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 near the beginning of May. She will be checking in and sharing her experiences with WNBA.com twice a month until she returns.


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From Russia With Love: Volume Five
From Russia With Love: Volume Four
From Russia With Love: Volume Three
From Russia With Love: Volume Two
From Russia With Love: Volume One

April 4, 2005, Moscow, Russia: Hi, and welcome to another journal entry about my time here in Moscow. The last month has been a hectic one with a lot of baketball and a lot of travel, and while spring hasn't arrived just yet, April is here and that means ONE month left for me! Don't get me wrong, the weather is actually warming up and its nice to finally see pavement rather than snow, but there is still a chill in the air.

As I said, there has been lots of basketball and so I'll update you all on that first. A week and a half ago, we played in the quarterfinals of the Euro League. We played against a team from Lithuania featuring Katie Douglas and Jen Derevajanik of the Connecticut Sun. They were the higher seed and so the first game of the three game series was played on their court. We were able to pull out a tough victory in Game One only to come back to Moscow and lose in Game Two. This brings us back to Lithuania.

Game Three played out as expected; a very tough game with a lot of lead changes. Going into the fourth quarter, though, we managed to build a 10-point lead. Unfortunately we lost the lead and eventually the game. It was very disappointing and everyone was really upset. That's probably the thing I miss the most about the WNBA - If you have a bad game and lose, you'll probably have another game in the next couple days and a chance to redeem yourself. After we lost to Lithuania all we could do is go to practice and think about it. It was rough there for awhile, but hopefully we can use this as motivation for the Russian League playoffs, which start in a few days.

***

Alexander "Sacha" Ovechkin (right) was the #1 pick in last year's NHL Draft. His brother, Michael (left), is our manager.

Speaking of Lithuania, we were all sitting at dinner one night just eating and chatting when the waiter came around and asked who wanted ice cream (in English). You know how it is when you hear something that reminds you of a song and you start singing. Well, Maria, one my teammates, heard "ice cream" and all of the sudden busts out into "Ice Ice Baby" by Vanilla Ice. I immediately started to laugh, thinking nothing could be better than hearing that song with a Russian accent on it. That is, until I overheard her and Natasha having a friendly argument over whether it was "Ice Ice BABY" or "Ice Ice MAYBE." They were speaking Russian but I could tell they were going back and forth. One singing "ice ice baby" and the other was singing "ice ice maybe." They eventually went to the expert on this one and, through my tears of laughter, I was able to tell them it was "baby," not "maybe." Classic stuff. As you can imagine, this happens a lot over here, but for me, it never gets old.

Just the other day, another teammate of mine, Olga, had a big cowboy-like belt buckle with the word "NEVADA" on it. Now it was some pretty big writing and it was kind of hard to miss it.

"Why Nevada," Kamila asks Olga?
"You know. Nevada, like in Mexico," she responds in Russian, and then proceeds to pull out her fake pistols and shoots 'em in the air yelling "YEEE HAWWW!!!"
"Ummm, Nevada is in America and I don't think people in Mexico yell YEE HAW," Kamila immediately corrects her.

Olga did not back down, though, and insisted that Nevada is in Mexico and that it is where people yell "YEE HAW." One again Kamila corrected her, but after a few minutes, the six-year WNBA veteran simply asked if Olga has ever been to the U.S. She's never been, so Kamila explained that Nevada is a state, and that cowboys yell "YEE HAW" and wear big belt buckles.

Olga's belt buckle - $50.
Kamila's roundtrip airfare from Phoenix to Las Vegas on Southwest Airlines - $109.
Watching two Europeans argue about where Nevada is and who stereotypically yell "YEE HAW" - PRICELESS.

***

Kamila and I on the metro...

Well, even though I've been here for three months now, I still learn something new almost everyday. Just a few weeks ago, I was told that there is an American-style diner here in Moscow. Of course I had to go check it out, and it more than lived up to the hype. Mozzarella sticks, wings, ribs, burgers, waffles, and best of all.... milkshakes!! This place has a very 50's feel to it and the food is yummy, reminding me of home. All the servers speak English and its open 24 hours a day. It's my new favorite place and we try and eat there as much as possible. Even Kamila can appreciate it. She ordered a Caeser Salad and I before I could even blink, it was all gone. So I said, "Kamila, was that salad to die for, or what?" She did not understand at first, so she asked me to repeat it. I said it again, but I could tell by the look on her face that she still wasn't sure what I had said. But before I can explain, she said, "NO! But it hit the spot and had my name written ALL over it!" Another classic line! I'm telling you, this type of stuff will never get old! Just so everyone knows, I mess up Russian words all the time, but I conveniently leave those stories out :)!

Well, that's pretty much what I've been doing. The Starlight Diner might have replaced sushi, but the feel of being home is just too hard to pass up. I'm in the home stretch now, though, and I am starting to plan what I want to do when I first get back. I'm thinking a New York bagel will be my first purchase and, of course, I will hug my mom so tight she might pass out!

Gotta go to practice! Catch you later!

Sue

Sue's List of Shout Outs:
1. NCAA Tournament - It's been hard not being able to watch any of the games this year, but with both the UConn men and women losing so early, it's been nice being in Russia. The reason being no one cares about college basketball here so I don't have anyone heckling me.

2. TV 1000 - This is the only English speaking movie channel I have but most times they play the worst movies in the world. I want to shout them out for putting "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" on a few nights ago. Made my week!

3. The weather - Today it is 5 degrees Celcius. A shout out to positives numbers :)!!!

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