Thursday, September 27, 2012

Seeing Jence and Other Random Stuff :-)

Sorry it has been a little while since our last post!  We have pretty much settled into our routine at this point.  Official games have begun.  We played 2 games last Monday and Tuesday for the Romanian Cup, and our official league play began last Saturday.  For our first game in Romanian league, we played against our old teammate from college, Jence Rhoads.  It was great to see her!  She is as cute as ever :-)  Unfortunately, we didn't get to spend much time together since her team got in late on Friday night and then left immediately after the game on Saturday, but it was still good seeing her and getting to catch up a bit.  We won't play her team again until after Christmas, but hopefully we will get some time off at some point where we could meet up for a day!

Other than that, there's not much new to tell about.  The weather has been pretty warm/nice for most of the time we have been here, but we had a two or three day cold spell last week which was rather unexpected.  It has warmed back up since then.

We have an away game this Saturday in Alexandria, Romania.  I have heard different estimates, but I think it's about 10 hours away.  In reality, it should probably only take about 6 or 7 hours, but the roads in Romania are pretty awful.  Most of the time when we are traveling, we are on a two lane freeway.  Passing slower cars is difficult because of oncoming traffic in the other lane, and we are also constantly having to slow down to drive through the small towns.  There is also a lot of construction constantly taking place to fix holes, and it is not uncommon for traffic to come to a complete stop to the point where people turn off their engines and get out of their cars.  However, my favorite traveling delays are the horses and wagons.  Horses and wagons are a fairly common mode of transportation here, especially in smaller towns, and they share the same road as cars and trucks.  It sure makes for some slow traveling when you're stuck behind one of them on the freeway! :-)  I'll try to take some pictures on this trip so you can see what we see when we're driving through the country.

Unexpected rainy day last week - walking to the gym for practice

After shootaround, the team shoots half court shots for money.  It used to be only coach who would put money down (10 lei for the first shot, and then if nobody makes it, 5 lei for the second shot).  Chrissy thought it would be a good idea to have each individual person put 2 lei in the pot so that the winnings would get bigger.  If nobody makes it, the pot will just carry over until the next game when it will be even bigger.  I'm so cheap that I chose to sit this one out rather than put 2 lei in the pot.  Jen's so cheap that she decided to play, but she paid in coins - I think it made her feel better.

Us with Jence after her team's shootaround and before ours :-)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Introducing....Carla Bartee!

Alrighty then!!! What it do you guys?? My name is Carla Bartee better known as ‘BARTEE’ or ‘BAR - 3’!! I’m bringin’ u greetings from the GREAT city of mine, PINEVILLE/Waynesboro, & the GREAT state of M I Crooked Letter  Crooked Letter I Crooked Letter Crooked Letter I HUMP BACK  HUMP BACK I  (M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I!!!) LOL!! LOL!! Now since I’ve been in the blog for some weeks now, I’m finally gettin’ on here, & FORMALLY INTRODUCING myself the way we do it in MISSISSIPPI!! LOL!! 

I tell you, God works in mysterious ways!! I NEVER thought I was going 2 ever play on the same team with two former SEC opponents!!! And VANDERBILT at that!! LOL!! You know how they be beatin’ up on people and not carin’ about it!! LOL!! But as we were playin’ against each other, I never thought about who they were, or that we were ever gonna meet up again after college.. .But we did, so now I’m bloggin’ on their blog, cause they were dyin’ for a ‘DOWN SOUTH MISSISSIPPI’ girl to say somethin’ on their blog!!

Anyways, this is my second stint in Romania, and so far things has been good.. Except for the bitin’ MOSQUITOES!! Geeeeezzzzzzzzzz!! They follow you in the door from coming outside, then into your room without invitin’ them, and then you go to sleep, and they start bitin’ you!! They get up with you, and they go to sleep with you!! SHAKIN’ MY DREADS!! Now don’t get me wrong, Mississippi has mosquitoes (BIG ones, too), but we meet em’ at the door!! Ain’t no comin’ in MY house!! 

One more thing before I wrap up my first blog session.  Every time that I (CARLA BARTEE) ride the tram, I am always gettin’ hounded by a guy sayin’ that I am someone else!! He be hollarin’ & screamin’ that other person’s name like I am really her, and she is no longer in the country of Romania.  One of my Romanian teammates was tellin’ him that I am not her, but he wasn’t hearin’ that!! So while he is actin’ like he knows me, I just turn my head and stare out the window and IGNORE him.  As long as he doesn’t put his hands on me, tryin’ to tap me to get my attention, we good!!

Until next time, I’m signin’ off the air……………………………..

This is Carla working on the blog.

I knew that Carla and I were going to be good friends since the first moment I met her.  I came to Romania a few days after the other Americans.  When I arrived at the apartment, Jen came to my room to greet me.  And then she said, "Come on, I want to introduce you to Carla.  You're gonna love her."  We knocked on her door, and what do you know....we were wearing the same shirt :-)

This is Carla celebrating the arrival of her bag that had been lost by the airline.  Pure joy!  If you haven't played overseas before, you might not understand just how exciting something like this would be.  All of her most important items were inside:  Peanut Butter M&Ms, Skittles, Velveeta Cheesy Skillets, Broccoli and Cheddar Rice Sides, Irish Spring bar know, the essentials :-) 

I know it's not the best picture, but this is what most of our walls look like.  These mosquitoes over here are vicious so we don't mess around.  When we see one, we take care of business.  Right now Kari LaPlante is leading the way with 'most kills.'  She's pretty good.

Just from reading the blog, you may not have understood what Carla was saying about the man on the tram who thinks she is someone let me explain.  There was an American girl who played on the team last season.  Her name was Stanecia.  She was black and maybe close to Carla's same height, but other than that, there is no real similarity in their appearance.  We're not sure exactly how this man knew Stanecia.  Anyways, he is completely convinced that Carla is Stanecia.  We randomly see him on the tram or around town, and every single time, he tries to talk to Carla as if she is Stanecia.  He starts off calling her name sort of sweetly, "Staneciaaaa..."  He repeats it a few times before getting a little more serious.  Finally, after a few times of Carla not answering to this other girl's name, he gets a little upset and yells her name, "STANECIA!"  It is pretty funny!  The other day, Carla was on the tram with some of our Romanian teammates so they were able to explain to him that Carla is not who he thinks she is.  We'll see if he got the message the next time we see him.

Monday, September 10, 2012


Hey everyone!

Just wanted to give you all an update since it has been a little while since our last post.  We have been on the go!  I (Tina) arrived on August 23rd so I have been here for 18 days.  Of those 18 days, we have been in other cities/countries for 11 of them.

After we came back from Slovakia, we had a couple days of practice.  On a normal day we have practice at 11:00 in the morning and 6:00 in the evening.  We lift weights on our own schedule so Jen and I usually try to get in at least 3 lifts a week depending on our travel/game schedule.

Our club arranged for us to play some "friendly" games before our season officially starts.  We left for Miskolc, Hungary on Thursday, August 30th.  We played against Miskolc on Friday and then left after the game to drive to Satu Mare, Romania.  We played Satu Mare on Saturday and Sunday and then drove back to Arad.  We had a few more days of practice in Arad, and then on Wednesday, September 5th, we left to drive to Targoviste, Romania for a "friendly" tournament.  On Thursday, we played a team from Athens, Greece.  Friday we played Targoviste, and Saturday we played Satu Mare.  All I can say is that 6 games in 9 days is a lot of games!  Thankfully, we have a day off today!

***Just want to say congratulations to my little sisters, Jennifer and LeeAnne, on their big win in the Seton 3 on 3 tournament this past weekend :-)  And a special congratulations to their coach, Joe Wirth, for leading them to victory!!!

Here's some pictures from the past week and a half:

The president of our team dropped us off at a swap meet sort of thing because we needed to buy some things.  He told us it is where the locals shop because it's really cheap.  As we were shopping, it started pouring so all of the shop owners put their stuff away.  We thought about waiting it out, but it didn't seem like it was going to stop anytime soon, so we walked home in the rain :-)

Jen and Kari in front of a Catholic Church in Miskolc, Hungary

Inside the church

Walking around the center of Miskolc before the game

The money on the left is Romanian lei, and the money on the right is Hungarian forints.  It looks she is loaded, but it's really less than $20 total.  

Walking around Satu Mare, Romania

Satu Mare

One of the Catholic churches in Satu Mare.  Jen and I got to go to Holy Mass here on Sunday.

Inside the church

Outside of the Greek Catholic Church

Inside the church

One of the Orthodox churches

Stuck in the elevator between the 2nd and 3rd floors.....SOOOO hot in there!!!  Thankfully, our president, Marcel, saved us :-)

Going for an evening snack run to Carrefour

We taught some of our teammates how to play Farkle.  Now that they know the rules, we decided to make it a little more interesting :-)

Adela was the winner.....and she was the only one in the group who hadn't played before.  Beginner's luck.


Walking around Targoviste

The Orthodox Cathedral in Targoviste

Inside the church

Me helping Carla with her hair.  She left it like this for 2 days :-)

St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Arad, Romania.  This will be our church for the next 8 months :-)

Inside the church

The center of Arad

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Team Pictures and Trip to Slovakia

This year we are playing in Arad, Romania! Two years ago when we were playing in Presov, Slovakia, we had a game against I.C.I.M Arad in the Central European League. We played this team in the Championship in Arad.  We were a little familiar with the team before we signed our contract.  I.C.I.M (pronounced – E-cheem) is a club with a lot of tradition! Basketball is very popular in this city and the games usually draw a crowd of +2,000 crazy fans! ICIM is a top team in Romania every year and they love competing for Championships!

The city Arad is located in the western part of Romania. The population of the city is 180,000.  Romania has its own currency called the RON. One very exciting thing about living in Romania is the cost of living is very inexpensive!  One US Dollar is equivalent to 3.5 LEI.  I have been buying these chocolate wafer candy bars that are .75 LEI. You do the math! I pay about 16 cents for this candy bar! I get excited every time I spend money because I’m actually not spending a lot of money at all! It makes me think of when I’m visiting Tina and her family in Arizona. Her dad loves shopping at Ranch Market, which is a Farmer’s Market store very close to their home. He will go there and buy a ton of produce and come back home and have us guess how much money he spent. To give you an idea of how amazingly cheap it is, you can buy 4 cartons of strawberries for $1 or 7 cucumbers for $1. So amazing. I’m excited right now thinking about it. I can’t wait for him to visit us so we can go shopping for deals together!

This year our team will compete in the Romanian league and in the Central European League.  In the Romanian league you are allowed to have 6 foreigners. So this year we have 5 Americans, 1 Serbian, and 5 Romanians.  After we signed with ICIM, we looked up the other Americans on our team and we actually knew who they were! (Basketball feels like such a small circle the longer you continue to play) Kari LaPlante is a 6’5 post player who lives outside of Phoenix, AZ. She took a visit to Vanderbilt when Tina and I were sophomores, but played her collegiate career at the University of Southern California.  Chrissy Givens is a 5’10 guard from Louisiana, but played at Middle Tennessee State. I remember her having an amazing career at MTSU.  Carla Bartee is 5’11 post player and a little more familiar to Tina and I because we played against her in the SEC. She is from Mississippi and played her college career at Ole Miss.

Here are a couple of pictures from our team picture day:

The whole team

Me and Jen

Carla killing a bee that just stung Jen

SEC!  Vandy vs. Ole Miss :-)

All of the Americans - Kari LaPlante (far right - USC), Carla Bartee (middle - Ole Miss), Chrissy Givens (far right - Middle Tennessee State University)

Saturday morning, August 25, we had a light conditioning workout at 9:30am. After that workout, we were free until our Monday morning workout at 11am. Immediately the wheels in my head were turning, ‘Where should I go? What should I do?’ That’s when I talked to Peter, one of my friends from Slovakia, and we made a plan to travel to Slovakia for our short weekend break. Tina, Kari, and I rented a car and drove to Slovakia after practice. It took us 5 ½ hours to get there, but we made it Saturday evening.

Tina and I were very excited to see our old city and friends from Presov.  When we first found out that we were going to be playing in Romania this year, we were excited knowing that we would be pretty close to Slovakia.  Slovakia is a beautiful country. We tried to explain to Kari that it is a very innocent and peaceful country with great food, beautiful nature, and great people.  There's just something about it that we love, but you can't really appreciate it unless you've been there. 

I knew that Kari liked to hike from our conversations through the week so I talked to my friends about hiking Slovensky Raj (Translated: Slovak Paradise). Tina and I hiked here with a group of 12 friends our second year in Slovakia and had a blast so we knew Kari would like it. Overall, our trip was pretty amazing.  We were only there for about 24 hours, but we packed A LOT into that amount of time! It was nice catching up with old friends. One thing Tina and I were excited to eat was our Croatia ice cream! We love that stuff.  

Before our hike on Sunday morning, we met up with our friends at 5:45am Mass at our favorite church, St. Nicholas. After the hike, we went to Peter’s house to hang out for a little bit. I took a nap and Peter played his guitar. We were killing a little bit of time before we had dinner at Katka’s house. Her mom made a delicious meal. We had soup, turkey, rice, French fries, and vegetables. She made sure we were ready for our car ride home!

We never know if/when we are going to get days off, but if we get more time off, we would love to make another trip to Slovakia :-)

We hadn't been driving for more than 10 minutes when we got lost and had to turn around.  Jen tried to make a simple 3 point turn when we realized that none of us knew how to put the rental car in reverse!  It was a pretty narrow street, and we couldn't pull forward any more or else we would have driven into a ditch.  So Kari and I got out of the car and pushed it backwards! :-)  We tried to ask for help, but nobody could figure it out.  Once we got to Hungary, we found somebody who was able to teach us how to do it! :-)

We had to stop and take a picture with these things

We didn't have a phone that worked in Slovakia so when we arrived we couldn't call any of our friends to let them know that we were there.  Here we are with our friend's parents.  We just showed up at their house looking for our friend, Katka :-)  She wasn't home, but we were still able to get a hold of her.

Here we are at the Catholic community that some of our friends are a part of.  We came here hoping to ask some of the nuns if they could call our friend, Peter.  After trying to speak some random Slovak words and doing a few charades, it worked :-)

Yummmm....Croatia ice cream!  We miss this so much!

Kari in the center of Presov, Slovakia

I love this city :-)

Some weird statue 

Just taking a picture with Jesus :-)

Climbing the stairs in St. Nicholas

We randomly met some little girls from Romania :-)

Starting our hike in Slovensky Raj (Slovak Paradise)

Feeding some pigs

Some of the sweetest friends anyone could ever ask for!

Slovak picture

Reenacting a scene from Titanic

Peter :-)

Jen leading the way

When we got to the top of the mountain, we saw that they were celebrating Holy Mass.  Gosh, I love Slovakia!

St. Nicholas :-)  This church will always be a special place for Jen and me.

The center of Presov

Taking a picture after dinner

Scapulars! :-)