Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Games Underway!!


Hey hey everyone! Well this is week #2 of the season.  Last Monday we played our first game against Netanya and won 67-100. We played really good defense and just had a lot of energy from the tip. It was a good first win for us, especially since according to the press we were the underdogs.   Last night we played our first home game against Hapoel Tel Aviv. I took pictures in my jersey before the game:-)

We won 72-55. The second half was bad though. We let up on defense and lacked some energy. But we'll fix it...we still got the W. But it was so cute after the game...all the little girls that were at the game came down to the court and had us sign autographs and take pictures with them. When they would ask, they would be speaking Hebrew though! Haha so I had to say "What does that mean?" or "English?" After the game me and some of my teammates went to the SoHo to eat. We had a table of 13 people and there was soo much food! We were tasting everyone's food! That 50% off comes in handy!

Clark in Hebrew!
                                     All the yummy food! 

The team with the mayor
This week we had a meeting with the mayor of Rishon. He basically said that he was excited to have a team in Rishon and he is waiting for our success. Except the majority of the meeting they spoke in Hebrew, so me, Danielle, and KD were sitting there clueless! Haha so we just laughed when everyone else laughed!
Me and the Mayor of Rishon

His office was on the 5th floor, and this is looking down.

This past week I also ate some home made Israeli food. At the mall, there was like a buffet set up...and the people cooked the food at their homes and brought it to this area to be sold. It's every friday! So we tried some different things and basically ended up getting two meals. I got a chicken breast stuffed with rice with this chile sauce and some potatoes. It was sooo good!
I also had the best dessert!! Of course, we went to the SoHo for lunch one day and split this dessert. It was cookies and cream ice cream and these cookies with this stuff that looks like rope on top, but it's really sweet! Omg, we devoured it in less than 2 minutes! 
Before...
2 minutes after!! 

Another fun thing we did this week was go to our men's game. The guy's team has their own gym and it's about 7 minutes away from us. The energy from the crowd was so amazing! They have these huge drums that they bang on and it makes the gym so noisy! But it's awesome! 
Today at practice we found out that on Saturday, we're going to Jeruselum as a team! Two of the girls on our team, Becky and Keren, are from there so they get to be our tour guides and take us to The Western Wall and some other historic places!! I can't wait!! 

Today's Hebrew lesson is: Good Morning-Boka tov and Good Night-Lila (like lilac without the c) tov. 
That's all for today's walk in my nikes! 
Until next time, 
Alysha 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Time for the Season!

Hey hey everyone! It's been a long week! I'm finally getting settled in and getting on a normal sleeping schedule. After two weeks of being here, I am finally going to sleep before 2 am!

Since the last time I wrote you all, we had a scrimmage against one of the top teams in our league. Ramat Hasharon is the defending league champs from last year, and this year the Americans they have are Alexis Hornbuckle, Camille Little, and Chante Black. My team is small, but everyone that plays is skilled and feisty. We played pretty well in the scrimmage...we ended up losing by 8, but it showed us what it's going to take for us to compete in this league. If you haven't already checked out the teams in this league, you definitely should! All you have to do is click on this link http://www.eurobasket.com/Israel/basketball.asp?Women=1 and it will take you straight to the page. This is how you can also keep up with my games and stats if you're interested. Just in case you forgot, my team name is H.R. LE-ZION. Our first game is tomorrow against a team called Netanya. I'm sooo ready to finally get games underway. I've had my ups and downs when it comes to our practices. I've gotten frustrated because I'm missing shots I should hit and making some stupid turnovers, but I'm trying to be patient and remain positive because I'm still trying to get adjusted and get back in the flow of my game.

Now for the fun stuff that's been going on! There's this place called the SoHo here and it's an Asian/Sushi bar that a lot of the Americans go to hang out and eat. We live like 3 minutes down the street! Well on Friday night they held a party for both the women and men players here in Israel. Everyone was having a good time, eating, dancing, talking.  Around 11 the players got to get this 50% off card for the whole year! 50% OFF EVERYTHING! So now we can go and eat this great food that's usually like 40 shekels and above for half off! I love these kinds of perks!! We could have used something like this in college! Lol! Afterwards, everyone went to Tel Aviv to this club. We didn't get in until 4:30 am!! We were sooooo tired, but had a great time! The night life here in Israel is definitely lively!

Keren, my teammate, had this decoration in her hair and I asked her what it was. It's called a rasta, and it's basically weave attached to the root of your hair and then decorated with string and beads. She told me where to get one done and so I went one day and got a purple one put in. A lot of the Israeli girls get it done. Just something fun to have in your hair. And whenever I want it out, because it's not braided into my hair, I just have to cut the little string that's tied to my hair. 

The final product!
As far as food is concerned, my roommates and I have pretty much figured out what we like and know how to pick it out at the store now. The other night, I was really wanting some Mexican food. Anyone that knows me knows I LOVE Mexican food! So I was going to make tacos. Well, they don't sell the seasonings for Mexican food here. I got on google and looked up how to make taco seasoning from scratch! I went to the store and bought all the spices, came home, and then mixed it up and cooked it. I must say, it was pretty darn good! Even Danielle said it was good! We had burritos that night for dinner, and then two days later I had a burrito for lunch! I definitely want to experiment with cooking while I'm here and learn how to make some new food!

I've talked with my family on skype just about every other day. It's amazing how technology connects us!! But I'm definitely thankful it's as advanced as it is today! I got to see my precious 8 1/2 month old niece on camera, and when I was talking to her, she would lean into the camera because she recognized my voice and saw my face. My sister said she was looking at it like "why can't I touch her? I hear her!" It was the cutest thing ever!!! I definitely miss my family and friends a lot!!

Of course, I've been learning more Hebrew. I found out the other day that my grandpa speaks Hebrew! I should have had lessons with him before I came! But my teammate Inbar has been impressed with my learning skills. She said I'm going to be the best foreigner speaking Hebrew that she's known! Today's words are: "why"-llama "where"-efo "I'm hungry"-ane reva(a-knee ray-vah) and "I'm full"-ane sveah(a-knee svay-ah)

That's all for today's walk in my nikes!
Until next time,
Alysha

The start of the rasta!

No worries, this isn't my hair she's steaming!
Adding my colors!! :-)

Our washer....

Our dryer! :-)

Cheetos in Hebrew!

This is what the stop lights do before they turn green!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Learning New Things

Hey hey everyone!! I just want to thank each and everyone of you who is following my blog!! I really appreciate it! I am so glad I get the opportunity to share this journey with you!
Being here in Israel has opened my eyes a lot! At times it has been frustrating because it's hard to read labels or communicate with people, but at the same time it's been a lot of fun trying to find new ways to get people to understand you. I can understand how frustrating it can be for people to come to the USA and not be able to communicate like they want to...and it's always easy to say "well they should speak our language" but that's what makes the world so great! Unique cultures and diverse ethnicities makes things interesting! I can definitely say this experience has opened my mind up a lot more! :-)

I must say this country is definitely beautiful and full of life!! Danielle and I went to the beach today and it was breathtaking!! The waves were so big and the water was gorgeous! We ate at this seafood restaurant called Fish and they brought out a loaf of bread with about 7 different dipping sauces. It was AMAZING!!! One thing Israel has is great bread! I am in seventh heaven! My roommates and I have already caught on the coffee drinking way of the Israeli people. My teammate Rebecca told us that Israelis drink coffee all day every day. And it has been soooo good! They also eat a lot of hummus with pita bread and Danielle and Khadijah seem like they have been living here all their lives because they eat it all the time! Haha.

The stoplights are different too! Instead of going from red to green, it goes to yellow first. And then when the green light is about to change, it blinks three times and then goes to yellow and then to red. It took a few days to get used to. Haha and there's no turning right on red lights either! Oh man...the urges I've had to just do it anyway! There also aren't dryers over here, so once we get the clothes out of the washing machine, we have to clip them on our clothes line that is outside our window! But the clothes actually dry pretty fast! But I must say I miss the dryer! Haha.

On Fridays, everything closes at sundown and remains closed until Saturday night. It's called the Jewish Sabbat and is their day of rest. So it's kind of like our Sunday in the states. So it's a little different changing the thought process of being used to the weekend and doing stuff on friday and saturday. But it's really neat to learn all this stuff. Also, two of our teammates are in the Israeli Army! They told us that over here in Israel, women between the ages of 18 and 22 are required to serve 2 years and the men are required to serve 3. So in addition to playing basketball they're also serving their country. I think it's pretty awesome.

I've been learning more Hebrew! Today's words are: Thank you: todah (emphasis on the dah) and good: tov

Well that's all for today's walk in my nikes!!

Until next time,
Alysha

Monday, October 4, 2010

Re-Adjusting

Hey hey everyone!! Welcome back!! These past few days have been kind of a blur because I have been trying to re-adjust myself.
The first night, my roommates Danielle and Khadijah went to practice. Me and Danielle didn't have to practice because we were traveling that day. We were on the sideline talking about what they were doing and got a little nervous because they were doing these drills and had a LOT of running! Haha but it just helped us prepare our minds for what was coming.  We were introduced to the team and could only remember 2 people's names because they were American names. But you'll be glad to know I know all 8 players now!!!! And I pronounce their names correctly too.

The second day we had to go do our medical test. It consisted of doing an isokinetic test to measure the ratio between our quad and hamstring muscles. It was pretty tough. They strap you into a chair and isolate the muscle in your leg and have you do a series of exercises with different resistance. Then after that we had to go test our conditioning, or "test our shape" as the coaches would say. They hook all these wires up to your chest and put you on the treadmill and have you run at a certain speed for a minute and increase the speed and incline every minute after and you basically run until you can't anymore!!! Haha I hopped right off as soon as I was about to die...and they said "No No Alicia...keep on..." and I said "Yes Yes...I'm done!" Hahaha. But I got up to 93%, so I was happy about that. Then we had to go to practice after that!!!!!
The first practice was good! Like I said earlier we only have 8 players so our practice involved a lot of running! But I'm used to it from Coach Insell of course:-) After practice we came home and disinfected our rooms and put our stuff away...and to no surprise I saw a roach crawl from under my bed!! I completely freaked because anyone who knows me knows I don't do bugs!!! Khadijah brought me some raid and we gassed my room! LOL! I haven't seen him since! OH! And we all have a flatscreen in our room:-) They have definitely taken care of us over here in Rishon.

Last night we went to the grocery store and were there for AN HOUR AND A HALF! Lol. Everything was in Hebrew on the labels so we were going off pictures to pick what we wanted. We asked people that were in the store if they could help us find something and some of the stuff they didn't understand because they didn't speak English very well or have a translation for what we were asking for. But in the end, we got a lot of good stuff!! Then on our way home we stopped at the pastry stand and tried a couple different sweets...and OMG whoever thought of chocolate croissants is a GENIUS. We will definitely be back! Oh yeah...and the most important thing that happened yesterday was that we got our internet fixed!!! I'm so glad I've been able to talk to my family and boyfriend!

We had our first practice this morning...we got lost going to practice, but we eventually found our way. So now we can get around a little bit! :-) The drivers out here are bold!! They just get over without looking and don't care how close you are! Haha. We also got lost on the way home too because it's hard to read the street signs when they're all in Hebrew, but once again we found our way back! We found a CD in the CD player of our car...and number 5 on the disc was Lil Wayne Lolipop...IN HEBREW!! LOL! It was sooo funny! "Shlop i lop", or at least that's what I think he said when it came to the chorus. Definitely made my day!

Right now, we're meeting with the mobile phone people to try and get a plan for our phones! It would cost us 98 Shekels a month which equals out to $26! Now where in America can you get an unlimited calling plan and 200 text messages for $26!? This is great! By the way, 3.65 shekels=$1.
I'm going to help you learn a little Hebrew with me. Today's saying is "Let's Go = yalla
Well that's all for today's walk in my nikes!!!
 Me before my running...that net was a shirt she cut and had me wear lol.
 This is our instant coffee!! We took a picture to make sure we remembered which one we drank.

Until next time,
Alysha

Friday, October 1, 2010

Goodbye USA, Hello Israel!!!

Hey hey everyone!!! Well I made it to Philadelphia after what seemed to be a veeeery long day!! The flight was delayed 30 minutes out of Nashville and I got a little worried because my teammate missed her connecting flight last night after being delayed. But I'm here! And she made this flight too!! I'm not going to lie though, I'm glad to be off that plane because the guy sitting next to me had some RAUNCHY breath! I wanted to gag!!

Unfortunately, I didn't make it in one bag! I had three big bags and two were overweight!!! Hahaha! But I still packed for 3 months in 3 bags...so I'm proud!

It was hard saying my goodbyes to my parents and sister...I was trying not to cry, but as soon as I see someone cry it's an automatic response for me to cry too! But it feels good because I know they love me:-)

Our plane just pulled up and it's HUGE!!! Hopefully i can get some rest! If not, I brought 3 classics with me: Little Rascals, Sandlot, and Shawshank Redemption!!

Well, goodbye USA! Hellloooo Israel:-)

Until next time,
Alysha