Crossing the “Finnish” Line

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Well folks, this somewhat highly anticipated yet undeniably bittersweet point in my journey has finally arrived….I can now say that I have officially crossed the “finnish” line of my first overseas experience. Yesterday I left Helsinki Airport and started my trek back to the great USA. I am actually currently typing this part of the blog post as I fly through the air, on my way from London to Chicago….the second leg in my journey home. To be exact I am right now crossing the Atlantic Ocean with a little over 5000 km to go until I reach American soil (as I look up at the screen imbedded in the back of the seat in front of me) :). Before I officially “wrap up” this final blog post, I am going to reminisce, very briefly I promise, on a few of the highlights and possibly low-lights of my time in Finland.

But first off, I would just like to again give a great big “kiitos” to every single person that I had the amazing chance to meet and get to know during my time in Turku. And yes, that plus a few other words / phrases is still all I have learned while living here for over 6 months. I do think that my teammates would say they are somewhat impressed, however, with the amount of the language I did end up learning. Taking into consideration how severely difficult it is to learn…I think I did a decent job. I know I sure had fun learning some funny phrases and words that I will try not to forget. Possibly my top one being (that is blog appropriate)….”Se on ihan ok” haha it is somewhat an inside joke, but means “it is quite okay,” it became a quick “funny” amongst my teammates and something Britt and I started saying quite a bit.

Here are some quick little lists of some of the different things that will make up the most of my Finland memories and forever have an imprint on me (these are in no specific order):

Top 5 “activities”:
-Sauna / Palju
-Dancing at the clubs with my teammates
-Weekend trip to London
-Cruise to Sweden
-“After parties” with my teammates, especially in Salo

Top 5 Finnish things that I ATE:
-Mammi (yes, I know, I’m weird)
-Black Licorice
-Fazer Chocolate
-Riisipiirakka
-Ruisleipa

Top 5 things that I WON’T MISS (ha sorry Fins):
-The winter weather (snow, ice, temperature)
-Riding my bike with above conditions
-Hanging my clothes up to dry
-Taking unnecessarily long rides on the city bus, EVERYWHERE
-Waiting in the cold for the unnecessarily long bus rides

Top 5 things that had a huge IMPACT on me:
-My teammates / sisters
-Becoming a better basketball player and learning even more about the game
-Being a role model to so many young girls
-Experiencing / living in a foreign culture in general
-Getting to see more of the world

I could honestly go on and on and probably left out some really great things / memories, but there are just WAY too many to mention and remember. So that is just a few of the things that came to mind right away, and a few of the things that I will again, remember greatly about the great country of Finland.

My second to last day in Finland was awesome! We went to an old town outside of Turku where the famous Moomin cartoon characters “live” and got to walk on the Baltic Sea! It was breathtaking and such a beautiful day…honestly couldn’t have asked for a better day than that one. It only took us the second to last day in Finland to tour most of the main sites in Turku, but hey, at least we did!  SAM_0234 SAM_0240 SAM_0235

(Vio took a bit of a spill walking up the hill) haha……”Those damn boots!” -Britt

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(View of part of the city of Turku)

I also couldn’t have asked for a better last day in Turku with my teammates. The sun was shining and it was just an all around amazing day to walk around the city one last time.

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My last night in Finland was also pretty great. Brittany, Vio and I then headed to Helsinki the night before our flight for one last Finland experience. It was so fun to walk around the capital city. It was a great night to end on, with two very special people.   

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As I write this post it saddens me even more, because now that I have finished my time overseas, it also means that I have finished my time with this blog! It’s probably kind of silly, but I have really enjoyed writing this blog and sharing my experience with you all. I am definitely going to miss it….and I hope at least 1 or 2 people besides my parents miss reading my random thoughts as well. BUT, it also excites me to see what the future holds and that there possibly is another blog that will be in the making in my near future…getting to share with even more people the crazy and blessed journey that is my life.

During the last few days in Finland, the following saying was one that was said a lot, and has kept the tears somewhat back….”Don’t cry because it is over, smile because it happened.” I think this is so true and how I try to live life…positively! Life can be too crazy to dwell on the negatives or sad things in life, but instead, we must focus on the positives. So that is exactly what I am going to do; think of all the great memories and times I had and smile :) There are so many things that I know I will randomly look back on and burst out laughing about. Laughter was a common activity amongst my team, we definitely had a lot of funny moments together. I also couldn’t have asked for a better last few days in Turku. The weather was finally starting to get nice and the sun shining late into the evening; of course, right as we leave!….what a tease Finland! sheesh. ;) Most importantly, I also couldn’t be more proud of this team. Making the playoffs the first year this team was in the league is a great accomplishment and I am so glad I was able to be a part of that. This team really improved as the season went on and showed we could play with the best of them. So I am really happy and proud of that, we definitely deserved to be a playoff team. :)

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Thanks again to everyone in Turku that was so kind and hospitable to Brittany and I. Speaking of!!! Brittany, you were an amazing (ridiculous at times) roommate / teammate. We had a lot of fun together and laughed more than I have in a LONG time….especially when the Fins didn’t get our humor. I couldn’t have asked for a better first overseas “partner in crime.” I can’t wait to see you again soon, in a warmer climate! :) haha. Thanks for putting up with all of my odd/weird/craziness, you seriously are the best! :)

It sure does feel great to be home though, and I couldn’t have been welcomed home any better than I was! I honestly have the best family! And a special shout-out to my brother’s girlfriend Andrea, who sweetened my arrival home even more! You are amazing :)

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Again, hopefully this is just the first of many journeys ahead….but it is without a doubt going to be a very hard one to beat and has set the standard pretty dang high! It really was a “FINE-land”, as they say ;)

Love and I WILL miss all my Finland/ European loves so much!!!

Until the next journey,

-Cal

PLAYOFFS!!!!!!!!

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So as you can tell by the obvious title of my post….WE MADE IT INTO THE PLAYOFFS!!!!!!!! We won our game on Saturday, handily, and the team that was neck and neck with us lost, so therefore, we clinched the 8th place spot ! :) I’m going to be honest and say that a few weeks ago I didn’t think we were going to make it in. I knew we still had a chance, and that it wasn’t far out of reach, but just wasn’t quite expecting it. However, I couldn’t be happier for this team!! We definitely deserve to be in the playoffs. We will make the long trek to play the #1 team Catz on Thursday and then they will come here and play us on Saturday. It is a best out of 3 games set-up, so if we happen to pull an upset and get 1 win, we would play them again back at their place on Monday. Hey, it’s March, and madness is in the air, so anything could happen at this point! I’m just excited to get to keep playing and practicing with this team for another week. These girls have become almost like sisters, so prolonging the “goodbyes” a little longer is fine by me.

Now, last night, we of course we had to do a little celebrating, so most of the team hung out at my teammate Nelli’s apartment…had some fun there, and then went to a club because we obviously had to get our celebratory dancing on. At least I did…..and because I am Miss Marcia’s daughter, I have the dancing gene in me, and when someone is showing off on the dance floor, it is hard for me not to join in…so that’s what I did with this guy who had some pretty good moves ;)…and we actually were somewhat in sync :) Here are some of the moves caught on camera. Now, the bestttt stuff didn’t get recorded, so sorry to disappoint ;) haha…

All in all, I couldn’t be more excited for my team and to give a good hard Riento fight on Thursday! With that said, the “finnish” line is however in sight, and it’s crazy to think I will be back in the states in just a little over a week! Like I’ve mentioned too many times probably, it is definitely bittersweet. However, I’m trying not to look at it like the end of something great, but the creation of something great, that is now a part of me and will be remembered forever….the playing, the people, the places, and now the possibilities to come!

Hope everyone is enjoying the insane madness, and hope your brackets look better than mine right now. Gotta love it though!!! :) Well have a great last week of March everyone! Happy Palm Sunday! OH! Speaking of, here in Finland, they celebrate Palm Sunday a little different. Kids dress up as witches and pretty much “trick-or-treat.” ha kinda crazy, I know. Brittany and I actually had our doorbell rung once today, unfortunately we weren’t prepared and didn’t have any candy to give them, so we had to pretend we weren’t home. :-/ It is definitely an interesting ritual here though. Here is a little more on the reason behind it, if your interested…. http://finland.fi/Public/default.aspx?contentid=272458&nodeid=41800&culture=en-US .

Ok, nowwww that is all!  :)

Love and miss you all….but HOME SO SOON!

-Cal

 

 

Mämmi

Since I’m pretty much fluent in Finnish now (sike) I figured I’d keep sharing some of the words I’ve learned with you all. The new Finnish word for this week is “Mämmi”, which is a traditional Finnish dessert during Easter time. Now, when I hear the word dessert, my eyes automatically widen and my mouth waters without delay, however, once I saw a picture of this dessert, that reaction wasn’t so much the case…..and you will soon see why.

This weekend, pretty much my entire team went to my teammate Sofia’s hometown since we didn’t have any games, to enjoy one of our last weekend’s here! :( When I was at her house on Friday, I was quickly asked to try this famous, yet usually not-liked dessert. When it comes to food, I am pretty adventurous and am willing to try pretty much anything, and like pretty much anything; however, I was a little shy when it came to this one…..but “you can’t judge a book by it’s cover,” and so I of course got my taste buds ready.

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http://www.dlc.fi/~marianna/gourmet/mammi.htm

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Yep, that’s it folks…..Mämmi.

I know what you all are thinking right now, it looks like a pile of doo-doo, (sorry but I had to say it, I know you’re thinking it) haha… but it in fact wasn’t that bad. The main ingredient is rye flour, so it pretty much tastes like a bran pudding?….kinda like Raisin Bran cereal without the raisins. You have to add some milk/cream and sugar however and it tastes better, of course. To my teammate’s surprise, (because even most Finnish people don’t like it) I didn’t mind it. I’m not saying I would eat bowl-fulls of it by any means, but it was definitely not that bad. I doooo thinkkk however that I will stick to my American Easter time jelly beans and carrot cake desserts instead. :)

 I hope everyone had great weekends as well. The sun is sure shining a lot longer and brighter here, kinda crazy at times. I actually feel like a vampire sometimes when the sun is out because I’m not used to it, but I sure did miss it! :)

For a basketball update, we STILL have a chance of making the playoffs…we have to win our last game this Saturday and another team has to lose their game, so it is not fully in our hands, but I know we will go out and fight to the end and see what happens. Either way, I can’t believe that the season is almost over and I am on the homestretch. Therefore, I am just trying to enjoy every last minute of my time here with these great friends that I have made. It is definitely a bittersweet time for me, but just so thankful and blessed for my time here above all!

Well hope everyone has a great rest of the week, enjoy the madness of March that is about to begin, fill out those brackets!! And I will keep you posted on how this weekend goes! Home in pretty much less than 2 weeks either way….CRAZY!!!!

Love and miss you all,

-Cal

Voitto!!!

….that means WIN in Finnish…and that is exactly what we did last night in our last away game of the season, against the 3rd place team. We won pretty much at the last second by 2, it was such a great feeling, especially after losing at the buzzer in our game before that. So we are now back tied with the 8th place team (however don’t have the tiebreaker), with 1 game left. So in order to make the playoffs, we have to win our last game and the other team must lose their last 3 that they have left….so there is stilllllll a chance! We have this weekend off from games, so it’s going to be a sit back and see how the other team does kind of weekend, and hope that our chances still stand going into the last regular season game next Saturday.

Sad to say, but again, there isn’t really anything else exciting I have to share…and since I feel like my blog posts have been somewhat weak lately, I decided to attempt to hype this one up a bit with a short little video…or my “bike cam” as I am going to call it. I thought, why not share our daily journey through the snowy Finland woods with you all…just to give you another little taste of life here. Even though it was a bit cold today, it was one of the better rides. We have endured some very interesting terrain over the months….from gravel, dirt, snow, slush, to my personal favorite (sike)….pure ice. haha. Both Brittany and I are guilty to have taken some spills….they are always ultimately brushed off with a laugh though. Our bikes sure have been through a lot….and well, let’s just say, don’t quite look or work exactly like they did from the start, but hey, that’s what Finland weather will do!

Anyways, enough with my lengthy preview, I’ll just let you watch…and hopefully enjoy some clips from our path to practice :)

 

Hope you aren’t too nauseous after watching it haha my apologies if so. Well hope everyone has had a great week, and loving the greatness of tournament time :) I’ll keep you updated on our playoff position status when we know more, but it’s crazy to think I could only have 1 more game left with this team. Not going to think about that right now though, just going to enjoy this home stretch with the amazing friends I have made here… and soak every last bit of it up :)

And as always, love and miss you all!

-Cal

March Madness!

Well the craziest month of basketball is finally here! What basketball player or fan doesn’t love March?! I know I sure do. Some of my best college basketball memories took place in this month….memories that only a handful of people get to create. I’m talking about the NCAA tournament of course. Even though those days are over for me, I am still lucky enough to get to experience a new “March Madness” of my own overseas.

Last weekend we went 1-1 , and based on how other teams did we are currently still in 9th place, with 3 games to go in the regular season. The infamous saying “anything can happen” is held even more true during this month, when your talking about basketball. We still have a chance of making the playoffs, but it not only depends on how we do, but the team right above us as well. But we can only control our outcome; therefore, we just need to go out in our next games and fight with the winning mindset. With our win last weekend, we did however guarantee a spot for the team to play in this top league again next year (the bottom 2 teams automatically drop down to the 1st division league)….so that is exciting and pleasing news!

Nothing too exciting has happened since my last blog post, so I apologize for the somewhat boring and ordinary post…or update rather. I’m excited to watch my SHU girls play in the first round of their tournament this weekend and all the other conference tournaments around the country to get underway, gosh I just love this time of year for college basketball! Maybe I’ll even enter a bracket challenge this year, now that I’m no longer a college athlete :)

The weather has been pretty sunny the past two days, so that has been a nice change! I hope everyone else is starting to see some warmer weather and possibly some sweet spring break destinations in the near future! I know I could sure use a tropical vacation right about now!

Ahh! Shout-out to my AMAZINGLY beautiful great friend Kelly Fitz, who is getting married exactly 1 month from today!! I can’t wait to see her and all my other friends that will be there to share in this great day with her! So send some pre-wedding blessings towards Marshall Minnesota! :)  Can’t wait to be reunited once again!

kell(and Kelly, if you are reading this…you can expect another hug like this! ) lol

Well I can’t really think of anything else to update my blog world on, so I think I’ll end this one by just saying good luck to everyone who has upcoming games and safe travels to those who get to enjoy some springtime R & R ! Crazy to think I could be home in less than 3 weeks! AH! Definitely bittersweet. But anyways, have a great rest of the week everyone….and don’t forget!….. to smile :)

Love and miss you all!

-Cal

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Boxed Out

This past weekend didn’t go as well as we would have liked on the basketball court. We played the team that was 1 game below us in the rankings, and lost at their place by 13. The loss now brings us in 9th because they have the tie breaker over us. So long story short, we must fight even harder every game from here on out in order to regain that playoff position.

After the game, 4 of my teammates and I spent the night in Salo, Finland (where my teammate Sofia lives) again, since it was on the way home from our game. Her dad cooked us an absolutely delicious dinner, completed for me, with some great red wine; which he and I actually made a little competition out of….and well, let’s just say he owned me. haha I couldn’t keep up with his veteran wine drinking skills at all. We then went out on the town and had another fun night together. There is never any doubt that we will have fun. If only our on the court performances were as great as the times we have together off the court, I’m pretty sure we would be unstoppable.

The next morning, we took the bus (somewhat earlier than we would have liked) back to Turku and headed straight to this detergent / soap factory to do some fundraising work for one of our sponsors. Ok, so I’ve told this story to a few people already, and every time I do, I not only confuse the crap out of them, but it also just re-confirms how frustrating this “job” we had to do was to me. We had to take these boxes, out of these bigger boxes….unfold them (kinda loosening them up) and then fold them back and put them back in the boxes. hahaha yep, that was what we did for 3 hours straight. Luckily our manager Vio brought some snacks and soda to help aid our not only somewhat  “dehydrated” selves ;) but also in the monotony of this somewhat confusing, slightly idiotic, task. But like usual, we make the best out of every situation and have fun with it, and it wasn’t so bad….felt good to help out as well. A bittttt more sleep would have been nice before though.

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Honestly, I think we all could have a lot of success as laundry detergent box models, just sayin. Maybe that will be my next endeavor. ;) I mean it doesn’t hurt to have a fall-back.

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  (haha Sofia’s face is priceless in this picture, and perfectly depicts how we felt! ) lol

I was going to add some quotes from my teammates about our day in this factory, but after reading them, I don’t think they are quite blog appropriate, so I will just let the pictures speak for themselves!

On a side note, yesterday Britt, Taru and I went to a local middle school and talked to some 8th graders about what life is like in the US and Canada. We put some pictures together and even though we have no idea if they even understood a third of what we were saying, they seemed to like it! However, very much caught off guard, I got done with my “presentation” and one boy raised his hand and asked (in summary) “do you think that the US will survive it’s current debt situation/stay at the top”….hahaha talk about being put on the spot! I honestly don’t even remember what I responded with. Something to the effect of, “yes, I have faith in my nation and we will figure out a way to stay a strong nation.” lol….I know, I need to work on my political / economical debate skills next. :S

Ok enough blabbing, hope everyone has a great week! I know KC got hit hard with some snow, so everyone there stay safe and enjoy your snow days if you got one! Also, enjoy the last week of February!! :)

Love and miss you all, LOTS,

-Cal

EXCLUSIVE: London Video

 

Well I hope you enjoyed my little flick. It sure was a great trip and I just wanted to share a little more of it with you all. I do apologize for my somewhat shaky video recording skills at times; I just couldn’t control my excitement! ;)

On a basketball note, we have a HUGE game coming up on Saturday. Due to our great home win last weekend we now currently hold the 8th spot (playoff position) and play the team that is right below us now, on their home court, so it is going to be a fight. I can’t believe we only have 6 games left in the regular season! It sure has gone by fast. Well, that is really all the updates for now. Hope everyone has had a great week so far. Make someone (or more than one) person smile today/tomorrow!…. And of course, don’t forget to enjoy life! Speaking of, I saw this quote the other day and REALLY liked it:

“As you walk down the fairway of life you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round.”

:)

As always, love and miss you all!

-Cal

LONDON.

(Warning: This blog post is somewhat lengthy. Read at your own risk.)

Hiya! (as they say in England)

So after getting some much needed sleep these last two days, I’ve decided to finally fill you all in on my amazing weekend in the UK! Where do I even beginnnn?! My mind is racing with things to share and stories to tell, but I’m going to quickly try and organize it all and put into words what an awesome and fun-filled weekend I had with 4 great girls.

On Friday we left Turku and drove about 2 hours to Tampere Finland, where we boarded our flight to London Stansted Airport. We landed in London around 9pm. We then boarded a bus where we drove an hour and a half or so into the city of London. From there we then had to take one of their sweet double decker buses to our hostel, New Cross Inn…..and whatttt an experience that was in itself!

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We gathered together our handful of cash to pay the guy at the “front desk”…which was more like a closet. We then journeyed up the narrow stairwell to the top floor where we arrived at our room, filled with 6 bunk beds and a sink. haha It really wasn’t all that bad. We just had to make our beds with the sheets provided and then we set our alarms for the journey we were about to start the next morning.

We woke up bright and early (not getting the best nights sleep due to the sirens and somewhat loud neighborhood we were in), but that was the least of our worries as we were in LONDON! So we showered and headed down to our heavily anticipated “continental breakfast” that was provided by the hostel.

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It was in a very cute little common room and consisted of instant coffee, toast and jam, and corn flakes. Hey, you can’t complain much when it’s free! So we fueled up and headed off to explore. Side note: Shout out to my roomie Brittany Hedderson for being an awesome mapster and keeping us from getting lost and on track! We definitely wouldn’t have made it around as easily as we did without her and her iphone navigation skills :)

Our first main stop was Buckingham Palace, to watch the Changing of the Guards Ceremony. We didn’t quite realize how many people were going to be there (ha whoops)… yet somewhat pushed our way through the crowd and made it pretty close to the gates to watch the band play and see as much of it as we could.

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We then stopped to warm up and get a REAL cup of coffee at a cute little pub:

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Our next main stop was Westminster Abbey. We took a very lovely audio-guided tour and it was absolutely breathtaking and truly an enlightening experience. We were however starving at this point so we headed to Grace Bar for our first lunch in England :) And mannnnnn was it YUMMY! Everyone had Fish and Chips, but I decided to be the odd one out and get this mouthwatering Steak and Ale Pie. I saw it on the menu and my eyes just wouldn’t let go of the words! haha It just sounded too good and too authentic to pass up. We also enjoyed our first beer of the trip. The dynamic duo made it an undeniably fulfilling and satisfying meal. Definitely a great start to the trip as far as meals go!

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After a bit more exploring and walking we ended up taking a night cruise tour on the Thames River. Even though we sort of “bumped into it” that night, it ended up being one of the best parts of the trip in my book. It was a great way to see different highlighted parts of the city and breathtaking views. Much like most of our trip, whenever we seemed lost or go in the wrong direction, we ended up in an even better place than we planned. But I mean, it’s London, you can’t really go wrong!

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After a little “pick me up” in the form of coffee (with maybe some added lovin…aka Bailey’s) lol we ventured to Oxford Street and did some shopping. Hit up an awesome souvenir shop (where I actually bought my warmth for the next day in the form of an awesome and cheep hoodie, because I was an idiot and I guess thought the weather was going to be way warmer than it was)…I guess my foreshadowing was a bit too positive. Can you blame me though when I live in Finland?! Anywayssss, after that we headed to what ended up being SOHO and at awesome bar called Balans…where we were served up some great drinks and desserts and entertainment, mainly in the form of our very “poofy” (his words, not mine) waiter named Martin. He was a hoot. It was a great ending to a very long and exhausting first day of touring!

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We woke up bright and early then next day and headed off to probably one of my favorite parts of the trip, Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Club!

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We went on a guided tour and learned A LOT about the grounds and the famous tournament. It was a bit rainy and cold, but it was by far one of the most amazing sporting event locations I will ever get to see first hand and I was truly in awe. I know my dad is very jealous as he reads this right now. (Sorry to rub it in Big T!)….I took you to the US Open and I’m taking you to Wimbledon now (unfortunately in the form of pictures) lol….I think either the French Open or Australian Open is next one on our list! ;)

After we journeyed back to the city on the train, we headed to take a tour through the Tower of London. After a pit stop at Starbucks to get some more caffeine and a snack in us, we headed into the amazing structure. This blog would end up taking you an hour to read (if it hasn’t already :/) if I told you all we saw inside. But by far the coolest was the Crown Jewels. Seeing the past king and queen’s crowns and garments was beyond amazing. I have never seen that much shine or “bling bling” if you will, in my life. Unreal.

We then stopped by the Shakespeare’s Globe. We were going to take a tour inside the actual theater, but then ended up running out of time, so we just walked around the museum and that was still very cool to see in itself.    

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The “Finns” ;) wanted to do some more shopping before our next stop, so Brittany and I hopped into a cozy little pub and, starving once again, so we indulged in a nice appetizer and of course a cold refreshing beer. I decided to try a Czech beer, and was once again not disappointed. I don’t know if it was the fact that I was starving, thirsty, in a London pub, or the beer itself, but it tasted dang good. There was also a Manchester United game on in the pub that all the old men were watching….it was a pretty perfect English pub scene, and I was a pretty perfectly content girl!

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After we got a little energized and met back up with the shoppers, it was finally time to make our way to the London Eye!! This was another highly anticipated spot on our list. We stepped into a very cool 4 minute 4D Experience before boarding our capsule. It stands 443 ft tall and is the tallest Ferris wheel in Europe.

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The views we were able to see from the top of the wheel were remarkable. Each capsule also had 4 or so little tablets that made it more interactive, where you could click on a building on the tablet and it would tell you what it was and a description of it; such as two buildings used in Mission Impossible movies and the Olympic Stadium. So cool.

We kept our sightseeing streak going and decided to make a pit stop at King’s Cross Station….and more importantly Platform 9 3/4 from Harry Potter :) It was awesome to be in the actual train station where they filmed the movie, it was a surreal feeling for sure.

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I asked a security guard if they actually filmed this part of the movie somewhere else and he said that it was actually filmed in between platforms 4 and 5 inside the station, so of course, we ventured inside to take a look.

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Once again, we were very hungry. So we headed straight to find a great last dinner spot and ended up in a perfect pub, The Sussex, for one last English meal. I had a yummy Sunday Roast dinner and a Kronenbourg beer…it was the perfect last meal in London for me :) For dessert, we did have to take a celebratory English Gin shot. It wasn’t the most tasty of things, but when you are in London, you just gotta such it up and throw it back ;)

Our flight back to Finland was early the next morning, so we decided to just stay up late and head to the airport around 3am to save a few bucks. As we headed back to gather our luggage that we left at the hostel, we thought our entertainment in London was over…

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….untillll, we decided to stop in the New Cross Inn Bar that was below our hostel; which we had acquired a special bond with as we could hear and pretty much feel it’s thriving crowd both nights we stayed there! haha…and THAT ended up being a pretty great way to go out! We got to listen to a very fun and unique band play and meet some locals, it was definitely an interesting experience.

All right, so the rest of the trip just involved no sleep and traveling, so I will spare you those details, if you haven’t already had enough of this very thorough post! (my apologies). But I will leave you with one last little thing….a little “taste” of something fun to come :)

Hope you enjoyed my London edition! It is definitely a city I will forever remember and love. I can’t even begin to say how blessed I am to be able to do and experience what I have. I couldn’t be more grateful.

Happy Lenten season to all, make these next 40 days filled with the Lord and only just a jump-start to growth with Him and to be the best people we can be…..I know that is my ultimate goal.

Love and miss you all!

-Cal

P.S. A big special shout-out goes to Tyler Peschong for being beyond awesome and sending me some “fan mail”, which included hooking me up with the  “goods” (aka Skippy Peanut Butter) ! lol…and the best card I’ve gotten in a long time. Thanks Ty!

Saying Goodbye

fish

Well it was a somewhat sad day here at the Taylor – Hedderson household, well yesterday to be exact. Our lovely pet fish Raphael was surprisingly found dead in his fish tank; it was a good 3+ month run for the little guy. He was gently flushed down the toilet today (after making sure he was actually dead and not just faking it or sleeping or some other excuse we kept telling ourselves). Raphael however, will always have a special place in our hearts, he kept us some pretty good company and gave us many laughs at the beginning. I now believe he is much happier in little fishy heaven :) and that makes me feel a little better about the loss. We were thinking about replacing him, but we might just give the pet thing a rest for a while.

On a more exciting / happier note…..3 of my teammates and another girl and I are taking a weekend trip to London this Friday!! We have a break from games so we decided to do a little European exploring while we have the chance…and I couldn’t be more stoked!!!

london

I’m keeping this post somewhat short, because A) not much else exciting has happened here since the last post and B) I am anticipating my London edition to be prettyyyy lengthy and possibly somewhat overwhelming! haha so I think I’ll start wrapping this one up.

I hope everyone had fun Super Bowl Sunday celebrations. Brittany and I definitely enjoyed it here, being champs and staying up til 6am to watch the entire thing….with nachos and all :) Enjoy the rest of the week…February sure is going to go by fast!

Love and miss you all!

Don’t forget to smile :)

-Cal

Things Are Heating Up In Finland…

sunfinland

The first piece of “hot” news to share is that we won our away game yesterday…a tough battle to the very end, 73-65. It was a great team effort and fight, especially after the grueling 5 hour or so bus ride. Long bus rides always feel a lot better after a win, and this was definitely the case yesterday. We looked like an entirely different team than we have in most of our games, the team I know we can be. We had great ball movement, fierce and great lock down defense for the majority of the game, and just really good performances all around. Our coach was even told by a reporter that our team spirit was not only very eminent, but much greater than the opposing team….a spirit that fueled the fire we had as we fought to the end to get the win. Our next game isn’t until Saturday so we have a week to get prepared and focus for the (somewhat big) challenge ahead of us, as we play the #1 sitting team at home. I believe we will all bring that same great spirit and once again, fight til the end.

The second thing that is heating up here, is well, Finland itself. Today at least, the temperature has definitely risen, it is only about 34 degrees as I type this post…and supposed to stay in the 30’s all week…so this is definitely some great news in my book. Even though there is word that February is supposed to be VERY cold, it is still great to hear I can at least enjoy one last week of not freezing temperatures.

The third and final (and of course I saved the best sizzling scoop for last) piece of “hot” news has to do with my roommate Brittany and I’s bus ride into the city today. We boarded the city bus to head to a gym downtown, as we normally do, (sitting in the section that is actually supposed to only be for elderly we believe)…around 3:00pm. A few stops after we got on an older man came staggering onto the bus and we immediately locked eyes. I could tell he either had a disability making him walk funny, orrrr that he was downright drunk. He then turns to Brittany (as we are sitting across from each other, I sat near the aisle, whereas Brittany made the poor decision to sit near the window, leaving the seat next to her empty and calling this old man’s name). So of course, the man sits down next to her with the biggest grin on his face and immediately starts talking to us in Finnish.    drunkbus1

Next is when my second guess of him being drunk was officially verified, by none other than him pulling out a bottle of vodka, and drinking from it like it was a bottle of water…

      drunkbus2

A funny side note: My family and I were playing a board game over the break where one person lists off a bunch of clues to describe a word at the bottom of the card. The clues start off very vague and get more specific as you go on. Long story short, it was my Dad’s turn to read and the second clue he gave, after “a European country” was, “people here drink vodka on cold winter nights”…. well it wasn’t necessarily night at 3:15pm, but it was cold…and it was Finland…which was indeed the word at the bottom of the card. It made me start to laugh even harder as I am instantly brought back to that moment over break.

Ok back to the story. This is when things really started to “heat up.”

Not only was this man very intoxicated, but he was also very into Britt. Hahaha he started kinda flirting, making kissy faces, and the best part of all…getting a little touchy feely….

drunkbus3

…yep, that is him placing his hand on her knee. And actually eventually leaning over and placing his hand on mine. Now, they were both very brief, sweet, pats….nothing too alarming (mom and dad)…ha I’m pretty sure we were both laughing so hard at this time, Brittany feeling a bit more uncomfortable than me, but nonetheless, we both couldn’t help but laugh.

He finally reached his stop, which felt like it took an eternity, I politely said “Moikka” (goodbye) and he replied “Moi Moi” (also goodbye)..and that was it, that was the last of our no-named friend that will forever have an imprint in our hearts….and forever teach us not to sit in the elderly section.

Well I think I have written enough to last whoever is reading my blogs a good two weeks now, and in fact, if you are still reading this you are a champ….but I hope that gave you a little chuckle, as it did us. I also hope everyone has a great week ahead. :)

CHEERS FROM FINLAND! ;)

drunkbus6 (and no, no alcohol was consumed by us on this bus ride).

Love and miss you all! Can’t believe it’s almost February!

-Cal