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O’Toole Experiencing Culture Differences While Playing In Russia

Reporting from Russia!! Where do I start? Ok, so we just finished the first half of our season. We started playing in September and played through until the beginning of October. During the first half we traveled 3 times to Skif, Chelyabinsk, and Krasnoyarsk. We played Tornado and Spartak at our home arena in Ufa. Each time we play a team it is a three game series. I believe our record right now is 6 wins and 9 losses. This isn’t bad, but it’s also not great. I know our team can do much better and I have no doubt after a little Christmas break we will all come back ready to rock the second half of the season. Our team goal is to finish in the top three and this is a very obtainable goal as long as we play smart, keep our cool, and simply work hard every shift! 

So, we went to the movie theaters the other day … What an experience! One thing I have noticed is that being in a line means nothing. If you can get to the front, you get the the front. Let’s just say I have worked up a stiff shoulder! We watched the movie Time with Justin Timberlake – what a hunk! Clearly I didn’t understand what was being said and got rather frustrated trying to interpret what was being said but all in all I think I would go again if the opportunity arose. I mean, twilight is coming out soon and I don’t now if I can wait until I am home to watch it! Go team Edward! We also found out we are given time to go home for Christmas! I cannot wait to see my family and be in public and understand what people are saying around me. Basically I will eves drop on every conversation just because I can! I will go to the store and ask for salami myself without it taking an extra 10 minutes to do Charades.

It’s the little things that you learn to appreciate when you are immersed into a new culture. Sometimes I feel like I am losing some of my independence by having to ask for help frequently. But, on the other hand, I am growing and learning how to break out of my bubble by exploring things on my own, riding the city transport solo, trying as best as I can through hand motions and sounds just to get my point across. I have shy tendencies but living in Russia doesn’t allow you to be shy. Overall, the difficulties are what makes me grow. At the time, it may not be all that enjoyable to get lost in the city by taking the wrong bus, but once you find your way back it’s a rewarding feeling. With all that being said, going home will be a nice relief but I will be eager to come back to my life in Russia and do my part to help the team achieve our goals! 

Don’t be scared of the unknown!! Just go with the flow and see the positive in the experiences you encounter!!

Can’t wait to see everyone. Miss you all so much and you better believe that I’ll be bringing home some nice Russian gifts 😉 

O’Toole out.


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