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One Week in Lithuania October 4, 2013

Posted by Sam Angell in Uncategorized.
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Hello!

So I have made it a full week here in Lithuania, which is a good sign, I think.  The flight over here was not that bad.  I flew to Frankfort, Germany and then to Lithuania.  My second flight was quite interesting because I put my bag in an overhead compartment, sat down, and then some man came and took my bag out and threw it on the floor and started yelling at me in German.  The lady behind me realized I did not speak the language so she began to yell back at him so he took my bag and put it back.  I was completely confused but I just sat there and pretended it didn’t happen, haha.

When I arrived in Vilnius on my birthday, the guy who picked me up had bought me flowers and chocolate which was very sweet. He then took me to a nice birthday dinner.  The next day I woke up and met the entire team and had a short practice where they taught me all the plays.  I am playing point guard for this team so they had one day to teach me the plays before my first game the following day.  All the girls were very helpful and made sure I understood what was going on.  Everyone on the team speaks English, even the coach, so that is certainly helpful.  I arrived on Thursday, practiced on Friday, and Saturday we left for five days for a tournament in Druskininkai, Lithuania.  We played five “friendly” games against Russian teams. We did pretty well – not as well as we should have, but towards the end everyone was very tired. Throughout the trip the girls helped me learn Lithuanian words, and on the last day I was finally able to remember and pronounce every name on the team.  There is also one other American on the team, she is from New York and played at Davidson.  It helps a lot that there is another American!!!!

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Being new and playing point guard is a little overwhelming at times because you have the ball in your hands the majority of the time and you must make quick decisions considering the shot clock is now 24 seconds.  It’s overwhelming, because I am getting used to the style of play, and I still need to build chemistry with my teammates and understand the type of players they are and what they like to do on the court.  But I am catching on.  The basketball here is a lot faster and more physical, which I love.  They tell me that basketball in Lithuania is like a religion for most people.  Our guys’ basketball team is very good, too. They just played in European Championship and won silver, so that is pretty cool.

My team is currently in Russia.  They left the day after we got back from the tournament. I was unable to attend because my visa is not ready and you need a visa for Russia.  With them away I have been able to explore the city a bit.  Some of the buildings are different, but overall it doesn’t look that much different than home.  When I went to Italy with Drexel two years ago, it looked nothing like home.  Everything was different, but here in Vilnius there are similarities.  One thing that is confusing, especially for people visiting, are the street signs.  The street signs are on the side of the buildings, so you almost have to search for them.  Also, there are no stop signs, and people park with their bumper sticking out in the road.  There seems to be no rules about park jobs here.

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The food is different.  They love crepes, and I love them too!!! For every meal they have a salad, soup, and then the main dish. Some of the main dishes are unique, but very good.  It is still hard for me to explain.  Also, they have the best candy and sweets of all time!  They have this chocolate called “Milka” that is dangerous.  I will bring home a bunch at Christmas.  All of the food here is amazing.  I cannot complain one bit, and I love to eat so it kind of works out perfectly :).

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It is funny though, if you are an American living here, everyone knows.  They can sense that you are a foreigner and continue to stare at you.  The language barrier is not too bad, though, since most people here grew up learning the English language.  Overall everyone has been extremely friendly and helpful, and my experiences the last seven days have been good ones (knock on wood).  I am happy.  It is still a little weird that I am living in another country (I guess it has not hit me yet) but I am slowly adjusting.  I do miss home though every day, but the constant contact with everyone back home has certainly helped me along the way.

So far so good!

Sudie! (goodbye)

 

For more from Hollie as she continues her basketball career overseas, visit http://holliemershon.blogspot.com/

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