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

September 7, 2015

Back in Lappeenranta, Finland

 I am finding it hard to believe that Raylan and I were back in Minnesota just over a week ago.  This first week back in Finland has been nothing but good to us.  

The first thing we did upon arrival at the airport was get some Starbucks for the drive home.  This was probably a good idea due to the fact that I didn't sleep a wink on the flight over.  Lets just say I had half a seat due to the large man next to me who was 'spilling over'.  On the drive home it started to rain, but then as we were approaching Lappeenranta we were greeted with a double rainbow!

We went right to our new place for the season.  Which we love, seriously everyone should come and visit wink, wink.  It is a townhouse with a yard for Raylan!  I cannot tell you how nice it is to just be able to let her out on her own, especially because the thermometer is only going to go one way throughout the season.  We have everything we could possibly need in our new home; a grill for sam, a sauna for being 'Faux Finnish', a KitchenAid for my baking habits, a fireplace for those long winter months, two bedrooms for all of the people who will hopefully be coming to visit, and heated floors for my freezing feet!  I could probably keep going on and on, but bottom line is that we are truly very happy here && so is sweet baby Raylan. 

Lappeenranta is not the same as last year, it is so much better!  There is a new mall called IsoKristiina that has many new restaurants, clothing stores, coffee/bakery shops, specialty shops, a hotel,  health food stores, and even a juice bar.  If any of you know me, this is news that made me giddy.  I also believe that the arena made some renovations this summer that I am yet to see, first home game of the regular season is Friday! With all of these changes to Lappeenranta its almost as though it is a new town, just full of familiar faces.  

Raylan has been going to the d o g p a r k quite a bit since we arrived.  Each time is it so cute to see her re-meeting dogs that she knew last year.  Its so cute when you can tell when they remember each other, which sometimes results in snuggles in the dirt.  

We went blueberry picking in one of the many Finnish forests near to Lappeenranta yesterday.  It was crazy how ubiquitous the blueberries were!  We picked for about an hour and yielded about half a gallon of fresh, wild, tasty, blueberries! Raylan came with us and ran around like crazy the whole entire time.  We were multitasking, harvesting berries and exercising her.   It was wonderful. 

We cannot wait to see what else this season has in store for us, but with a start this good, I am sure it will be nothing short of amazing! 

A small portion of the berries we picked yesterday drying. 
Enjoying some sweets at the new mall! 
Raylan enjoying 'her' yard. 
Almost forgot to mention that we found a Hedgehog in our yard. The next morning I also found one of my Uggs all chewed up in the yard as well.  It's a wild land here I guess?

xoxo Cacilie