Match action from a friendly against Olympique Lyonnais
Salut, tout le monde! Please excuse the long delay in blog writing! It finally hit me that the season is nearing an end, so I have been trying to squeeze in all the things that I want to do before I head back to the States! Where has the time gone!? I feel like I blinked and the season is almost over.
I only have one month left in France; the end of the season has really crept up on me! While I am really excited about the last couple of games, I have also hit that point where I am counting down the days until I can go home! Ten months is a looong time to be in a foreign country. While playing abroad is full of wonderful adventures and experiences, there are a ton of things I miss about being home. Here are a couple things that I am really looking forward to when I get back to Texas:
-Using my cell phone to actually place a phone call (I have learned to love Airplane Mode)
-Being able to buy groceries, contact solution, and Advil all in the same store
-Driving my car
-Seeing my family and friends on a regular basis
While my time in France is coming to an end, the season is far from over. It all comes down to this last month. Three games. We have not put ourselves in the greatest position, but if we win two of our last games, then we have a shot at maintaining our position in Division 1 for next season. It has been a difficult season. We have had some really bad luck and had some tough calls go against us. There have also been times that we have simply not played well and not gotten the job done on the field. And yet as frustrating as it has been at times, I still believe in our team. I know that we have the capabilities and the tools to meet our goals of these last couple games.
It’s been a long break since our last league play, so my teammates and I are itching to get back on the game field. It’s been an even longer break for me (ahem, red card) so needless to say I am ecstatic games are starting up again! After two long months, I can finally take the field with my team! And it must be said, it’s ridiculous that we went nine weeks with only having two games! When you compare that to leagues such as the NWSL in the United States, where teams will sometimes play three games in one week, it seems a bit absurd. But I digress!
Although we have not played many games over the past couple weeks, I have been able to keep busy! We have played a couple friendlies to help prepare for the last push of the season. We had a great Friday night match against Olympique Lyonnais, and we have also had a couple games against some local boys’ clubs and our own u19 side.
Since it did hit me that my trip back home is rapidly creeping up on me, I have been trying to make the most of my time here! I was able to visit Amsterdam and the Côte d’Azur on our last two weekends. Sometimes my teammates think I am crazy since I jet off to these different places, but I don’t know if they realize how lucky they are to be so connected to all the amazing cities! A huge variety of cities and countries are only a train ride away. Shout out to the European railways; they have literally opened up the world to me!
Exploring the canals in Amsterdam!
Amsterdam was a really interesting city. It is the smallest capital in all of Europe, and there are more bikes than people! I got really lucky; a friend that I made in Yzeure who is currently working in Romania was able to meet me for the weekend! While I have no qualms about traveling alone, it is always fun to be around friends! While in Amsterdam, I was astounded by everyone’s ability to speak multiple languages. I would pass people in the street who would transition from Dutch to English in the same conversation, no bother! One night at dinner, the waiter was speaking French with us, English to the next table, and Italian to another group! Absolutely incredible. We packed a lot into a short weekend: exploring the canals, a visit to the Anne Frank House, trying some authentic Dutch food, searching for tulips, and trying to avoid getting hit by the cyclists!
While I thought that was going to be our only off weekend between games, our coach at the last minute gave us another weekend to rest. Since it was really short notice, I decided to stay in France and explore one of the most talked-about regions, the French Riviera! I found some great last minute TGV train tickets, so I set off to spend the weekend on the Côte d’Azur!
Nice, Côte d’Azur, France
What a weekend it was! The weather was absolutely perfect: not overly hot and just right for the beach. While I stayed in Nice, I was able to go on day trips to the principality of Monaco and the city of Cannes. Both places were gearing up for the biggest events of the year (the F1 Grand Prix and the Cannes Film Festival) so it was a good weekend to go exploring. I have to say though, the highlight of my weekend was meeting some other fellow solo travelers! The hostel I stayed at did a free happy hour every night, and the first evening I met three other girls who were all traveling alone, just like me! We all had different stories, different backgrounds, and different reasons for traveling, but we hit it off right away. It was interesting to hear their experiences, speak some English, and share with them about my life as a footballer. We all hung out over the weekend; one day we went to the beach together and my last night in Nice we went out to dinner. It was a weekend I won’t forget, and just one of the reasons I feel so insanely lucky to be playing in France: I have the opportunity to travel and meet like-minded people.
While the beginning of this post was about counting down the days to going home and the anticipation of being back in the States, I have to finish this post touching on the flip side of that coin. Going home means saying goodbye to the people I have met this year and the place that has been home to me for the past year. And that is going to be very difficult. For example, I cannot imagine saying goodbye to the family that I stayed with when I first arrived in France. They have really become a second family to me! They have been so incredible about including me in their lives, taking me on trips to learn more about France, and just being there for me in case I need anything! They have been a huge part of making my time in France so amazing, and so I hope to spend a lot of time with them before the season is done.
Exploring the city of Bourges with my French family!
So that is what I have been up to as of late! A little traveling, A LOT of waiting for our next three matches, and starting to mentally prepare myself for going home! I am also super excited because my big sister is coming to visit me before the season is over! Talk about a countdown. I have been looking forward to her visit for so long! She was in graduate school last year while I played in Scotland, so she was not able to come visit me. This is going to be an awesome trip to show her what I have been up to for the past year! My sister is my best friend in the entire world, so I am really excited to share this experience with her and introduce her to my French life!
I hope y’all have enjoyed these blogs over the past season. While I know that I am heading back to Houston after the season is over, that is where the certainty ends. I would love to return and continue playing in France, so that is definitely Plan A. But even if Plan A doesn’t work out, I am going to stay calm. There are twenty-five more letters in the alphabet.
Peace, love, and the countdown is on,
Professional goalkeeper for ASPTT Albi in the French Division 1. Previous player at Foot Féminin Yzeure, Forfar Farmington FC (Scotland SWPL) and the Houston Aces (USA WPSL). Inquisitive adventurer uniting my first great love, football, with my passion for exploring. Proud alumna of Rice University (Go Owls!)