Friday, December 31, 2010

Greetings from Joensuu!

Hei (hello) everyone! 

So today is my last day here in Finland and I thought I would recap my trip a bit while it's still fresh in my memory :o)

First off it has been absolutelyy wonderful getting to spend so much time with Jordan here with him having a week off and short practices the rest of the time.  We don't usually get to "vacation" a lot together because of our work schedules and if we do its usually only for a couple of days.  Being able to spend two weeks here has truly been a blessing!

So now for some details about my trip; Before I left home I kept asking my friends what they thought our "reunion" would be like when we first see each other in the airport after five months.  I asked my friend Grace who is in the Peace Corps and has been in Guatemala for over a year now and what it was like when she first came home after being gone so long.  She said she was literally shaking when she saw her family in the airport. Now our circumstances are a tad different but she got me wondering if that's what I would be like when I saw Jordan.  Well let me tell was nothing like that haha.  After about 24 hrs of traveling with only 4-5 hours of sleep I was EXHAUSTED so the first thing I did when I saw Jordan was walk over to him, drop my luggage, and basically collapse-hug him.  I'm not even sure I said hello.  Yes I know that's kind of a let down and it could have been this huge dramatic thing but if you know me then you know that's not my style in the first place.  Either way I was sooo happy to see him even if I couldn't express it with more than a hug.

This is exactly what I felt like when I saw him lol

We actually ended up going out that night to the bars/club because I got my second wind and we stayed out till 7 am!  I am no mathematician but I think that was about 43 hours with only 5 hours of sleep....I must have looked like a zombie haha.  Anyway we went out to a local pub to start (looked like a run of the mill small southie bar) and we met up with a bunch of guys on his team.  Everyone was super nice and I got the chance to meet one of the other girlfriends (Tiia) who was in town from Helsinki. She's awesome and speaks English really well so it was nice to have another girl there to chat with while the guys we're hanging out.  We went to a "club" after that (I would compare it to Ned Devines) and met up with some more guys on the team and their girlfriends.  Samu, one of Jordan's BFF's here, introduced me to his girlfriend Hilda who was also really nice.  She plays Finnish Baseball (no not softball) which has the same concept of American Baseball but is very different at the same time.  She's JACKED and is very in your face aggressive...but I loved it!  She reminded me of some of my athlete girlfriends from the states who can act aggressive and loud but wear a skirt at the same time haha.  Anyway I spent the whole night dancing and drank waaaaayyyy to many shots and "long drinks".  Long drinks are kind of like Fresca mixed with Gin...but they have different flavors like Grapefruit and Raspberry.  They are delicious but dangerous because they go down like water. And let me tell you the Fins can DRINK.  I was double fisting at one point trying to keep up and the girls were calling me out saying I couldn't keep up! (actually only Hilda was saying this which is why she also reminded me of my American friends haha).  Anyway after about 5 or 6 long drinks and about 4-5 shots throughout the night you would think I would have been done for the next day. Nope! Safe to say I wasn't hungover at all and we got to spend the day actually doing something other than being bums.  Must have been those crazy magical long drinks :o)

After that first night of partying we didn't do much for a few days.  Jordan's coach held a couple of practices during time that Jordan was supposed to get off so we just hung out around the apartment and walked around the town which was pretty relaxing so I didn't mind.
Next was our trip to Tahko ski resort.  If you read my last post you would know I had some reservations about driving there with Jordan but in the end it turned out just fine.  The team car is actually a I know...and we used a guy on his teams' GPS.  We got there in under 2 hrs and luckly with no navigation fights haha.  When we first arrived the resort was DEAD and there was only one other car parked besides ours in the entire lot.  To be honest it was kind of eery because I was expecting it to looks like one of the mountains that I ski back home where it's completely packed.  I did however take into consideration that the sun goes down @ 3:00 here and it was completely dark by the time we arrived so I figured all of the skiers had left for the day.  Anyway we were starving so after we checked in to the hotel we were staying at, (beautiful by the way), we went to eat at a little pizza shop.  Jordan ordered this "kebab" meal (not the kabob your thinking of) and I ordered a "mexican pizza".  Jordan's meal came out and it looked absolutely was like this greasy chopped up meat that I can't even begin to explain. So here is a decent picture...only think GREASIER
 Then my meal came out which wasn't too bad but my "Mexican" pizza only had pepperonis and pineapples on it......needless to say that was not what I was expecting.

After our meals we went back to the hotel...explored for a bit..and I took a Sauna.  It felt great but I think all of the Sauna hype comes from large room sauna's where multiple people can fit....this was just a tiny little thing.

Jordan said it's fun with his teammates because all of them are in there chatting, drinking and relaxing together.  I asked Tiia if that's what girls do too and if they go in naked together (how do I know what sauna protocol is?) She said they usually go in naked or with just a towel and it's completely normal.  I have to say I think if the Finnish girls invited me to go to the Sauna I would feel a little awkward sitting there naked and sweating my ass off with complete strangers. Hell, I would probably feel awkward doing that with my friends back home haha BUT to each is own.  I'm sure if I had been brought up using Sauna's I would feel different.  So anyway after my Sauna I hit the hay and geared up for skiing the next day.

IT WAS SOOOO COLD on the mountain!! THANK GOD Kathy bought me some long john gear to wear under my stuff we because my Under Armour apparell was not going to cut it alone.  Other then the cold we had a really great time.  Jordan remembered how to ski and did really well for his first time in 13 years!  The trails were decent and the conditions were pretty good but they only had 2 T-bar lifts open because no one was really at the mountain besides a couple of us.  Still, it was  a lot of fun gitting the slopes and getting some exercise in.  I do have to say that getting on the T-bar was an experience all its own though.  The first time I tried to get on I missed the bar literally four times haha.  This sounds pathetic but those things are WHIPPING at you.  It was not like any other tow I had ever used.....the thing was wild haha.  I eventually got the hang of it though and we skied for a solid 3-4 hours before the sun went down and  became too cold to stay outside.

Damn T-bar haha

The next day was basically the same but after we skied in the morning and afternoon we geared up for Xmas Eve.  We decorated a small tree and put all of our presents under it and then we went down to Christmas Eve dinner in the hotel.  Everyone was dressed up and the place was PACKED.  There wasn't an empty table in the entire place.  At first it was kind of awkward because they sat us with another couple (us facing them) but we got over it made our way to the buffet.  The Finnish Christmas spread is a tad different then the American spread.  They had all of these weird sauces and salads mixed together?  I couldn't even describe to you what it really was or how it actually looked but all I know is that I was happy I didn't try it.  Call me unadventurous but Jordan tried it and wanted to vomit (actually that's exactly what it looked like).  Luckily after the weird stuff at the beginning came semi normal food.  They had a huuuge salmon plate and ham plate served cold, but was really delicious!  They also had this carrot-type side dish, some mashed potatoes,  and for their main entree they had glazed chicken.  All in all the food was pretty good but I just couldn't stomach eating much after I saw the first course.

A traditional Finnish meal

After our dinner we went back to our room, got in our Christmas pajamas, skyped with everyone, and had WAAAAAYYYYY to many drinks.  I literally wanted to DIE on Christmas because I was so hungover...who says that?!  Anyway we decided it was best if we packed up and left on Christmas day because we were getting stir crazy in the hotel.  I have to say it really didn't feel like Christmas for us here and we were seriously missing our families.  Christmas day was the moment I realized how hard this lifestyle can be when you are so far away from family and friends and can't share special moments with everyone.  Sure we had each other but it wasn't the same. I will NEVER take for granted getting to spend the holidays back in the states and with family again.  Sounds like a sad Christmas but I was still grateful to be spending the day with Jordan AND the ability to see family through Skype.

Not much has happened since Christmas here...just basically hanging around the apartment, watching movies, shopping, and cooking A LOT!  I actually made my first REAL dinner while I was here.  Yeah sure I cook for me and Jordan all the time when we are together but I've never cooked a meal for more than the two of us.  I didn't have much to work with but the dinner turned out great and Jordan, his roommate and I ate every last bit of it!  I wanted to make Jordan's roommate a traditional American meal (since he is from Latvia) and decided to make pork tenderloin, corn and mashed potatoes.  Sounds kind of boring but I definitely spiced it up.  I also made a desert with the little I had to work with.  I made sauteed bananas with honey, vanilla yogurt, and crushed gingerbread cookies.  It was delicious!

All in all it has been a great trip so far and I am thankful to have spent time here in Finland with Jordan.  Tonight I'm not sure what we're doing for NYE...Jordan said they don't celebrate it here like they do in the states.  I guess they don't go to the bars or anything but instead just stay in at people's houses which is completely fine but not what I was expecting (especially after the first night here we went out).  So I don't think it will be quite as wild as NYE parties in Southie or Rehoboth but at least I'll get to bring in the New Year Finnish style with the one I love.

REEAALLY long post but I thought I should share while the trip is fresh.  In my next post I'll tell you what actually goes down on NYE here and post some pics from the trip. HAPPY NEW YEARS EVE EVERYONE!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


My computer was acting funny with that video attached in the last post so this is just a continuation.

Anyway I cannot believe my trip is finally here! It has been a long 5 months but at the same time it feels like it's flown by. THANK GOD for friends and family to keep me occupied.  Work weeks aren't that bad because I keep busy.  I usually don't get home till 7:30-8:00 because of my commute/gym, then I come home, shower, watch my shows and then hit the hay.  I find it's the weekends that have made it so hard.  Sundays are always a killer because that is our day to just relax and be bums and cuddle.  Doing that with anyone else just isn't the same.  So needless to say I am definitely looking forward to doing that in the 16 days I will be in Finland.

I am also looking forward to the mini vacation we have planned.  We are going to Tahko ski resort for a few days which should be a lot of fun!  I guess it's 2 hours away from Joensuu and Jordan has reserved the team car for us to to travel there with.  This car ride should be interesting because first off I'm not positive that Jordan knows how to drive a standard...and I certainly don't lol.....and second, I hear Finland is tough to drive through in general.  Jordan said a guy on his team has a GPS we can borrow so hopefully we'll be able to get there without any navigation fights...still questionable though haha.

Our plan of action is to drive up there on Sunday, hang out and explore the place, then go out to a nice dinner and relax a bit.  Monday we are hitting the slopes all day!  Well actually I'm not sure if we'll be skiing all day because it's supposedly a very small mountain. Either way it will be fun to watch Jordan ski because he hasn't done it since he was like 12.  Buuuut I have actually learned my lesson with that....He told me the same thing about water skiiing (that he hadn't done it since he was really young) so I thought he was going to be really bad and that I would look like an all-star compared to him........nope........he litterally blew me out of the water.  That was the last time I"ll ever underestimate him when it comes to physical activity haha.  But still....I think I got this one in the bag hehe ;o)

The next couple of day's we're either going to ski some more, snowboard, or go ski-doo'n.  It will be a lot of fun with lots of activites.  I have made sure to bring my extra warm ski stuff because I'm SURE it will be the coldest conditions I have ever ski/snowboarded in.  We'll have to pick up a couple of bottles of wine and maybe cook some hot toddy's for us to warm up with after spenging the day in the freezing cold!

Anyway after our mini-vaca we'll come back to Joensuu and have Christmas together.  It will be our first Christmas away from family which is kind of sad but at the same time it will be nice to spend it together and start our own tradition.  Hopefully we can work out a time to skype everyone in St. Louis and Boston so we can see what's going on and get all of the great Xmas gossip!

After Chistmas Jordan will go back to practice and to his regular schedule and I'll actually get a taste for how things will be next year when I move to Europe with him .  This should be a nice little prep for someone who has never lived outside the states OR as a "live-in" hockey wife.  Let the games begin haha.

The last really exciting thing I am looking forward to in my time there will be New Years Eve.  Last year was the first NYE in 5 years that we hadn't spent together and we said we would NEVER do that again.  I actually don't know what we'll be doing ( I'm assuming we'll just be going to a bar) but it will be a really cool to experience NYE in Finland.  I don't think many Americans can say they have had the opportunity to spend NYE abroad, let alone Finland so i'm sure it will be one I'll remeber forever!

Anyway I'm sure I'll find time to write a blog or two during my trip (but no promises haha).  I will have my iFlip and digital camera on me wherever I go so I will be sure to upload pics/videos when I get back to share with you all.  Hope everyone has a wonderful, safe,  HAPPY HOLIDAY and remember to be thankful of your loved ones, friends and family!!

Queue the music!!

This has been the only song in my head for the past 2 days!!

Ok so now I am REALLY close to finally going to Finland.  I leave Boston tomorow around 2:00, fly to NY then from NY I have a direct flight to Helsinki.  From Helsinki I have to wait 7 hours to catch a 45 minute flight to Joensuu which REALLY sucks but I'm not too bothered by it.  I'm Just extemely happy to be going in the first place!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Travel Karma and Kathy's pics from Finland

Hope everyone is having a great Friday...weekend is almost here wohoo!  Anway I thought I would share some of my travel karma with you.  Each and every flight I have ever been on to go visit Jordan through the years something has gone wrong.  Whether it be luggage lost, serious delays, ticket not atually booked, or flight canceled SOMETHING always goes wrong.  Usually if I just see that I am delayed I am RELEIVED.  Sad I know.  Anyway my flight to Finland seems to be no different.  Jordan informed me yesterday that Finnair is on strike and that they have canceled flights the past two days.  Really....REALLY?!? Ofcourse they just happen to go on strike when I am going to visit Jordan who I have not seen for five months. Awesome.  To be honest I am not surprised and therefore can't get upset about it.  Atleast when you have bad travel karma your expecting something bad to happen so when it does it's not really a shock.  HOPEFULLY they will figure something out by next friday or else angry Hillary will come out...and she's scary haha. 

Anyway I thought I'd share some pics from Finland that Kathy (Jordan's mom) took on her visit.  I am praying that my flight will be good to go by Friday so I get to experience this place!

GRRRRRRR Finnair :o(