Sunday, October 6, 2013


At 10:30 AM Sunday morning the whole team piled into a nine-person van to make our 4PM match against team AMAZON (I mean, Bordeaux Merignac).  This team came down from National 1 at the end of last season and has been dominating National 2 with their scrappy defense and ferocious offense ever since. 

Unfortunately for our record, the road trip was the highlight of the day.  The freeways here are fast, direct, and cost a fortune.  The gas was 110 euros, and the tolls totaled 150 euros!  OUCH!  Coach Maguy said if you aren’t pressed for time the national routes here are beautiful *free* back roads that wind through the countryside and tiny town centers (a great way to see the French way of life up close).

Bordeaux was unlike any wine country I’ve ever seen...  Lush vines extended from the freeway in their uniform lines for as far as the eye could see in every direction.  Vineyards weren’t nestled in a valley, or shelved along steep, rocky cliffs.  They just stretched on and on and on forever.  Rows of trees and solitary farm houses spotted the landscape and spurred deep conversations about food, farming, and the environment. 

You will never believe this, but it turns out that on this three hour car ride, I happened to be sitting next to a girl on the team who has also been to Madagascar!  Oh, we went on and on, sharing with Maguy all the coolest things about Mada.  Since Maguy spent most of her life in Brazil, she could relate to a lot of the eating habits that characterize that latitude (ie tons of rice, a million different types of bananas, and avocados for dessert).  Mmmmm… 

I often forget that Madagascar is where I first developed a respect for food.  Despite annual family outings to Apple Hill and my mom’s lifelong gardening and fearless foraging habits, before studying abroad in Madagascar in my mind food primarily existed prepared, packaged, and priced on a shelf, in an aisle, in a huge air-conditioned building with slick floors and friendly employees.  Madagascar is where I finally realized that even the ingredients for pop tarts are planted, grown, and harvested, before being shook up in a test tube, squirted out a mechanical arm and zipped up in a rectangular foil wrapper.  Haha!

That reminds me of a great bit from Jerry Seinfeld on pop-tarts:

Pop-Tarts aside, it’s really rare to meet someone else who has been to Madagascar!  It was so nice being reminded of the year I spent learning, eating, and experiencing life there while studying abroad.  So many names, faces, moments, and meals flooded back into my memory; devouring banana and nutella sandwiches around a campfire; meditatively chatting while peeling apples and oranges; snacking on boiled manioc doused in sweetened condensed milk; harvesting, de-husking, sorting, washing, and cooking huge pots of white, red, brown, and black rice; savoring samosas and skewers of beef with lemony hot sauce; and washing everything down with THB (Three Horses Beer)...  It made me want to go back so bad!

To put it lightly, the game we played once we arrived in Bordeaux left something to be desired...  Enough said.  Bordeaux Merignac provided post-match pâté and crêpes (YUM!) and on the ride home we chowed down on a yogurt and nutella cake that our setter baked and my dad’s famous chocolate chip cookies (which arrived in the mail this week!).   Even though all of us were stuffed from the snacks, the club paid for a pit-stop.  We sat inside a gas station dining area and supped on delicious (by American standards) microwaveable pasta boxes.  Outside the sun set on distant forests and farms in hues of highlighter yellow, orange, and pink behind wide blankets of dark purple clouds. 

We made it home by 10:30 PM.  My head hit the pillow hard, gears still turning over missed serves and bad plays from earlier that night.   Alas!  Sunday nights remind me to look forward to a sit in the sauna and swimming, and a week of hard work for our next match.

That’s all for now.  More later!


  1. Loved the Seinfeld video but we never had pop tarts. OK maybe once but I doubt if your health conscious mother ever allowed them as a regular part of your diet. Thanks for the Mada memories and beautiful description of the French wine country.

    1. You're right!! I maybe ate ten pop tarts in my whole life - haha! I preferred a whole stack of eggo waffles. Though I gotto say... You want to know what my comfort food has been here, Dad?!? Eggs on toast! or rice and eggs! Ha!