• Behind The Bench

Adios Espana, Hello America!

By: Carla Abrines | Married to Alex Abrines, Player for Oklahoma City Thunder

When you first meet someone and tell them that you are from another country, they usually are in awe then follow up with a ton of questions. While it has been a long and rather difficult journey, I am happy that we jumped on this adventure.

My husband and I have seen this as both a professional and personal opportunity. Professional, because Alex would play in the best league with the best players; a dream came true for him. Personal, because we were moving to another country/continent where a lot of things are different...the language, the culture, the people...in short, a whole new experience. Trust me, the beginning was tough and not every day is, as Americans say, “peaches and cream.” I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs. The team travels a ton, 40-some away games. Being at home by myself is lonely. In the Euroleague (what I am used to), they only left/played on weekends. Another big part has been the language barrier. I am often afraid that I will say the wrong thing or be misunderstood.

Now I will say this…Okies (Oklahoma natives) are really kind and welcoming. I have made new friends (from all over the US), which has been crucial being so far away from friends and family back home. But, luckily, we have had lots of visitors from Spain. When Alex is on the road, I no longer mind. I have learned to enjoy the time to focus on myself. Lastly, since I have been forced to communicate in English, it has gotten so much better. Shout-out to the ladies that I have had the chance to meet in the last two years. They have been so accepting and supported me in writing this first entry. Like they say “team work makes the dream work.”

Even though I was taken out of my comfort zone (Spain and home), it has made me a stronger person all around. Do not let a once-in-a-lifetime experience go to waste. Grab the bull by its horns, and ride it out!

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