No, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth since graduating from Duke. And no, I'm not done with basketball forever. The past few months have actually been crazy full of life changing events, big kid decisions, new experiences, and many fun stories along the way. And as I've been navigating these first few months being on my own in the "real world", I've decided I wanted to start this blog to update anyone who happened to care about my whereabouts and what I'm up to these days... I call it the "Real World Chronicles".
Where to begin.. for starters I somehow managed to graduate from business school! Still not sure how that happened but I'll take it. My time at Fuqua was a whirlwind, but can honestly say it was one of the best years of my life. I'm not going to miss the work... but I'm going to miss all the awesome people I met along the way. Hard to believe I'm finally walking away from Duke with not only 1, but 2 degrees and so many amazing memories.
Also, in case anyone didn't know shortly after the season I had a knee surgery to repair the annoying injury I was dealing with all senior year. The injury was called a "chondral defect" - which I hate telling people because no one knows what the heck that means, and I end up having to give the same long explanation over and over again. Please refer to Google. Anyway, the surgery went great! It also happened to line up on the same day as the WNBA draft. So while I didn't have the typical "draft day" celebration, I was happy to see my name pop up on the TV in the 3rd round to the Washington Mystics.
No, it wasn't the best circumstances.. (i.e watching while recovering in my hotel room 4 hours post surgery and knowing I couldn't even play this first WNBA season), I'm still so blessed the Mystics took a chance on drafting me regardless and I'm going to do everything I have to do to come back an even better player for them next season. Playing in the WNBA has been a dream of mine since I was a kid and I'm not giving up on that now, I tell ya that!
So now what? I have a 9 month recovery, no more school, no more scholarship check to live on, no more training table every day... crap. When my family asked me my plan, my first idea I shot out was that I was going to be an Uber driver! Yes... a Duke graduate, business masters owning, WNBA draftee Uber driver. Heck, I bet I could get 5 stars and make a name for myself. I was hype about this idea and honestly still may do it in the fall... but luckily another gig panned out in the meantime. I was lucky enough to snag a summer sports marketing internship with an awesome company in Chicago called Intersport. Ask me how I got it if you want to hear a funny story.
Anyways, yes it's in CHICAGO! The Chicago. Population of 2.7 million Chicago. I moved to this beautiful, largely inhabited, crazy city just a few short days ago and as a small town kid from the good ole KY, let me tell ya, its been an adjustment. I wish people could hear what goes on in my head (especially those first few days) as I walk around this city, because it would be pure entertainment.. which is one reason I decided to write this blog. I have to give the people what they want.
So as if moving to Chicago wasn't a big enough adjustment.. turns out the apartment I had planned on moving into got completely flooded due to an air conditioning company's mistake the day before I arrived! Not kidding. Had to be completely demolished. So I've spent my first week in the Windy City at a nice Hyatt hotel downtown on the air conditioning company's dime! The friendly Hyatt staff knows me by name now as I eat every meal at the hotel bar. I also may or may not have ordered room service a time or two... So, yeah it hasn't been the worst situation after all. After some frantic last minute searching/begging, I did happen to line up a new apartment to move into next week so I'll sadly have to say goodbye to my fancy living here soon.
The hardest thing so far about adjusting to a big city has to be.. public transportation. My car and I have been insepperable since the day I turned 16. My cars name is Yota. I miss him greatly.
I've had a few big city culture shocks since my short time here. The first instance is when I hopped off the plane. Only 15 miles from the airport to my hotel, not bad! So I thought. 1.5 hours and a $72 Uber later, I arrived at my hotel. Never again will I uber in Friday afternoon rush hour traffic. Noted.
Second instance, getting a ventra card? Apparently you have to get a card to travel on the busses and trains around Chicago.. who knew? In preparation to seek out this so called ventra card, Bob, sweet Bob, from the Hyatt Bar gave me a quick overview of where to get a card, the bus system, and the L train. Step 1 - finding the card. I make my way to the closest train station where I'm then greeted by a homeless man on the corner. Lets call him... Fred. Fred - "You lost girl?" Me - "Um, no." Fred- "You've been walking back and forth for the past 10 minutes like a lost puppy, you ain't from Chicago girl." Fred was right. To try and prove him wrong I confidently walked one direction.. which happened to be away from the ventra card station and back to my hotel. Once I was regrouped at my hotel, I tried an hour later, hoping Fred would be gone. He wasn't. After I successfully got my ventra card this time, I had no choice but to walk past Fred again, where he proceeded to laugh at me.
Third instance, riding the bus. Sunday I decided to attempt to bus my route to work so I could get the route down for my first day. Alright, made it to the stop, mapped it out, all I have to do is get in and get out where it tells me to. I've got this. Bus gets here, doors open, I immediately get in and sit down. Woo, first step down! I then hear the bus driver yelling at someone.. thinking dang someone must have crossed her, I feel sorry for them. Wait.. yep, yep she's yelling at me. Turns out you must scan your ventra card before you get on the bus... Bob told me that dangit.
But it doesn't end there! After I manage to scan my card and take a seat, I refer back to my google maps, remind myself where to get out, then I wait. Should be a 9 minute ride. Easyyyy. 15 minutes later, I check my maps once again. Hmm looks like we're getting farther away from my stop. 30 minutes later... Welp, I give up. I then proceed to get out at the next stop and walk the half a mile back to my hotel. Frustrated back at the hotel, it later hit me what went wrong. I didn't pull the dang string... My city friends would be ashamed.
I have a long way to go to say the least. Despite my public transportation struggles, Chicago has been a blast. I've already had my fix of deep dish pizza and Portillo's, I love my job, I have a great Physical Therapist I work with a few days a week, I've been living large at the Hyatt and I've already made some friends. I have a long way to go, but by the end of this summer, Fred ain't gonna recognize me.