Ciao, Italy! Once again I have a new team, home, address, country! In fact, it’s the 5th time this has happened. 5 years, 5 countries. And when I put it like that, hot damn I’ve been everywhere. I’m not the new kid on the block anymore; I know this process- the moving, the new team, the new people, the new language- new new new. It’s fun and exciting and scary and crazy. It’s still daunting to move to a new country for 7+ months, the good news is it gets easier each time.
So what’s different from year 1 to year 5? Let me count the ways.
1- I am much more able to pack my life into 2 suitcases, one carry-on, and one backpack (and a large purse incognito with the backpack)
2- I know that I may not be able to communicate one word with the people I’m meeting, but smiling sure helps.
2a- I may not be able to speak with my teammates but playing volleyball is pretty universal.
3- The first trip to the grocery store requires quick food for dinner and the next day’s breakfast.
4- The level of organization and preparedness of my apartment, wifi, furnishings, and volleyball equipment is questionable. Low expectations here.
5- I know that the first morning I will wake up wondering where the heck in the world I am and what I am doing here.
Those are some fun facts, but when I get down to the nitty gritty of playing 5 years of professional volleyball and the difference from year 1 to year 5, it’s all about growth. This has been an incredible journey of self discovery- of the person I am and the person I’m striving to be.
People say that college is where you really grow up, find yourself, and become an adult. College was amazing and such a period of growth for me too, but my oh my is this whirlwind a different beast. I have been in so many different situations- in great times and disappointing ones. I’ve felt lonelier than I thought possible and I’ve been spread too thin from so many people and relationships I value. I’ve learned how to be brave, to be uncomfortable, to humble myself in new cultures and communities I know nothing about. I’ve learned how to build relationships, to build teams when you can’t communicate in the same language with your teammates. I’ve learned that I am in control of where I put my energy and my time, and if there’s something I want to do or be, the only thing stopping that pursuit is myself. I’ve learned that there will always be unknowns, and that worrying about them won’t do much to help. And mostly I’ve learned that going into a new experience with faith, hope, and love will reap great rewards.
So here’s to season number 5- another chance to grow and learn, a new adventure that I am so excited to embrace.