Update: From The Land Down Under…

Update: I’m in the land of oz again until September. Like coming full circle from when I was here 5 years ago. I love Australia, the culture, the people here, and Melbourne so coming back to play in their winter league wasn’t a hard decision. They didn’t really have to pressure me too hard to do it.

I get to see all my old teammates, friends, and adopted family members again. One of the many blessing I’ve gotten to experience traveling the world is making new, different friends and knowing people almost everywhere. It’s funny because I hadn’t realized all the “adopted” family members I’ve accumulated in my travels until my dad mentioned something to me the other day about how I seem to of made that a habit of doing that.

Starting with Australia: I have a older lady who considers me her adopted American granddaughter and she visits and brings her real granddaughter to our games sometimes. There’s also a family who took me under their wing when I tore my ACL for the first time. I met them randomly when my family came to visit and one of them was wearing ISU clothing. Turns out the parents actually used to be athletes at ISU! Small world! They let me babysit their three kids and spend time with them like I was a part of their family. It meant the world to me as I was post-surgery in a foreign country alone.

Puerto Rico: The couple who owned the house we were staying in lived above us. They took care of us and treated my teammate and I as family after two hurricanes destroyed the island and we were stuck there. Also, our neighbor Kathy who always looked so serious and spoke zero English treated us as a typical Hispanic Mom would. Making us lemonade, teaching us how to make lemonade and then scolding us for doing it wrong, telling us to move our car into her garage, making sure we were fed, etc. Etc. She was sweet in a motherly, occasionally scolding us kind of way. haha

Sweden: One day an elderly couple asked to sit at my table for lunch one busy Thursday and it turned into a weekly tradition of having lunch with my Swedish grandparents. They also invited me over frequently for coffee and Easter lunch with the rest of their family and real grandkids. They then gave me tickets to an classical Mozart concert which was an interesting, yet completely nap worthy experience I probably won’t do again. Lol They have no cell phone and the only way I can communicate with them is via their landline phone and the pen pal letters we send back and forth now. My Swedish grandparents told me to tell my parents that they did something right with me because I was a good girl. Haha My dads reply was “how’d that happen?” Lol

I was like, “ I know right?! You guys really did try your best to screw us kids up. From overdosing us on dimetapp, to the countless whoopings, to letting us play in raccoon infested buildings, to shooting our dog, Sunny, in front of me one bright, sunny day.”(Sunny had a tumor and needed to be put down… maybe just not in front of me. lol )Smh Farmer Tony teaching us all young… and Carma keeping us in line and busy with an endless amount of chores.

I am grateful to have such a huge, loving family back home who screwed me up, whooped me enough, toughened me up, and loved me just enough to mold me into a fairly sane human being most days. So for that, thanks Mom & Dad.

In honor of my bball journey coming full circle and reflecting on my travels. It’s an amazing feeling to sit here and be able to say I have family across the globe, even if they aren’t blood.

As of now, I’m living in a house with three other import players. Two guys who are pretty chill and my teammate from Venezuela who is helping me brush up on my Spanish. Our teammates and club people are all really nice and are a fun group, though I forgot how crazy and wild Aussies are. Practices are two times a week with games on the weekend. I just had an interview with a marketing group in town to work with them on the side. We will see if I get a second round interview invite within the next week. On top of all that, I’m still grinding through my second to last term of my MBA program and will graduate in December… hopefully. 😉 In the meantime, I’m just over here keeping busy and having fun while doing it!

Peace, Love, & Happiness ❤

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Take a Step Outside…

Since I’ve gone MIA for a bit I figured I should throw an update out there to catch people up on my adventures. I am currently living in Beirut, Lebanon. From what I’m told, the night life here is great and the food is spectacular. So far I’ve managed to make my daily home base a café right down the road called “HOOK” where I’ve made friends with the owner and her family. The area I’m living in is very much a residential community where people park wherever they can find an empty few feet of space and I’m sure a few dozen people get hit by cars on the daily because the lack of sidewalks. It’s definitely a different world but the people are very nice. A few blocks down the way is a more ritzy area where there’s a great social scene. A few low key bars and nice restaurants to eat out at, mostly by myself. Haha One thing I’ve learned traveling, living in a foreign country, and trying to get the most out of every place I visit is to not be afraid to go out and do things alone. Not everyone is as eager to fully immerse themselves in it and some people are just here to play ball and get paid. I find that a bit sad, but to each their own. Not everyone gets this opportunity to get paid to experience the world and not everyone will get to live somewhere completely out of their comfort zone like we do. The other day I went out and had a glass of wine and devoured an entire pizza while onlookers watched me enjoy my table for one and be the fatty my momma raised me to be. Corn fed and Iowa Bred. I won’t lie though, I was initially nervous because I had never been to the Middle East and because of all the tension over here. But Beirut isn’t at all like I imagined and hasn’t in any way made me feel uncomfortable living here. Even though my tall, Amazonian, ginger self gets stared down literally everywhere I go.  I kind of stand out just a wee bit.

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I wouldn’t say my living accommodations are spectacular at the moment but I’m just accepting where I am and working with what I got. On a positive note, I’ve only been electrocuted about 3 times since being here. One while trying to use the washer and another while trying to use my stovetop. Lebanon is already trying to kill me. Lol But overall, I’m not high maintenance and I’ve become very good at adapting to my surroundings. We don’t have a car so our teammates pick up the other Americans and I for practice daily. Which also means I do a lot of walking if I want to go anywhere somewhat close to me. It’s okay I could use the extra exercise and work through all my untapped reserves from not playing consistently for a while. We’ve played two games so far and lost both of them. One of them was to the top team in Lebanon but the other should’ve been easily won. I however wasn’t making anything for the life of me besides 3’s the first game. Makes sense right? Lol The further out you get the more accurate your shot becomes? The second game I played much better but not well enough to pull out a W. It can only go up from here though after every game my body feels like it got hit by a truck. I definitely do not bounce back as well as I could in my college days of taking charges and running around with an endless motor of energy. I’ve been living in compression tights, a knee brace on for walking around, and ice bags strapped to me since day 1 of practice. Haha

My sleep schedule has yet to become regular. It doesn’t help that the other Americans go to sleep at like 3 or 4 AM every night. The first week I was sleeping mostly during the day and awake for most the night. The last few days I’ve had a sort of insomnia and averaged about 3 hours of sleep per night. One would think I would be super productive with all this time but you’d be wrong. Still adjusting. I’m getting better though. I spend my days doing schoolwork at a coffee shop and nights practicing or working out. But boy did I miss this, getting paid to play basketball and have the freedom to explore the world. I get to dedicate my time to learning and investing in myself in the areas I value the most. What more can a girl ask for? J

For now, I’m just enjoying where I’m at and learning from where I’ve been. New year, New you. Not the same girl I started off as at the beginning of this long basketball journey but boy have I learned a lot. If you ever get the chance, step outside your comfort zone. Hang with people you don’t normally hang with. Experience a new restaurant, coffee shop, fun activity, event, or bar. Learn a different language or travel to a different country. What you know, where you’re from, and who you are, is just a speck of what this world is made up of. The world is bigger than you; so take a risk, take a chance, and step outside… I promise you won’t regret it.