Merhaba! Whoops, I mean hello. I’m finally learning some Turkish and able to communicate with something more than a confused grin. I wouldn’t go as far as to call myself fluent by any means, but I’ve learned enough to pick out keywords when people are talking to me, and a few friendly phrases for greetings and such. My teammates and coaches have been teaching me quite a bit and pretty soon you’ll be reading my blogs in Turkish. Ok, not quite!
Things are still going very well. We haven’t lost a game yet and are still preparing for the European Championships to begin. I am very excited about that competition and with all the strong teams around Europe I think it will be a phenomenal competition and a huge challenge for us. We have a very strong team capable of great things, and it’s a lot of fun to play with them. It’s difficult to turn a bunch of individuals into a team working together, but we have made the right moves and done the things to become a solid unit.
I’ve become more familiar with Istanbul as well and have finally stopped feeling like a tourist. Turkey is much different than what I’m used to, but the familiarity that I’ve gathered from the four months of being here is really encouraging. I don’t feel as if I’m in a strange place crying for help, but in a rather comfortable place with a team that treats me like a brother.
Time flies by when you’re having fun. Four months went by so quickly, and we are already approaching the halfway point of the season. I will return home once more before the season ends to visit with my friends and family at the end of January. I’m very much looking forward to that! No matter how much fun I am having here there is no substitute for my loved ones. I’m thankful for technology, because without the internet there is no way I could contact anyone from home but with all the messengers and social networking sites there are I feel like I can maintain communication with everyone.
As a Michigan native and going to school in Wisconsin I’m accustomed to harsh winters and heavy snow from November through April. The weather here has been awesome! I haven’t even had to break out a winter jacket and it’s January.
This season has been amazing. I’ve had the opportunity to travel the world, experience a new and interesting culture, meet some fascinating people and I’ve gathered these life experiences all while playing the game that I love. Basketball has always been a priority in my life, but this opportunity has allowed me to have no other obligations or distractions. I love my job! This has been a great ride and I look forward to what the second half of the season has to offer. I will keep you posted. Happy 2009!