Monday, September 10, 2012

Life A, to Life B

It'll be several months before this happens again.

  I often joke that I lead two different lives. One where I am home in the US, surrounded by family, and when given the opportunity, close friends. And the other, where I am more or less on a solo venture in a foreign land, keeping as close of touch as possible via the Internet.

  You can also call it going from vacation mode to work mode. From living in the US, to living in Europe.

  The end of August, most years, marks the transition period from one 'life' to the other. Depending on when my contract requires me to join my team for the new season, I pack my life into two suitcases (for the next seven to eight months), and jump on a plane to cross the Atlantic.

  For me, the most difficult time is the last few days at home and the first few days back in Europe. You anticipate leaving, with a little lump in your throat. You have difficult goodbyes to say, and you know that your life is about to make a drastic turn. And the last days always seem to pass far too quickly.

Bright, sunny beach days make for easy adjustments!
  It's not that you dislike returning Europe, and eventually returning to 'work'. But it's a change. No matter how many times you hop across the pond, it's a huge adjustment. Both emotionally and physically. Even if you might be returning to the same place as the previous year (like I am doing this go 'round), there are always adjustments to be made.

  You're anxious to get to your city, get settled, and get things started with your new team. And you can't do that until you actually set foot into your second home.

  This year, the adjustment was made a little bit easier since I'm back in a familiar place. I know the roads, I know my coach, I know the city, I know some of my teammates, I know where the stores are and when they close. I know exactly what to expect, both the good and the bad. There's something to be said for a little familiarity, isn't there?

  Even with a little familiarity, I still have to make adjustments.

Life B includes exploring the beach -- A blue jellyfish!
  Most obviously, jet lag. A nine-hour time difference from the West Coast always is always like riding a roller coaster. It usually gets better with each passing day, but at a slow pace. I go from my eyes popping open at 4-5am and falling flat at 3pm, to begrudgingly rolling out of bed at 6:45am (because my body won't let me sleep any later), and barely lasting til the day's end. You gradually sleep later and later each day, but it's a slow process.

  Now that I've been in France for a little over a week, the jet-lag is a distant memory.

  As I got myself settled into my apartment, I had to wait several days for the most important thing to a basketball player overseas: the internet connection.

  Until the internet's up and running, you feel a little disconnected. You can't talk to family and friends the way you would like to, and keeping up with daily news is a little difficult as well. Though I can say I'm more up on British news than I've ever been, thanks to my morning 'BBC Breakfast' show on TV.

  So life is in a bit of limbo til you get things how you want them. You just hope the limbo doesn't last too long. 

  Now with the Internet working, jet-lag gone, and my apartment set up, I can focus 100% on the thing I came back to France to do: play basketball. I can get into my daily routine, and live.

My little red car in Life B. No speeding tickets please.
  I can get to know my new teammates, and re-connect with the old ones. I can start to make adjustments on the court as well.

  The first week playing basketball is always a tough one for me. My legs feel like they're still somewhere on a plane in the sky. So until I get my legs back under me, I'm a little out of sorts on the court.

  Your body also must adjust to the daily wear and tear of playing basketball. Even though I worked out hard during the summer, nothing compares to two-a-day practices, and the pounding your body takes on the court. So the first week of practice, no matter how well-prepared you are, is one with plenty of body aches and sore muscles.

  Slowly but surely, I'm easing back into 'Life B'. Luckily, we have five more pre-season games to play, including a tournament in Strasbourg this weekend, til things start counting for real. The regular season starts September 29th for DMBC Dunkerque, so there's still three weeks to work out the kinks.

  It's been a fairly smooth transition for me back to the North Sea so far, hopefully a sign of things to come!


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