Tai Dillard: Thanksgiving
November 29, 2004
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Let me tell you when we lost to Ramat Hen, some emotions came out of me that I hadnít felt in a quite while. We were up the whole game, but they just came back and beat us by a point. I felt like we were robbed. One of the girls kicked the ball out of frustration and she did not get a technical. I mean she didnít lightly kick the ball, she kicked that ball so hard that it had about three seconds of hang time. Then their coach is storming up and down the court and gets no technical. That was four points right there for us. Granted we did make some dumb mistakes which cost us the game, but we had the momentum the whole game. At end of the game one of my Irsaeli teammates told me that theyíre the type of team that wonít get calls like that. All I know is our team is surprising a lot of people and we are going to keep working hard and fighting for wins.
On the sad side of basketball, an Israeli player died in a car accident. Her name was Nili and she played on Ramla, with Crytsal Robinson (New York Liberty) and Shameka Christon (new york Liberty). She was a very popular player here being that she played on the Israeli National team. I really did not know her too well. I had seen her at a couple of outings. She seemed sweet though. To honor her everyone in the league wore a shirt that had her picture on it and the words ďnever forget, neverĒ in Hebrew. It had been a dismal week for a lot of the players, but everyone made it through okay.
Well on the political side, I tried to keep up with the presidential elections. I wanted to go vote but I found out it was too late to register for absentee voting. So I just prayed that the right candidate was elected. I guess President Bush was the right candidate. I pray that he is able to guide our nation in the positive direction for four more years. Over on this side of the globe, Prime Minister Yasser Arafat passed away. His death caused some uprising over here between the Israelis and the Palestinians. I read that Arafat wanted to be buried in Jerusalem, but that was overthrown because only Jewish kings were buried there. His funeral was in Cairo, Egypt and he was buried in Ramallah. I continue to pray that peace is achieved over here too. Itís just too much for me to handle over here coming from a laid back city like San Antonio. I have to keep my head up and watch out for everything. I do try to enjoy myself and not be so paranoid, but you can never let your guard down and become too relaxed over here.
Thanksgiving was so great. We made the best with what we had. And if you were here you would have been very surprised. About 15-20 people came over to my apartment and ate. Everyone had to bring a dish or money, but mostly everyone made a dish just to get into the spirit of the holiday season. I made stuffing (which my mom sent over from the states) and biscuits. For the dinner we had baked chicken, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, dressing, collard greens, green beans, fruit salad, cucumber and tomato salad, yams, biscuits, sweet potato pie, cheesecake, and ice cream. I know youíre probably thinking how did we get that type of food over in Israel, because when I saw the dinner table I thought I was right at home. But like I said earlier, we used what was available. That night was just like a night at home on Thanksgiving Day. People played cards, dominoes, watched TV, and ate, ate, and ate some more. The only thing that was different was we couldnít catch a football game, you know NFL. They had plenty of European football games on, but we donít watch soccer. So we just watched the NIT tournament on ESPN. But even with all that, you could still tell people were still missing the time spent with their families on this day. I know I missed my family. I missed watching my mom slave in the kitchen and me telling her that I was really going to help her cook. I missed my dad lying on the couch all day watching some sport, if it wasnít a professional game it was some tape of me or my brothers playing in a game. And I missed my brothers. But hey, Christmas is right around the corner and you better believe I will be home for that.
Now I want to talk about some of the cultural things I have learned about over here. The working week begins on Sunday and ends on Thursday. On Fridays, after 4 p.m., everything closes until 4 p.m. on Saturday. Their holy day is Saturday. Usually on Fridays and Saturdays we have early practices, beginning at 2 p.m. or 4 p.m. Any other day we donít have practice until 7 p.m. So if you need something from the store on Friday, you better go before four in the afternoon or youíre out of luck until Saturday evening. Or you can go to the stores in Jaffa, if you feel like driving.
Right now is the winter season for Israel. During this time it is cold and it will rain for a couple of months. The temperature dropped but it is not freezing or anything like that. But the rain is ridiculous. It will rain all day one day and the next it will be sunny but cool. Then the very next day it is raining. This frustrates us because we do not have a dryer for our clothes so we usually put them outside on the dry rack. But since the rain season started we had to bring the dry rack in the house. Now it takes a couple of days for our clothes to get completely dry. Itís crazy. Talk about growing up and surviving.
Well that is all I have for now. Hope you enjoy this entry. Just to let you all know I am having a blast over here. And like Adrian, if anyone wants to email me, PLEASE donít hesitate.