December 9, 2015

October - Present

The past few months have been anything but stationery for me.  Sam says Raylan thinks I am just a visitor to our house in Finland. Speaking of visitors, we had a lot of them.  Since early October I believe Sam and I have only had nine days of us being together in Finland (without having family staying with us).

I feel so lucky to be able to travel so many amazing places lately, but my favorite place I just visited was Minnesota.  In October I spent time in Athens and Santorini with my mom. Then Sam and I had an absolutely amazing time in Germany for the Deutschland cup in early November.  When my father was visiting we flew to Oulu, Finland and then drove to the Arctic circle.  Last year my brother and I drove all the way there, I learned my lesson and decided it was really a place to fly to rather than drive.  Link to blog about driving to the Arctic Circle. Now I just had a wonderful week back in the states visiting my family and am on my way back to Finland.  It will be nice to spend a few weeks together with Sam and my big black puppy Raylan before Christmas!  Sam and I will be heading to Switzerland for Christmas break.  

It was my first time in five hockey seasons going home mid-season.  I loved it, I think I should will do it every year!

November 5, 2015

Deutschland Cup

I figured it was time for a little catch up... again.  We are currently in Augsburg, Germany (1hr from Munich) for a tournament called the Deutschland Cup.  Earlier this season Sam and I were thrilled to receive invitation for Sam to play in this tournament for Team USA.  

The tournament consists of four countries each playing three games.  The countries are Germany, USA, Switzerland, and Slovakia.  Team USA and Canada each play in the tournament biyearly. 

The two years before I met Sam he played for team USA in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Then we met while he was playing for the Gophers and I never had a chance to see him in the red, white, and blue. I am very excited to go see the games and to watch them play (&&& also to hopefully win!).  

SaiPa and the whole Liiga are on break right now, so we are not missing any hockey games back in Finland... but we are missing our big puppy!  She is back in Lappenranta at a wonderful boarding facility. 

While we are here in Germany we have some free time to go exploring and have a little vacation.  We arrived Tuesday night.  Wednesday we drove (Autobahn zoom zoom!) down to Neuschwanstein Castle for the day.  My first time to Munich we missed this beautiful 'Disney-like' castle (thanks dad) and I knew I would come back for it someday and I finally did.  It did not disappoint! We then drove into Munich and did a little shopping, they have to most unbelievable shopping (thanks Sam).  We then zoom-zoomed back to Augsburg for a little team gathering to meet everyone.  

Today the team is having their first and only practice and I am off to explore Augsburg! I heard they have a great old town.  

The drive was beautiful!

View from up near the castle, you can see Hohenschwangau Castle.

Neuschwanstein Castle

I think I was squeaking with happiness right here.

We get to 'Do Fall' all over again!

More to come!

xo Cacilie 

September 22, 2015

Quick trip to Helsinki

After a fabulous win on Saturday night by SaiPa, the boys were given the following Sunday &&& Monday off!  Immediately after hearing this I had booked a room in Helsinki and had the weekend all planned; shopping, the market, eating, Starbucks, and Macarons.   

The "weekend" (what do you call Sunday-Monday?) went exactly as planned. 

We got a late start Sunday morning heading off to Helsinki and arrived around two o'clock.  We went straight to Market Square and had one of our favorite meals.  Sam had salmon and I had reindeer.  Sam also had reindeer because as you can see in my pictures, its a lot of food for one normal person. 

After that we went and got Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Starbucks.  I always tell them my name is Sam when I am at Starbucks because its just not fun always spelling my name to everyone five times.  I was with Sam, so clearly the name Sam was already taken... I told the barista "My name is tricky so you can just write Sam."  He laughed and said, "Ok Tricky".  Hence the name on my cup.  

Starbucks in hand I ran down to the Stockman Deli and grabbed one of my favorite huge-pistacio-macarons.  At this point my cheeks hurt from smiling, I was elated.  After about ten minutes of shopping (in the men's section) we found out that dinner was in just forty five minutes with two other couples from the team.  We ran back to the hotel, changed, took Raylan on a walk, and headed out to dinner. 

Dinner was at Gaijin a Japanese and Korean restaurant. Its a sharing sort of restaurant where everyone orders the same six course menu... which I'm sure is nice when you are able to eat that menu.  I was told that they could make me a short menu that would be gluten free, with no choice whatsoever of I was going to be eating.  It was a true surprise every time they brought something out randomly when no-one else currently had food (not always a good surprise).  Meanwhile for two + hours I watched everyone else share the tastes of at least six different animals.  

We took Raylan on a walk around the Esplanadi with some friends, grabbed some snacks and headed back to the hotel. 

The next morning we had breakfast in the hotel, & Sam took Raylan on a nice walk in the Rain.  Next we headed to... can you guess?? Starbucks!  I bought some beans to take back to Lappeenranta (Starbucks err day!!) Then directly to the Stockman Deli for a Macaron; I was ready to shop.  We shopped for hours.  Then we headed to lunch at a highly recommended place called Cholo for some burritos.  They were delicious, not quite Chipotle, but we will be going back.  

We were craving some sweets afterwards so I searched and found a bakery that looked worth trying out: Café Ekberg.  Once we were inside I knew we had found a gem.  Upon checking out truffles, and more Macarons I asked the baker a little about Café Ekberg and found out it was a fourth-generation family owned bakery that has been around since 1843.  The treats were divine, a definite must in Helsinki! 

After a little more shopping, I grabbed another Latte and we headed back to Lappeenranta.  It felt really good to get 'home'.  Crazy how in just three weeks how much our little house feels like home. 

Thirsty girl 

So in just over 30 hours I managed three PSLs and got Macarons three times. #winning

xo Cacilie 

September 17, 2015

Jääkiekko Time!

Since we arrived, we have been feeling so busy! Between trying out some of the new places in town, meeting new people, enjoying the weather, and exercising Raylan we have been engrossed in activities. 

Oh, and the hockey season started!!  SaiPa (the team Sam is on) have played three games, and are currently the number one team in the league!  Sam has been playing well, and that make Raylan and I very happy.  They play another game tonight (away) so lets hope the team keeps playing like they have been so we can keep our situation at the top of the league going strong.  I will link the league website below for anyone who wants to keep track of the season.  The first link will the original link in Finnish and the one below will be the translated version. 

I was also recently made aware of two other ways to keep track of the season, and even watch the games back home! 

The first one is an app called FlashScore, it basically just tells the stats of every sport.. ever... like lots of sports. 

The second one I am a little more excited about, it is Ruutu.  I knew about Ruutu last season, I was just told that it didn't work in the States.  I received confirmation that it works, you just have to use GoogleChrome.  You simply pay the monthly fee ($30) or the per game fee ($15) to watch the games live, or even after the game.. basically whenever convenient with that <eight hour time zone> difference.  Here is a link to that website Finnish Link to RuutuEnglish Link to Ruutu.  

Pretty sure that is everything I know about the hockey season thus far.  I will try to keep updates coming occasionally through the season. However, if I forget to do that, now you have the links so you should be all set for the next few months! (right? wink)

These hockey photos were not taken by me, I found them on the Saipa Facebook page.

xo Cacilie