Tangela Smith Checks in From China

Center Tangela Smith is one of several Mercury players who have spanned the globe to hoop it up this offseason.

Smith has chosen China for her offseason destination and checks in from Anshan, where she is the only American on her roster.


Posted by Tangela Smith: Nov. 14, 2008

Ni hao (Hello) X-factor!

I'm writing from Anshan, China where I will be playing for the next 3 months. I arrived here on October 8th and so far I have played in eight games. Our record is 6-2. Everyone here is very friendly and they are making my time here in China very comfortable. My teammates are all so nice and they make sure I have everything that I need to make me happy over here since I'm all alone ¡V I couldn't bring my dog Jade with me ƒ¼.

I am the only American on my team because that is a rule here in China. A team is only allowed one foreign player. There are other Americans that play in the WNBA over here on other teams as well though. I just finished playing a game against Jennifer Lacy's team. It was a close one and we ended up pulling it out by 2 points. Chasity Melvin of the Chicago Sky, Ann Strother of the Atlanta Dream and Yolanda Griffith of the Seattle Storm are also over here as well.

Playing in China is very different than playing in the WNBA. It's sort of like college all over again. Most of the teams here live in hotels for the 4 months that we are here and we do almost everything as a team including eating 3 meals a day together as a team (by the way, my chopstick skills are getting better and better every day). We all live on the same floor of the hotel so we see each other 24/7 and we do just about everything else together as a team. It gets crazy sometimes, but hey it¡¦s only for 3 more months.

Which TV series should Tan watch next while she’s in China?
Which TV series should Tan watch next while she’s in China?
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Since I don't speak any Chinese and the Chinese players and coaches don't speak English, I have my very own translator that is by my side all the time. I have a funny story to tell you guys about her. When I first met her, we introduced ourselves to each other and I didn't know who she was so I asked her if she my translator. She responded by saying "No I'm your interpreter.." I thought to myself, "Oh boy, this is going to be a long 4 months." However, I found out that she is a very sweet person and the communication between she and I is so much better now. She wasn't really familiar with basketball terms, but now she is practically a pro.

We play every Tuesday and Saturday and we travel a lot. China is huge and sometimes it takes an entire day to get to the next city¡Klots of airplanes and buses. I have gone through so many DVDs and books already. It¡¦s a good thing the DVDs over here are cheap. I live on ITunes, so if anyone has any suggestions for any TV shows that are really good, I'm all ears. I have already been through Prison Break, Grey's Anatomy, Entourage, Dexter, 24, and so many more.

As for the food, well it sure isn't the same Chinese food that I eat at home. I may have seen a couple of familiar dishes, but not very many. The foods that I see the most are noodles, rice and dumplings. Now I eat that all the time at home, but the other dishes that I have seen aren't very familiar. I love trying new things, so I'm always tasting and seeing what I may like. There are some things that I wouldn't even try, but for the most part I have an open mind. Sometimes when I'm really hungry and don't want the Chinese food, they are kind enough to order me pizza from Pizza Hut!

Well that's all for now. Can't wait to get back to Phoenix so we can start another season.

Tan