US SoccerUS Soccer

Postcard from China: Lindsay Tarpley

Every so often during the Women’s World Cup, a U.S. Women’s National Team player will write an e-postcard, filling in the fans back home on the happenings of the team, off the field activities, and anything else on their mind. Today, soon-to-be 24-year-old Lindsay Tarpley checks in from Shanghai, China, after playing in her first-ever Women’s World Cup match against Sweden, and shares her thoughts on getting around one of the biggest cities in the world, her first Women’s World Cup and her memorable restaurant faux pau.

Nihao! Xie Xie! Zai Jian! That’s pretty much all the Chinese I know. It means hello, thank you and goodbye. You know what? You can pretty much get by with those words, so no worries.

We just traveled to Shanghai from Chengdu where we beat a very good Sweden team. It was a huge win for us and I was really excited to play in my first Women’s World Cup match. I’ve always dreamed about playing in World Cup and it was everything I thought it would be. It was a huge crowd, great atmosphere, critical match and a super intense game. Our friends and family section was awesome, but I miss my family. They are arriving in China shortly and I can’t wait to see them.

Please note, Shanghai is like New York City, so the drives to practice have been just a little chaotic. FYI: There are almost 800 traffic accidents a day in Shanghai, and from my personal experience, three near misses on every bus ride the U.S. team takes.

Those who know me know that I tend to get bus sick rather easily. With police escort through the terrible traffic in China, there tends to be a lot of stop and go. As a result, I have to sit up in the very front of the bus, which helps in the bus sickness, but it gives me a view of the absolutely crazy drivers in China. The police car is driving with lights flashing and the sirens blaring, with one officer leaning out the window and shouting at the traffic and people still don’t seem to be paying attention to them.

I’ve also had some interesting encounters with the local population. The other night a few of us went out to an American restaurant. First of all the cab ride was pretty scary. We had the address written down in Chinese, but I think the driver took back roads and we weren’t sure we were ever going to get there. He dropped us off about a block from the place and we had to find it. When we finally got in, I went to the tiny restroom. There was just one other lady in there putting on makeup or something. I was washing my hands and I dried them off with a paper towel and threw it into a paper bag that was sitting on the counter. The lady went crazy and started yelling at me in Chinese! Turns out that bag was her purse! I swear it looked like a trash bag.

Oops. Live and learn.

Anyway, the embarrassment was quickly forgotten as we had an all American meal of nachos, cheeseburgers, potato wedges. The food at our hotels has been good, but this was pretty much amazing.

Being back in Shanghai, which is sort of our home base, means we are close Coffee Bean where we like to go to get drinks (vanilla ice blended for me). If anyone saw the all_access video about a week ago, they know that we had a little trouble finding it the first time (yes, it’s hard to find things in a big Chinese city!), but I think I’ve got it down now. I’m good with directions, but that doesn’t help at all if the cab driver speaks no English and I know only five words of Chinese. Why does it seem when I talk louder and slower that it seems to help get the point across?

This is my sixth trip to China so I continue to learn more about the culture and people, who have been wonderful to us and very accommodating, which is very much appreciated. Thanks very much for reading my postcard and especially for supporting the U.S. team from back home.

Signing off from Shanghai,