Leslie Cikra: 3000 Sheep!

3000 Sheep !

December 8th, 2013

Hi!  Happy Sunday and what a gorgeous day it was today :)


It is hard to believe at this time a week from now I will be enroute to Cleveland, probably somewhere over the Atlantic waiting patiently to touchdown in North America.  I can’t exactly believe it has already been 4 months since I hopped on the plane to come over here.  My body definitely can believe it.  I am totally worn out and looking forward to a few weeks of rest, recovery, yoga and no chocolate croissants tempting me daily.


We swept Evreux last night in 3.  The perfect way to go out, and our last match for 2013 is finally finished.  It was good to get a win, and 3 points under our belts.  Also fun to see another American, Blair Brown, across the net who lived and played with my current roommate at Penn State, and who I used to watch play when I was younger.  It is crazy to think after these past few months, a week from today I will be home for Christmas!  We just have a few days of training camp in Toulouse, and then we are headed back to the States.


I had an unusual amount of fun experiences this week, and a hilarious failure of sorts (or two!)


(View from the top of our city center earlier this week, so gorgeous!)

I had my first experience with Raclette cheese this week, which is served melted over potatoes and salami and prosciutto (they call that jambon cru here).  It is very popular for the holidays and winter time, so it was fun that some of the Euro girls shared this seasonal tradition with us.  My tummy wasn’t so happy with me for all the dairy, but it was sooo yummy!


(Yummy Mexican chicken chili I cooked this week for Dana’s birthday)

I also had my first experience with Chinese cupping therapy during rehab this week.  It is that time in the year when my shoulder is getting worn out from swings and serving, and my trainer decided to try cupping therapy on me.  I had no idea what to expect, but it actually worked I think.  Six days later and I stillam covered in kinesio tape and bruises, but if it loosens up my tight shoulder, it’s worth the sacrifice!




(After) – OUCH!

I forgot to mention in my thanksgiving post about the bottle of cider we got for dinner.  I have been going through serious Woodchuck withdrawal and we decided to buy a bottle of French “cidre” to share on Thanksgiving.  Little did we know it is far from similar to what we are used to in the States.  It comes in a big champagne-like bottle.  Regardless, there was a great buildup to “popping” the bottle.  But it didn’t pop!  So that was a pretty funny disappointment.

Last Sunday, four of us went to dinner at a local restaurant, which I wish we had been doing more often.  We stay in so much but there is so much unbelievable French cuisine around us to experience.  We are going to make an attempt to eat out more.  Anyway, two of us got pizza and one of the ingredients on the pizza was “oeuf a cheval.”  It took a lot of laughs and a quick google search to figure out that it was not in fact a horse egg, which we actually thought was a possibility, until we remembered horses definitely do not lay eggs.  The French term is another way to say egg on top, or “horseback” as they call it.  We got a lot of laughs out of that one at dinner.


We spent this week making Christmas cookies, listening to Christmas music and celebrating one of my teammates birthdays.  Even though we are away as the holiday season has begun its been so fun to be around my teammates during this time and share some of our own traditions.

And speaking of traditions, today we were apart of the yearly holiday parade to welcome 3000 sheep (les moutons) and goats back into town from the mountains.  We are not really sure what the sheep do in the mountains but every year they go, and when they come back there is a big celebratory parade of people traditionally dressed and 3000 sheep race through town after the parade is done.  The town was full of people and it was so fun to be apart of such an interesting French tradition in Istres.

We also got to be a part of our club’s 40th anniversary this past Friday night.  It was awesome to be able to get together with everyone who helps the club and keeps things running smoothly to celebrate a big milestone.









I wish the pictures would have done the sheep parade justice, but you get the idea!

Anyways, this may be it for a few weeks, until I’m back in Europe after Christmas.  Can’t wait to be reunited with friends and family for the holidays.  Bisous!

Leslie Cikra
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