We have officially gotten our first snowfall! …..and it’s only October. It snowed for the first time here in Stockholm last week, as my roommate (a Swede named Lydia) and I awoke to a snow-covered porch. I’ll be honest, I could have waited a few more months for the cold to set in, but the day was truly gorgeous. As luck would have it, we also had the day off from hockey so we decided to walk around the city – and Lydia was determined to help me buy more “Swedish looking” clothing. I guess my Vermont and California attire isn’t really cutting it here in Stockholm. The subway system – or T-bana as it is known – is one of the easiest metros I have experienced and with a three month pass card, I can go anywhere at anytime with relative ease. From our apartment on the south side of the city, it takes exactly seven minutes to reach T-Centralen, which by the name suggests is the central station. From there you can walk on Drottninggatan, or Queen’s Street, which is a several block long pedestrian shopping street, or the gigantic mall that connects to the subway station equipped with just about every store imaginable.
It was a bit chilly as you could imagine that morning, so Lydia and I decided on the indoor mall, and that is where we found them: the most perfect pair of jeans! And the best part was that Lydia approved, so I really had no other choice but to buy them, and buy them I did. With that conquest under our belts we decided to treat ourselves to some coffee and pastries in another vital part of Stockholm called Gamla Stan, meaning ‘Old Town’. So we hopped back on the T-bana and took it one stop South where we had planned to meet another friend before hitting a café. I think this is when I finally accepted the fact that I am living in Europe: to see people sitting in coffee shops with friends, having hour-long conversations, is just not such a typical scene in busy Los Angeles, California. But the three of us had a wonderfully relaxing time talking and three hours later we decided it was time to give our table up, but not before several cups of coffee and some half dozen desserts were consumed. We said our goodbyes and went our separate ways back to the apartment as we had practice early the next morning.
The weekend proved to bring more firsts, as we held our first team gathering at the apartment, one that we are still cleaning up from. But it was well worth it to see everyone hanging out together and having a good time – which other than the first road trip weekend, we haven’t had much time for between hockey and work or school for some of the girls. Since the weekend, I have spent some more days in the city with friends and every day find it quite amazing how helpful my teammates have been to me in getting adjusted. It cannot be easy (or enjoyable?) to switch from Swedish to English and back again so frequently, but they all do it every day so that I can understand at least a little of what is going on. Though, the one thing I have learned is that when they are tired… I can forget about hearing any English. I guess without sounding too sentimental this early in the game, I feel pretty damn lucky to be in the situation I am. I don’t think I could have picked a better place and team. And just so this entry doesn’t completely lack any hockey talk, we have our first home games this weekend since my arrival and I could not be more excited!! I am looking forward to seeing our continued progress after a pretty good week of practice.
Until next time.