Third and Somewhat Final Stop: Turku, FI

After a few short delays in Helsinki Airport, I finally was boarding my plane (26 minute flight) to Turku. (I actually looked it up and could have taken a train and would have beaten the plane to Turku if I had left right when I got to Helsinki, with my layover and delays combined). lol gotta love layovers. So after now the SHORTEST flight of my life to date, I had finally arrived at my final destination. I got my luggage, which was all accounted for and still intact, and actually later discovered that it had been “opened and physically inspected.” Guess there was something suspicious about my bag and or something in it. I think it was my shampoo and shower gel, because the plastic sack it was in had been ripped open. Anywayssss enough of the unimportant side comments and back to my rambling, yes, making it important lol ;)…..but I then met my assistant coach who was waiting right outside the exit. Didn’t take long to spot one another….I’m assuming my two big suitcases, sporty attire, and tall self was easy to spot. And his zip-up with the words “COACH” on the front, was my go-to clue. haha. He helped me carry my luggage to the car (Finnish cars are kinda funny looking) and we drove to my temporary “host family”‘s house, a ridiculously beautiful one indeed! This is my temporary home until next week when my apartment will supposedly be ready by. But in the meantime I will definitely enjoy this wonderful home and family that has 3 daughters around my age and home-cooked meals. Because I sure as heck can’t cook, so i’m going to enjoy some good Finnish meals before it’s Ramen and oatmeal time. lol Speaking of I had my first one tonight and it was called Pyttipannu. Which is translated to like a potato / sausage hash. It was scrumptious.

Rewind:
Not even 10 minutes after I put my luggage down, my “host mom” so to speak and the assistant coach said that practice was starting in 5 minutes , but that they obviously weren’t expecting me to go. Even though I was running on pretty much no sleep and or food, a little adrenaline and that Pioneer mentality ๐Ÿ˜‰ kicked in and I told them that I wanted to attend. (Plus I figured that I should probably at least touch a ball before we headed to Sweden for 2 games). Sounded like a good idea to me. So I quickly got changed and we headed to the gym. The gym was a pretty small one, made the Pitt Center look like Madison Square, ok maybe not quite, but it was a very nice/new gym. They had obviously already started practicing, so I watched for a little bit, talked with the coach, and then met the girls….don’t even remember 1 name. :-/ ha so that’s something I’ll definitely have to work on. It was a little interesting at first because the coaches were talking to the players in Finnish and then sort of try and translate in English, but luckily with basketball, you can kind of just figure it out. But I think that is definitely going to be the hardest part, the language barrier. So they showed me some of their fast break offenses / “games” and I got to run up and down with them and try and get the hang of those. Then we did some shooting drills and some full court drilsl and before I knew it practice was over. So here is where my “somewhat final stop” comes into play….my traveling just keeps on going!…So tomorrow after practice and pictures, we will board a ship and travel 12 hours I believe is what they said, to Stockholm. I’m just hitting up the Trifecta of travel in a blink of an eye. We will leave tomorrow evening, get there Saturday morning, play 2 games, and then travel back tomorrow evening and arrive back in Finland Sunday morning. wow that just wore me out typing it all (Let’s hope I don’t get sea sick like the Ferry to Long Island one time at SHU) haha this should be interesting. But i’m excited to check another country off my list! ๐Ÿ™‚

Alright well I think I have typed wayyyy too much and i’m sure I lost 3/4 of my audience 80 lines ago, and I think I will be calling it a night here soon since I can barely keep my eyes open and its only 8:45 here, or 20:45….still trying to learn this 24 hour clock thing….it’s like a math problem every time I read one. But anyways, pretty excited to sleep in a bed tonight and not wake up to a man tapping my shoulder (almost making me pee myself) so he can use the outlet my computer was charging in. Thanks creepy man in the Helsinki airport. Ok, so long for now, can’t wait to write about my travels and games in Sweden ๐Ÿ™‚
-Cal

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