Friday, May 2, 2014

California, I'm Coming Home!

The Waiting Game

I realize that this blog has been, at times, depressingly self-important.  Haha!  Since August, blogging about my experiences here has been a linear connection to home (and a very therapeutic one I might add!).  Though the content has been pretty positive, the whole story is that it hasn't always been puppies and rainbows.  I've experienced homesickness (missing Billy and my family and friends), along with loneliness and  *lots* of waiting.  In fact, looking back, so much of my time here has been - in one way or another - a lesson in waiting.

In terms of volleyball, waiting is such an important part of training; not just in terms of resting and recovering properly after workouts, but also technically on defense, hitting, and blocking.  Not unlike many sports, volleyball is a game where a lot has to happen between touches in order for a team to be successful.  The incredible saves you see...  the impossible kills...  they all occur because of 1. the incredible ability of a team to perform explosive synchronized actions in a split second and 2. the ability of individuals to wait for the exact correct moment to come into contact with the ball.

In terms of life, I've been counting down the days until my return home since Billy left in February.  Looking around this place I've inhabited since August, my bags are finally packed.  I'm now counting down the hours before I leave France (maybe forever).  It's a strangely familiar feeling...  My two beautiful sisters, Sarah and Meghan, were here in Paris with me this week...  in a way, ushering me back into my life in California.  The waiting will soon be over.  That will be a feeling I haven't felt in a while!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Random Ramblings - Part 4

I was sitting here thinking about all the random things about France that I haven't yet mentioned here.  Things that I'm a little worried about in terms of re-adjusting to American life.  Things that I've gotten used to that I might need to warn Sarah and Meghan about before they get here (TWO DAYS!!!!).  So, here is my final list of random ramblings about my frenchified life:

Detachable Shower Heads

Yes!!!!  If you've ever found yourself praying for a day when detachable shower heads are the norm, maybe start praying in French, because the 'dieux des douches' are wide awake here.  Detachable shower heads are seriously in every shower.  It might be difficult to go back to the stationary stream...  Oy.

Hustle and Bustle

The French have a very different understanding of personal space in public places.  Whether the sidewalk is crowded or not, old ladies will check you like an Alabama State line-backer if you're in their way.  At first I wondered if there were reinforced shoulder pads on their old-fashioned dresses, but that was before I realized that these public displays of disorderliness were a cultural norm enjoyed by all ages.  Pushing a stranger aside, bustling their bags, or even just full-on running into a total stranger for no apparent reason are not really considered rude here.  It's normal.   Happens all the time.  I'm still writing this a little in disbelief of some of the things I've seen.  Just like, someone totally pushing people to cut in line or just simple to get where they want to go (regardless of age, gender, size, all that just goes out the window)...  This is especially crazy here in France because otherwise people are SOOOOO polite.  Good morning, good afternoon, yes ma'am, yes sir, yes please, no thank you...  I mean, if you need some bread you better say 'yes please ma'am thank you have a nice day', but if there is a human being in your way go ahead and hustle and bustle the hell out of them.  You'll fit right in!

Commercials' commercials

In addition to still having panty hoes commercials here they also show commercials for commercials.  Every station (at least on public access anyway) has commercials warning you that five to ten minutes of commercials are about to begin or end.  Commercial breaks only happen once (maybe twice) during an hour-long show.  The commercials themselves also happen to be a lot less annoying.  I can't really explain why.  They're funny - or at least clever in some way - and normally play off of the different quirky things about France or other European countries.  In the most extreme cases, this manifests as me watching commercials and then changing the channel or just turning the TV off completely when the show comes back on.  Ha!

Aerosol Deodorant

This is more just an oddity that I find interesting.  The deodorant aisle at the supermarket here looks like the air freshener aisle in the States.  Indeed.  That means that for the last nine months I've been assaulting my underarms every morning with blinding whirlwinds of spray antiperspirant...  It definitely still feels like I'm febreezing my armpits...  and I still stink.  Haha...  So, yeah.

Photo Essay - Spring Sprung

This time of year bees, butterflies, (chocking hazards on the bike - haha!) and beetles are buzzing around everywhere to announce the arrival of Spring.  These two cities (Tours and Saint-Cyr-sur-Loire) are in full bloom right now.  This photo essay represents the best I could do at capturing this seasonal beauty.  The pictures come from my backyard, the flower market, and random walks and rides around town.  Highlights include poppies growing out of stony roadside walls, a sunset behind the gym, and a twenty foot guard dog.  Haha - Enjoy!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Scrappy Scrap Scrapperson

Today, we beat the fourth seed in our league in a five-set nail-biter (21:25, 25:21, 24:26, 25:18, 15:12).  The fans were totally awesome.  It was an exciting match and a great way to finish off our season at home.  This was an especially momentous game for my team because we hadn't won a five-setter yet this season.

This game was also very rewarding for me personally because I was finally picking up defensive balls that (before this season) used to fall inches away from my fingertips (and then torment me for a week!).  Maguy has been working hard with me in practice to rewire my digging and diving (sometimes I would dive too soon, sometimes too late, and sometimes not at all - and almost always with the wrong arm).  I know, I know - my poor coach, right?!?!  Anyway, she somehow managed to connect a few circuits that enabled me to shine on defense tonight.  Though this match wasn't my best, it was very cool to see marked improvement in my ability to dig.  It felt so great to be on the floor scrapping together a play with my team.  And, of course, it was totally worth it for the WIN!  Yay.