Sunday, August 19, 2012

Unfamiliar territory.

We’ll laugh about this someday. I can’t count the number of times Morty and I asserted this on our drive back from Chemnitz last weekend; I can only say that we’ve yet to reach that “someday”. Getting to Chemnitz was so easy; too easy, perhaps. Mort and I were tricked—disillusioned by the simplicity of our route to Chemnitz, we mistakenly assumed returning back to the Wolf would be no less easy. It was this naïve conclusion that beget our first harrowing, near death experience in Germany. And as always, I speak without any exaggerations.

I am terrified of getting lost, always have been. It’s the worst; well, other than pickle juice in the eye. Pickle juice in the eye is brutal. The notion that I could keep turning, keep driving, keep guessing and never stop being lost is suffocating. Part of this fear originates from my very serious, very clinical allergy to being “wrong”.  I have this reaction to it every time it happens, resulting in hostility, nausea and irrational thinking. It’s my cross to bear. And so, each time I take a wrong turn or make a wrong decision perpetuating our lost state, my allergy flares, and my fear grows. Vicious, vicious cycle. Here is how we got to that point on our way home. 

The trip back started smoothly enough. We hit the road at 10:30pm Sunday, figuring to be home by 12:45am. We hit our first speed bump about an hour in when we missed our turnoff. Now this wrong no-turn was hardly my fault, but more a product of poor, unclear sign labeling. We realized quickly that we indeed should have taken the exit and so, after twenty minutes of correcting, we were back on track. No big deal. But as we approached the final 50kms of the trip, things got real. Again, somehow, we’d gotten ourselves lost, by no fault of my own and while guessing where we went wrong, I became distracted by a flashing on the dash—the gas light. How predictably unoriginal. I think I mentioned that our car is new, so it does this neat trick where it tells you, fairly precisely, how many kms you can travel till you are SOL. Ordinarily, this would be a nifty convenience, but in the moments to follow, it was nothing more than a paralyzing countdown to my imminent psychological meltdown. We were lost in a tiny, remote city in Germany and we were likely to run out of gas—both my allergy and fears were really starting to boil. Ten kilometers, nine kilometers, eight kilometers, seven kilometers—Polizeistation—“STOP!” Morty shrieked, "we are going in." It was the 11th hour and we were desperate. So, at 12:50am, we rang the doorbell, as if selling girl scout cookies, and spoke to a very polite policeman who seemed to appreciate the gravity of our situation. After repeating directions to the nearest open gas station, he also gave us directions home; at this point we were only 30kms away. We carefully navigated the longest 2kms of our lives to the gas station and celebrated, unabashedly. With our tank full of gas and our hearts full of hope, we took to the road again. Our eyes peeled as we winded the autobahn when suddenly—FLASH! What the f… we were literally in a blind rage from this red burst of light when it hit us: we had been warned about such a flash; a flash from a very large camera designed to disrupt and photograph unlawful speeders. I had just gotten a ticket. I was living in some twisted manifestation of Murphy’s Law and I couldn’t escape. Mort and I rode in disbelief, as well as in accordance with the posted speed limits, the rest of the way home. It was 1:45am when we got to our apartment. We’ll laugh about this someday.

Honestly, Morty and I have laughed a lot about that trip, even that same night. And I’ll tell you something else: getting lost like that doesn’t build character, it reveals it and Mort and I got that crap by the truckload. Not only did we get lost, but we got lost in a different country and we did it without killing each other or melting down, externally. Don't act like you're not impressed.

Our whole team is finally here and so I no longer just live with Morty. Brianne, the third and final American, played PG at Penn State in college and played for Osnabruck last season (a team in our league). She was a Chemcat the season before I was, so we sort of know each other. Bri, along with all the other girls, are splendid. I find myself in unfamiliar territory here: I legitimately like every girl on the team. We are having so much fun already that I get jolly every time I think ahead to the season. On that note, preseason games begin next week with road games Wednesday and Friday. Here we go.

One of my super cool teammates gave me a brand new pair of Kobe’s (as seen above). She is a German national player and they were one of the free pairs of team shoes she was given, but she didn’t like them, so she bequeathed them to me! Things were going really well with Kobe and I until the blisters started developing. I say blisters but really these are more like open wounds, regrettably located on the arches of my feet. I still practice, but after that I can barely walk. Suffice it to say, Kobe and I are on a break. 

The Wolf, as I am calling our quaint little city, is actually pretty cool. Featuring a lot of beautiful churches, museums and even a castle, we have our own Laguna Beach here! This man-made beach area abuts our gym and is my own little piece of home. There is also a theater here that plays movies in English every third Monday. We are 12kms from Braunschweig, a larger city that offers a greater variety of shopping, nightlife and other activities.

With preseason games and camp right around the corner, practices have shifted gears a little as offenses and defensive sets and strategies are being introduced. I am still a big fan of Vlasti’s (my coach) old school style and wacky personality. I also think that this team could be pretty good once we figure each other out and that excites me. They lost 3 key players from their championship squad last season, but we have brought in some good ones too, so I am optimistic. Now I just need my blisters to heal…and a GPS. Oh how I need a GPS.


  1. Please tell me you're not wading in the "beach" with your open-wound feet.

    Your post was great. What an adventure! I enjoyed experiencing it through your post, though I don't think I'd enjoy going through it for real. :D Please send me a picture of your feet when healed. Until then, I will be cringing.

  2. Haha no no I would never do that Kim.

    Glad you enjoyed the post. The adventure was certainly unsettling at the time, but funny to look back on and narrate. I will post a picture of my feet post-kobe blisters soon hopefully!

    Miss you!