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The BlazerDancers Talk Trip To Estonia

08/27/12
  1. Written by: caseyholdahl


    After representing Portland and the NBA in China and The Philippines last summer, The BlazerDancers once again traveled overseas recently to participate in the festivities at the Sprite 3x3 Streetball Tournament in Estonia. Here's what BlazerDancers Kimberly, Greta, JennaLea and Kelly had to say about the trip. You can also see photos from their trip to Estonia here.


    Kimberly

    What were your general thoughts on the trip? If you've been on other trips as a member of the BlazerDancers, how was this trip different/similar?
    I really enjoyed our trip to Estonia.  It was very different from the trip I went on to the Philippines, so does not seem at all comparable. The differences included the weather, the people, the shopping, the cuisine, the basketball events, and much more. I feel so fortunate to have had such a different experience in Estonia than I've ever had before. Before this, I had never been to Europe and I feel that Tallinn was a great introduction to the continent.

    What did you know about Estonia prior to the trip?
    I had an idea of where Estonia was and that was about it. As soon as I was invited on the trip I googled Estonia and Tallinn to find out as much information as I could. I was so excited to go and wanted to know as much as I could before leaving.

    What was your most memorable moment from the trip?
    The whole trip was a whirlwind, which made it all memorable and exciting. Thinking back on our time there makes me nostalgic. I feel lucky to have had time on our first day there to walk around Tallinn, take in the beautiful sights and architecture, and do a bit of shopping in the square. It was also very fun being able to watch some of Sprite Streetball tournament and to dance for the first time in my fifth season as a BlazerDancer. Its always an amazing experience to be able to perform, let alone in a different country! I felt at home the whole time in Estonia and the people were very welcoming and friendly. Overall, the whole trip was an awesome experience and I'm grateful to have so many fun new memories.

    What did you learn or what were you most surprised by?
    I learned that at this time of year Estonia looks and feels a lot like Portland (aside from the European architecture) with all the greenery and the cool weather. The 2 days we were there felt like late spring here at home, which seemed to be perfect for the tournament.


    Greta

    What were your general thoughts on the trip? If you've been on other trips as a member of the BlazerDancers, how was this trip different/similar?
    Estonia was gorgeous! I loved the cobblestone roads and stone buildings in Old Town Tallinn. I only wish we had had more time to explore.
     
    What did you know about Estonia prior to the trip?
    Prior to the trip I only knew it was a country in Northern Europe, North of Latvia. I did a little research to find out what the language, food, and culture was like.

    What was your most memorable moment from the trip?
    Sadly, my most memorable moment from the trip was the 34 hours it took to get there. After a five hour delay in Atlanta, we ended up missing our flight from Amsterdam to Tallinn, and had another eight hour delay in the Amsterdam airport... talk about team bonding!

    What did you learn or what were you most surprised by?
    I was most surprised by the number of people who spoke English. Before arriving in Estonia we researched how to say a few common phrases like, "Please," and "Thank you," but almost everyone we encountered along the trip knew enough English to have a conversation.


    Kelly

    What were your general thoughts on the trip? If you've been on other trips as a member of the BlazerDancers, how was this trip different/similar?
    This was the first time I was able to represent the NBA by going on a trip as a BlazerDancer.  It was definitely a quick trip, but it was full of so many great memories and events.  We had a great balance of free time, and work/dance time; and it was pretty much split in half for this trip (once we finally arrived to Estonia).  The event that we danced at was absolutely amazing, and it was a great feeling to educate people about the league, what we do; and inform them about our amazing organization.  I loved being able to see all the different cultures in a very different country from where we live, and it was an amazing little town!  Although it was a short trip, it was an amazing experience, and I feel very thankful to have been given this opportunity to represent the Blazers and NBA in Estonia!  

    What did you know about Estonia prior to the trip?

    When I found out we were going to Estonia, I honestly had to look it up!  I read a lot about this small little country and found out a few things before traveling overseas!  I found out that the weather there was about 60 degrees (so I packed warm clothes!), but luckily, the day we danced was probably the "nicest" day they had all year, we heard it from many of the locals!  It's a town of about 400,00 people, and a country of 1.4 Million.  I also learned that it is a very old city, and has a very rich history.  Walking around the cobblestone streets, and seeing all of the old buildings, was just amazing!  Definitely not your average walk in Portland!  I learned so much from being there as well, and would definitely go back to Estonia.  Tallinn was a great city, the people were amazing, and it was absolutely beautiful!

    What was your most memorable moment from the trip?
    I have so many great memories of the trip, it's so hard to pick just one!  I would have to say my most memorable moment was getting back out on the court for the first time in a few months, and being able to perform again, in a different setting and a different country!!  We have been off the court since April, and it's been a long time since we've been able to perform together.  It made me realize the season is coming so soon, and got me excited for another year! The people of Estonia were so gracious towards us, and took care of us so well.  They loved our performances, and you could tell it was a new experience for them.  Everyone was very thankful to have us there, and after a full day of dancing, I think we all walked away amped and excited from the experiences we had in Estonia.

    What did you learn or what were you most surprised by?
    I learned that the Estonian language is one of the hardest to learn!  I was surprised that most people in Estonia spoke English.  We never had any instances of communication barriers at all!  Everyone was really accommodating to us, and very warm and friendly!


    JennaLea

    What were your general thoughts on the trip? If you've been on other trips as a member of the BlazerDancers, how was this trip different/similar?
    The trip was incredible.  Being able to see fans of the NBA in other countries, as well as meet people and make them new fans, especially of the Portland Trail Blazers!   

    What did you know about Estonia prior to the trip?

    Upon finding out about the trip to Estonia, I looked up a little on the weather and food!  Surprisingly both were quite similar to Oregon in my opinion.  I was also very excited to experience the culture and meet the different people who live in Estonia.

    What was your most memorable moment from the trip?
    Dancing in Estonia!!  Also meeting and talking to so many people, they were all so kind, welcoming and appreciative.  

    What did you learn or what were you most surprised by?
    I learned that Estonia's population is less than the Portland Metropolitan area.  Also they are very well known for their forests.  One of the most surprising and quite pleasant memories from the trip, is how laid back everyone was.  No one was in a hurry, you were able to take a moment and enjoy everything around you as well as everyone's company!

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