Breanne Watson Discusses Life In Europe, Staying Connected, Etc.
Last time we checked in with Breanne Watson, she was busy getting adjusted to her new team in Luxembourg, Basket-Esch. Being the curious types, we wanted to provide a more in-depth look at how a Husky athlete was adjusting to life across the pond. It's a little more difficult than one could imagine, especially with language barriers, cultural differences and learning how to operate a stick shift in a European city center.
Reminder, you can also follow Breanne at her personal blog, where she's a regular contributor.
Q: You've played in four countries so far in Europe. What has been the biggest adjustment to life overseas? What's an aspect of life in United States/Canada you miss the most?
I think the toughest part is always the language barrier. Every year I'm a visitor in a new country and am continually amazed by how many people can speak English. Sometimes I feel so ignorant because I only speak one language fluently, whereas most people in Europe speak a minimum of two! Other than that I feel I'm able to make the adjustment quite smoothly.
The thing I miss most is my family and friends being so far away. I meet new people where ever I travel and they are wonderful, but it's not the same as having your close friends nearby to hang out and chat with.
Q: Have you picked up any foreign languages abroad? How often do you find yourself needing help when out and about in cities?
I've taken French since grade 5, all the way through high school and then took it for two years at UW. I understand it, which has really helped me this season in Luxembourg - it is one of the 3 official languages! Since I'm surrounded by French this season, I find it coming back to me and I'm able to converse with people in very simple sentences. I'm thinking about taking some classes in the city to continue my improvement.
Every season I try and adapt to my new environment and make
sure to pick up essential phrases in the language. It's amazing how much
people appreciate you trying to speak their language - if they see you trying,
they'll often respond in English and do their best to help you!
Q: Has the advent of Internet/Skype made being abroad much easier? How often do you talk with friends and teammates?
I don't know what I would do without the Internet. I couldn't imagine being abroad for seven months at a time without being able to connect/contact family and friends at home. Even though I feel I adjust well in new places, the idea of being unable to read the paper/news online and checking in with the the familiarity of home would be difficult. You're on an island when you're away from home and have to become extremely self dependant. Being able to surf gohuskies.com, and googlenews.com among other things keeps the homesickness at bay. Whenever I'm in my apartment my Skype is on and I chat with my best friends and family almost everyday. Skype is a fantastic invention!
Q: How has your game developed overseas? What are you working on during the offseason?
It's funny, I feel like I'm playing my best basketball now. After all my high school and university years, I've finally become the player I knew I could become. It just come together. Obviously in Europe I have a different role than in college and I'm now very confident in my game. I think the biggest improvement in my skill set has been in my shooting. I feel I've become a great shooter and it is one of my best weapons, especially when guarded by bigger girls who just assume I don't have a jumper because I'm a forward.
Q: Describe a typical day with your new team in Luxembourg.
I normally get up around 9am, eat breakfast, reply to emails and read the news online. After that I'm off to the fitness centre to lift and do some cardio for a couple hours. Soon as that's done I head to a restaurant that provides me with my lunch and relax for a bit. Since practice isn't until 7pm, I usually spend the rest of the afternoon in the City Centre or play tourist in neighbouring towns.
Q: Describe what it was like to train for and race a triathlon. Is that something you would consider post basketball?
Great question! I've always wanted to compete in a triathlon and finally did this past summer. The training was actually quite fun, because it was so different from basketball. It was nice to step away from bball for a bit and try something else. I think the toughest part of preparing for the event was the swimming. I've never swam competitively, so forcing myself to swim lengths at the pool was a challenge - but one I started to enjoy. Post-basketball I could see myself competing in triathlons every couple months. I won't be trying to win the event, as completing it and bettering your time is a feat itself!
Q: Having spent so much time over the pond, what is one part of the world you would like to visit and why?
Hmmm...that's a tough one. There are still so many places I want to see! I've been fortunate enough that basketball has allowed me to visit various cities and countries around the world. Right now, high on my list is Greece. One of my best friends (Lindsey Wilson - Roosevelt High) is playing in Athens this year and I'm hoping I'll be able to visit her. Other than that, I'd really like to see St. Petersburg, Russia, travel Croatia and eventually explore South America.
Q: How did the blog develop? Do you find it hard to keep it updated with playing ball?
Prior to playing overseas, I'd always keep a journal when I traveled abroad. I wrote down things I experienced and wanted to remember. When I decided to play professionally, I figured it would be a great way to journal while keeping family, friends and family in the loop. Instead of sending mass emails that often get deleted or sent to junk mail, people could check up on me whenever they had the time. I actually got the idea from my friend Lindsey (who I mentioned above: http://lindseywilson.blogspot.com/) and I really enjoy posting week to week! Basketball is my job, but when you're playing overseas there is a lot of down time. I love writing because it not only allows me to journal my experiences, but keeps me busy off the court.
Q: What do you see yourself doing post-basketball?
When my basketball career eventually comes to a close, I'd love to be in the media field doing some sort of writing. Whether it's PR, marketing or even writing for a magazine. I love writing and actually didn't find this passion until I graduated from UW and started my blog. I hated composing English papers and essays in university, but writing about things I enjoy like travel, sports and certain life experiences are fun. The response I have had is amazing and I hope that post-basketball I'll be able to continue writing in some way.
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