Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird, a First Team All-WNBA selection in all three of her seasons in the league, spent the last four months playing overseas in Russia with Dynamo Moscow in the EuroLeague. She departed on January 1 and will be there with them through the completion of the Russian League finals, sometime in the next two weeks. She has been checking in and sharing her experiences with twice a month and this will be her final journal from overseas.

Related Links
My Photo Album
From Russia With Love: Volume Six
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 22, 2005, Moscow, Russia: So this is it ladies and gentlemen... Get out your Kleenex out put your Boys II Men CD on, as this is my final journal entry! I have to admit, when I look back at the last four months, I can't believe how quickly the time has gone. It feels like just yesterday that I first set foot on Russian soil and laid my eyes on the Red Square. But as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end.

With that in mind, however, I'd be lying if I told you all I wasn't extremely excited to be heading home. The thought of New York bagels alone brings me a warm, fuzzy feeling, and that doesn't even come close to how I feel when I think about my new condo in Seattle. This last month has been a test of patience but luckily for me, I've had a lot to keep me busy.

Earlier this month, a friend of mine from home came for a visit. He was only here for five days, but we still managed to squeeze in all the "must sees" of Moscow: sushi, an American diner, Red Square, a Techno Club, some basketball games and, of course, hitch hiking. It was a quick visit, but it was great to have a close friend come out here and see how I've been living on the other side of the globe. Before I knew it, though, it was time for him to leave.

Brad and I at the Starlight Diner.

Luckily for me, the 2005 WNBA Draft was the following day. It was definitely an interesting Draft because a lot of people said it wasn't as strong or deep as last year's. This may be true, but I really feel like there are going to be a lot players that might sneak up on you. I especially think the Storm had some great pick-ups. Obviously I'm a little biased considering one of them is UConn alum Ashley Battle (Welcome to Seattle, A.B.!!!). So I am very happy! Just hearing about the Draft as well as the other players our team has acquired has really pumped me of for this summer. I literally day dream about stepping off the plane at Sea-Tac airport, getting a tall mocha at Starbucks and driving straight to Key Arena. But I also know that there is much to be done here before I can get there.

The Russian League playoffs have been under way for a little over two weeks now, and I'm happy to report that we have advanced to the Finals. It was actually a lot of fun because everyone involved with Dynamo was SUPER excited. Upon returning from Game One with a victory, we were greeted with kisses and roses. We are not just playing for a championship, I now realize, but we're playing for bragging rights as well. Our next opponent will be Samara, who, right now, is the best team in Russia and all of Europe. Similar to how the WNBA will operate this year, we will play them in a 5-game series starting on April 29th. We are 1-1 against them this season, and you know how the playoffs are. Anything can happen, so I'm sure it will be an interesting series. Still, one of the best things about playing in the Finals is that it's almost time to go home. Don't get me wrong, it is very exciting to be playing for a championship but I just can't help but be reminded that this marks the end of my time here in Moscow.

Yes, its been an amazing experience and I have the memories, stories and pictures to prove it, but I'm definitely starting to get an itch... and that itch has America written all over it! Lots of people ask me what it is I want to do when I first get back and, to be honest, the answer is that I have no idea! I'm starting to realize that it is the little things that I've missed the most. Driving my own car, being able to order on my own and not having to take 10 minutes to calculate the time (they use a 24-hour clock in Europe) come to my mind first, but its really just about the people for me. There are a lot of people who I just can't wait to see and spend time with, and that is what I've missed the most.

Mwadi's brother, Ted, and I.
While there are things about Russia I will not miss, such as the snow and the bottom of my pants getting muddy every time I walk outside, it doesn't take away from the terrific time I've had here. In honor of this, instead of giving out some special shout outs, I'd like to give out some special awards! So without further ado, I give you.....

Sue's Russian Awards:

1. Favorite Movie I Watched While In Russia: This is a tough one considering you can buy recently-released DVD's here for under five dollars. I'll have to go with Sideways!

2. Favorite new word I learned: I have a special relationship with the phrase "I don't understand," and while I'm sure I will forget most of what I've learned, that one will stick with me for awhile.

3.Favorite restaurant: Its a toss up between Starlight Diner and the Sushi place near my apartment. Not sure what the name of that place is though :)!

4. Best new food that I tried: I LOVE Borscht now and I hope to find the ingredients in the U.S.

5. Favorite song to dance to at Russian clubs: Without a doubt, YMCA!!!

6. Best city I traveled to: We went to a few European countries such as Hungary, Lithuania, and Poland, but I have to say I enjoyed visiting St. Petersburg the most. Its unbelievably beautiful there!

7. Favorite way to kill time: In total, I watched nine TV series on DVD. "The OC," "Alias" (seasons 2 & 3), "24" (seasons 1, 2, & 3), "Six Feet Under" (season 1 & 2) and, of course, "Seinfeld." That's kind of frightening, but I enjoyed them all.

8. The Nintendo game I played the most: "Mike Tyson's Punch Out" and yet, I still can't beat it!

9. Favorite stuffed animal I brought with me to remind me of home: Roger, my Kermit the Frog look-a-like. He has taken care of me!

10. The thing others will find most surprising:
I never learned my address.

Well, its now time to go, but I just wanted to thank all of you who kept up with my adventures here in Russia. Writing this journal definitely helped me pass the time and I just hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed writing :)! It's been real! See you all this summer!!!




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