August 15, 2014 1:49:47 PM
It feels great to be back in the USA. This last blog entry comes from the Memphis, Tennessee, airport, where we just landed. It felt great to see that Mississippi State bus and Mr. Joe (Jaudon) waiting there for us.
We flew out of Nice, France, Thursday morning, and it was kind of bittersweet, as we had to say goodbye to our tour guide, Annie, and our great bus driver Jos, who was with us the entire time. He didn't talk much, but as we got to the airport he got on the microphone and told us how much he enjoyed being around us.
When we got to the airport we took a group picture with him before we unloaded. Telling Annie goodbye was hard as well. We really bonded with her after spending 10 days with her. She said she plans to come to Starkville to watch one of our games, so we can look forward to seeing them again and having all of our fans meet her and Julie.
I'm very happy to be home. I think we stayed away as long as we could, but it feels good be back home to what we're used to.
We left Nice and flew an hour to Munich, Germany. We arrived there and had to bus to our terminal. By the time we got through customs, we had to move pretty quickly to get to our flight to Newark, New Jersey.
We made it and got ready for an eight-hour flight across the ocean back to the United States. It was a long flight, and I don't think I would have made it if we didn't have movies on screens at our seats.
The neat thing about flying into Newark is you fly past the New York City skyline. Some of the girls on the team got to see the Statue of Liberty as we landed, but I had a seat in the middle section and couldn't see anything.
The first thing we smelled when we got off the plane in New Jersey was the food. Then it was off through customs. We got our passports stamped but then had to go get our luggage and have it re-checked. Everything had been going smoothly on the trip until we got to baggage claim in New Jersey and were missing eight or nine bags. I was one of the lucky ones whose bag arrived.
It was great seeing all the American food we are used to and all of the people speaking English. By the time we re-checked bags and went through security, we only had time to grab a quick sandwich. I guess that first good meal back in the USA will have to wait until we get back to Starkville.
It is great to be close to returning to Starkville, but this has been a memorable experience for all of us. I know this was a learning experience and a chance to grow as a team, but it was so much more. I learned so much personally about the history of the places we went and everything we saw. This might be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
We had so much fun on this trip, and I think people we encountered in Belgium and France will remember MSU women's basketball.
In an earlier blog, I said the Eiffel Tower was my favorite part of the trip, but I think it might be the beach in Nice now. The water was great, and we had so much fun swimming and relaxing the past two days.
We have to thank our coaches and the administration for allowing us to go on this trip. We also have to thank all of you who have supported us and thought of us the past 10 days.
This was such a great way to start our senior years, and it is something I will always cherish.