France Blog 1: Welcome to Bourges

My first week in France was full of a lot of sightseeing, new experiences and, of course, basketball which I am extremely thankful for!

Safely Arrived

When I first landed in Paris, France on Saturday morning, I was picked up by a volunteer for the club named Allan. He was a very friendly older French man who could speak pretty good english, but was more than willing to let me practice my French with him. As you could probably imagine, my French was quite rusty, but it gradually started coming back to me over the course of our hour long car ride to the Hotel where I would be meeting up with my teammates. I had to admit, it was so nice putting into practice all my years of French education. My goal for when I return home at the end of the season is to be pretty near fluent, or at least way better than I am now.

When I arrived to the hotel, before I even made it through the doors, I bumped into a fellow Canadian basketball player, Lizzane Murphy! Once inside the hotel, I bumped into two more Canadian players! All the French teams were in Paris for the weekend for the League Open, but it felt like a Canadian reunion in France. As much as I wanted to explore the beautiful city of Paris, I was exhausted from my flight so I made my way to my hotel room and passed out! Later that evening I would meet all my teammates for the first time, all of whom were incredibly welcoming and friendly.

Late that afternoon, the team packed up into two mini vans and made our way to Bourges, France, my new home for the next eight months. Bourges is a small city, but it has a charm and homeyness to it that I love. My new apartment is only a 5 minute walk from the gym, and grocery store, an 8 minute walk from the movie theatre, a 10 minute walk from the center of the city and a 20 minute walk from the train station; talk about convenience and prime location! One of the things I quickly learned about Bourges, is that pretty much everything closes on Sunday. Lucky for me, Amelie who works for the team and who has been living in Bourges a long time, knew of a few places that would be open where I could buy enough to make dinner and breakfast the next morning.

Basketball, oh How I've missed you!

The face you make when you're happy to be back on the court playing.

The face you make when you're happy to be back on the court playing.

Tea time with my teammates!

Tea time with my teammates!

My first time playing basketball since suffering my concussion was in France, and it felt so good to finally shoot a basketball, run the court, dribble and pass the ball... even if my lungs were on fire! It's going to take some time before I get back in game shape and play at the level I want to play, but I have to learn to be patient and just appreciate the fact that I am able to be on the court again. I am thankful for my health and the ability to play this sport that I love and missed so much! Thank you Lord, and thank you to everyone who was praying and sending their well wishes my way!

Wine, Cheese and Bread

Wine at dinner. Was not a fan of the red wine, but the Asti was pretty tasty!

Wine at dinner. Was not a fan of the red wine, but the Asti was pretty tasty!

Trying new cheeses!

Trying new cheeses!

Yes, my name is Kayla Alexander, I've only been here a week and already have a favorite bakery. Their butter croissants are delectable!!!

Yes, my name is Kayla Alexander, I've only been here a week and already have a favorite bakery. Their butter croissants are delectable!!!

During my first week here in France I think it's pretty safe to say that I have tried, tasted and consumed more cheese, bread and wine than I probably have in my entire lifetime! I was never a drinker, however in France it's quite common to have a glass of wine with your meal, at events and even post game! Plus, some of the best wines are supposedly made here, so the way I see it, while in France... why not try it? So far I have learned that red wine is NOT my favorite, every red wine (3) I have tried so far all have a bitter taste to them that I just can't get past. I've tried a few sweet white wines that I don't mind so far, but I am hoping that I find one I truly enjoy before my time in France is up. There are a lot of vineyards in France, so maybe ill take a trip, learn about the different types of wines and find one I like. I've also tried a large quantity and variety of cheeses, some which I loved, others not so much. Lastly, the amount of bread I have digested since arriving is unreal. From the croissants, to the baguettes, to the pain chocolate, they just do bread differently and better here.

Men's Basketball Game

Selfies with Diandra after the game (which we won)!

Selfies with Diandra after the game (which we won)!

One of my teammates, Diandra, has a family friend who plays basketball for a team in a town about an hour away from Bourges, and invited me to go with her. Obviously I jumped at the opportunity to see more of the country, and of course, watch some basketball! It was a fun experience watching the men's team and putting my French to practice as I conversed with her family and friends. Her friend had a great game and they ended up blowing out the other team. The car ride to and from the town was mostly in the country making a few stops in other small towns so it was very peaceful. Especially during the return trip that evening, the lack of light pollution in the country meant that the stars were extremely visible making the sky a shining beautiful sight! I wish I could have taken a photo, although it wouldn't have fully captured the beauty.

Exploring Bourges

Some of the views in Bourges!

Some of the views in Bourges!

Views from Bourges, walking along the water.

Views from Bourges, walking along the water.

More views from my walk around the city.

More views from my walk around the city.

I love brick roads like this!

I love brick roads like this!

We haven't had any days off yet as a team, but whenever we have a morning off I always go for at least an hour walk around the city centre to see what restaurants, shops, or cool buildings and sights are around. I love the architecture in France: the old buildings, old style doors, statutes, brick road, hidden roads, and tiny details in the structures have me in awe. All of this gives Bourges a charming feel. I think I am going to enjoy living in this new city I get to call home!

Thanks for stopping by and God bless!

K.