Post by: Rachael Adams via My Scenic Route
It’s December and for foreign athletes overseas, that means A LOT.
December is great, not only because it means Christmas time, but it means family time, traveling to see friends, GOING HOME (if you’re able to), taking a breather, and ….
Starting a countdown!:
If you’re a foreign athlete living overseas, I already know you have a countdown somewhere and the amount of days left you have until you arrive home (or when your teams breaks for the holiday) probably comes up once a day in a conversation, a tweet, text message, or Facebook status… and of course you have to post it on social media so everyone knows you’re coming home.
“I’ll be home for Christmas!”
When you think your arrival home is so important and that everyone must know you’ll be home for Christmas:
Obviously the whole nation must know you’re coming home and stop what they’re doing, you’ve been gone for so long.
The hook of this song might as well be playing in the background as your flight is taking off:
“I’m coming home, I’m coming home.. tell the world I’m coming home…”
That moment when December 1st finally arrives:
And you start blasting Christmas music:
You get excited about Christmas gift shopping:
Not every athlete is guaranteed time to go home or has enough days off to spend traveling back and forth, so those moments leading up to the ” big decision” made by your team is really stressful.
When you’re waiting on the confirmation that you can go home:
once you finally get the “ok”
but.. when you get that dreaded “no”
That doesn’t mean we wont get time off for Christmas, it just means that either there aren’t enough days for us to travel home – spending one whole day traveling there and one whole day traveling back, plus having enough time to really take our shoes off and be home. Or maybe our team doesn’t think it’s a good idea, but we’re still allowed to travel somewhere near, like Paris or wherever you want AND there is also the possibility of matches being scheduled shortly after the holidays so going leaving for a long period of time isn’t an option. So, there are a lot of factors that go into the decision made by each team, so every athlete is extremely grateful when they get the “ok” to go home and be with family.
Since foreign teammates most likely don’t understand, appreciate, or really acknowledge the past two holidays, Halloween and Thanksgiving, that you’ve been celebrating since birth, you finally have a holiday that everyone recognizes and appreciates. Ok maybe not everybody, country, or nationality, but most.
During your first season overseas, it’s sad when you realize that no one really celebrates Halloween like Americans do, but you really want people to get into the Halloween spirit and teach them more about it.
When your teammates don’t understand your love for Halloween:
But you really try to explain to them how fun it is and what it is all about:
And they still don’t understand:
And then there is Thanksgiving. All you want is a massive plate of food that your family has made and a piece of freshly baked apple pie.
Your social media is flooded with pictures and pictures of delicious food.
When you realize everyone is eating all this food and you’re not:
You think to yourself how dumb and stupid it is that all these people are posting plates of food for other people to see..but it’s only because you’re jealous.
Your jealous reaction to all the food pictures:
You wish you could eat your phone and taste the food.
eventually your jealous face turns into this:
You might actually attempt to set up a big Thanksgiving dinner with your teammates and cook all the traditional dishes:
But let’s be honest, you’d rather have your family cook the meal and you just do the eating:
You have so many expectations for going home, a list of things you want to do, all the people you want to see, and items you want to buy.
When talking on the phone with family and friends back home about your plans:
Clearly, you are able to take care of yourself, after all, you made it through more than several months of living in a foreign country by yourself, taking care of yourself, feeding yourself, and everything else, but when you get home, you act like you don’t know how to do anything.
When your parents ask you to do something..
Mom: “can you run to the store real quick?”
And then jet lag and laziness sets in and you don’t want to do anything at all. Forget all the plans you made.
you turn into a commitment phoebe when it comes to plans:
You really try to be honest with family and friends that are dying to see you during the short period you are home:
But, there are always exceptions:
when you’re around the house you forget how to use your legs:
But.. when there is a will, there is a way:
After being in a country for more than 5 months you miss all your favorite foods and treats so when they are a car ride away, in your fridge, so easy to get, and no longer just a figment of your imagination.. you become a monster
When you see your favorite food or meal:
Not many people back home understand your current love for food and how much you miss it:
that moment you arrive home in April/may after season is over:
Each person has that one meal they imagine eating as soon as they back home. You dream about it, think about it, and tears stream from your eyes when you see pictures of it on social media, online, in a movie, or TV show.
All you wanted was a bowl of mac and cheese.. is that too hard to ask for?:
and a doughnut on the side.
That moment when you are finally united with that doughnut or item you’ve been dreaming about:
When you come home, you appreciate the full fridge and all the groceries it has AND the fact that you didn’t have to go to the store and get them yourself.. it’s like magic:
The first time you see your fridge at home:
It’s hard to keep a stocked fridge when living overseas because you are constantly traveling and on the road.
So you’re fridge basically looks like this:
You would do anything to get some of this:
And a little bite of this:
and You probably stopped scrolling to take a long and sad look at this:
The conversations that you have with your mom when you’re home:
And your conversations with your friends:
After being overseas for 9 months you get so used to not knowing the language, being around people that understand you are not from around there so they just don’t ask questions or ever approach you, and as a result you are pretty much living in your own little world.
But that moment when you get back home.. awkward. You mean I have to say hi? Ask the person how they are? Carry on conversations in the checkout line? Talk in the elevator? Be social?
when you get back home:
That first moment when you realize you’re being awkward and anti social and just want to escape:
You say “thank you” in Polish (or other languages) to the lady at check out..and you’re in America, you start slurring your words because you’re not used to talking at a fast pace in English for such a long period of time (you’ve created a slower and less complicated version of English overseas because everyone says you talk way too fast), and your usual greeting with kisses on each cheek that you picked up overseas have been converted back into tight-in-your-space-hugs that are no longer normal for you.
When you receive your first hug from someone back home:
And you go back home and sulk about your awkwardness and what living overseas has turned you into:
You question why you even left the house:
And You hope and pray that things will go back to normal and you’ll be able to be apart of society again:
Even if you miraculously lost your awkwardness in one day, you would still have to deal with the conversations you can finally overhear. When living overseas, since you don’t truly understand the language without a lot of brain effort, you don’t understand the random conversations going on around you in the grocery lines, on the street, or wherever else you are, so it’s easy to tune out and just be in your own little world.. but once you’re back home, you understand EVERYTHING.
You can now overhear stupid, pointless, and annoying side conversations that just destroyed a few of your brain cells and wish you had never overheard a single word.
Overhearing a stupid conversation:
What you wish you could do:
Ignorance is bliss.
You’re so excited to see your family and friends back home, but once the holidays end and everyone has to go back to work, it’s just you and all the stay at home moms roaming the city.
On days when you are left at home alone and your parents and friends all have to go back to work:
The worst part is when you finally have to say goodbye to head back overseas for another 4-5 months.
Although saying good bye is really hard, you’re thankful that you got to be home and see your family and for being able to get a new found extra boost to finish the season on a strong note. No matter if it was 3 days, 4 days or even 7, you are thankful for every moment you got to spend back home.