Monday, April 22, 2013

My Last Week Checklist

The beginning of my second season on the beach.

  After two seasons in Dunkerque, my final week on the Northern French coast is upon me. What has been an easy-going, quiet, enjoyable, yet sometimes difficult, two seasons, is coming to a close.

  No matter how the prior eight months has gone, the last week always ends the same way: jam-packed, and far too quickly.

  There's always one more thing you wish you could do, one person you weren't able to say goodbye to, or a few things you couldn't manage to jam into your luggage.

With Lily last season.
  Two consecutive seasons always makes it a little more difficult. Especially here. I had previous relationships with people in Dunkerque, so saying goodbyes will be a little tougher. You just never know when you'll cross paths again.

  And, has been the case with every other club I've played with over the course of my career in Europe, the people you encounter, and the relationships you gain are invaluable. So it's necessary to say proper goodbyes, and express thanks for the opportunity you were afforded.

  Outside of goodbyes and thank yous, here's my checklist for the week:
Thanksgiving with V & Bruno last season.
  • My plane ticket home has been booked, so that hasn't been a worry for quite some time. 
  • Clean my apartment. I try to leave my apartment the way I found it. So I generally like to leave a clean apartment behind, as a sign of courtesy and respect for the club.
  • Clear out fridge and pantry. This is always somewhat of a fine science. You never want to leave too much food behind. It's a waste! But on the other hand, you don't want to have too little to eat in your last few days either! You have to carefully calculate how much food (and coffee) you'll need for your remaining meals. All remaining food that will not spoil, along with spices and such, will go to friends. This also includes rationing out the final few drops of my contact solution! I don't want to have to buy anew bottle -- that will cost me dearly in the weight department! -- every ounce adds up!)
With the Coulont twins.
  • Pack. All of my things have to fit into two bags. And preferably at 50 pounds or less each. Baggage fees are a pet peeve of mine, and I avoid them at all costs. So after two seasons this might be especially tough, since I've accumulated more things over the course of my stay in Dunkerque. Whatever doesn't fit, or is too heavy and I don't want, I will leave to friends here.
  • Wire money home, and close out bank account. You obviously want all money issues resolved before you leave. Whether it'd be with your team regarding your contract, or with the bank.  Once you leave, it's difficult to conduct
    Thanksgiving at my place this year.
    business with a foreign bank abroad. And upon departure, you're basically forfeiting any money you're owed, if any, by leaving. Again, you have to do a little estimating. How much cash will you need in your remaining days? Once your bank account is closed, you no longer have access to the ATMs, and you don't want bring home too many euros in cash.
  • Goodbye dinners, lunches, and BBQs. This week I've already had two five-hour lunches. The first with friends, and the second with my team. It's always nice to have one final gathering together to say goodbye, and wish each other well. I have one more the night before I leave with V, Bruno and Lily.
  • Take in one last beachfront view. I don't know when, if ever, I'll be fortunate enough to live in a beach front apartment. It's been a special place to live for two seasons, and I hope I haven't taken one sunset or look out the window for granted.
  • Reactivate my American cell phone.
  • Get to the airport on time.
  • Sit and wait. You've done all there is to do, you'll be home soon enough.
Three Buffs. With Caroline and V.
  It's just been in the last few years that I've begun to realize how ridiculous this whole 'process' is: packing your life into two bags, and moving back and forth across the world. It's the part I dislike the most; the transition. But it's also a necessary evil.

  This experience with professional basketball continues to be a unique one for me. I'm glad to be able to have both 'lives'; my life at home in the US, and my life overseas as a pro. So, with yet another season in the books, it's about time to head home!

Too many beautiful sunsets to count.
  Of course I'm anxious to get home and see family and friends, but you also know you'll be leaving valuable relationships behind. So while I'm looking ahead, I can't help but think about what's being left. You just hope you'll meet again!

  À bientôt --

A few more memorable moments from the last two seasons, but not all...

V & Lily -- last season -- Springtime Brunch.
Dunkerque Beer & Wine Festival with Bruno.
Two seasons with Aurelie.
Team visiting a local school.
Sunrise from my window.
The 2012-2013 squad.
Road trip to Nice!
Team awaiting the bus to head to the game.
Teammates Aurelie & Judit.
My French 'family' -- Bruno, Lily, & V.
Life wasn't always a beach. Sometimes there was snow.
Practice with some youngsters.
Late evening on the beach.


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