Thursday, October 6, 2011

It's the feeling of teamwork that you'll remember...

Last weekend our game was a bit of struggle. We have been hit with some injuries late in the season that caused us to change the formation and line-up.  While we went down a few goals in the first half, the second half we came out and didn’t give up.  We scored 2 late goals in the second half but we were unable to come out on top. The loss was tough to swallow because it now puts us out of the running for 1st place.

We have only one game left on Saturday and although our position, we are going to give it everything we have. We want to end the season on a high note and play to the best of our abilities. We have had a good week of training and are ready to face a good team on their turf.  There is nothing left after Saturday so we need to leave everything on the pitch.
After the game on Saturday the team has arranged a sauna night. Sauna nights are not common or even existent back in the US. While it is a different experience, we have gotten used to it and they are a lot of fun! We will have games, sauna, swimming and of course some good food! On Sunday we will have a team dinner as Jackie, Kerstin and I are leaving early Monday morning. I cannot believe how fast the past six months have gone by.  I am thankful for everything I have learned, the people I have met and the different things I have been able to experience. I am so excited to get back home and see all of my family and friends, but things here will not be forgotten.  I am looking forward to spending time with the Astrom’s as well as my teammates this weekend.  Although I am not very good at good-bye’s I know this weekend will be a lot of fun!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

"To achieve great things you have first to believe it."

This past Saturday we had an away game against JyPK. We previously lost the past 2 games against them this season and were seeking revenge. Coming off of what could have been our worst performance this season we were able to turn it all around. The game started off on the right foot. The energy, confidence and teamwork were present. From the kick off we were able to get a good look on goal and never looked back. About 20 minutes into the game Linda played Jackie a great ball; she was alone with the keeper out and was able to chip her perfectly. Before the half we put away two more great goals. After a counterattack on a corner I played the ball up to Tiia who went 2v1 to goal, when her shot was blocked Linda collected the rebound and placed a shot into the upper corner past the goalkeeper. The third goal came off a cross from Totti, as Jackie slid to tap it in, it hit the post! Jenna was there for the easy put back and we were up 3-0. JyPK didn’t give up and were able to put one away before the half came to a close. After I saved the initial shot off the crossbar, the forward beat me to the rebound for their only goal of the game.

Going into halftime we were up 3-1. In the locker room we discussed how we would need to manage the game and not give them any cheap chances. We did a fairly good job of this and kept them to only shots from distance. Tiia was putting on the pressure when she was able to intercept a pass and went in 1v1 with the keeper. She easily slotted the ball and we were up 4-1 and in a good position. We were able to bring many things away from the game today. We had many opportunities to score, the communication has improved and we worked well together as a team. Jackie my roommate was awarded the player of the game and she got some really nice cups for the apartment!

The win this past weekend was especially important because we are right where we want to be in the standings. Going into the final two games of the season we control our own destiny. The first place finisher of the season will rise to the league, and this is still within reach for our team. We have a goal set and each day we keep pushing ourselves towards that. While we know what lies ahead of us we need to be careful not to become too overconfident because that is when we play at our worst. We are going to go out there have fun and play our game, whatever happens, happens! We are off this weekend and will continue the series next Saturday with our final home game of the season.

Other things around Kokkola… the season is wrapping up and we only have 18 days left! So crazy how fast time has gone by, although I will miss everything and everyone here I am ready to get home and see my family and friends! Kerstin, Tessa and I took an ice bath in the Arctic Ocean the other day, lasted 10 minutes! We attended the opening of a new small turf field at one of the elementary schools. We played 5v5 agaisnt the kids and lost! Everyone was really excited and it was a fun opportunity.  After the game we signed some autographs for them. Media Café, the coffee shop we attend almost every day will be sad to see us leave. Us Americans probably spend the most time and money at this spot! This weekend I will be spending time with my second fam the Astrom’s and am looking forward to some time with them! Check back next week for another update!

Hejdå för nu!

Monday, September 12, 2011

"Great teams work harder after a tough loss"

Saturday’s game was a tough one. We came out flat from the start and never improved. We didn’t play well together, passing was off, defending was bad and the morale of the team was not how it normally is. About 10 minutes into the game we went down 1-0 after Sport finished a breakaway. We went into the locker room down 1-0. We tried to figure out what was going on and snap out of it but the second half didn’t get much better.

In the second half the ref gave Sport a penalty kick. Although I dove to the correct side I was unable to get a hand on it and we went down 2-0. While the call was controversial there was some other plays made in the game that we got away with earlier. While it was clear we didn’t play to our potential, Sport took advantage of it and played the best I have seen them in the 3 previous games against them. With the loss we dropped to 2nd place but the standings are so tight that anything is possible.

It’s a new day and now we need to come together as a team and continue working towards our goal. It’s important to not get hung up in what could have been and learn and forget about it while moving forward. We have 3 games remaining in the season and the team is working hard each day. We have a full week of training before our next match on Saturday. We will look to bounce back and prove that we belong in the top 2!
A special congrats to the Umass Lowell team for their recent tie against the #1 team in the country!  

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Fit for the Fight

I apologize for not writing in so long. Things here have been going pretty well. We have played two away games the past two weeks and came away with 3 points in both games.  We are currently leading the series and are in a good position with 4 games left.

This past weekend we got up early and hopped on the train. Our game was in Lahti which is fairly close to Helsinki. The train ride was a little over 4 hours and we had 3 different trains to catch. We made it to the game in good time and the weather seemed to be clearing up a bit. It has been raining quite a bit. The field was in terrible condition but we didn’t let that effect us. We went up 1-0 about 5 minutes into the game. Linda noticed the keeper was off her line and had some space; she let one rip from about 40 yds out that found the back of the net. We possessed the ball well and had some quality chances throughout the first half but we were unable to capitalize.
In the second half the opposition was starting to build some momentum but we limited their attempts on goal. With 20 minutes remaining in the game they were able to execute. The ball slipped by the defender and the forward broke through 1v1. I was unable to save it and the game was tied. With 3 minutes remaining in the game our coach told Heddi to calm down that he would be satisfied with 1 point, she turned around and yelled no way were getting the 3 points!! Seconds after that she received the ball and lofted in a cross that hit the far post and into the net. We played out the last minute or so and finished the game 2-1. It was an exciting game that showed our confidence and will to win. After giving up a crap goal we were able to come back and win the game.
We have grown tremendously as a team and we are taking it one day at a time. We have a goal in mind and it is up to us to obtain it. Saturday we play FC sport at home. We know it will be a challenging game but we are fit for the fight!
As far as other things that have been going on in Kokkola… My little bro Elis won the 60m in a track meet with the elementary schools today! GO ELIS!! I experienced my first parking ticket. If they are going to fine me, I will need the sign in English next time! We have a new American here playing with the other ladies team in town. Americans are taking over Kokkola! We had a great week with Kerstin’s parents who provided us with a lot of laughs and some funny memories. We only have a short time left in Finland so check back soon to see what else is going on!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Ut med domaren och in med Nalle Puh

The upper-series began on Saturday when we played Tu-We at home. It was the first time this season we have played Tu-We but we were ready. The past two weeks we have been training hard to prepare us for our final 7 games. We began controlling the game early and creating a few good chances. About 40 minutes in we capitalized. Linda’s half volley beat the keeper and fell just below the bar. Only minutes later Totti collected her rebound and calmly put back. Going into half-time we were up 2-0. 
In the beginning of the second half we had a few good chances that we were unable to score off of. Tu-We was awarded a free kick near the corner flag. When I came out and parried the ball away, I then saw no one near the rebound, I came out and collected the ball. A Tu-We player challenged me late on the play and fell over me. After I already had secured the ball in my hands. The referee called a penalty kick!! This was the most absurd call I have ever faced.  I don’t usually get involved with the referees but this had me furious! There was still about 20 minutes left to play and he could change the game like that. I normally would understand if I made a dangerous play and legit did something wrong but Saturday there was no ifs, ands, or buts about it. I flat out made the save and the ref was blind! They converted the penalty kick and the game was now 2-1. The game played out and we finished 2-1.
There were many things that we could take away from the game. At times we played really good football. The team’s energy and confidence levels were up. We will go into this week’s training hard and look forward to our next match in Helsinki this Saturday. Our goal is within reach and we are taking it one game at a time!
P.S the title is a song my finnish mom taught me to cheer at games when the ref makes a bad call!

Hejdå för nu!

Monday, August 8, 2011

“The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender.”

We ended the first part of the season on a high note. This past Saturday we won our game against FC Sport 3-2. We went down 1-0 early in the match despite holding the majority of the possession and creating better opportunities. We were able to tie the game minutes later and bring everyone’s confidence back to life. Just before half-time we were able to score a beautiful goal. Tess was able to find Emmi wide open and her shot was placed perfectly over the keeper and into the net.

The second half was played well and we were able to score off of a scramble in front of the box. While we were up 3-1 and controlling the game, Sport was able to score again off a similar situation. The field was slippery and caused some dangerous situations. Off a cross from the outside Sport finished and the game was 3-2. We were able to fight hard and hold them off for the final minutes. We fought hard and the attitude and motivation among the team was where it needed to be.
We now have a break next weekend before the final stretch begins. The series was divided into 2 groups; and the top 4 teams from both groups now make a winners bracket, while the bottom 4 from both make a losers bracket.  We finished 3rd and now have 7 games remaining with a chance to make it to the league. We have also eliminated the possibility of dropping down to division 2 by staying out of the loser’s bracket. For the next two weeks, its back to training as we will look each day to improve and become one step closer to our final goal.

Friday, August 5, 2011

“It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.”

I apologize for the delay on my blog! Since we got back from Germany things have been pretty busy. Our team hosted a youth tournament that is the 2nd largest tourney in the country. Jackie, Kerstin, Tess and I were hired to work in a kiosk and sell t-shirts and some other tournament souvenirs. It was actually pretty fun and the time went by quite fast. Some people were surprised when they came to the counter and we were speaking English, but we managed well. The following weekend we were in charge of working in the kitchen. Here at tournaments the kids stay and eat in the schools rather than reserve hotel rooms and go out to eat at restaurants like back home! We served the meals to the kids and kept the cafeteria clean.
Jackie and Tess in the kitchen

We have hit a rough patch in our season. Since we have been back we played 3 games, 2 in the series and 1 cup game. The results have not been what we have hoped but there are some things that we need to improve on.  Ever since we had our season break we came back playing below our potential. We have one more game before the series restarts and we have secured our spot in the higher bracket despite our showing the past few games. The team is taking the right steps to regain our confidence and level of play and hopefully we will get back on track. I am confident that it will get better and we will contend to finish in the top 2 of the division.
Our next and final game before the series change is tomorrow at home. We look to improve on some things and take away something positive from the game before entering the final stretch of the season!

Friday, July 22, 2011

"We've learned a lesson ... We can't take anything for granted" Pia Sundhage

Friday morning Jackie and I landed in Frankfurt, Germany. It was a last minute decision for me but after seeing the semi-final match I knew it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. The flight from Finland was only about 2 hours and since we had the weekend off from practice, our coach had no problem letting us go. We got off the train and managed to find the hotel pretty easily.  There we met up with 2 of the Swedes I had met earlier this summer, Martina and Helena.

We traveled around the city and became more familiar with our surroundings.  Frankfurt was definitely an interesting place. While some parts of the city were not very nice and a bit sketchy, there were also parts that had a lot to offer. The downtown area had a lot of old buildings and museums.

On Saturday we went down to a section they designed for the world cup.  There they had many different stands; food, drink, games and music. They had big screen TV’s alongside the river. We decided it would be a good place to watch the Bronze medal match! We had a table in front of one of the TV’s and met a bunch of new people. Helena brought Swedish gear for everyone to wear and we made sure anyone who joined our table was rooting for Sweden.  The game was exciting and everyone was so into it. After Sweden won they set fireworks off over the river and the bands began to play. Everyone liked our Swedish gear and made comments as they passed us. After the world cup fan zone died down we went to the world cup bar by our hotel for some laughs at karaoke. The whole day was really fun!

Sunday morning was the day of the World Cup Finals. I sported my USA gear and dressed in red, white and blue. I was going to paint my face but we had some problems.. While Helena and I got on the train to the game, Martina and Jackie missed it! The trains were jammed packed and everyone was pushing. Since we got separated we didn’t have enough time before the game to paint ourselves. We got into the stadium and the atmosphere was amazing. I sat with a woman who coaches college back home in the US. We were about 20 rows up from the goal in which they shot the PK’s. The stadium was roaring and was sold out, about 48,000 fans! The game was everything we could have asked for, except for maybe the outcome! While the US started the game at a great pace they were unable to put one away. When Wambach scored in overtime I felt like I was a part of the game. The stadium was going wild. Somehow Japan was able to score with less than three minutes left off a corner-kick goal. Japan was able to fight back twice and force the game into penalty kicks. While the US has never lost in PK’s before it wasn’t their day. It almost looked like their confidence was broken. It’s hard to be mad when Japan won the game with everything that has been going on in their home country, the win could change a lot for them. I also believe the tournament could help the US professional league survive and hope that the loss in the finals won’t change that!

This experience was one that I will never forget. I had an amazing time! I was able to take in another European country and get to see the Women’s World Cup finals all at the same time.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

"What makes you better is how you react to it."

Yesterday we played our first game after a three week break.  The game was home against TJK.  The weather started off pretty hot (29c) and sunny.  Quickly that changed. The sky filled with clouds and heavy rain and thunder and lighting.  Back home if it was to lightning like this we would have paused the game and went inside.  Apparently here the rules are different because I kid you not; we could feel our hair sticking up during some of the storm!

Aside from the weather conditions we started the game off on the right foot.  We were creating some good chances in the first few minutes.  The first goal came 15 minutes into the match when Tess finished a great ball from Kerstin.  Just before the half Linda calmly placed a shot when Tess pulled the goalkeeper out of position. We went into the locker room up 2-0.
The second half started and only a minute in, I made a huge mistake. As the other team crossed the ball I went up to catch it, and the ball slipped through my hands and into the goal. Now the game was 2-1 and I was pretty upset with myself. The team was able to score three more goals after that and we won 5-1. My roommate Jackie scored her first goal of the season! About 30 yards out she took a shot that found the back of the net. The goalkeeper was a bit out of position and Jackie was able to take advantage of it.
The mental aspect of the game is huge for goalkeepers I believe. While other players on the pitch can make a mistake and go unnoticed, the goalkeeper is always remembered for the mistake he/she made.  Sometimes your self confidence will take a beating but you need to be able to put the mistake behind you and quickly move on from it. Mentally you have to be strong and how you move on from your mistake shows a lot about your character.
We have two more training sessions before we play our next cup game.  We are playing the league team from our city; therefore it will be a home game for both of us! They are expecting a crowd of almost 1,000. The team is especially excited for this game and as long as everyone believes in each other and themselves it will be a great game. We are determined to come out with a W and move on to the semifinals of the cup series. Check back later this week for an update of how the game went!

Hejdå för nu,

Friday, July 1, 2011

Helan Går!!

Last week after our cup game in Helsinki, Jackie and I headed to the airport.  We were off to Sweden for our week off!  The trip was amazing and we got to see a lot. Jackie has a lot of Swedish friends that she went to college with so we were lucky enough to have them take such great care of us!  We started the trip in Stockholm.  Although the weather for the first few days weren’t great we were able to make the best of it. We walked around the city for the first few days just taking in everything around us.  Stockholm is a beautiful city and has a lot for tourists (like us) to see!

The Vasa Ship
Helena and Martina took us to the Vasa Museum.  The museum has the 17th century ship displayed that divers found in Stockholm.  The ship is huge and the display is very unique.  There were different exhibitions around the museum to explain the conditions on board.

One of the best sights to see in Stockholm was the old city.  Our tour guide Martina took us to walk around the old city and the Royale Palace.  There were cobblestone streets, alleyways and old architecture to see. Although the Prince and Princess weren’t there, the guards were still in position.

We went to this TV and radio tower that you could go to the top to see all of Stockholm from.  The view was incredible.

One of the nights we went on an all you can eat shrimp boat with all of the Swedes.  I was a little nervous because I don’t really eat too much shrimp but it was awesome! The weather was really nice and although the shrimp were a little intimidating at first they were very good! The shrimp came head and tail intact! You had to rip the head, tail and body off before you ate them. This was very new to me but I think I did OK.  It was a lot of fun.  Everyone on the boat was singing different Swedish drinking songs.  After we got off the boat it turned into an eventful run across Stockholm.  I decided to try and catch up with some of the girls walking and when I couldn’t find them I was alone with no directions, phone or money! After about 30 minutes of running around like a chicken with their head cut off I finally found the apt! Thank gosh I have somewhat of a sense of direction; I was starting to get a little nervous!

One afternoon we took a trip to the Icebar in Stockholm. It was the world's first ice bar.  Everything inside was made of ice, even the cups you drank from.  When you go inside they give you these big coats with gloves attached.  The temperature inside is -5c so about 23 f. It was a bit smaller then I expected but it was neat experience.

We got to venture outside of Stockholm a bit to meet some of the girls’ families and see where they live.   One night we had dinner just outside Stockholm at Therese’s house.  The dinner was delicious.  Her family was really nice and spoiled us with all of the great food! We took the train to Uppsala for Midsummer.  The day was a lot of fun as we played a lot of different games and ate so much food! Dancing around the maypole, wearing wildflower crowns, and eating new potatoes, herring, sour cream & chive, strawberry’s and drinking schnapps are all traditions.  While we didn’t get a chance to dance around the pole we did go and check it out.  Lastly, we had a bbq in Vasteras at Linda’s house along the water.  The view was awesome and once again the food was really good.

We flew back to Finland on Sunday.  It was an amazing experience and a lot of fun.  A special thanks to all the Swedes who made me feel comfortable and took such good care of us!

Hejdå för nu!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"Other things may change us, but we start and end with the family"

So there is a lot to catch up with! I have been so busy the past few weeks between my mom’s visit to Finland and Jackie and I’s trip to Sweden.  After our game on Saturday we decided to show my mom the club scene here in Kokkola.  It was a girl on my teams 18th Birthday so we had a table reserved at a bar in town.  Go figure the night my mom came out it was a foam party! We only stayed a little while but had a lot of fun and have a lot of funny pictures to show from it!

We got up early Sunday to go watch Elis’ (Host family/Lil Bro) games.  He is only 9 but can probably kick my butt in 1 v 1.  After the game we went out for lunch at a place along the ocean. It was really nice. For the first few nights while Jackie and I left for training, Mom and Ebba were designated to the kitchen! We had some great home cooking and on Tuesday night we invited Tess (teammate) over to try some good ole chicken cutlets and homemade mashed potatoes.  She loved it!
Wednesday we had a game in Oulu.  They let Mom, Ebba and Robert come on the bus! We started off dominating the game but only five minutes in they scored a fluke goal.  The ball was crossed and when I came out it took a weird bounce and rolled into the net.  I was pretty disappointed but we were able to put away a beautifully placed shot just before the halftime whistle blew! The second half provided chances for both teams but the game ended 1-1.  Although we only came away with 1 pt it was a crucial pt for us as we both sit tied for 2nd place in the standings at this point in the season.  On the bus the manager of the team presented my mom with a customized GBK jersey!

One of the things my mom wanted to do while she was here was too meet everyone that has taken care of me over the past months.  Thursday we had lunch at Katja’s parents and then coffee and cake with Robert’s parents.  The food was really good and they always have so many delicious deserts!  At night we had dinner at the Astrom’s and then sauna! I have really been making my mom nervous about taking a sauna but she really enjoyed it I think.  Sauna is one of my favorite parts of being in Finland. It feels great to sweat everything out and then take a nice cold shower! The temperature usually is 80c so about 176f so you really get a sweat going in there after only a few minutes.

Friday morning we got up early and took the 4 hour train to Helsinki.  Mom and I spent the day together sightseeing in Helsinki.  We went to some really cool places and walked around the city quite a bit.  We took a ferry out to the islands off Helsinki to see the sea fortress.  Suomelinna was built as protection against Russia.  While the island now has many people living in a lot of the buildings there was a few interesting tunnels, walls and cannons. When we got back we checked out the market place. It was closing but we got to see a few stands. They had a lot of really nice silver. The silversmith makes the jewelry at the spot and you can buy it there.  The last stop we made was to the Rock Church.  This was really cool! The church was built inside a massive rock and has this saucer looking roof.  Inside the walls are all rock and the lighting comes from natural light. 

In the morning it was time to pack up and drop my mom off to the train station before I met the team for our cup game in Helsinki.  It was a very busy week but I was really happy to see my mom in real time and not just on Skype! It was hard to say good-bye and made me miss her more now that I just saw her, but I will be back home in 3 months and will get to see all my family and friends! Update from our trip to Sweden to come!!

Hejdå för nu!

Monday, June 13, 2011

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”

Our home field
Saturday we played a home game against Semi.  It was probably the best overall game we have played this season. Everything seemed to be improving and everyone was playing well with each other.  The weather was perfect and our home field is awesome! Less than 10 minutes into the game we scored our first goal.  I opened up with a long punt and Linda flicked it on to Tess who broke through for the first goal! Heading into the locker room we were up 2-0.  We were creating many opportunities and the defense was doing a great job maintaining their dangerous forwards.

We knew the heat would play a role in the second half and it would become more important that we were able to dictate the play.  We believed if we put another one away it would help.  Ten minutes into the second half we scored again.  While Semi fought hard the entire game we were able to finish the game 4-0.  We can take away a lot of positives from Saturday's game as we played a great game together.  Everyone was playing intelligently and we were finding each other very well.  Four different people scored today and I believe we are getting better and better each game!

Mom and I after the game!
Saturday's game was especially important to me because my mom was here to see it! My mom has been at almost all of my soccer games growing up and I know how hard it is for her to not be able to watch me play while i'm here in Finland!  Just seeing her in the stands was extra motivation to win.  If it wasn't for her, I wouldn't be at where I am today.  She believed in me and knew I loved the game.  All of the time and money she spent for me to improve and grow. Knowing how happy she is when I win just makes it even better!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Game update

Tuesday we played at FC Sport in Vaasa.  The stadium was really nice and the field was in good shape.  It's amazing how there are so many soccer venues here compared to at home. The weather was a bit hotter then what we are used too (26c/80f) but we were fit for the fight!
Pic of the field after the game
The game started off well. We scored two quick goals within the first fifteen minutes or so. We were playing a 4-3-3 and completely dominating the game. The team was playing very well together and everything was clicking. At the half we were up 3-0 heading into the locker room.

The second half started off a bit different. We came out flat and FC Sport had made some changes. They were starting to create some chances and we were looking pretty tired.  We were able to withstand their pressure and finished the game 4-1.  We need to figure out how to keep the game in control especially when we have such a big lead.  But we were able to create many scoring opportunities and bring away many positives from the match. Things are looking bright and its back to the pitch for two more practices before our next match on Saturday.  I am especially excited for Saturday's game because my mom will be here to see it! We play home against Semi who we previously beat 2-1 but they will be back for revenge and we need to be ready for a competitive game.

Monday, June 6, 2011

An eventful weekend..

This week our game was played on Thursday. We won 1-0! Everyone was excited to play, the weather was great and it was a home game! It was only our second home game so far. We started the game off well and held possession for the majority of the game.  In the first half we had many opportunities to score but just couldn't capitalize. Mid-way through the second half Tess scored off a shot just inside the box far post, off the post and in! She celebrated with an African dance... if you score and don't celebrate then the team fines you one euro (fun rule.. too bad I don't score)  One goal was enough and we got the three points but there is still some work to be done.  Everyone is working hard and the goals will come.  We were given the weekend off for Graduation.  Our next game is tomorrow (Tuesday) away vs. FC Sport.

Ebba (Back row, white sweater)
Elis (Front, Blue t-shirt)
Friday Night Jackie and I went with the Astrom's to Ebba and Elis' end of the year celebration/Ebba's elementary school graduation. We sang a few songs in Swedish and all of the kids read a poem they wrote about what they love in summer. Ebba received the "best friend" award! In between they had some of the kids perform.  One boy played the electric guitar and he was so good!  The ceremony didn't last too long and it was back to the Astrom's to prepare for Saturday's big party.

Max on the drums
Max was graduating from gymnasium (basically High School back home) and it is a really big deal here! We were preparing for at least 150 people to come to the party! Saturday morning when we woke up we went to the high school for the ceremony. There was only 40 students graduating, whereas I graduated with a class of over 400! It lasted about 2 hours with different speeches, awards and students performing.  Max played the guitar and sang a song in Swedish along with another classmate. He also played the drums while the graduating class sang "We are the Champions!" He did a really good job! He got a very big award from the School because he graduated with the best test scores and grades in the school!
Max and I
Just a few of the cakes!
After the graduation was over it was back to the house for some final party preparations.  When we got there the power was out! It came back on shortly and everything was set up in time. Jackie and I were sent to the sauna to be kitchen workers for the party.  Jackie was in charge of the coffee and juice and I was the dish washer! Katja gave Jackie and I both Aprons with our names on them to wear! After about an hour into the party I was swamped with dishes!! There was a line up to even get into the house. After about two hours of strictly dish washing it finally died down and we took a break.  Someone else took over for us and we were able to enjoy all the different cakes and talk to some of the visitors.

Just locking up the shorts!
When the party was over Jackie and I came back to the apartment with Kersten.  Graduation night is a big happening and everyone goes to the beach area to drink before they go to the club.  So we decided why not see what was going on and headed to the beach.  Since we had on dresses and needed to ride our bikes we though why not wear soccer shorts and then string them on the bike lock when we get there! This was a really good idea (obviously I thought of it) There was so many people there but it was so cold out! We left and went to the bar. We were so excited to get in and be warm... Kirsten forgot her id! So we talk to the bouncers and then they ended up letting us in without it! We danced almost the whole night! The way people dance here is so much different from back home but I don't even know how to explain. We decided to leave around 3 am. We stopped at the cart in the marketplace and got spring rolls and headed home!
Kerstin and Jackie with a few of the graduates!
We woke up Sunday morning and were mentally preparing for the Olympics! Kersten's host brother Emil was having a birthday party and it was Finland vs. USA.  Emil is friends with Elis so Elis and Otto were on team Finland as well.  USA consisted of Jackie, Kerstin, Ebba, Emma (Kerstin's host sister) and I.  We were to play floor ball, soccer and dodge ball.  The first half of floor ball went well we were only down 1 going into the snack break.  We ended up losing by at least 7 to a bunch of 10 yr old boys! In soccer we tied 2-2 and then it was down to dodge ball.  The boys decided they didn't want to play dodgeball anymore and wanted to have a shootout. The ref rigged this one because the girls had to shoot from half court and the boys about 20 yds away.  We lost by 1 and Finland took the Gold! Although we lost, and I hate losing, it was a fun day.  I think the boys had a lot of fun playing with us too!

The weather is starting to get a lot nicer! This week is predicting high 70's! We have practice tonight and our next game is tomorrow. Update coming soon...

Hejdå för nu!