Welcome to the second entry on my wonderful experience (so far) here in Teramo, Italy. This entry isn’t going to be as long as the first because I had a lot to share since that was my first week being here. Plus things have kind of slowed down a little bit now, well maybe. For those who left comments last week, you have been added to “the list” congratulations. Lol… No big deal, but happy you all liked enough to let me know, means a lot.
If you haven’t notice in some of the pictures the Teramo locals posted on facebook (I’m friends with them on here now), we had our first team appearance at a mall in the city last week (9/2/09). We took pictures, signed stuff and spoke to the crowd that attended the event. The event was cool, besides the fact everybody who talked on the microphone spoke Italian the whole time. So after a while I lost focus and started messaging people and playing games on my phone. Hopefully they didn’t get too mad at me because I saw some stares but oh well, if the shoe was on the other foot they probably would of did the same thing. Afterwards, we had a team dinner at this nice restaurant and chilled there for a while until we went home; sorry forgot to take pictures of that.
The list of things I’m really starting to miss in America is really adding up now. Since I been out here, I realized me going to see movies are done for a while. No theaters here show up to date American movies as they come out. Hopefully in Roma they do though, I’ll let you know. Say I these things because I love going to the movies, I try to go at least once a week and if I can’t find somebody to go with, I go by myself. I’m left with going online and bootlegging the movies now, which isn’t the same as buying popcorn, candy, drinks and leaning back in the seats with surround sound and a big screen in front of you to watch it on. Nothing beats that, out of reality and in a different world for a couple hours. More importantly, I’m missing my little one (Aaliayah) even more. Ever since she’s been born, I haven’t been around her for about half the year on average. I know this stage very well now, knowing I can’t see her when I want to. It doesn’t fell good at all because my basketball career keeps me away but pays the bills right now and obviously I don’t want to switch careers and means of income either, I call it “The Gift and The Curse” What you think? This time around though I made it a little bit easier for myself. I bought her a camera for the computer and finally decided to use skype to see and talk to her (should have been doing that I know). It helps, just not the same obviously, but I just got to deal with it until she comes to visit me.
For the moment, were done with the track training in the morning, which is a relief. We played our first exhibition game (they call it friendly games which is far from friendly) wednesday night (9/9/09) in this tournament that is two hours away. We lost, but I lead the team in scoring and rebounding with 17 points and 8 rebounds. Finished the game a little bruised up on the right hand and left shoulder. They play much dirtier here that’s for sure and because of that I received a technical foul. This foreign dude grabbed my arm as I was playing defense coming off a down screen. Being frustrated since they were doing it all game, I punched him in the stomach with my other hand. The referee called illegal screen but I had enough by then. Funny thing though, he looked at me crazy like he hasn’t been doing that stuff all game to me. I think they have stuff against Americans here a little bit, that’s jus me though. Plus, the ref’s here have huge egos as well, like people come out to see them blow their whistles or something. We play three games total regardless what the outcomes are and I’m happy to play somebody else instead of practice everyday. I’m still not used to their practices either, which is making me antsy for the season to start. We don’t get enough water breaks and their offensive and defensive schemes aren’t always the same that I’m used to also, I’ll get them eventually though.
Thursday (9/10/09) we visited The Sanctuary of Saint Gabriel, which is found 20 minutes outside of Teramo. I had no idea what to expect but was very happy I went once it was all said and done. We were given a tour around the sanctuary and it was beautiful. There were two rooms that stood out the most for me. One was a room for prayers; a person can leave notes, pictures, articles of their children clothes all for good luck and prayers. Of course I felt obligated to leave something but didn’t know what because I wasn’t expecting to do that. Then, I remembered for some random reason I grabbed an extra wallet-sized picture of my daughter and me and put it in my wallet when I was packing before I left. I didn’t know at that moment why I did it, but I did and I was feeling “heavenly” for it, guess everything happens for a reason huh? The second room was for prayers and blessings I think. This room contained the remains of Saint Gabriel but they were inside of a replica body of his at the time he died. Before we left, the priest splashed us with holly water then received a book and a pamphlet of the sanctuary history and of Saint Gabriel too. His story is pretty special, so you should look it up when you get a chance.
I’m bringing the second entry to a close now. Leaving something for you all to think about this week, getting deep real quick. Unless your homeless, flat broke or dying remember it can always be worse. We all are inspired to want and have the best things in life. Regardless if it’s for ourselves or those close around us. But in reality, if that was the case, then the world would be perfect and we all know that isn’t the case at all. Guess this one ended up being just as long as the first after all huh? Oh well, it’s my blog right? Until next time folks, I’m out!