Bassi Tocco Via

Well here we are, already a couple weeks into my Italian adventures, and I can confidently conclude that no matter where one goes in the world, all you have to do is find the local rugby club and you will be surrounded by fun and like-minded people. Rugby truly draws a specific type of person…. a unique lifestyle and culture that transcends language and location. This weekend we hosted a 7s tourney and entered two teams…I’d say it went well seeing as both teams went undefeated on the day so we ended up playing against ourselves in the championship. In case anyone had any doubts about how small the rugby world is, at the end of the day one of the refs introduced himself to me and said that last fall he was in Santa Barbara helping coach the UCSB girls and did I know them? Well of course I said, they’re in our league! What are the chances that someone would be reffing me in Italy after having coached against me in California?? Pretty high, apparently.

My days basically consist of gym and/or jogging and/or practice, hanging out at our clubhouse (the club has several mens and women’s teams under its umbrella so there are always a bunch of people going in and out of the bar/restaurant by the field.) I am getting familiar with my new little city of Colorno; I try to run on a different street each time to learn my way around. The other day I turned off the main road onto a small bike path and was thinking to myself how pretty all of the violet wildflowers looked in the fields on either side of me, when all the sudden everything started fluttering and I realized that I was actually surrounded by thousands of purple butterflies. That might be the most magical thing that has happened to me since the time at Burning Man when a stranger (possibly a fairy…) came up to me out of nowhere, put a crystal in my hand, and said “Never stop shining honey. You’re beautiful!” before disappearing forever into the massive crowd of people. Similar magic.

Anywhoo, our first 15s scrimmage is next weekend so I am hoping for the best! My team was just promoted from Series 1B to Series 1A (the equivalent of going from D1 to WPL in the USA) so everyone has pretty high hopes but we definitely have our work cut out for us. Everyone says this season will be challenging but it seems like we have a pretty good group of girls who definitely work hard so I am looking forward to the start of our league games on October 14!
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Bob’s on the radio

I made it! I got into Bologna yesterday afternoon around 5:30… the first leg of the trip (SF to Paris) wasn’t too bad… I slept for most of it and watched a couple movies. Things got tricky when I had approximately 40 minutes to get from point A to point B in Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. For future reference, that is nowhere near enough time to calmly go through customs, navigate through a strange airport, locate the correct shuttle, and ride to the correct terminal to catch your connecting flight. Thus, I was forced to take it at a jog… no, a sprint… to get to my second flight. I may have stiffarmed a stroller or two, but on the plus side I was in running shoes so that made it easier. Whew finally got on the plane at 3:22… it departed at 3:25. So then I spent the next 3 hours sweating uncomfortably and thinking about the great impression I was going to make when I got off the plane in Italy looking this good.

But I made it! My new coach Christiano came to pick me up with one of the players. The first thing he did was make fun of me for how heavy my bag was, then tell me that we had a 6 hour car drive ahead of us. I probably looked really unhappy because he immediately started laughing and said we’d be home in 45 minutes. They brought me to the stadium first and I met a bunch of people whose names I don’t remember and got a tour of the gym (!) the club house (!!) the team bar (!!!) and the amazing pristine fields, one turf and one grass (!!!!). Walking into the clubhouse I heard Bob Marley playing and knew it was a good sign. Then they brought me to my apartment, which is biking distance from the field. The apartment is cute and small, on the second story, and I think it is going to be perfect. It is still unsure whether or not I will have a roommate, the team is waiting to hear from a girl who may be moving up from Rome to play with us.

That evening I went to practice, which was mainly fitness and a little bit of skills (non contact) and then they fed me delicious food and I went home and slept. This morning I biked over for the morning lift session and pretty soon I am going to run some errands and probably take a nap before tonight’s training.

This is amazing, so far so good.