Hey everyone! I’ve officially been on the island for a month and things are going very well. Class is interesting, slightly intimidating, and very very different from my undergraduate studies so I’m excited to see how things go. On the basketball side of things, we played our first “friendly” against another local Cork club team. It felt great to play in a game setting again and shake some of the rust off (aka me not realizing I was subbed out, thinking I was “wide open” and proceeding to call for the ball to then be ushered off the court by the ref). After these first few weeks our team seems to be really coming together! I also coached my first training session with the U12 Brunell girls and one of my players specifically wore joggers so she could “slide in” to the key on her knees when running back on D, so even if we’re not necessarily scoring the most baskets, we’ll for sure blow teams out of the water solely based on style.
While there have been several funny/ embarrassing/ challenging moments over these past couple of days, when thinking of what I should write this week two stories stuck out more than the others. Forgive me for being cliché, but if I’ve learned anything from them, it’s that this experience is going to significantly be about expecting the unexpected and ultimately (note title) – that despite efforts to perfectly time everything, some things just won’t work out. A couple of days ago, feeling (overly) confident about my new handle of the bus system, I decided in my ~4 hour break between class and training I would go to Tesco in the suburb-esque town a couple of miles down the road from my apartment. I leisurely got a coffee, strolled through the grocery store (naturally buying more things than I should) and was ready to leave with two buses going back towards my place to spare. I sat down and watched as the minutes till my bus would arrive slowly approached 1 – getting me back with a generous amount of time before my coach was picking me up at half 6. However, the bus schedule had a different plan in mind and the schedule went from saying the bus was “approaching”, to “due”, and then unfortunately to another solid 35 min wait time – I was now waiting for the second and last bus that would get me back in time for training. With my phone at 3% I slightly panicked and laughed at how I had ironically just bought a portable charger, but had no cord with me to actually replenish the battery. That second bus did not come on its 5:50 scheduled time, and I sat there realizing – with my now dead phone – I had no way to contact my coach or let alone get enough battery to get his number to call with a different phone. As the clock approached 6:15, questions of do I walk, call a taxi, hitchhike, panick, or all of the above, became more and more realistic. After desperately asking a different bus line if it would drop me anywhere near my stop and getting laughably denied, my 220 rolled up. Sprinting off the bus at 6:35 I scrambled to change into basketball clothes and, in the end, MADE it.
On a similar note, the other day I walked to class in be-a-utiful sunshine, enough to be profusely sweating by the time I got to CIT and having to force open the window in class. Throughout the next 2 hours, the sun continued to shine and I looked longingly up from my notes multiple times. However, as soon as class ended and I took ONE step outside, the nonexistent clouds in the sky somehow started to pour down rain. By the time I got back to my apartment, my shoes, jeans, and sweatshirt were soaked through. While wringing out my socks and leaving them up to dry, I glanced out the window and surprise surprise it had completely stopped raining – now that I was inside the weather was (again) laughably perfect.
So, coming from someone who isn’t always on time (@ everyone in my life back home), but from college basketball, knows that *be there at 10* means 9:45 laces tied, a bus at say, 5 will most likely come around 5, and that no clouds most likely means no rain, I have obviously been thrown for a few loops. BUT, while these moments have been frustrating and somewhat panic-inducing, they have mostly been hilarious learning experiences. The life lessons keep pouring (pun intended) in. I’m being forced to expect and accept the wiggle room, adjust to Irish time just like the Shandon Tower, and to relax – because ultimately, it’ll all be grand 🙂