Living abroad and having 'nothing' (yet everything) to do can easily make a person become many things; introverted, lazy, bored, an over thinker, a procrastinator, a busy bee, a gym rat or the opposite, homesick... the list goes on. That is why I usually have a pretty strict routine while I am here. This year it consisted of (other than when we had guests) going to the gym, walking Raylan (our puppy), going to the dog park, going for coffee & dinner dates, watching my favorite TV shows, hanging out with friends, going to hockey games, working on our wedding, planning our honeymoon, cleaning, cooking, baking, trying to drink enough water, keeping in contact with life at home and trying not to miss people too much, and trying to blog on a somewhat consistent basis... this list also could go on and on.
I am a list person, and usually have I have a daily list of what to do and what to accomplish each day, it helps me keep just the right amount of busy and fill each day with purpose. Well last month, something really terrible happened back home and I broke down. I fell out of any routine I had and had no motivation to do anything. I will share what happened sometime, but not now.
Thank God the sun came out here in Sweden, and I am starting to feel normal again and getting back into the routine of things. I have to continually remind myself of all of the beautiful and wonderful things in life. The sunshine makes that so much easier than the dark grey skies we had all winter.
One wonderful and fabulous thing that happened the past few weeks was that Sam's hockey team had an amazing finish to the season. They won their last nine games and that put them into third place for their league, and that instantly qualified them for Kvalserien! Kvalserien is a round-robin hockey tournament that determines in what leagues the teams in the tournament will be in the following season. The two leagues in the tournament are the SHL (the top league in Sweden) and HockeyAllsvenskan (the second league in Sweden).
The Kvalserien tournament/playoffs consists of six teams. The teams are selected based on where the finished the regular season. The bottom two teams from the SHL are in the playoffs, and the top three teams from the Allsvenskan are also automatically in the playoffs (Sam's team). The teams that finished fourth through seventh in the regular season in the Allsvenskan are all currently battling one another for the last spot in the Kvalserien. They all play each other once at home and once away. While they are busy playing six games and fighting for that last playoff spot, we have been having quite the relaxing time! The boys still practice nearly every day, but we had a whole weekend off last week, Saturday and Sunday! Just so you know, that is very rare! I think Sam is anxious to get playing again, games are his absolute favorite thing, and he gets a bit antsy when he has to wait so long in-between them. The first game of the Kvalserien is on the seventeenth, so only five more days to wait!
Once the tournament starts, each team plays each other once at home and once away. These games are almost every-other day, with a few exceptions when we have two days between games. Routine will be great for me during these times as I will have a large chunk of time at home to myself, and obviously I want to stay productive so that when we do finally get home, we can relax and be ready for the wedding!!
As I said before, the Kvalserien determines who will be in each league the next year. So all of the Allsvenskan teams are fighting to move up, and the SHL teams are both fighting to stay in the SHL. Sam's team had been in the SHL for it's whole existence when they were relegated two years ago (this is their second year in the Allsvenskan) they have a huge fan base here in Stockholm. His team won the championship of the SHL sixteen times, more than any other team. I think everybody is hoping to see our team, Djurgården play like we know they can, be champions and move back up to where they belong!
We have the best fans!!
With that being said, it is not everybody wants to see us move up! Djurgårdens biggest rival in the SHL is and was a team called AIK, they are the other team in Stockholm, they actually share an arena. They didn't do so well this year and finished in last place in the SHL. We will be playing them twice here in Stockholm during the Kvalserien, I cannot wait!! Last time they played each other there was complete chaos in the stands, fighting between fans... just unbelievably wild, see for yourself in the video below!