Hello friends and family!
I’ve made it safely to Vannes, France; my new home for the next 8 or so months. You might be wondering what I am doing? Don’t worry, as I packed my bags and boarded the plane to Paris, I was asking myself the same thing. Well, the easy answer is that I’m going to play professional volleyball, but that doesn’t quite cover it. I’m jumping outside of my comfort zone, attempting to learn a new language and culture, and learning to be on my own as I go to a place where I literally know no one.
I boarded the plane full of a variety of emotions. Excited to be going on this great adventure, but also heavyhearted to leave my friends and family. As the plane began to take off I was busy thinking all these thoughts in my head. Suddenly, I was snapped back into reality as the teenage girl in front of me reclined her seat! Dun, Dun, Dun…This is a tall girl’s nightmare! BUT…it doesn’t stop there. Her seat was broken, and when she reclined (and I wish I was exaggerating here) her seat almost hit me in the face! That patterned cloth of the chair in front of me was a mere two inches from the tip of my nose. Talk about having a lucky day. Her chair was so far back I couldn’t even see Phil Dunphy on my TV screen anymore. Can’t a girl squeeze into a plane seat and watch Modern Family in peace? But this is where it gets even better, the girl was French and didn’t speak English. So I had to flag down the flight attendant for assistance. This is when I realized that I was going to a place where I could no longer easily communicate with the people around me. I will constantly be living a life in translation.
I have quickly figured out that Lost in Translation is not just a movie title. Some days, it’s a way of life. The second day I was here one of my new teammates took me to the grocery store aka market. (Sidenote: Her name is Magda, she is from Prague, and she is amazing! I don’t even think she realizes how helpful she’s being because it seems to be in her nature. Magda is my teammate, tour guide, translator, and friend.) I was walking down the market aisles looking for chicken, and I thought I had found it. I held it up for Magda and she began laughing and told me to put it down. I had picked up rabbit.
Later on at practice one of our coaches was talking in French (that’s the main language they coach in, and the other girls translate for us). He was standing at the net with his arms spread wide open and gesturing ‘come here’ with his hands. So I assumed he was saying ‘bring it in’ and started jogging towards him. I quickly realized I was the only one going toward him, and once again Magda started laughing and told me to come back. The coach was just trying to tell the setter to be more assertive when asking for the ball. Whoops!
Something that I have found to be very funny is the way the French people react to my height. Twice, I’ve had people stand on chairs and gesture at how tall I am. Usually, this would annoy me to no end. I know my brother will understand this. But now I am just so happy to be able to understand what someone is trying to communicate to me that I don’t even care. Also, I’ve had multiple townspeople make a comment that I ‘must have eaten a lot of soup as a kid’ to be so tall. Yes, they said soup. Ha Ha. There’s my first taste at a cultural difference. See what I did there?
A friendly reminder that I love to hear from friends and family. So please download ‘Whatsapp’ or ‘Viber’ from the app store. I’ll be able to text with you when I have wifi. Also, I use Skype and FaceTime as well as Facebook messaging.
I decided to give my blog a bit of a theme in honor of one of my favorite shows, Gossip Girl. I love this show, and all the people I’ve watched it with. It brings back good memories for me of being with my cousins and becoming obsessed with Blair and Chuck, or dropping lines from the show with some of my Penn State teammates in the locker room. I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve seen the whole series…twice. So, my headings will begin like the infamous Gossip Girl blasts: “Spotted…” and end with the classic, “xoxo”. I hope my friends get a kick out of this, and for all of you who don’t know the show, just go with it. 🙂