Thursday, August 29, 2013

Hockey Save The Date

hockey save the date, Nicholas Angell wife

I can’t believe I hadn’t posted this before! When Nick and I got engaged and had made our wedding plans, we decided to send out a save-the-date card to our friends and family. After spending some time on pinterest, I found the idea of having Nick wear his hockey skates, and myself put on a pair of heels! This way, our save-the-date can incorporate our love for hockey. So there we are! Being a hockey wife and lover, of course I wanted hockey involved in these pictures!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Back to the US on Monday!

Wow…back to the good ol’ US of A on Monday! Life will certainly be a whirlwind there for the 12 days before we get married and fly back. Oh, did I mention Nick is just going to make a guest appearance for this trip- he’ll be back for a whole 48 hours to say “I Do”, celebrate, and then we leave.
What I’m looking forward to….
  • A bubble bath- nightly. 
  • Ice cubes- in everything. My soda, my water, heck I may even start eating them plain.
  • Seeing my girls, kitty and Lily.
  • SHOPPING. I will dedicate at least two days to this. Some for clothes, some for other things we need over here— who knew my mascara was going to be triple the price?! Looks like a year supply is coming right up.
  • Hopefully, some time to relax with friends and family.
  • THE WEDDING!!! After months of planning, I cannot wait to put on my dress and start the day. I get to marry my groom, Nicholas Angell, and I get to be his wife!
  • Did I mention shopping and bubble baths?
So, I’m bound to have a couple of crazy weeks of last minute wedding planning, and re-packing to come over here…my packing skills the first time around were maybe not quite sufficient. Then again, I did know that I would be back in Minnesota and have plenty of time to grab other things (ie, winter coats, boots, a pair of shoes that aren’t sandals or open toed heels…) I’m quite excited to get back home. Hopefully, I will have plenty of time for everything I need to do- necessary things also include my bubble baths and happy hours. Heck, I don’t think there is anything on this trip that I would deemnot necessary.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

(Inter)National Dog Day

Well…yesterday in the good ol’ US of A it was supposedly national dog day. I figure I’ll be a little late to the party and make it international dog day, so here we are. Back at home of course we have our Lily (also known as lilymonster). Taking a little nap with me, and then of course for Halloween I had to dress her up as a hot dog. I think I promised this picture would never get out- but hey, Lily doesn’t read my blog (or so I think…) so she will never know!Hopefully Nick doesn’t read this post either, because I don’t think I’m allowed to dress her up ;)
Today we met our second English bulldog over here in Sweden. Little (or huge, by Lily standards!) cutie named Frankie. Really good looking bulldog. So of course I snapped a picture for Nick- and then as we were leaving discovered that Frankie can shake hands! So, despite not being able to celebrate with our girl, we found a new friend over here!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Lets Talk Hockey

Alright, we have officially been in Sweden for 3 weeks now- Nick playing hockey the whole time, and me most of it. Lets talk some of the differences I’ve noticed in hockey here versus hockey in the states. Granted, I’ve only watched 3 of Nick’s games, and had my own practices- combine that with not being an expert, and this could be totally wrong. However, it’s just my opinion- some things are better, some are worse. Overall, it does seem to be a very different game. I can see why some players are more successful in the US versus Europe, and vice versa.
The biggest difference I see? Hockey here seems to be much more of a controlled game. I see this especially in the defensive zone on break outs, as well as shift changes. When these two occur simultaneously- WOW. In Sweden, one player can sit behind the net with the puck for 3, 5, even 10 seconds with no pressure coming at him. The entire unit has time to set up their breakout, gain their speed, and prepare their momentum. In the US, you might have 2 or 3 seconds before you are pressured- if that long at all. Because of this, the game here seems to be more about controlling the puck than a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am game. Swedish hockey is very patient and controlled. 
Perhaps this patience and control extends into practices. In the US when I’ve practiced, we will tend to do a drill for maybe 3-4 repetitions a person, and then move on to the next drill. Here, you might do that same drill 15, 16, 17 times- even more- before moving on. Again, the US moving quickly and focusing on whats ahead, while here hockey focuses on the repetition and patience. 
Hockey here is also played on an Olympic sized rink, so the physical sheet of ice is bigger. Players can’t be as sporadic, or they will just get burned. Again, with the patience and picking the right moments. 
Checking and physical play. Wow, another big difference. The hits here just don’t seem to be as ‘spectacular’ as in the US. There are occasional hits, but overall it is a much less physical game here (for men’s hockey anyways. The women’s team seems to be more physical than I recall a women’s team being. Then again, this is my first time playing for a women’s team in 8 years, so I have been out of the loop). 
The common theme here that I’ll close on, is that Swedish hockey has a lot more finesse and patience. American hockey is more about grit and wearing opponents down- not ever giving them a second to rest. Perhaps later in the year I will revisit this- however, for now, these are my hockey related thoughts! 
(P.S. I do love to see my guy smoke another player-perhaps the Minnesotan in me coming out!)

Kalmar Trip

I took a road trip today to see the boys play in Oskarshamn. On the way, I took a detour and stopped at the Kalmar Castle due to the great reviews it had from people- true to form, it lived up to my expectations! Firstly, my drive started off with a pretty cool view of a thunderstorm. I love when you can see the line of the storm coming and ending! One thing I discovered I don’t love so much is Swedish drivers…more on that for another post ;)
I decided to walk around by myself, and take the guided tour another day when Nick can join me- as he is a history nerd, I know he will appreciate me waiting! However, I was able to gleam a lot of information on my solo tour. The castle has a history that goes back over 800 years, but the current configuration was established in the 16th century to create a Renaissance castle. One of the coolest things to me was inside the castle and the plaster and decoration painting. You can see this a little bit in the second picture. The ground floor has the largest blocks, the middle floor a combination of medium and small-sized blocks, and finally, the top floor (supposed to be the grandest floor) only having medium sized blocks. Of course, a lot of this plaster and decorative painting has worn away- but when you look closely you can see!
The next picture that was coolest to me was seeing the cannon balls still lodged in the walls of the castle. Being a castle, of course they had cannons to protect themselves, and at times were attacked. It is thought that the cannon balls still lodged in this wall are from the summer of 1611, when the Kalmar War was fought. It was very impressive to learn that only 6 to 8 shots could be fired from a cannon in an hour, because of the process to cool the cannons down!
The rose I have pictured is ‘Kalmar slott’, a hybrid, that is an old-fashioned Danish rose specially cultivated for Kalmar Castle! The roses are apricot-coloured, and very pretty. I thought it was fairly unique the castle had a rose cultivated just for it!
Lastly, while I was on my way to snap a couple of cool pics of the castle- along with the necessary selfie! I noticed a couple that was apparently quite ‘inspired’ by the castle. A funny observation to share!
Overall, the trip to the castle was great! These are just a few of my highlights from my tour- more to come when I bring my history nerd along with to check out the guided tour! And of course, the day was made perfect when KHK won the game 6-3, and Nick getting 1 goal 1 assist and 2 huge hits :)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

King Karl XI

A little throw-back to last weekend. I persuaded Nick to be a tourist with me and join King Karl XI to see Karlskrona from above (slightly). From August 1 until August 20, people were invited to climb up the scaffolding around this famous statue in the city square. As the founder of Karlskrona, he now sits 4 meters high and views the city from above. This particular statue has been around for 166 years so far. 
Perhaps later this week we will have the opportunity to head out on a boat cruise, and see Karlskrona and the archipelago from the water!
Until then, its crazy-ness for me wrapping up wedding planning and getting ready to go back to good old Minnesota in just one week!

Engagement Photo Favorite

I had to post this one :) We received the rest of our photos today- all in all, 78 amazing pictures! This may be my personal favorite. Stay tuned for the rest of the pictures….

Monday, August 19, 2013

Over the last year or so, I have become obsessed with Navy SEAL books. The Lone Survivor, No Easy Day, Fearless, American Sniper, the list could go on. Each of these books reiterates one of the SEALs mottos- It Pays To Be A Winner. I think this sentence holds completely true, in almost all aspects of life. Especially yesterday.
At the Ronneby Cup game yesterday, with about 2 minutes left, KHK was winning 4-2. All of a sudden, this gigantic sign was rolled out saying “Efterfest KHK?” Poking a little bit of fun, and chirping the boys, for their activities last weekend. Long story short- boys will be boys, and they had a weekend off with a team get-together. One picture was sent to the media and manipulated to look like this was a sloppy drunken mess. All of a sudden, teams, players, and fans across Europe heard of "KHK’s crazy weekend". 

It pays to be a winner. KHK came back and was winning 4-2 when the sign was rolled out- promptly taking initiative to make it a 5-2 game and clinching their spot in the finals the next day. In my book, the guys won twice yesterday- both on and off the ice.

Engagement Pictures Preview

A little preview of what is to come! We had our engagement pictures taken today by a great photographer from Karlskrona, Mikael Månsson. These pictures are traditionally taken in the US once a couple is engaged, so that they can display the pictures at their wedding. Being a new concept to Mikael and his assistant, they truly did a great job! Mikael really made us feel comfortable, and the excitement from his assistant spread quickly to Nick and I. We were fortunate to have perfect weather for the pictures- and a nice little breeze to blow my hair around. 
All in all, I would call the day a complete success. I cannot wait to see the final pictures that Mikael has taken for us! To check out some more of his work, his website is at: . 

Ice Bath

Since I’ve arrived here in Karlskrona, I’ve picked up a little habit I never thought I would. I have started running, about 5 miles a day (or 8 kilometers)- nearly every day. Talk to me three weeks ago, and I would tell you “I HATE RUNNING”. Now, however, somehow here in Sweden I have began enjoying it- maybe it is the gorgeous scenery I see on my runs. Despite the fact that for the past week- up until today- I have been unable to walk normally.
Last night, as I was complaining to Nick about this (yes, I’m the one complaining- only because of my three a day workouts ;) …seriously. Three-a-days, for the wedding) he mentioned that I should take an ice bath. Somehow, I took him seriously. So today I ended up in the ice bath. And it turned out a million times better than I had ever imagined.
When Nick mentioned this last night, I viewed it as a challenge- especially when he said "I would be surprised if you lasted 30 seconds." ….oh, so we have a challenge now? Of course, my competitive spirit couldn’t wait to participate in this and prove him wrong. Even today, I remembered that comment, and just before hopping in the freezing-cold bath filled with ice cubes, asked how long he normally went for. “Oh, about 3 minutes”. SOLD. I was thinking “I will impress your pants off, honey. You think I can’t last 30 seconds- so I will last your usual time of 3 minutes!”
So, I did it. The first bath lasted 3 minutes. Then, I hopped out for about 5, and hopped back in for another 2. The most amazing thing in the world happened afterwards- my legs felt incredible! I could run another 5 miles afterwards. 
So, now I have at least two things to look forward to every day. My five mile runs (complete with gorgeous scenery), and afterwards; perhaps a nice cold ice bath. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Engagement Picture Preview

And of course, we had to toast with some Champagne! Truly a fun experience. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Statue of Rosenbom

Rosenbom Karlskrona statue
My friend Rosenbom!

A Beggar’s Tale- and a Mystery Solved
On one of my first walks a few weeks ago, I came across this curious fellow. Other tourists were around, and each one would walk up to him, lift his hat, and get a picture. Unsure of why I was doing it- but certainly not going to miss out- I partook in the activities and got a picture of my own. Asking several people- including Nick- for the translation of his sign didn’t lead me to know the true meaning of this beggar. After some research today, I have discovered his tale and solved my mystery. Why do you lift his hat?
This beggar is actually one of Karlskrona’s best-known landmarks, the wooden statue of Rosenbom. His tale is a sad one. Mats Rosenbom was one of the first settlers on Trossö Island, along with his wife and children. Sadly, a fever killed six of his children and rendered his wife unable to work. At this point, Mats applied and was granted a beggars license. One New Years Eve, he went out begging at the homes of more fortunate townspeople and became quite drunk from the wine on offering. At one home, he made the mistake of not lifting his hat to a wealthy German figurecarver, Fitz Kolbe. When Kolbe admonished Rosenbom for this, Rosenbom retorted “If you want thanks for your crumbs to the poor, you can take my hat off yourself!” In a fit, Kolbe struck him between the eyes and sent him away. Tragically, Rosenbom never made it home that evening- falling in a snowdrift and freezing to death. When Kolbe found the beggar the next morning, he was filled with remorse and proceeded to carve a wooden statue of Rosenbom. He designed the statue so visitors may lift Rosenbom’s hat and give him some money yourself.
Thus, I have solved why I was lifting his hat! I am happy to be learning more of the history of this town and it’s sights.

**This post was added to my blog on 3/3 after mysteriously disappearing!**

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Daily Inspiration

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-

I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all of the difference.
                                               —Robert Frost ”The Road Not Taken”

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Hockey Wife's First Radio Interview

Nicholas Angell wife

Well, today Nick and I took a little trip down to the radio station for my first ever radio interview- I would give you Nick’s number but he may have lost count ;)
Not going to lie, I was a little nervous going in. What am I supposed to say? What am I going to be asked? How do I know when I should speak? How do I know if I’m saying the right thing? Did that just make me sound bad? How long should I talk for?  The list goes on…

All in all, it was fairly painless. We spoke about our mutual love for hockey, and how Nick came to Karlskrona. We talked about how I was excited to be able to play for the KHK Dam (girls) team. If you’d like, you may read about it- or for those non-Swedish speakers like myself, the interview is in English!
Now, to get me enrolled in Swedish for Immigrants so I can speak Swedish— that would be nice!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Missing My Girls

After being in Karlskrona for a week, it was fairly easy to determine what I would miss the most about Minnesota. That answer came in the form of two furry friends, kitty and Lily. As we had to leave both of our pets at home, the apartment can feel fairly empty at times- there is nobody snoring and drooling everywhere (and I’m talking about Lily here), and nobody running around and jumping up the walls at random intervals (kitty). Leaving behind two pets is pretty hard. I’m accustomed to seeing them and taking care of them, just about all day every day. Even sitting and watching TV, or reading a book, or working on the computer- its very different to do this without having two animals running around and needing my attention. 
However, only a few more weeks until I will get to see both lilymonster and kitty again! Until then, I will just have to live vicariously by petting every adorable dog I see on the streets. 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

First Day in Karlskrona

Karlskrona hockey wife

Karlskrona hockey

Well, we made it alive! Today was our first full day in Karlskrona. We spent Friday at the airport, gathering (or attempting to gather all of our lost luggage), and then made it to our new home just in time to catch some shut eye. Waking up for the first full day in Karlskrona, it was quite a beautiful day out. The weather was gorgeous, and you could smell the ocean from our apartment. We have a quaint two-bedroom apartment one block from the main city street. As Nick headed out to his golf outing, I got ready to explore my new home city. 
I took just a brief, short walk, and through the help of a new friend navigated to the oceanside where events for Karlskrona Skärgårdsfest were  being held. Here, I met with some of the KHK Damlag (KHK girls hockey team). After their floorball (floor hockey) game was over, I continued on my walk home. However, meeting with the girls was very nice- the first step to feeling at home for me was beginning to make friends.
Then, it was off to my new home to rest up for the first night on the town in Karlskrona!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Our Arrival

After landing at Copenhagen airport, and spending six hours attempting to gather our luggage- the airlines had lost all 4 of our bags- we took off for Karlskrona. Halfway through the drive home, we had a quick photo snapped of the two of us for the team’s website. To view the photo and article, it is available here:

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Now in Sweden

Nicholas Angell Sweden
Our boarding pass and passport!
We are now in Sweden, and have completed the move to Europe! I borrowed this picture from Nicholas. We departed from Minneapolis at about 7:30 PM, to take an overnight flight to Amsterdam. Over the past month, I had prepared for our move to Karlskrona- cleaning, packing, getting the condo in order, all of the general last-minute things. However, it was not until we were halfway across the Atlantic ocean, dozing off, that my head snapped up with the realization- I was moving to another country. Granted, yes, a temporary move for 8-9 months- but nonetheless, moving to a country I had never been to and didn’t speak the native language.
Wow. Thank goodness I had, and have, Nicholas here as my guide and my rock. Being that he has been here before, I can rely on him to help me out a little bit. 
I had gone through the motions of moving, and said my good-byes and see-you-laters to friends and family. Started making plans for them to visit. But it took being halfway done with an eight-hour flight (the first leg in our journey) to process what I was actually doing. I’ve never experienced a feeling quite like it, and don’t truly have the words to describe it. The realization we were moving to Europe started hitting me as we were halfway across the Atlantic. It continued the further our travels brought us. After two delayed flights and all of our luggage having been lost, we were finally in Copenhagen ready to be picked up by a representative from the team and head to Karlskrona. Sitting at the airport for six hours, we finally recovered two of our bags. During this entire time, Nick primarily spoke Swedish- to everyone we spoke with, to the guest service representatives at the baggage counter, and to the team representative. This continued on our drive to Karlskrona, and at the hockey rink where he dropped the bags off. Once we got to the apartment and put our carry-ons inside, he suggested a walk in the city. We hadn’t gone more than a block when I started to cry and be unable to stop it— I had succeeded so far over the past several hours. The lack of sleep, being overtired from travel, and all of the realizations of moving had finally truly hit me, and I was in the middle of a city crying. Talk about feeling alone in the world- of course, Nick was by my side, but he was fitting in and fluent in Swedish, not trying to leave me out, but essentially doing just that. Time to go to bed for me, and take on the city on a new day. One way or another, we are now in Sweden.
So our journey has now truly begun!

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