Bonjour a France! I apologize so much for the delay of my post. I have been here a little over a week and have been STRUGGLING without Wi-Fi! But it is finally up and running. Therefore, post will now be coming more frequently!
To begin, I want to thank everyone who has kept me in their prayers. Your prayers are deeply appreciated and I want to let you know God has definitely been blessing me and keeping me tightly under His arms.
Well, after 12 hours in airports and on planes, I finally arrived in Calais, France. I flew into Brussels, Belgium and had to drive an hour and a half to reach my new home, and I must say this city is beautiful. I am right on the coastline. The beach is only twenty minutes from my apartment (or “flat” as they call it here in France). You can pretty much see London from here (not really LoL), but London is only a 30 minutes ferry ride or 30 minute train-ride away. As stated before, Brussels is only an hour and half, Amsterdam is about 2 ½ hours away, and Paris is 3 ½ hours away. I am residing in the BEST location to go exploring around Europe. I am not complaining at all. On days off I WILL be about that traveling life! However, the best feature of this city is that they have a HUGE mall with a giant H&M! :-D
After a week of being here I can honestly say I love my teammates!!! They are incredible. From day one they have been nothing but extremely nice and welcoming. They have embraced me with open arms. Best part, THEY UNDERSTAND ENGLISH thank you Jesus!!! You do not know how much of a help that really is. My French is pretty much nonexistent so them understanding English is definitely helping us bond and become closer. We have already, voluntarily, been to a basketball game together and out to eat together. Also, they are enjoying teaching me French and I am enjoying learning. They are truly God-sent because they have made this transition to France as easy as it can get! I do not feel out of place, or alone amongst a crowd at all.
Practices are definitely different than back in America for sure. First, difference and the most important is that my coach coaches in French! Like I said before, thank you Jesus for my English speaking teammates. It is literally like the movie Love and Basketball, where one of my teammates is translating everything he is saying for me. It is quite funny because is literally sounds like gibberish to me when he speaks. Even though I do know enough French to get me by, all I understand in practice is my name, and “ball,” and “pass.”
Second difference is that basketball is now my full-time job. I am no longer going to class and then going to practice. Instead, I am just practicing twice a day for an hour and half to two hours. I have one practice in the morning and one in the early evening. It is definitely tiring and my legs are currently struggling already. Also, since they do not believe in ice baths here, or ice at all for that matter, I definitely had to invest in some freezer icepacks and find a spa that does deep tissue sports massages (which I have found! Calais is awesome!!! J) Yes Vanderbilt spoiled me with the massages we use to get J. I have to take of my body. *shoulder shrug* Overseas is a long season! We have 11 games in the month of September alone! Realize that is almost half a season in college! And realize my season ends in May here!
All in all, so far, I could not have asked for a better situation. There is NOTHING I can complain about. My coach and my team speaks English, my teammates are lovely, my apartment is brand new and amazing, Calais is a beautiful city in a prime location, it has American food, and it has two malls in which I can do work in! My situation could have been drastically different, but Jesus made sure I was in the best situation, for me, that I would be able to fulfill His purpose. I am truly blessed and highly favored. I would not be here today, in this beautiful city, without Jesus and His grace. I am so grateful God has ordered my steps to be here, at this point in time. All praise goes to Him!
Peace Grace and Blessings