Exploring the City

Hi all!

Sorry it’s been unusually long since my last post.  A lot has gone on as you can imagine.  Nothing super exciting or out ofthe ordinary happened during the week.  Just an average week of preparing for Beziers, a Champions League qualifier who placed second in the Pro A league in France last year.  Tensions seemed to be a little bit higher than normal as the staff and team felt like we had something to prove.  We had two good wins under our belt, but no one in the league really believed that we could beat Beziers, so we had a chip on our shoulder.  Besides the volley, I tried out a few new yummy recipes; asparagus and bacon (I was stoked to find asparagus at the store for the first time!  Alyssa actually found it but she let me have it :)), overnight oats– my new favorite breakfast which is so easy to prep the night before, and egg in a twice baked squash with cinnamon and honey!  A yummy alternative to my favorite fall acorn squash which I have yet to find in France.

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Last week we had a little bit of a variation from our normal weekly Saturday match schedule.  Instead, we were off on Saturday and played Sunday.  Saturday, everyone was in high spirits as we took a group trip to Marseille to pick up a girlfriend and boyfriend from the airport and go on a little excursion in the city.

It was great to get out of Istres for a bit.  We live in such a small town that there’s nothing quite like spending a day in the city when we have a chance.  I had already spent a few days in Marseille for appointments but hadn’t really gotten a chance to explore, so it was nice to have the day off to wander the streets, shop a little and eat some super yummy food.

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The gorgeous Marseille HarborImage

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A classic French dish of Moules Frites (Mussels and French fries)Image

An awesome view of Martigue on the way back from Marseille.  I’m still waiting for a day off to explore this seaside city as well (this is only 15 minutes from my house!)

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After a nice off day, we got back and had to regroup and prep for our match against Beziers.  Due to a conflict in scheduling we played in a neighboring gym where the basketball team in our area plays instead of our home gym.  But the game definitely did not go our way.  The first set was close, and then we sort of self imploded the second and third sets.  We didn’t play our own game, and I think focused too much on the other side of the net as opposed to controlling what we can control.  Our service is normally a strong suite and we seemed to just not be on that day.  We also made an unusual number of hitting errors for our team.  Going down in three was notat all what we had hoped for, especially against a team we had already scrimmaged and played very well against in preseason.  Both the loss, and my (in my mind lack of performance) wore on me mentally.  Living in a small town, and having soo much of my life focus on volley, when things don’t go well it has a tendency to sort of take over sometimes.  It’s hard to find balance sometimes.  I am making it a goal to start painting again before I go home this spring.  I am going to bring my old oil brushes back with me from home if I can find them. I was happy to get home and relax and try to clear my mind.  My roommate’s girlfriend is in town so a glass of wine or two and a yummy chicken pesto pizza and some laughs made the night a little more bearable after the loss.

But the next day was Monday which meant a new week of practice was beginning without the luxury of a post game off day.  I knew this week I had to regroup, mentally toughen up, and prove myself for the following match. This is a business and it was sort of my first wakeup call, that I really have a job to do here and I am here to perform.  I spent the week trying to get back into the rhythm of my game and asked my teammates to be patient with me as I worked through my frustration, because I know what kind of player I am and what level I can compete at.

This week Alyssa (my roommate) and I got the chance to host this month’s “social evening.”  The girls were paired up and this was our month.  We chose a Halloween theme, where everyone wore costumes, cooked Halloween themed food, pumpkin cookies and pumpkin pie, and had candy corn sent from the states by Alyssa’s fam so the French girls could get a taste of an official Halloween.  It went off without a hitch and everyone loved it!

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It’s now Friday night, and we have another match tomorrow against a former Florida Gator I used to play against at Tennessee.  I am really looking forward to the match tomorrow to see how this week of work will pay off.  The team is a little worn down because of a hard week of workouts and a few girls are fighting off some sickness.  I think the changing of the seasons is getting the best of a few of them.  Anyways, I’m looking forward to the match tomorrow, where hopefully we come out on top and prove to the league we are the team that we all know we can be!

Here’s a photo on the metro in Paris, I forgot to post last time as well 🙂

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Also, here’s a cool article on the city of Marseille if interested! http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2012/03/marseille/dickey-text

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3 thoughts on “Exploring the City

  1. martha towns says:

    Mon cher; so happy to hear from you. I heard on the grapevine that you were having a bad week. I hope today’s game goes better for you.I tried to Skype today and one other day. But you are probably playing ball right now.
    Have you ever considered a career as a food stylist? There is such a thing, you know. Your food pix are great. Gramps thinks they would look better if there was a little distance from them and maybe a background. You could try that. Interesting enough I can’t tell whether you are shooting with camera or phone.
    Is there a library in Istres or anyplace else you can visit when you have down time? Is there any possibility of striking up a conversation with one of the natives? I think it would be great if you painted while there. It wouldn’t be the first time an artist was inspired by France.
    I have the name of a hotel in Barcelona. It is the Petit Palace Opera Garden, , just of the Ramblas which is the most exciting place to be in town.
    You step out the door and look to the left and the Ramblas is right there.
    Just steps across the walk is a restaurant which might be called Tapas Gaudi. We had breakfast there and it is fun and relatively inexpensive. We paid $177.50 per night plus $14.20 taxes and service fees. It is very
    European and you must know if Gramps is willing to go back it is ok.
    The telephone number is: 34 (933)020092 or 1-800-246-8537 if that works for you. We will probably stay there when we come over. The location is perfect. Close to tour buses (which you must take) and the fabulous market called Pinocchio where you can eat at small bar. Oh, there’s so much to see the you’ll be right in the middle of the old quarter.

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