August 29, 2010

Goodbye USA...Hello Switzerland!

“The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be only the beginning.”  ~Ivy Baker Priest

After a lot of communication back and forth with my agent, coach, and the Swiss consulate, we have finally booked a flight for Monday night. Waiting for my Visa and having my departure date change a number of times has taken my emotions for a bit of a roller-coaster ride. As with most situations when there’s a decision to be made, there are pros and cons to both sides. As I was waiting in a stage of limbo (not an Inception reference) and wondering when I would get the call to head to the airport, I was weighing the pros and cons of leaving. I decided on the following: Pros: Starting to train with my team, getting settled into my apartment, figuring out the local area, jumping into my travel experience, and finally knowing if the title ‘professional basketball player’ fits. Cons: Leaving sooner means having a longer span of time before I come home (I’m now down to 3 1/2 months before I come home for Christmas),  having to actually say goodbye to my family and friends, and leaving my safety net.

Goodbyes are really tough for a number of reasons right now. First, a lot seems to be happening at home while I am preparing to leave. My friends who are just as ambitious as I am (if not more-so) are reaching milestones that I really want to be around for. Second, we never know what’s going to happen in life, so sometimes it’s really hard to leave people you care about. And finally, goodbye means leaving a support system that I’ve become accustomed to relying on.

Now that I’ve told you my doubts, let me share my excitement. I’m incredibly eager to get to venture off and find out if I can create another support system in a different part of the world with new coaches, new teammates, and new friends. A big reason I decided I wanted to play basketball overseas was because I strongly feel that in order to embrace how you live in your country, you need to have some understanding of other countries. For instance, I cannot wait to see how gender is constructed in other countries, or how different laws affect the decisions people make, or even how a country known for having high taxes seems to affect the quality of life for its inhabitants.

When I think about the opportunity I’m taking I actually get butterflies in my stomach, the kind that make me feel like maybe I’m on the brink of greatness (or maybe I will throw up). I’ll keep you posted!

August 19, 2010

“Just a small-town girl…”

While preparing to start my journey as a professional basketball player in Nyon, Switzerland, I decided it would be essential to share my experiences with my family and friends through a blog; this one, in fact! I am currently still in the United States, waiting to hear when my flight will be departing to Switzerland, where I will spend the next eight months of my life competing on the basketball court and getting to explore Europe. The lead-up process has been strenuous and I am incredibly anxious to get over there to join my new teammates in preseason practices.

There are a few things I had to do in order to prepare for my departure. I took an expedited trip into NYC to the Swiss Consulate in order to get my work visa straightened out. Right now we are waiting to hear that everything is in order so I may go pick up the necessary paperwork in order to get on a flight. In the meantime, I have already packed the crucial elements I will need to flourish over there: protein, protein bars, lemon pepper, and an amazing quote book my friends organized for me so I may bring a piece of each one of them with me on my journey.

As with every new chapter in my life, I am excited and nervous to face what lies ahead. I cannot wait to meet my new teammates, as my teammates have been the driving force behind my passion to play basketball for a long time. I am looking forward to living in a beautiful country with an abundance of mountains, pastures, lakes, and castles. Since this is the first time I will be leaving the country I am nervous that I will miss home, my family, and my friends. As always, I fear that I will fall one step short of where I want to be. Even so, as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.” And everyone who knows me knows I like secrets :).