I guess you could say I’m a vet now.
Ten years ago when if you would have asked me if I would be playing basketball overseas, I would have never guessed it. Let alone going on 7 years now.
Nonetheless, I love it. I feel so blessed to be still be playing the game I love and in Turkey, arguably one of the best leagues overseas- which is rare for an American player who has yet to reach the WNBA.
Although it’s amazing to still be playing, the transition of going back overseas is not always the easiest.
I’m a person that likes stability, steadiness and consistency, but in this career your life is constantly changing, so I’ve had to adjust. Just when you are getting comfortable and are beginning to get into a routine, things shift in a way that you have no idea what to expect. Thankfully, I’ve played in Turkey for a couple of years now so I am familiar with some things here. But most of the time you won’t know things like what your apartment will look like, how you’ll adjust to your new team, new city, new teammates, and I don’t think anyone can prepare with the amount of alone time you will have.
For example, this year I’m in a new city: Ankara, Turkey. Being that it is the capital of Turkey, I had high expectations. Last season I played in Istanbul, Turkey (which I loved), and for some reason, I thought Ankara would be like Istanbul. Well from what I’ve seen so far, I was definitely wrong. One of the other foreigners and I decided to go around the city to see what’s here and basically there’s malls everywhere. In the first week, we went to probably about 5 different malls and surprisingly they are actually pretty good. There are stores like Victoria’s Secret, Nike, and Zara. And also my favorite European stores, Berska and Pull and Bear. One of our Turkish teammates told us the center of the city has some nice shops and restaurants to offer but we haven’t had a chance to visit there yet. So as of now, it seems I’ll be shopping or hanging out at Starbucks in one of the malls during my free time this year. (Thank goodness there’s Starbucks!!)
As I said before, also coming to a new team is an uncomfortable feeling at first. Especially being that I haven’t competed at a high level for the entire summer, along with being a person who takes time to get comfortable in new situations and environments. Being the vet that I now am, I’ve gotten better with dealing with this and thankfully this feeling only lasts for a few weeks and then I start to feel more at home. Right now I’m still in the stage of shaking off the rust and getting acclimated, but in a week or two I’m sure I’ll be more settled.
Socially, you have sooooooo much free time. Yes, you have practice and games but that’s only 2-4 hours out of your day MAX. I, myself have to find ways to be productive with my time and stay occupied. In the past I haven’t really been productive but it is my goal this year and one of the reasons I started this blog. I think it’ll be easier being in a slower pace city this year. Also, the past two years my college teammate Corrine played here in Turkey so we always hung out. This year she isn’t here so it’ll be interesting to see how things go.
Nonetheless, besides some of the transition discomforts that come with playing overseas, it’s always so nice to be back playing again.