Monday, August 19, 2013

Day 11 - The KLM Counter

Welp. I’m not supposed to be here. I’m not single enough, young enough, quick enough, strong enough... The reality is that I’m supposed to be getting on a plane home right now because I wasn’t good enough in anyone’s opinion to play professionally on this continent with any success… and let’s be real here. I’m not. I’m not good enough. I know what good looks like and I’m not it!!!!

But life, it seems, is not that simple. I’ve found that if I keep pushing, negotiating, thinking positively about my future, and meditating on the things I want come into being around me, the hard work works. And I’m not fooling around when I say that sometimes the hardest part has been letting go of what is.

… Because so what!?!? Maybe I’m not good enough, but I’m not going to let some stupid idea my brain made up hold my body back from what I know I’m capable of: working harder and getting better. The blind faith of others and a few bold decisions have brought me to the KLM ticket counter in Amsterdam this morning… I’m postponing my flight home until the 22nd and catching a train to Tours, France where I will attend a pre-season practice to tryout for a team there.

If the coach likes what she sees, I could be spending the next nine months incubating this hungry little caterpillar into a freaking beautiful volleyball monarch butterfly!!!

Stepping off the train in Saint-Pierre des Corps, I’m very travel weary. I stink and my shoulders are aching from carrying around these two big huge bags all day. I barely made my connection in Paris. The metro has changed since the last time I was here – there are no longer attendants selling tickets. It’s all electronic… Had I taken any longer to figure that godforsaken machine out it would’ve been a 50 euro train ticket from Montparnasse to Tours down the drain! Close one.

Finally settling into my seat for the last leg of my journey from South Paris to Tours was SUCH A RELIEF. Neither the Thalys nor the TGV had electricity or internet!!!! I guess we are spoiled with the trains in the states??!? This is news to me… I guess I’ve always generalized about the trains in Europe – thinking they’re the best. Even though I felt like I was a little stuck in the Middle Ages without the world wide web, I was able to utilize those six virtually uninterrupted hours to finally write and stamp the post cards I bought in Lake Bled. They are in the mail today!!

The treasurer of the club met me at the train station and took me straight to the home of the president of the club, where I’ll be staying tonight in a spare bedroom. He speaks perfect English. His demeanor is friendly and professional, and this won’t make sense in the context of this sentence, but he just screams FAMILY.

The president’s house was about ten minutes away. On the way over we spoke about the men’s club here and women who have played for the club from other countries in the past…  The president greeted us with a joke and a smile at the door. The walls of his two-story apartment are painted lime green and grey and decorated with zen photography and art (bamboo, leaves, rocks, you get the idea). His dog and cat are freaking adorable. His 21 year old son came out to say hello. We all sat in the backyard talking about me and them… After all the chaos of traveling, this moment was nice and casual and a little surreal...

After a while, they invited me to dinner in Tours to show me around and discuss more about the club. I accepted (Duh). They took me to the Italian restaurant in town where, they explained, the team goes for post-game dinners and parties. We sat at their usual table and ordered a bottle of wine. I ordered the Insalata Melanzane (a Mediterranean salad with eggplant, sun-dried tomatoes, and mozzarella). I talked about Billy a lot and our life back home. How supportive he is. How difficult this is for him and I. They said there is a four week break from December to January and that “when he comes to visit he must bring WINE!” Ahaha! YES!

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