In the midst of a large crowd of a wide spread mixture of nationalities, languages, and unique cultural “swags”, I stood in line at the Newark International Airport waiting to pass through security when it finally hit me… The time had finally come to pack up my bags and begin my next journey. Although still in America, the flurry of non-American cultures was overwhelming and sort of gave me that Wizard of Oz “we’re not in Kansas anymore” type feeling.
The time leading up to the actual departure has been filled with many emotions. One minute I can’t stop thinking about how excited I am to continue to play basketball and live in a new country, and the next I start thinking about all of the things I will miss and will be without while abroad. Nonetheless, with emotions still running high, I am finally on my way to continue my basketball journey- Polish style.
Sitting on the plane and reflecting back on the rollercoaster ride that has brought me to this point, I couldn’t ignore one of my early childhood memories. I remember sitting in class at Auke Bay Elementary School and presenting a project similar to a personal profile. We discussed our hobbies, favorite things such as colors and food, and other similar simplistic questions. What is most vivid in my mind is one of the most frequently asked questions to young children, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” I know this may be shocking (not really), but I answered I wanted to be a professional basketball player. At the time I’m not even sure women’s professional basketball existed but it was a distant dream of mine from an early age. The memory of answering this question is a reminder for me to appreciate the opportunity that I have to finally fulfill that far-fetched childhood dream.
The trip to Poland, as all trips to Europe are, was long and consisted of three flights and nearly 24 hours. With that being said, I have completed my first trip to Europe and arrived in my new home for the next 8 months or so- Gdynia, Poland. If you aren’t sure where that is, it’s totally fine- I didn’t either. But, if you are curious, it is located at the very northern part of Poland on the Baltic Sea and is one of the larger cities in Poland.
I arrived in Poland on a beautiful sunny afternoon to a large city decorated with greenery! There are lots of trees, parks, and forested area around the city of Gdynia. In fact, my room has its own balcony that over looks a large park across the street – extra bonus! It’s only our first day here and we have already been informed of two practices tomorrow! I guess they are not wasting time “helping” us get rid of our jet lag!
This is the first blog of a series that will continue throughout my time in Poland. Hope you enjoy!