I have friends

This was the best weekend I have had in Finland so far. (Yes, it is only the third weekend that I have been here and the first with working wifi in the apartment, so things had to improve by default)

In terms of practice, things are picking up, so my body isn’t feeling nearly as fresh as it did two weeks ago.. I walk like a penguin most places and should probably invest in a cane, but I absolutely love what I am doing. In most practices, I feel like a little kid. Today, we did this awesome drill where you do a ladder drill off the court and as soon as you are at the end of the ladder, you essentially are in your defensive position (the ladder leads you there). So you look up at the end of the ladder, and the coach just wails one at you, then you turn and another coach wails one at you, then the third coach chucks it, and you have to run and save it from hitting the ground.

However, this weekend, the Finnish Men’s National Volleyball Team was practicing for some tournament coming up, so we had to work at their practice games Friday and Saturday night. I was in charge of checking tickets at the door, but I didn’t know that people would be asking me questions in Finnish about where there seat was or if they could bring food into the game, so I figured I would just answer every question with “yo” which means yes in Finnish. There weren’t many problems, but sometimes people would either laugh or get really frustrated. Also, fun fact, Fins love their rock music. During the warmup and throughout the match, ACDC, Queen, and Bon Jovi were playing, everyone loves their rock music here, but I don’t know how much I personally dig it.

After the matches, a few of us were on a group message (mainly in Finnish), but I figured out that some of my teammates were planning on going to the bars, so I joined them! I was so exhausted from the week, but it was the first time I had gotten invited to go out, and I honestly haven’t done my hair or put on makeup in 2 weeks, so I got a huge second wind. We went to Nopi’s apartment and drank there, and then headed to the first bar. This bar had billiards there, and you know in beer pong, when you don’t make any cups, you have to run the naked mile? Well, I didn’t make any balls into the little holes, so someday I will have to make that naked mile up. My team was so awful (it was me, Hanna, and Katja), we cheated and still lost. Three times. At this point in the night it was like midnight, and all the ladies with the boyfriends headed home, but the single ladies kept it going. We kept drinking some olut (beer/cider) and made the push to the Finnish Ricks. It is called Up! and was a hilarious experience. The cover for bars here is 9,50 Euros, but my teammates told me to pretend (well, it isn’t really pretending) that I didn’t understand what the bouncer was telling me about paying the cover, so we kinda just walked in.

NOW, I don’t know if all the readers of this blog have gone to a dancing club with me before, but if you have, imagine everyone dancing like I do in a club. That was Up! I absolutely loved it. There was no grinding, strictly solo dancing. Nopi, Hanna, and I were just killing it. We did notice that the national team players were there, so we moved our moves (ha) to the front VIP (oooo fancy) section where the guys were. I was expecting them to be grinding and getting it with some fly honeys, because they are a big deal here, but no joke, their dancing was as ridiculous as ours was. I took a shot of Salamakki, which is black liquorice with salt flavoured vodka, and thought I was going to throw up all over the bar, but I survived and will never do that again. Salamakkii is the nastiest thing I have tasted (if you know me, I love all foods), but the Fins just love it. At the end of the night, I walked through the drive-thru McDonalds and enjoyed a nice mini-mcflurry to end a great and sweaty evening.

THEN! The next day, I woke up at 8 to get ready to go to Helsinki with my roommate, Kristina. We got on a bus to meet my friend Bryan, who went to college with me, in the city. I am in love with Helsinki. It is beautiful, clean, and located on the ocean! There is also a Starbucks 🙂 The highlight of the trip was getting on a ferry to go to the island of Suomenlinna. It was built for war as a fortress, so the island was filled with cannons and huts to take cover in. Kristina, Bryan, and I walked along the coast of the island and just sat by the water for a while. Those two have traveled so much, it was fun hearing them talk about the coolest places they have been, and it helped me get an idea of where I want to go after the season is over.. I am leaning towards Croatia. It has been really nice having people who speak English here, and really fun to get to catch up with an old friend!

This week is filled with two a days, so I hope more hilarity is to come, but I am not sure how likely that is! (I might have to volunteer to go first in drills to create some of my own funny stories) Goodnight!


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