Friday, January 31, 2014

Hockey Differences

A few months ago, I posted about some of the differences in hockey in the United States versus in Europe. To read that post, you can click here. As a recap, the biggest difference to me was the pace of the game and how much more controlled hockey is in Sweden. Now that I've had a few more months of hockey here- both playing my own games, and watching Nick's, I figure its time to talk about some of the other differences!

A lot of the differences in Swedish hockey comes from the rule differences, which distinctly affect the play and style of play. One rule difference I noted right away- when a penalty is called, the face-off is automatically in the defensive zone for the offending team. This gives a distinct advantage to the power play team: firstly, they are poised to have an immediate scoring chance, secondly, when the penalty is called they are able to be more poised with the puck and take their time to set up a scoring opportunity, even taking the puck all the way back into the defensive zone to set up a breakout. In the US, you would not see a team bring the puck backwards simply because the face-off will be at the point closest to where the puck is touched by the offending team.

Another rule difference happens with a defensive team ices the puck. The line currently on the ice is not allowed to change, and referees enforce this by bringing players who attempted to change back onto the ice. In North American hockey, icing is often a tactic used to get a change if your team is having difficulties getting the puck out of the defensive zone. This gives another advantage to the team that has been controlling the puck, because they can continue to wear down the defensive team. By not allowing icing the puck to be a method of changing, hockey here has more of an emphasis on controlling the puck and controlled breakouts.

The final difference that I briefly touched on before is the physicality of a game here. European hockey simply does not have as much checking, and the checks that are thrown aren't as hard. Because hockey over here focuses more on control, there is less of an emphasis on hitting the opponent to remove him from the puck. And the fighting? Non-existent, unless you count the numerous after-the-whistle shoving matches. Occasionally, a punch may be thrown, but only as the player is already backtracking away from the potential fight- there is no intention of getting in a fight.

That's it for now! Big hockey weekend ahead- I have the final two games of my season, and a road game for Nick's team.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I Love Learning





I love to learn and be challenged. Growing up, I was probably always that girl in class with her hand waving in the air, because I knew the answer. Truthfully, things haven't changed much around here. After I graduated from college with my bachelors degree, I was so happy because I thought I would be done with school forever. The papers, the studying, it starts to wear on you after 21 years straight of it.

Fast forward three years, and here I am again, textbook in hand, working on my Master's degree. A little break from school was wonderful, and showed me that I love to learn. So much so that I'm sharing a few of my favorite math jokes with you. I may or may not have had a super cool calculus t-shirt in high school. And as I'm looking online at calculus t-shirts trying to find it, I want all of them. Nerd.

Right now, I'm taking a little break and procrastinating my studying. Why? Because it's what I always do. I work better on a deadline. It works for me though. So far, in my course, I have 99.48%. At first, the course I'm taking- International Entrepreneurship- was really easy. Which is why I have decided to make it more challenging for myself. A lot of what we do is analyzing entrepreneurial situations, and what a business or company should do. I am purposefully picking the more difficult situations now, and arguing my way through them. The paper I'm working on right now deals with looking at one aspect of Porter's diamond, and our own entrepreneurial venture. I could talk about the factor endowments (easy) or I could talk about the demand condition (more difficult). And here I go again, on a tangent nobody but myself will care about…because I love learning and talking about it!

Even without working towards a degree, you can always be learning. Reading everything- the newspaper, books, magazines- contributes towards your learning. New languages. New experiences and people. It is simply a conscious (or for us nerds, unconscious) effort of absorbing information around you and applying it to your own situations and experiences.

That's it for today, as I will head back to my studying! Hope you all enjoyed my nerd jokes- if you have any of your own, feel free to share!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tuesday Thoughts Week 2

What did you do this past weekend?
This past weekend was a busy one! KHK had an away game Friday evening, so I headed to a friend's house and watched the game. Saturday was filled with a hockey game of my own (a tough loss to an incredibly talented team) and then a night out with my team! Sunday, another hockey game for Nick- and another win!

What are your top 5 places you've traveled to?
This is a tough decision…but in no particular order: Munich for Oktoberfest, Las Vegas, Cancun, Sweden (yes I consider this travel!), and strangely enough, Milwaukee (first time, I went with my MOH for the fourth of July with her family. Second time, I went without her and took Nick to Summerfest & visited her family!) 

What are you listening to right now?
Right now I'm listening to the Beatles. They have been my study music for several years- and being that I'm currently procrastinating my homework, they are on in the background!

Name the first three things you do in the mornings.
Of course, this depends on the morning- but usually, I spend some time on my phone checking e-mails and such. Now that I've started running again, my next step is getting my running clothes on and heading out the door! This morning, I woke up and checked e-mails, showered, and headed out the door to a coffee shop to study. 

What did you study in school?
I got my undergraduate degree in Entrepreneurial Management from the University of Minnesota. Currently, I am working towards an International Masters of Business Administration in Marketing. 

What is your favorite holiday?
I think my favorite holiday would have to be Christmas. When I was growing up, it was always a very busy time of the year- we would always go to either Bemidji, Minnesota, or to North Dakota to visit our extended family for Christmas Eve. Then, on Christmas Day, we would drive to the other house and spend the rest of the holiday with them. Combine that with snowmobiling, pond hockey, delicious food, and tons of family time, there is nothing better. One of my favorite traditions has always been at church singing "Silent Night" with all of the lights turned off and everyone holding candles. This year, while I couldn't be there, my family sent me videos so I felt like I was still a part of everything!

What is your best achievement to date?
I think my best achievement would have to be graduating from college with my bachelor's degree in 3 years. I studied at one of the best business schools in the country and was able to finish my degree a year early, while being involved in other activities and working the whole time. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Things I Miss From Home

Recently, Nick and I have begun talking a little bit more about home than we did in the beginning of the season. Perhaps this has something to do with his countdown calculator on his phone- it now has less than 80 days. Crazy, considering we started the app back in September sometime with almost 200 days on it! With that being said, here are just a few things we are missing from home- you'll notice a pattern pretty quickly!

1. Customer Service! Everywhere- especially in restaurants. As an ex-manager, and ex-pretty-much-everything-restaurant-related, it has been hard for me to adapt to the different standards of customer service- mainly, that it is fairly non-existent in Europe. Now, I know this is a little bit harsh- we have had very good service at a few restaurants, and I have relaxed my standards. But this is the one thing I think both Nick and I miss the most about the US!

2. Target. One stop shopping. For groceries, for clothes, for that hole punch I really need, and for the other 98 things I will be guaranteed to pick up and buy at every trip. Useless spending, but sometimes you need it!

3. Manny's Steakhouse. YUM. Nick and I have already planned our first meals back in the US- cramming them all in before the honeymoon, after which his summer training will start immediately- and Manny's is first on the list. I'll do the eight, nope, twelve, ounce filet. He'll do the baseball steak. Both cooked to a perfect medium rare. To top this off, we'll probably order that ridiculous 3 pound Australian lobster tail. Oh, and the cheesecake- with extra chocolate sauce for me.

4. Happy Hour. Cheap food, cheap drinks, and great friends- what more could you want, especially at four in the afternoon?!

5. Open Hockey. This has become one of my favorite pastimes- open hockey with the guys at the rink, and especially when Nick joins us!

6. Pizza Hut. Dominos. Stadium Pizza. Greasy, delicious, thick crusted, American pizza.

7. Olive Garden. Noodles. Chipotle. Big 10. Buffalo Wild Wings. Hmm….let me just look up a list of "every restaurant located in Minneapolis" and get back to you on this one…

8. Central Time Zone. (or EST, or PST)….Now, this might sound like a weird one, but trust me its not. Being in the same time zone- or even a few hours different- from all of your friends, family, sporting events, and TV shows. This year, I'll be watching the Superbowl…starting at 11 PM. I have to constantly remind myself NOT to text/call friends before 4 PM- otherwise, its no later than 9 AM for them!

9. Bath tub.

10. Friends & Family. Need I say more? I haven't been close (distance-wise) with either since July. Of course, we've had a few visitors- and loved that! But one week with people is much different from living in the same city or area.

That's it for now! It is crazy how quickly the last several months have gone. Right now, we only have a month left of regular season- then it'll be a crazy couple of weeks (hopefully!) and we will jet off back home! Time certainly does fly around here.

Samantha

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tuesday Thoughts

What's your drink/cocktail of choice? 
This always seems to depend on my mood. While hanging out at home with my husband, I tend to stick to beer- unless he'll join me for a bottle of wine! With the girls, its always wine. But at the end of a dinner on the town, a celebration, or any time I need a pick-me-up, champagne always gives me that happy bubbly feeling I crave.

Do you have a signature scent?
I've always been a Burberry Brit girl.

What is your go-to restaurant?
Oh boy…this is a toughie. In Karlskrona, Nick and I head to Michelangelo's a lot- its a quiet, cozy restaurant perfect for our date nights. Back home there is a great differential between the two, but we love Manny's and Stadium Pizza (talk about polar opposites!)

What is the top item on your wishlist right now?
Right now, the biggest thing on my wish list isn't as simple as heading off to a store and picking it up. I am looking forward to being home for the summer, and enjoying plenty of time (three full months!) with family and friends.

What'd you do this past weekend?
Nick returned home from a road trip on Friday, so we just took the night easy. Saturday, I had a hockey game (we won!) and then travelled up to Jönköping to meet some of Nick's friends. Read about that post here.

Where are you, and where would you like to travel to next?
Right now, I am hanging out at home in Karlskrona, Sweden. As far as travel to next- the big vacation I am looking forward to comes in just under three months when I will be off to Thailand for my honeymoon! In the meanwhile, I am sure I will get an itch for a mini-vacation the next time Nick has a few days off. Perhaps a new little town in Sweden!

What are you currently reading?
I've taken a slight break over the last few weeks in reading since beginning my Master's. Right now, the only book I am exploring is "Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Regional Development" --for my course. I wouldn't recommend it as light reading. Previous to this, I did read "The Wolf of Wall Street" and "This is Russia." The Wolf of Wall Street was an alright book, but I found it hard to truly enjoy because I felt I was just reading about his drug habits. This is Russia was a very interesting book to me because it helped me to learn more about my husband's time playing in the KHL. 



What are you currently watching?
Lately, I have gotten into Scandal with Kerry Washington. In the past two weeks, Nick and I have pretty much watched the entire first two seasons- time for a new show!

Favorite quote of the moment?
Right now, I'd have to quote part of a song lyric by Passenger: "Only hate the road when your missin' home"

Tell us a secret or funny fact about yourself…
My family (my Dad, specifically) grows giant pumpkins. Highest record so far, 1217.5 pounds- and this is always a great conversation starter!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Jönköping Trip

Beautiful Sunday morning out of our hotel room
Dinner with friends at Aqua
This past weekend, Nick was fortunate and had a couple of days off. We decided that as soon as I was finished with my hockey game on Saturday (a victory for the girl's team- now in 2nd place in the league!) we would head up to Jönköping to visit a couple of his friends. We arrived, checked into our hotel room quickly, and then were headed off to dinner at Aqua, his friend's restaurant. Dinner was amazing- I would recommend Aqua to anybody! The wine was great, service excellent (on par with customer service in the US, a rare find in Europe) and the food even better. Both Nick and I had our classic order of the plank steak, and the steak was the best I have had in Sweden. After dinner, we headed out for a couple of drinks at Velvet Lounge, and then back to the hotel by 12 or so for a relaxing end to the evening.

We slept in on Sunday and awoke to a gorgeous day. Both Nick and I took a bath before starting our day. Nick was friends and teammates with Stefan Liv, and part of the reason for our trip to Jönköping was to visit his gravesite. For my friends back in the US, Stefan was a Swedish hockey player and a member of the KHL team who's plane crashed in September 2012. I did not know Stefan, and accompanied Nick to support him. In a single word, Stefan's grave was moving. It is very evident how much Stefan is loved by his friends, family, and community. I don't have the proper words to describe the outpouring of love I witnessed, so I will not try. The visit was emotionally difficult, and I know how much it meant to Nick to have the opportunity to pay his respects.

Jönköping is a beautiful city, and I know we will be back.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Vasa Museum






backside of Vasa

On Wednesday, per the recommendation of Nick, my family and I headed to check out Vasa Museum. While there, I was very happy that I have previously visited the Marine Museum in Karlskrona a couple of times- it gave me some good background knowledge!

Vasa was a warship built in 1625 and finished in 1628. Vasa was built to help fight in the war against Poland. An interesting fact is that Vasa was built with Polish Oak-- imported from the Danish. Vasa was supposed to be one of the most fierce warships of her time, with two levels of cannons ready to fire in war. The ship originally was built to be very colorful, and a sign to enemies to stay away. On the front of Vasa, she was led by a statue of King Gustav II Adolf, flanked on each side by the 20 greatest Roman Emperors because King Gustav wanted to be seen as equals with the emperors.

Vasa was to set sail in August of 1628, and only made it about 20 minutes into her voyage before she sank in the harbor of Stockholm. The warship had several design failures- not enough ballast, too skinny, and too tall- that caused her to be pushed over incredibly quickly by the wind. Vasa remained underwater for 333 years before she was salvaged. Vasa (and other ships in the Baltic Sea) are able to be salvaged because the water is not salty enough to allow the worm wood to live. A lot of the original coloring of Vasa did fade and disappear over the years. Vasa, as seen now, is over 98% original.

Overall, Vasa museum was a really interesting experience and one I would recommend to anyone who visits Stockholm. We spent several hours at the museum and were very impressed. Free guided tours are offered, as well as a video.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Stockholm with my Family!


Gamla Stan

"No Mother-in-laws Allowed"








 Last week I headed off to Stockholm for a few days with my family! The first night we took it easy and just walked around the Gamla Stan (old city) for a little while. We took in the sights, and stopped at a few little pubs with cool dungeon-like basements. While walking around the Gamla Stan, I was surprised how much I remembered the area from my previous trip to Stockholm in October with Nick. I even found the same vintage phone booth- so of course had to snap a picture there!

At one of the pus, the sign outside said "No mother-in-laws allowed", so we snapped a picture to send to Nick saying good thing he wasn't with, or my Mom wouldn't have been able to head inside! I found the sign interesting, especially because I have seen a couple signs like that while in Sweden.

After touring Gamla Stan, we headed back to our hotel for some dinner and to get some rest- it had been a long day of driving for me! Wednesday we visited the Vasa Museum, and Thursday headed to the Swedish Museum of Science & Technology. I'll post about each of those museums in the next few days!

Samantha


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Oskarshamn-KHK Fan Bus

Fans outside the bus
"I was a drummer in high school…"
Taking a turn with the flag

video

Shortly after New Years, my parents and younger brother were able to come visit Nick and I in Karlskrona. The day after they got here, KHK had an away game at Oskarshamn, so we decided to hop on the fan bus and head to the game! For people back in the US, I would describe the fan bus as a tailgating party that just happens to take place on a bus heading to the away games. I've been on it twice so far, and both times was a blast! My family really enjoyed it. My Mom got to play the drums for a bit- apparently she was a drummer back in high school.

The game was a lot of fun too- KHK won 5-2, Nick had a goal, an assist, and was player of the game! I'm happy my family was able to see a win on the road and enjoy the trip to and from the game.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Copenhagen New Year

This year I was fortunate enough to experience my first European New Years Eve. To my American friends, the best way to describe this is a 4th of July on steroids- but BETTER. To start the night off, we went for a drink at the Hard Rock Cafe in Copenhagen (classic, American place. After all, we have made a tradition of celebrating holidays in Europe in some sort of American fashion). Followed by that, we went to XO Burger's. They had a 3-course prix fixe menu that was nothing short of delicious. To make the deal even sweeter, they had (pretty much) all-you-could-drink wine pairings to go with each course. Our server was wonderful, and I would recommend to anybody visiting Copenhagen.

After dinner, we hit the street. Yes, the street. From about 11:30 until 1 AM, we stood in the middle of the street in Copenhagen and watched one of the best (if not the best) firework show of my life. The city put on a show, but besides that every person standing in the street was lighting off fireworks and shooting them towards the sky. Imagine a metro population of 2 million people, plus all the visitors, in the streets enjoying the evening.

We managed to capture one video of the evening- unfortunately, no pictures! It was one of those evenings spent enjoying each others company, and forgetting about the rest of the world- until, of course, midnight! For the record, pictures and videos wouldn't do it justice. This is something you must experience yourself!

video


Hope you enjoyed your NYE 2014, and have had a great start to the New Year thus far!

Samantha

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Arizona Trip

After Christmas, I took a little trip down to Arizona to surprise my family. We had a family reunion planned for several months. However, once Nick signed in Karlskrona, we didn't think we would be able to make it. Fortunately, I was able to book a ticket to the US and surprise the entire family!

To start the trip, I left Karlskrona at 6:45, and began my journey of chasing the sun around the world. Train to Copenhagen, then a flight to Washington D.C., where I almost caught up! However, with a tour hour layover, the sun passed me. However, it allowed for beautiful views on my last flight from DC to Phoenix.

On both Saturday and Sunday, my entire family got together for dinner- complete with matching family reunion t-shirts and all! For anybody worried about it, I was able to bring one home to Karlskrona for Nick as well- so almost like he made it to the reunion!

It was so good to see my family again, even if just for two nights. I hadn't realized how much I missed them, and home in general, until I saw everybody again and had to leave just over a day later. Fortunately, I was coming home to a wonderful husband and the knowledge that my parents and younger brother would be visiting in just a few days. However, I also knew I wouldn't see the rest of my family until at least April- and more than likely May, by the time Nick and I return from the honeymoon. But, again, focusing on the positive- and my family would get to see where Nick and I live just a few days from when I left them in Arizona!
Grandparents and Grandkids
The entire family reunion
Sunset from the plane
Family picture
Cactus! 
Leaving the mountains

Friday, January 3, 2014

Paris Christmas Markets

Christmas Market leading up to the Eiffel Tower
Nicholas Angell wife
A cup of Glühwein! 

Cotton Candy at the Christmas Market for night #1 
Nick giving Santa some loving!

Some interesting animal statues at a market

One of the markets led right up to the giant Ferris Wheel

Here we are with a few pictures from the Paris Christmas Markets! It seemed like every time we turned a corner, there was a new market to explore. It was a lot of fun to try all of the different foods available- German sausages, cotton candy, Belgian waffles, roasted nuts, and Glühwein to name a few! Nick has commented that both Tivoli and the Paris Christmas Markets were much more like the ones he love in Germany. It was so nice to be able to enjoy and share this with him- but, I'm sure next year we will have to take a trip down to Germany to explore!

The Christmas Markets were a great way to get into the Christmas spirit. Of course, after ending our trip to Paris we headed home- and a few delayed flights later, we made it home to an empty kitchen and fridge! For our first Christmas Eve as a married couple, Nick and I took it easy; hanging out at home and exchanging gifts between the two of us. Then, on Christmas Day he was off to practice, and returned home with several of the guys for a good dinner!

Although Christmas is officially over to most people, Nick and I still have a  small celebration left with my family when they are here! So, between Bubbetorp, Tivoli, Paris, and finally a celebration with my family, we will have managed to make the Christmas spirit last almost a full month!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Paris!

First view of the Eiffel Tower!



I thought the shrubs looked like Gumdrops!


Seine River
Nick Angell



Eiffel Tower at night
Great picture of the Eiffel Tower at night!
Playing with our new camera & photo options!
Arc De Triomphe



Well, a little over a week and I finally have time to write about our trip to Paris! Nick and I had a wonderful time exploring the city together. Mostly (as you can see in our pictures!) we strolled around by the Eiffel Tower and went to several Christmas Markets. At night, we made a habit of cafe-hopping. We would go somewhere for an appetizer and wine, then move on for dinner, and dessert lastly! It was a great way to try a great number of little restaurants and the various wine offered at each place. Today I have just posted our pictures from walking around- I will post Christmas Market pictures tomorrow!

I was surprised and impressed by Paris, I think because I went there with very low expectations. Many people I have talked to- friends and family- from back home in the US have not enjoyed Paris, for various reasons. Pretty much everybody I talked to said that they had disliked Paris, and felt no need to ever return-- this set the bar pretty low for me. After a couple days of walking around and checking things out, I was definitely ready to leave Paris. However, I thought the city was very pretty, and would be even more so in the summer. The people we spoke with were all very nice, and actually had very good English. I was able to get wine recommendations at every restaurant, and even received a list from one of our servers of wines he thought we should try during our stay. Paris was a great vacation for Nick and I, and the perfect way to start our Christmas celebrations! 

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