Thursday, September 19, 2013

Playing catch up...Again

Since returning from my traveling adventures (all the way back in the beginning of July- the 14th to be exact, awful I know) life has been carrying on for me over here in Sweden. I had such an amazing time traveling and getting to see new and different cultures while visiting places I never dreamed of actually getting the chance to visit. This whole experience has given me a new perspective on life and it is a quite simple one: be appreciative of everything you have. I'm very blessed that I was given this opportunity to live in Sweden while doing what I love and then also getting the opportunity to travel around a bit while I've been over here. I have absolutely loved getting to see new places and meeting new people in each of them, while also getting to see such beautiful and historical sites. Seeing these new cultures and getting a taste of what life is like for a different group of people has made me 1. want to go visit more countries and 2. appreciate the blessed life I live back home. Realizing that I have such an amazing group of people- both my family and friends- to return home to has just made me an all around more appreciative person. And I don't think I will ever lose an interest in visiting other countries and learning about different cultures. 

Since I've been back, league games have resumed and the team is still doing well. We haven't lost a game since they started back up at the beginning of August, with the exception of our Swedish cup game. We lost to Sirius IF 5-3 and no longer qualify to play in cup games. Sucks when it's one and done. Regardless, we played a somewhat solid game against Sirius. We were beating them in the first half and had control of the game. Second half was a different story. Whatever their coach said to them at halftime worked and they came out strong and never stopped attacking us until they finally took the lead and then sealed it. It was a good learning experience, because they play in one league higher than us. After this game and during the first game of our regular season, I unfortunately sprained my hamstring and had to sit out 2 games. Thankful that it was only 2. The rehab, electro shock therapy and magic hands of our team's trainer strengthened it back up and I am now healthy again. It was quite tough having to sit out some games- I hate nothing more than having to sit there and watch. Gotta do what ya gotta do, though.  

Recap: we've played a game every weekend since August 3, which adds up to 7 now. We've won every game and recently moved back into second place, ahead of Ostersund. The first place team is the only one to advance and play another game after the season, but our chances of this are pretty slim. You never know though. Some way or another, there are only 3 games left in the season. I know it's cliche, but it really does seem like just yesterday I got here and played my first game in the freezing sleet/slush/snow.  

Swedish Cup poster

My roommate and I have become quite good friends with a girl who we met while helping out at the restaurant. Malin has been really great about showing us all there is to do in Sweden and we've had some really good Swedish experiences. We've gone crawfishing, jumped off quarry cliffs, gone out, gone berry and mushroom picking (visited farm animals along the way) and visited castles- and had a lot of fun doing it. It's been fun getting to experience all the different adventures Sweden has to offer. 

Craw fishing 

Cliff jumping

Playing in the trees at the castle

Team theme party- "anywhere but here"

Making new friends

Berry and mushroom picking

Another amazing experience: a week after I got back from Germany, we got to go to the women's Euro cup final game, which was being played in Stockholm! My roommate went with our team manager and his two daughters, who are on the team. It was an unreal experience and I'm so thankful I got the opportunity to watch a high level of soccer while I am over here. The stadium and field were absolutely perfect and I can only imagine what it was like getting to play on that. Something I will never forget.

Friend's Arena

I knew this experience was going to go by quickly and I have some how found myself nearing the end of it. Time is a funny thing. It doesn't seem to be going very quickly on a day to day basis, but looking back, it's like the blink of an eye. I have 4 weeks and 3 games left during my time here and I'm definitely going to try to make the most of it. The previous months have been enjoyable and testing, but an experience I'm forever grateful to because of how much I've grown from this. The list of what I've taken away from this is endless. My next and probably final blog post during my time here will be dedicated to that :) 

Tierp is a good spot for sunrises/sets, so here's a good one I got a few weeks back:

God natt :)