am impatient,  I hate waiting more than a minute for my latte at Starbucks and when I do not have wi-fi or my cell phone dies I feel lost. It's good to spend a few days not connected by technology because you re-learn how to truly connect with people. (Yeah that was my rant for the day) Samoa was beautiful and I wish I took pictures of the scenery, instead I have 30 mosquito bites on my legs to show for it- the bugs really liked me! Grr.

I can't believe it is almost Thanksgiving. Not exactly excited for it or anything, I kind of dislike holidays because I am always stuck working. I am scheduled to work at 5am on Thanksgiving Day and on Black Friday they want me in at 6am. There is no joy in working at a restaurant during the holiday season- except maybe if people are in a more giving mood they will give you a few extra bucks. When my judo career is over and I have a Career, I am going to make sure that my schedule does not include working at 5am and working on Weekends and Holidays, so maybe I will learn to enjoy them. I feel like The Grinch around Christmas time...

Before I sign off of here I also wanted to take the time to say how THANKFUL I am for everyone that has helped and supported me this year. Seriously, words CAN NOT express how appreciative I am. I give 110% every single day of my life to the sport of judo. I do not consider it a sacrifice but an opportunity, and a chance of a lifetime. I am working towards my dream, and without help I do not know where I would be right now. 'Tis the season to be Thankful!!  So Enjoy the Holiday Season!! And make sure to eat lots of Turkey and Pie!!





This is my Story.

Bittersweet- is the word I want to use since coming home from Abu Dhabi. Yes- It is great being home. I love training in my dojo, there is nothing like coming home and going back into your training routine. However, facing friends and family and telling them how is very disheartening. I feel stabbing pains of regret. As much as I like to say I learn from losing and I learn from all of my mistakes. It is really disappointing to KNOW that I really screwed up this time. I didn't take advantage of the opportunity- plain and simple. And at this very moment it is eating me up inside.

A lot of times I feel very alone on this journey. I am thankful for my team mates that are able to travel side by side with me and experience all the roller-coaster emotions that come along with being an elite athlete- but I am looking for more than that. My whole life I have been looking for some form of acceptance from my family. I probably shouldn't be directly saying this, but at this point I really need to let this out. When I was younger the one main reason why I decided to stay in judo was because my parents were trying to do whatever they could in their power to take it away from me. Judo was my escape. I came from a really strict religious background, and when I think about my childhood and how I felt during it. The word Judgmental comes to mind. I often felt shunned and a lot of times I felt like I was always in the wrong because I wasn't doing what "girl's" were supposed to do. Judo practice made me sane; it kept me from falling off the ledge. Yeah- I rebelled against the church and its belief. But I did something that impacted me in a positive way. I didn't turn to drugs; I turned to something that gave me a purpose and an overwhelming feeling of success and satisfaction.

I wish I was able to share my passion with others, especially to my family. I want them to be on this exciting journey with me. It is amazing, and it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I want to share this passion - It doesn't necessarily have to come through sport, but a passion that comes from anything that you truly care about in life. There is always something that you can work for; there is always room to improve yourself. I will never be satisfied unless I get what I want- and that is why I work so hard. Nothing ever comes easy. I will never settle. I am always thinking bigger picture. I am not going to create a finish line.

So this goes out to all of you, all of the ones that don't believe me and think I am absolutely crazy. How would you feel if someone shot your dream down? How would you feel if people told you were wasting your time? Keep throwing bricks; I am too strong to let that affect me.

This is my story, this is my plan. I am sorry that I am not what you want me to be- But I am going to continue to be me. Nothing is going to stop me.


Draws are out, weight is on point- now all I have to do is sit here and wait until.... FRIDAY! It's Wednesday evening, and after a crazy day yesterday it kind of feels nice to just sit in my hotel and read my Fifty Shades DARKER book. Yeah- I am on the second book. It's kind of good.

So yesterday Cammi and I decided to go on an adventure- with our fellow Canadian friends. We call our whole team of us TEAM North America. I believe there is a total of 9 competitors competing from Canada and USA- so why not combine together right? We are stronger in numbers? Is that what they usually say??

So- we got to see the Sheikh Zayed Mosque- is it the third largest mosque in the world-it is also known as the Grand Mosque and it was beautiful. The Mosque even had a dress code-


Regardless of what we had to wear- it was amazing to experience it.

After going to the Grand Mosque we decided to go and check out Dubai- the taxi driver said it was a 50minute drive- but it ended up being an hour and a half away. A little farther than I expected- but we were in the moment so there was nothing we could really do. Dubai was beautiful as well, we really didn't get t see much but we got to hang out in the Dubai Mall. The mall had everything, we spent three hours in the mall and we didn't get to see everything- plus that mall was made for millionaires! Every store was high-end fashion brands. Made me feel a little out of place- I am pretty sure I only had $100.00 USA money in my pocket which would have probably bought me a pair of socks!!

We made a deal with our taxi driver to meet us at the mall at 4pm-we even told him we would pay him more money to bring us home- but he decided to peace out. So we were stranded in Dubai. We ended up finding the metro, and we asked the person that worked there if they could call a Taxi for us. He called the Taxi Company and we waited an hour and half for a taxi to show up- but nobody showed up. The only thing we could do was getting on the metro take a 30min ride to the bus station and hopefully catch a bus to abu dhabi. Once we got to the bus station, we were 5mins from missing the bus but we ended up making it. The funny part was once the bus started moving, it broke down 10mins later.  At this point, it was 730pm and it felt like we were never going to get back to our hotel. Cammi and I just started to laugh, like what else could we do at this point ya know?

hm-20121010-2So the basically bring a new bus to us and by 10pm we get home (back to our hotel) all in one piece. My favorite part after this crazy day is that we all decided to do judo and workout- it was def one of the best late night workouts I had in awhile.

I told Cammi, and this is probably the only time I am ever going to use this expression. I looked at her, and was like "Ya know what- YOLO- we had absolutely no control in this situation, so you just got to make the best of it."



Livin’ Large in Abu Dhabi

I always like to blog when I am on trips because it helps me to remember what I have seen and what I have done on each judo trip I go on. I always tend to forget the moments, and I never take enough pictures. Right now I am sitting on the floor in a 5-star hotel in Abu Dhabi. It almost doesn't seem real when I go to different countries. I am traveling to countries that I only see in movies, it is incredible- and I enjoy every single moment of it.

Istanbul, Turkey was an experience. Besides from the competition Cammi ( my teammate) and I got to experience Mediterranean food. Basically everything has tomatoes and cucumbers and they flavor everything with Greek yogurt. I swear I ate penne pasta only covered with Greek yogurt. It was quite interesting. I also got to try baklava for my first time- absolutely delicious. Good thing I only bought two pieces- I swear I would have went all Miss.Piggy and ate way more than I should have.

The tournament outcome is definitely a huge disappointment. I am not exactly pleased with the way I fought, and not exactly pleased with how I lost. I had absolutely no control with the situations. The Refs gave me a stalling penalty in overtime which made me lose the match L enough said. It sucks when you train so hard for something, and TRAVEL so far to lose by a penalty. AGH! Makes me want to rip my hair out!!!!! But in the grand scheme of things- I have 4 years of judo, and there are going to be bull shit moments like these. So to be optimistic at least it didn't happen in 2015- when every point on the World Ranking List Counts.

I always love these trips because there are always hilarious moments that only happen in really random situations. On the way to Abu Dhabi in the airport yesterday I honestly had one of the biggest brain farts of my life. For some reason I thought Abu Dhabi and Dubai were the same thing. I looked up on the departure board and saw that the flight for Dubai was on their last call to board the plane. Without thinking- I start seriously sprinting to the other side of the airport- not giving Cammi a chance to catch up or explain what was going on. So we reach the Dubai gate- pouring sweat and I am like "come on Cammi! We can't miss our plane!" and Cammi is like dumbfounded and she's like "Hannah. We are going to Abu Dhabi and our flight leaves in an hour. What are you thinking?" I was so confused. But we got a good laugh and a good sprinting session in the airport. So I have learned that Dubai is not the nickname for Abu Dhabi- because I honestly thought it was.



Always in my Heart

blog-20120921My grandmother passed away today. Death is an awkward subject. I never know how to react when I hear about it. I mean if you really take the time to think about what is going to happen to you, me, all of us- We are not immortal- we are all going to die.

Life is really short, and time goes by way too fast. Since I could remember my Grandma was a very strong woman. She basically raised me. I have so many memories of her- teaching me how to tie my shoes, making pancakes and strawberry milk before I had to go to school, and I remember I learned my first bad word from her, "shitty." I think I said it once to my Mom and I ended up with soap in my mouth and very confused because Grandma said it all the time. Grandma always wanted to feed me; she was good at making me feel safe and especially loved. Most importantly Grandma was a fighter- and she honestly fought to her very last breath to survive- I respect her for that. She never gave up, ever.

I went to practice tonight with my Grandmother in mind, and the whole night I thought about her struggle to stay healthy for the last few years. My Grandmother was stubborn and she would not let go of her life. Life is really a beautiful thing, and it is something that we all take for granted. I am guilty of this- and I really want to express how thankful I really am for my life and all the opportunities that have been presented to me. I have nothing to complain about. I have a great family that loves and appreciates me, supportive friends, and a place to live, food to eat.
I am thankful that I have the chance to do the things that I love. I am thankful that I have passion and a drive to work towards my dream- my future. I want to be able to tell the same story my very own grandmother did, not with her words but with her actions. I want to fight for the things I want and care about. I want to be able to say I gave it my everything.

I love you Grandma. R.I.P. Lillian Martin<3

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