Sunday, January 15, 2012

Long Overdue!

Hey hey everyone! Wow, so it has been a while since my last post! I was trying to wait until I had some stuff to tell y'all before I wrote, but then time just got away from me!
Well I definitely have a lot to fill you in on! Since the last time I wrote, there was another holiday, lots of beach time, lots of cooking, a safari, games and our Christmas break! Whew! Let's catch up :-)

After Yom Kippur, which is the most solemn holidays in the Jewish year, is Sukkot.  This holiday is so joyous that it is referred to as The Season of Our Rejoicing in Jewish prayer. Sukkot is the last of the Shalosh R'galim (three pilgrimage festivals). Like Passover and Shavu'ot, Sukkot has a dual significance: historical and agricultural. Historically, Sukkot commemorates the forty-year period during which the children of Israel were wandering in the desert, living in temporary shelters. Agriculturally, Sukkot is a harvest festival and is sometimes referred to as Chag Ha-Asif, the Festival of Ingathering. If you want to read more about this, you can visit http://www.jewfaq.org that's where I get all this information and all the specifics for you guys! :-) 


The weather here in Israel is so gorgeous! I mean right now it's raining, but on average the temperature is around 62 during the day and 52 at night. Needless to say, me and my teammates took advantage of the sunny days and spent PLENTY of time at the beach! :-) 


I have become quite the chef over here! I have always liked to cook, but I took it to a whole new level over here in Israel! I've made a lot of stuff from scratch because they don't have certain ingredients I need. I have a Better Homes and Garden cookbook back at home, so I was going to their website and Paula Deen's website finding stuff to cook. My roommate, Maurita, is very happy! Haha she has loved everything I have cooked! I can't lie though, all the food turned out pretty delicious! I think this is going to be my new hobby. I'm seriously thinking about taking some culinary classes so I can learn the proper techniques and learn how to use different spices and create different flavors. Growing up both of my parents were always cooking so I was always in the kitchen. My dad made sure that I knew how to cook before I went off to college. He said "Bones, you need to be able to fend for yourself when I'm not around to cook for you." I've done just that! I'll post all the stuff I've cooked so far :-) 


In this city called Ramat Gan they have a drive through safari. I went one day and it was one of the coolest things I've ever gotten to do! Driving though and being that close to these animals was definitely scary, but it was also a lot of fun! There was 250 acres of land with over 1,600 animals of different species! Here's the link so you can check it out :-) http://www.safari.co.il/ 


We got to go home for almost a whole 2 weeks for Christmas break! That is almost unheard of in professional basketball overseas! I can't complain though, I was so excited to get home. Even though my flight got cancelled, I had to stay at the airport for another 5 hours, I had to fly to Germany first with a 2 hour layover, I had to fly to Philly for another 2 hour layover and then finally fly to Nashville...it was all worth it when I saw my family :-) My family didn't know I was flying in that early, so I had my best friend Christian pick me up at the airport and take me to my mom's work to surprise her first. She was definitely surprised and of course cried :-) We ate dinner there, then went to the house to surprise my older sister and my dad. When we got to the house, Christian went inside and acted like she had the surprise in a bag. She told them to go into my dad's room and wait for her to tell them to come out and see the surprise. In the meantime, while talking to them and rattling the bag, she was trying to quietly unlock the door so I could sneak in the house! I ran down the hallway and jumped in the room! My sister started screaming "I knew it! I knew it!" My dad just put his face in the pillow and smiled and then told me "You can't be doing that bones, I'm too old!" Haha :-) It was so much fun! The surprises didn't stop there! My little sister had moved to Kansas a month before and informed all of us that her and my niece wouldn't be able to make it back for Christmas. Well, one day at work she found out that she had 4 days off for Christmas. So of course I told her I'd fly her and my niece home! She said not to tell my parents because she wanted it to be a surprise! :-) On the day she was supposed to get in, my older sister, Ajia, was out shopping with my parents so she was an accomplice. We hid my sister and niece in my parents' room so when they got home they would walk in and see them :-) Of course, it was another successful surprise and my mom cried again :-) This Christmas break was by far the best! It was spent with family and people I love the most...doesn't get much better than that :-) 


Games have been underway over here in Israel! In the beginning of the season there was a strike between the Israeli players and the basketball federation that postponed the start of competition. It got to the point that they actually cancelled the league and started meeting with players about going home. It was scary because most countries already had their teams and rosters set, so all I could think about was "what the heck am I going to do!?" Luckily, they reached an agreement and we finally got the season underway! We're doing well right now. We are 8-2 in the league and in 2nd place. With the shorter season, every game counts because the playoff system has changed. The league is so much more balanced this year. On any night, any team can win so there are definitely no nights off! I think it makes it more exciting for the fans here to watch because the games are more exciting when you see us out there fighting for a win every night. Next week we are going to start playing 2 times a week so we can move the games along. 


Oh yeah! I almost forgot! Yesterday I booked my mom's flight to come visit me the first week of March! I'm so excited because this is the first time I've had a visitor over here and it's my mom!!! :-) 


Well, that about does it for all of our catching up! I hope I didn't talk your ear off :-) I'm trying something new with sharing my pictures with you guys, so let me know how you like it! 


Here's the link to the photo album: https://picasaweb.google.com/114848774765339226828


Hebrew Lesson of the day: 
klum (kl-OOM) = Nothing


You can also follow me on Twitter @Alysha_Clark


Until next time, 
Alysha 



Friday, September 30, 2011

I'm Back!!

Hey hey everyone!! I'm so glad to be back and writing for you guys! I was nervous about starting this blog because all I could think about was, "what if no one reads it!?" I got such great feedback from everyone that I decided to continue with it this year :-) So THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH for reading my blog!

I am back in Israel this year on a new team. I play for Ramat Hasharon, which has been one of the top teams here for a while! I am so excited to play for an organization with so much history! We have some great Americans this year! Two girls that I'm playing with, Porsha Phillips and Jia Perkins,  are from the San Antonio Silver Stars and I am so excited to be playing with them again!! Another girl played for the Connecticut Sun, Jessica Breland and the other girl, Maurita Reid,  has been a big time player in Europe! So we have a lot of great pieces this year :-)

I am not playing as an American this year. As of 2 days ago, I officially became a citizen of Israel!! So I will be playing as an Israeli. My grandfather is Jewish, so I was able to gain citizenship because of an Israeli law. I never in a million years would have thought I would have dual citizenship! This is such an amazing opportunity for not only me, but my future children. There is so much culture and history here in Israel and I am excited that I'll get to share this with my family one day!!
So pretty! 

Mine! :-)
 I got to celebrate my 1st Rosh Hashanah this year, which is the Jewish New Year. I went to my teammate's house to celebrate with her family.
All the food and family! 
My plate! A little bit of everything! 
My teammate Yael
 The table was set beautifully and they had name cards where everyone was to sit. There was SO much food!! We started out by dipping an apple slice in honey, which is symbolic for having a sweet new year! I thought it was so good that I am going to make it a snack haha! Then everyone started eating. There was soup, salads, rice, chicken, potatoes, a meatloaf type of entree, liver, roast beef, beef in a mushroom sauce, bread and of course wine! I tried just about everything and LOVED it! Afterwards, they had different types of fruits, pies and cakes for dessert. Needless to say, I didn't leave there hungry! It was an amazing time! It's so special to see how other cultures celebrate holidays, I am so thankful for this opportunity.

I also got to bring my dog (son) Sly with me! I got him at the beginning of this summer and seriously feel like he is my child. I didn't know how hard it was going to be to potty train a dog! My older sister Ajia made it seem like it was going to be so easy! He peed and pooped everywhere, even on my comforter!!! He was chewing on my shoes, and you guys know that's a BIG NO NO! I was ready to take him to the shelter! Lol. I almost entertained the thought of litter box training him like a cat! Haha. Now, he's potty trained and having a great time over here in Israel with me. I mean doesn't he look so comfy!? Haha!
 

Hebrew Lesson: Shanah Tova Umetukah (Shuh-NAH Toe-VAH Oo-Met-oo-kah) = A good and sweet year!!


I couldn't help but post this picture of this woman all dressed up for the holiday!! LOL.
We honked the horn to get her to look at us! Haha
You can also follow me on Twitter @Alysha_Clark



Until next time,
Alysha

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Words can't express...

Tennessean article 
 Dr. McPhee's condolences
 News Channel 2
Espn
Hey hey everyone. I can't believe the news I woke up to today. My friend/teammate/sister was murdered last night at her apartment complex by her roommate! Senseless violence took the life of such a bright young life. My heart is hurting so badly right now. To all my teammates at MTSU...I am praying for us all. To Tina's family, I just want to say thank you for sharing such an amazing woman with me! Tina touched my life in so many ways. She was such a fighter and had such a big heart. She had a smile and a laugh that could just light up the whole room. She had grown and matured so much in the last 2 years...and I'm so proud that I got to be a part of that. To her love Kelechi, you had such a positive impact on her life. She adored you so much and loved you with all her heart. We used to talk about the two weddings she was going to have :-) You were such a big part of her positive outlook and attitude. You are such a great man and I thank you loving my friend! I still remember the time we went out to eat on a road trip and she got into a roasting match with one of our teammates...haha we all were crying by the end of dinner because she had us laughing so hard. Haha and the time me and Chels had everyone over our apartment and I accidentally washed her earphones, but didn't tell her until a few days later when she brought back just the wire from them and asked what I did! Oh yeah Tenna, and Migo still tapped HoeKia! :-) She had such a gift to brighten anyone's life she was a part of. She was definitely taken too soon. But I know she's watching over us now. Tenna...I'm glad you were such a special part of my life. I miss you so much and love you so much! I'll see you again!! May you rest in peace.

Please say a prayer for those who knew this wonderful young woman.
True love


So goofy :-) 


I will always remember this smile!


I love you Tenna! RIP baby girl

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Playoff Time!!!!

Hey Hey everyone!!! I decided to wait and update you all because not much has happened! Now that a couple of weeks have gone by, I have some fun stuff to share with you! :-)
First things first, I have failed at having a black history fact everyday! The idea sounded great in the beginning, but as days went by all I did was sleep haha. Sad, I know! But I think we've brought a lot of culture into their lives lol.
Well it's playoff time here in Israel!! We ended the regular season in 5th place and got matched up with Ramat Hen for our first round in the best of 5 series. Monday we played at their place and ended up losing by 9. We just couldn't buy a basket!! We had open shots and just weren't knocking them down. But it's ok...because the series is far from over. We play our second game this Monday at home!! It's going to be a great turnout! :-) On Thursday, we had our Israeli Cup game against the other Rishon team. We played TERRIBLE as a team! But we got the W...we were playing without one of our teammates for that game and we found a way to get it done! We are now in the Final Four of our cup and will play the next game on March 10th. My teammates said there is a big celebration that day and our coach is so happy!! She said it's one of her dreams as a coach to make it to the Final Four of the cup, so it makes that victory sweeter knowing we helped one of her dreams come true :-)
We got 2 days off one week so my roommates and I decided to go to the mall :-) Now, since I've been here in Israel I haven't really done any shopping for myself! Yes, I know that's SO hard to believe! I went into the mall with the mindset that I was going to buy everything my heart desired! Lol. Not the case...unfortunately my stupid grown-up conscious was telling me "Alysha, now do you REALLY need this?" And of course I had to be honest and say NO! We did see some interesting things as we were walking through the mall though! We walked by this one store and there was a mannequin with a very direct point:
Pretty direct right!? Lol











 Haha you would never see this in the states! Then we walked into this store that reminded me of Buckle...and this lady who worked there had on these AWFUL shoes!!! Now I know I've posted about the lack of style when it comes to shoes over here, but these take the award for the WORST! Lol!
Look at these HIDEOUS shoes!!!
We also went to watch our coach play in a basketball game! Aside from coaching us and the youth here in Rishon, she finds time to play with a division 3 team! Now, last year she was playing on the team who won the Israeli cup and Championship for Division 1, so it's safe to say she was by far better than the other players, but she does it to stay in shape and to just have fun. We walked in the gym and yelled "YAAAAAY SHIRA!!! GO SHIRA!!! YOFEE SHIRA!!!" Lol she was so embarrassed! But after the game she expressed how grateful she was that we came :-)

Me, Danielle, KD, and Becky at our coach's game!
Yesterday I woke up and it was so sunny and there wasn't a cloud in the sky!!! It's amazing how weather has an effect on a person's mood! It just made me so happy :-) After hearing about all the snow and ice back home in Tennessee, I can't say that I didn't enjoy yesterday just a little bit more ;-)
Gorgeous out right!?


Of course Anne Marie Lanning would notice my nails:-)
My tattoo artist Liz!
Yesterday I also got my 4th tattoo!!! I never even thought I would get ONE! Now I'm at 4! With all the changes I've been making personally I thought it was fitting to get something that would be a reminder of this time. I got a symbol that means "Begin Anew" and a Hebrew phrase that means "Whoever believes, isn't afraid". The tattoo hurt like crazy!!!! Once I started I was thinking "AC what in the heck are you thinking!? You're gonna die!!! " LOL but needless to say I made it through and ABSOLUTELY LOVE my new tattoo :-) Of course, I was sweating like crazy! You would have thought I just warmed up for a game! The combination of fear and pain is lo sababa for me!! Haha. But the tattoo artist is the best in Israel! She does all the celebrities and all the basketball players go to her! I mean look at my tattoo! It's amazing :-)
My mother finally got her web cam so now I can skype with my family!!!! It's so great to see and talk to my niece and nephew :-) Not to mention my other family members :-) My dad thinks it's pretty cool that he can talk to me all the way over here from the computer! It won't be long until I get to see all of them again :-) I'm getting excited!! 
Well I think that just about covers everything that's gone on in my life these past couple of weeks!!
Today's Hebrew lesson is my tattoo phrase: Mi shema'amin lo mefached (me-shay ma ah mean-lo-may fah head): Whoever believes, isn't afraid.
That's all for today's walk in my Nikes!! 
Until next time, 
Alysha 
 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Kickin a little knowledge!

Hey hey everyone!! Well these past two weeks have just flown by! I can't believe it's already about to be February!!! And you know what that means...it's Black History Month! I've decided that during this month, I'm going to have one fact a day for my teammates to help them understand our culture and heritage a little bit. They've done such a phenomenal job with helping us understand their culture and history, that I think it's the least I can do for them! SO, if YOU have any facts you'd like me to share with them, post them on the comments section and I'll be sure to share! :-)
Since the last time I wrote ya'll, we have played 3 games. We have won all 3!! Our first win was against the #2 team in our league, Ramat Hasharon. We played at home and right from the tip we came out firing on all cylinders. Our next game we played was on the road against our city "rival" Elizur Rishon. Even though this team is at the bottom of the league, they have talented players and have put up some tough games and fought hard until the end. We played very sluggish in the first half and were down by double digits at half time. We got ourselves together in the locker room and came back with a much better second half. The last game we played was at home this past Thursday against Holon. They have a very talented and experienced team. One of their players, Sheri Sam, is 38 and has played in the WNBA. Could you imagine playing at that age and still being on top of your game!? I think that's amazing! Our crowd was so electric!! One of my teammate's brother was there playing the big drum I told you about before! The little girls that come to our games were blowing horns and cheering the WHOLE game! It was great! Afterwards, we were taking pictures and signing autographs for them. This Monday we play at Ashdod, the game I got hurt in last time we played them. It's a big game for us because we only have 2 games left in regular season and a win over Ashdod by more than 13 would put us ahead of them.
Fried chicken, cabbage and mac & cheese!
Now, to the fun stuff that's happened! Having Danielle's family here was such a blast!! We had them stay here instead of paying all that money for a hotel. They brought air mattresses and camped out downstairs. It reminded me of summer basketball camps back in high school! :-) They cooked at least 4 out of the 7 days they were here! It was so good!!!
Oh! And no worries! Our yogurt place is back open for business!!! We found out that our guy had sold his yogurt place to this other owner...so they were remodeling and reopening it under a different name! It's still the same great yogurt...even better I think! :-) We've gotten to know the new owner pretty well!
Look how precious!! :-)
Yesterday was such a special day!!! My mom and niece celebrated their birthdays!!! My niece Adalina turned 1 and my mom turned 29! :-) I was sad I couldn't be there with them on their special day, but I definitely sent my love :-)
Our little Israeli "thugs" LOL!!!
The last thing I will leave you with...is the transformation of my Israeli teammates.  This is what happens when you stay at our apt too long after a team dinner LOL! 






Hebrew Lesson: I don't know= Lo Yoda'at (lo-yo-dot)
That's all for today's walk in my Nikes!
Until next time,
Alysha.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Happy New Year!

Hey hey everyone! I'm sorry it's been a little while since I last posted, but I was at home for the holidays and then when I got back here to Israel I've been trying to readjust! But I'm back and have lots of good stuff to share with you guys!
Let's start with basketball! Before the break we played a Hapoel Tel Aviv, which only has 5 players! Could you imagine?! We won by 20+. We were all soooo excited before the game because we knew once that game was over it was time to actually head home!  After the game, my roommates and I came home and stayed up ALL night! We packed, listened to music, drank coffee and updated our iPods with new music. We were just so excited to go home!
When we got back from break we played Bnot Hasharon at home,  a team we beat earlier in the year. It was definitely a battle out there! Both teams were so physical and so determined to make the other team work for their points. We ended up losing by 9. We needed to not lose by more than 8 so we they couldn't pass us in the rankings. One stinking point! Yesterday, we played Ramat Hen at their place. We played well for the first 3 quarters and then kind of fell off after that. We ended up losing by 17, almost the same score from last time! Ugh. But we are now 7-6 and in 6th place.
So, the first thing I got when I landed in New Jersey was a caesar salad! Over here they put tomatoes, pecans and other stuff that's not supposed to be in one! When I landed in Nashville my dad and best friend Christian picked me up from the airport! She greeted me with a sign and red vines (my favorite!)
Best welcome home gift!


Our coach gave us a 10 day break, which is almost unheard of over here! I was so happy!
Now on to the other fun stuff that's been going on in my world! We had our first visitor before we left for break!! My roommate Danielle's mentor, Jessica, came to visit us for 2 weeks! It's great how this all worked out for her! She is Jewish and has been looking to plan a trip to Israel and then Danielle got placed over here to play so she was so excited that she was actually going to come now :-) When she came we took her sight seeing around Jerusalem. We took her to see the Western Wall, part of the Old City and of course to indulge in some traditional Israeli cuisine :-) We also went to the Dead Sea! That was such an experience! It was just so calming and peaceful there! Just in case you didn't know, as soon as you get in the water you float! Yep that's right! No special holding your breath tricks....you just float! If I wanted to get my hair wet, I would have laid all the way back and just taken a nap! You don't have to worry about any sharks or mysterious sea monsters trying to eat you or nibble at your toes! The salt concentration in the water is soooooooooooooooo high! Oh my goodness! We licked a salt rock and almost gagged! Now, I like salt, but DANG! Haha. I'm sure there weren't any health risks in licking the rock. Jess took one home as a souvenir! I have to admit, my skin felt AMAZING when we got out and showered! It was so soft! On our way home, we stopped and rode a camel! It was scary because we were so high up, but also because I was afraid I might get spit on by one! I probably would have spit back if it did! LOL! But here are some pictures from that day:-)
View of Jerusalem
My face says it all in this picture! :-)


Danielle on her camel
At the Dead Sea!






Floating in the Dead Sea















Since we've gotten back we haven't done too much but try and get readjusted. We did however try and go for yogurt the other day after practice only to find out THEY'RE CLOSED!!!! We were so heart broken!! We went to every yogurt place on the main strip and every one was closed! Very sad day because I had 7 stickers on my card and when you get 9 stickers the 10th one is free! I think I shed a tear that day!
We are also getting our second round of visitors this week!! Danielle's mom, grandma, aunt, and aunt's friend are all coming this Friday! I'm excited because Danielle said they're going to be cooking like everyday! It'll be just like when I was home :-)
I also made plans with my teammates Becki and Keren to go to Jerusalem this Friday and go to the Holocaust museum there. I think this experience will be very educating and one I will never forget!

Today's Hebrew lesson: Targish Tov=Get better or feel better
That's all for today's walk in my Nikes! 
Until next time, 
Alysha

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

This time next week!!!

Shalom shalom everyone!!! So as of right now I have a little over 5 days before I head back to the states for Christmas Break! :-) I am so excited to see my family and friends!! However, I'm especially excited to see my niece Addie and my nephew Lyam!!! My babies are getting SO big!!! I've gotten to talk to them on the phone...well not really talk, but my mom puts the phone to their ear and I talk to them. I can hear them giggling and trying to talk...it's the most precious thing ever! I can't wait to squeeze my niece's little fat cheeks!!!
I want to give a special CONGRATULATIONS to ANNE MARIE LANNING who graduates in just a few days from Middle Tennessee State University!!! I'm SO proud of you PANNIE!!!!
I've been listening on the internet to my girls play this season. A lot of people were doubting them because they're such a young team, but I know the talent they have and the leadership they have this year and they're growing so much in just a short amount of time! I'm just so proud of them :-)
Well since the last time I've posted, we have played 3 games. Last Monday we played Ashdod and I got hurt at the end of the first quarter. A darn hip pointer! So I was out the rest of that game. We ended up losing that game as well as our game against Ramla that Thursday. This Monday we played at home against Netanya. Now, in the beginning of the season we beat them at their place by 30, but since then they've become a whole new team...so we knew it was going to be a tough game. We weren't sure if I was going to be able to play, but I put a pad over my hip bone and got out there! It was a very physical and tough game, but we ended up winning 91-74 I believe. It was a good win for us. Now we only have one game until we're home bound!!!
The wind was blowing hard!


The debris across the street
Our muddy car!
Scary clouds!

This past week was like hurricane season here! The wind was blowing really hard and it was raining and cold! It made me just stay in the bed!!! Our car was so muddy and gross! So all the time I was stuck in the apartment, I cooked! I made a home made chicken pot pie! I mean from the sauce on the inside to the vegetable and crust! It was absolutely delicious!!! I also made home made Salsbury steak with gravy from scratch and greens on the side one night and Enchiladas another night!  I have just been getting my Betty Crocker on while over here in Israel! I think I've found a new interest ;-)
Yummy!!! 

I've also done a little Christmas shopping! One day I walked around the city of Rishon to all the shops. I got followed by this creepy guy. He started speaking Hebrew to me from his car when I was walking, so I just kept going because I didn't understand( Obviously!) So he pulled his car over and parked and got out and started walking behind me (he was a good 50 yards behind me) and I turned around and yelled "I don't speak Hebrew!" And his response was "I know...rega (which means wait a second) and I said "Ok well if you know then stop following me, it's creepy!" He turned around and got back in his car. If you ask me, I think my choice of words were pretty intimidating!!! LOL!
Unfortunately I had another run in with a DIFFERENT roach! I don't know what it is about these nasty things that they just keep messing with me! I came home and was about to pick my spandex up off the floor and it crawls across! I quickly jumped about 10 feet backwards and screamed inside (don't want the cops to get called again!) and once it was off my clothes and on the floor I drowned him in Raid! I am really beginning to think they have it out for me! YUCK!
Other than that, everything here is pretty much the same. It is beginning to resemble winter here finally! Which excites me because that means boots, coats, sweats, and hot coco when I come back!
Today's Hebrew Lesson is: LO NORA(nor-AH)=It's not terrible or it's alright
That's all for today's walk in my Nikes! 
Until next time,
Alysha