Aug 3, 2007

Hello everyone!

WARNING!! This post may be extremely long due to the amount of information I would like to give everyone on my trip so far. Unless your husband is the boss ;) you may want to wait till you can home from work to read this. I am going to break it down into sections to make it easier to read and follow. I must say as I am typing this I have a rejuvenated spirit. Today was a very long day, but very good. I will talk more about that in the end, but first we must tell you how much I love airports!!

The Trip Over…

I had a nice send off at the airport that turned for the worst right at the beginning. I was carrying two bags on which were filled to the brim with different things. That did not sit well with security. While I waited they checked inside and took almost everything out to make sure I was not a terrorist (they are usually good at picking the right ones). I did not let this bother me as I was early and would have to wait for about a half an hour, or so I thought. That half an hour turned into about two in a half as we set on the runway waiting for clearance. Still I was in a great mood and excited so again this did not bother me. I had about three and half hour wait in Philadelphia, or so I thought (this will be a common theme to this trip). When I arrived in Philly I had about an hour so I got some food and relaxed. Well that hour turned into two in the airport (Morgan did not mind gave her a little extra time to talk). I had never seen so many airplanes on the runway at one time, there had to be close to 60. Needless to say we left Philly close to four hours late. Again, I was in a great mood so it did not bother me then the late trip turned into one of the worst of all time. I had a drunk lady in front of me trying to get vodka from the stewardess anytime they walked by, then I had four French teenagers in front of me. I did not think this would be a problem until they could not keep there hands of the call button. I kid you not they were pressing that from the moment we left to the moment we landed. I watched a couple good movies so I was still in a good mood. Then I entered the Paris Airport about two hours late. I did not think this was this big of a deal because the lay over was three so I figured one hour was plenty of time. I WAS SO WRONG!! I started heading to the other terminal, I had to board a bus and wait on the bus for about ten minutes. Then we headed for the other terminal which was about another ten to fifteen minutes. I had a half an hour left so I thought I was good. When I got to the desk they told me the gate was 15 minutes walk and that I would not make it. Now I am getting frustrated. They wanted my bag tags so they could change the bags, I could not find them. They were able to get them from U.S. air direct and after a six hour wait to catch the next plane to “Ma-louse” I finally landed to meet a guy who barely spoke English and only one of my bags. If I never have to go through another trip like this it would be great.

Mulhouse-The City

The drive in from the airport was very nice with the mountains in the background. The city itself is very old, but very nice. There is a canal running through the city that is very nice. The city is very FRENCHY. Meaning you would not want to come here to just visit unless you knew French. Barely anyone speaks English in fact I have only spoke with one person other then someone affiliated with the team that spoke English. The town has a couple of McDonald’s which I had to have a couple meals at not by choice, but by necessity. However, my first meal was at a restaurant that sponsors the team. It is actually pretty unique it has bad mitten courts and racquetball in the restaurant. The meal was chicken with cream sauce and mushrooms with a salad and fries. They made fun of me about using ketchup; they have it but do not use it like we do in America. The city does not seem too big, but I’m not sure I have been the same way more then once yet. The streets here are crazy, they just go every which way and are also very narrow. It is defiantly going to be a little bit of a challenge to adjust due to the language barrier. It is hard for me to order at a restaurant, but luckily a teammate took me to the store and they have similar products or at least enough for me to know what to buy. My car has been on a little bit of a delay, but I’m not too worried about it because people drive crazy here, there are intersections where there is no sign. The car just comes up looks and goes, kind of scary. Overall the city is beautiful and should fit me fine.

Apartment

The apartment is actually pretty nice. I have hard wood floors and two bedrooms, living room with dinning room table with a nice couch, and a kitchen. The kitchen is under equipped. The refrigerator is a small one which will make it hard for freezer items. I do not even have a microwave, but that will be changing soon as I talked with the team about that one. The bathroom is separated, there is an entrance for the toilet that looks like a closet and the same for the shower part. Also, they did not have a washer in here, but they are locating that as well. It came with two beds and two fans (fans very huge for me). The TV is just basic cable with all French or other languages. I get BBC and a music channel that sometimes plays American music. I should be pretty up to date with the world which is not all bad. For the purpose of the apartment I am very satisfied.

The Team

The team consists of about four other people I will deal with besides the players. Serge is the do it all man in America he would be called like a manager except he does everything for the team. He was the one that picked me up from the airport and has been running me around certain places. The funny thing about Serge is he knows little English. For those of you who have met Julian’s father his English is much like that. He has mastered the saying “Follow Me”. I joke with him about it now and it is pretty funny. A funny story with him is that he took me to the bank so there were two guys neither spoke good English and I was signed up for a credit card and a bank account after that he took me to the internet and cable place where we signed up for that as well with me doing little but acting like I knew. However the cable was very easy to understand so I was good with that. I was a little nervous about the bank stuff. Later I had to take the contract and all the papers to the secretary of the team, Stephanie, who told me what all the papers said. Stephanie was the one who met us at the restaurant the first night and had the keys to let me in. Her English is not bad and she can communicate which make things a lot easier on me. She handles the marketing for the team as well. It is a very small operation there are no assistant coaches, the coach’s right hand man is jeun perre who is a police officer in the city. I had lunch with him the second day I was here. His English is a little battered to, but with a little concentration one can understand. The players on the team are all very young. I think the oldest guy is like 25, which is very young compared to other teams in the league. With just a couple practices in I feel like we can be a very successful team. The coach reminds me a lot of how Coach Lick coaches (that should be very good for me). I was a little nervous at first about being since I am the only American and all the players speak French, but I have been able to form some connections with the team and I am a more comfortable now with the situation.

I am sorry for the length of this, but I just wanted to let everyone know what it is like a little bit. Plus this is my only connection to home right now so I enjoy doing it. I will try an update in about a week after I have had some more practices and get a real feel for the team.

This is BC gone for now.

P.S. the numbers here go from 4-15 so let me know if you can guess my number.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

13????? thats my guess! I miss you like crazy LOVED reading your blog, thats more than I would ever get in a conversation...he he. Talk to you soon. Love ya Mom

Anonymous said...

Brandon,

well you finally made it to france!
sorry for all of your delays and problems.

hang in there and hopefully you'll meet more people that speak some english.

have fun with the practices.

Big AL

Karen said...

Brandon, Just read all your updates, isn't travel lovely, I just realized I haven't flown since
2001........I will be emailing you
some addresses and fone numbers
later this week in case you get
homesick..I miss you already........number guess......
How about 5, it was one of my
lucky ones....
Lov ya Karen Mcc

Kath said...

I'm guessing 6 or 9; thinking maybe you added or multiplied the 3's! :) So good to read your blog! What an adventure you are on! I know you'll keep that great attitude and I know you'll make connections with people without even speaking their language. That's just how you are!

Take care and I'll be looking forward to your next entry.

Kathie DeFord

Anonymous said...

Hey B! I enjoyed reading the blog. With all the information, I felt like I was there with you. It was even better talking to you Monday morning. Glad to hear you're getting settled into the french lifestyle. The language difference will improve a little the longer you are exposed to french. Keep your interpretor device handy and try to find a website that will help you learn a few simple phrases. You'll do ok. Kids and dad send their love.
Like your mom, my first guess was 13! Take care.
Love, Mom #2

Anonymous said...

Hey B -

It was good to catch up on your busy new life! I'm so excited for you! I can't wait to keep up with your life through your blog!

I'm guessing #9 ???

You need to get one of those "French for dummies" books to help you out (although they might not have them where you are!)

Hope all is well!!! Good luck as always!

~JoEllen

Karen said...

Welcome to real world of pro basketball...........just keep playing your game and enjoy it.
That's the important thing.
You may find that 1 year is all you want, but it will still be a
great experience and you life in
France is so neat.....

Lv ya Karen Mcc