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Ostrow Adjusting Well to Life and Hockey in Sweden!

So I was in the locker room on Sunday listening to the coaches explain some stuff before the game and I kept hearing "spelar." And it has been a word I’ve been hearing a lot while at hockey. I asked my teammate Cilla who I was sitting next to if that word meant "play" and I was right! It was such a cool feeling to have figured out what a word meant just by hearing it so much. I never looked it up or asked someone how to say "play." After hearing it so much I figured it out from context. I never believed people when they said you’ll pick up the language just from being there long enough. But it has been proven true.  Two months in and I am now starting to get a hang of what the coaches are saying. I’m hearing things over and over again and words are starting to stick out. Like I kept hearing "bra tjejer" and figured out on my own that it means "good girls." It is nice that I am playing hockey because I am getting directly spoken to in Swedish vs. just being in Sweden and hearing people talk Swedish around me but not to me. I have signed up to take a Swedish class in January offered through my university. I could have taken it this semester but I wanted to get a base before jumping into it. Come January I think the class will be easier because I have been picking up words and sounds. I find enjoyment in how my coaches translate hockey terms into English. Referees=judges, bench=booth, net=goal, shot=score, backcheck=home (they scream "hem, hem, hem" when they want us to backcheck). It’s amusing. My goalie Mandy and I chuckle to each other. It is nice having another American to get my jokes and slang. 

We had our first season game today against Karlskrona which is about 5 hours south from Norrkoping. We won 7-0 and I got a hat trick as well as an assist. Pretty baller. I got the game puck which is sweet. I am so happy I am playing here because I have gotten my passion back for hockey. I am having so much fun with my team and everything associated with the hockey. I enjoy the practices and the team is getting closer which is awesome. The intensity is high enough to where I can’t mess around but it is not too high to where the fun is taken out of it and it is more of a job than an activity. We have our second season game next Sunday at home which I am excited about. My roommates said they might come to support us, which would be awesome. And my friend Ethan also wants to catch a game so hopefully I’ll have some fans.

My Swedish roommate Karin, dog mushes and I got to train the dogs with her. It is so much fun. She rode a wagon while I rode a scooter/bike thing. Two wheels, handlebars, and I stand. Two dogs pulled me while 3 dogs pulled her. We went 14 km in the middle of the forest and were out while it got dark so we wore bright headlamps and it was awesome being pulled in the dark in the middle of the forest. The dogs are amazing. They can pull me up hills. I kick a little to help them on very long/steep ones but for the most part they can do it all themselves. And they are so trained and behaved. They listen to Karin so well and know directions and speeds. I’ve tried to go more than the two times I’ve gone but our schedules haven’t synced right. I can’t wait to train them on the snow. Dog mushing…check.

The weather is getting significantly colder. I am not prepared for it. It’s only going to get colder and darker. On a positive note, I’ll get to wear my kick ass winter hats that I love so much.  I’ve been getting some work in at the warehouse and substituting at a school. I let the kids play games instead of do work. We played hangman with Swedish words, I taught them Heads Up 7 Up, and we played music trivia. They definitely think I’m the coolest sub. I really have settled in and love it here. Now that the season has started it is more exciting. Can’t wait to show Sweden how Americans do it!


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