Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird, a First Team All-WNBA selection in all three of her seasons in the league, is playing overseas in Russia this winter with Dynamo Moscow in the EuroLeague. She departed on January 1 to join her team and will be there with them until the completion of the season sometime in April. She will be checking in and sharing her experiences with WNBA.com twice a month until she returns.


Related Links
My photo album
From Russia With Love: Volume Four
From Russia With Love: Volume Three
From Russia With Love: Volume Two
From Russia With Love: Volume One

March 11, 2005, Moscow, Russia: Hello again! March has arrived and that marks the halfway point of my four months here in Moscow. Our team has advanced to the second round of the Euroleauge playoffs, and we also continue to do great in the Russian league. So all is well in Poccia (That's Russian for Russia).

This journal entry is coming to you straight from Siberia! Yes, that's right - Siberia! Just to give you an idea of how "in-the-middle-of-nowhere" this place is... it's a five-hour flight from Moscow and four time zones ahead. Just mentioning the name 'Siberia' has a weird effect on people. If you've ever seen the movie "Day After Tomorrow," you'd understand what I mean. In fact, the initial reaction from a friend of mine after I told him where I was going was "Hmm, Siberia? Isn't that usually the punchline to a joke?" Another friend of mine asked if I had been exiled. Not quite, but after feeling the cold I now understand why they use to send criminals here back in the day.

I can't help myself, I'm still stuck on how cold it is in this country. To give you an idea, the second I stepped off the plane, my runny nose (something that everyone in Russia has) froze. I thought this was gross at first, and actually kind of alarming, but then all of my teammates agreed that their runny noses froze too, so I knew it was normal. Before I even stepped outside, though, I knew I was in for quite the experience. After landing, our de-planing process was delayed because the door was frozen shut. People! Did you just hear what I said? The door to the airplane was frozen SHUT!! I'll let that one marinate for a second...

Frozen in Siberia with Elena...
The one thing that I quickly found out was that the people in Siberia have quite a sense of humor. I guess you'd have to to live in Siberia, but at one point during our game against Krasnoyarsk (we were up almost 30 points), one fan yelled "In order to beat Dynamo we need some Vodka..." Interesting!

***

So as I was telling you guys last time, I am trying to learn the language out here. My vocabulary continues to grow and I can say such things as "I'm tired," "I'm cold" and "I am an American." But the only phrase I have ever used in a public setting is "I don't understand." If anyone even looks like they want to talk to me, I throw that bomb at them. It works like a charm!

Except at the airport the other day. Apparently there are two different types of buckets one can use to pass belongs through the scanner machine while going through security. One is for jackets and the other is for shoes. I did not know this and put both of these items in the same bucket. The security lady was NOT happy with me. She started going off on me in her native tongue, at which point I replied that "I don't understand." But she just keeps on going. Finally, Kamila comes to the rescue and explains what I need to do.

So I come back with the correct buckets and proceed to place them on the conveyer belt. I started to walk through the metal detector, but the security woman stopped me again and continued to speak in Russian. Kamila was nowhere to be found and I was left to battle this woman alone. I do the only thing I know how to do. I tell her I don't understand! That is when she yelled"TICK TOCK TICK TOCK" and pointed to her wrist.

The booties we wear when we take off our shoes at security.
Note to self: Learn how to say "watch" in Russian.

***

Ok, ladies and gentlemen, next up I have something very special for all of you. As you may or may not know, Kamila Vodichkova is the newest member of the Phoenix Mercury. I played with Kamila for three seasons and she has been a great friend to me here in Russia. I am going to miss Kamila both on and off the court, as I know everyone in the Storm community will. So I wanted to take this opportunity to wish her the best of luck. Also, since none of the newspaper reporters have been able to track her down, here is an exclusive interview. Here we go...

Q. What are your thoughts and feelings now that you know you will be playing in Phoenix?
A: "It is kind of mixture. I still have to think of people that I'm losing, such as my Czech friends, teammates, fans and coaches. But I also feel excited to join my new team and teammates. I'm really looking forward to working with coach Carrie Graf again and making new friends."

Q. Were you disappointed that Seattle was not able to bring you back?

A: "Of course I was sad. After five seasons in Seattle, it is hard to imagine that I'm leaving my "summer home." But any end means something else begins.

Q. From a team that just won a championship, you go to a team that hasn't made the playoffs in four years. What challenges do you think that will present?
A: "Beating Seattle :)!!!!"

Q. What restaurant in Seattle will you miss the most?
A: "There are many of them...of course Wasabi, Kangaroo & Kiwi, Wing Dome and Metropolitan Grill."

Q. What will you miss the most about the city of Seattle?
A: "The ocean!!!!!!!!!!!"

Q. What will it be like NOT playing with me next year?
A: "It means you will have to join me in Europe during the next offseason."

Q. If you had to pick one guard to play with, would it be me or Diana?
A: "Too easy to answer right now, but ask me after four years playing with Diana."

Q. Do you realize that because you played with me and now with Diana, that you automatically have to root for UConn? Do you what that means?
A: "And playing with Svetlana Abrosimova a couple years ago in Europe makes this issue more serious!!! Ha ha."

Kamila, you're the best!!!!! I'll miss you!!!!!

All right, that was an exclusive interview that no reporter has been able to get until now!

This is Sue Bird signing off.....

P.S. No sushi in Siberia, but I just ate cow tongue for dinner... not too bad with mayo.

Sue's List of Shout Outs:
1. UConn women's basketball - 2005 Big East Champs!!! Back on top baby! Best of luck to all of you in the tourney!!!!

2. Burritos - Baja Fresh, where are you when I need you?

3. Team: "Be Yourself" - Good luck as you begin your pursuit for a championship this weekend! Especially "Brad, From the Book."

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