November 11th is an important day and national holiday in America as well as Poland. While Americans are honoring Veterans and those who have served our country, Poland is celebrating its Independence Day; equivalent to our 4th of July without the fireworks and elaborate celebration.
Poland may be behind America in many ways, however not when it comes to daylight savings time. Last night we “fell back” an hour- a whole week before it happens in the U.S. This is just further proof that Fall is officially here. The weather has most definitely been an indication of that as well. Temperatures are dropping and we even had a short period of a little snow. This week is expected to be in the low 40s, which doesn’t seem too bad but for some reason it feels a lot cooler than that.
It’s a beautiful clear and crisp fall day here in Poland and has been this way for about 4 or 5 days now. The leaves are turning colors and the days and especially the nights are starting to get a little chilly. We have today off and will be spending it by resting and recovering from a long week and going to watch a couple of basketball games including one of the professional men’s teams from Gdynia.
Waiting… and waiting… and waiting for October 17th to come around. It seems like we haven’t played in forever and still have a little less than a week before we head to Gorzow to finally play again. While this break has been nice and allowed some time for relaxing, recovering, and excessive episodes of TV shows online, I think we are all ready to play again.
The first official games are in the books! We traveled afar to compete in our first Polish league game. Although parading across European countryside sounds quaint, it was all too similar to the great Midwestern plains of the United States. After driving nearly the length of the entire country, we played KK Row Rybnik and lost a very close game. We jumped out to a great start and led 13-1 until Rybnik went on a run of their own. The rest of the game could be described as a Ping-Pong match; it was back and forth the rest of the way.
Just when I thought I was finally looking like less of an American tourist as I go about my day-to-day activities, an experience last week turned that all around. I was walking through the mall by myself enjoying a mocha when I noticed this old lady sweeping the floors. I felt her eyes fixed on me as we walked almost side by side. I turned to look at her but it didn’t alter her obvious fixation. Maybe my hair was looking a little crazy or something, I’m not really sure. This was a little weird but turned comical seconds later.
A combination of basketball, community service and sightseeing made this weekend very busy, yet a lot of fun. Saturday morning we drove about 20 minutes to Gdansk to visit the area of the city known as Old Town. It was absolutely beautiful, minus the rain, and I'd love to share more about it but after almost three weeks, I finally have some basketball news to share!
Sometimes the smallest things can provide the most excitement as well as comfort and a feeling of normalcy in unfamiliar surroundings. For myself, I had one of these moments a few days ago when I took advantage of a morning off from workouts and went on a little trip to find Starbucks. This successful voyage definitely brought a smile to my face. For a moment, I felt like I was back in Seattle making a trip down the street to Starbucks just as I so frequently did.
One week in, and the journey is in full swing. As expected, basketball has been occupying the majority of my time but I have had the opportunity to fully unpack, and briefly explore the immediate surrounding area. With the exception of a couple of days, we have had two practices a day. Weights and/or conditioning in the morning and basketball practice in the afternoon. I feel almost like I’m back in college at summer school- minus the schoolwork. The day-to-day schedule is very similar.