It is really easy for me to portray my life here in Finland as amazing and as my Italian coach would say “with no problem girls,” BUT I want this to be an accurate portrayal of my life, so this blog may be a little more real than the past. I promise I will keep some funny stuff in, because being serious is very difficult for me.
I gotta start off with something hilarious, though. So, every week, we have practice every other morning and then lifting (we call it gym) the other mornings, and then practice every night. I want to give you all a little taste of what this gym is like, because it is not like most gym experiences I have had in the past. First, it is called Sportimekka, the sports mecca, a temple, if you will. Second, there are these women who lift with earphones in, and when things start to get harder for them, if you close your eyes, you feel like you are at the OBGYN and there are at least 5 women giving birth to very, very large children. Third, there are these posters all over the gym, and I wanted to add them to this blog for you:
Essentially, there are tons of pictures of roid-y looking dudes and these sexy women. I keep telling myself that if I continue to lift at that gym, my boobs will somehow look like they do in this picture. Another fact of the gym, a serious fact, is we get weighed in every week. Everyone I have told asks what they do with the numbers, but I honestly have no idea yet. I usually watch what I eat for the last 4-5 days of the week, but the day we get weighed, let me tell you, I eat enough for the whole week. The candy store employees knows my face, I am a regular Tuesday goer. Right now, I am into the sour spiders and the rolo looking things.
On the real, this week has been a little harder for me. The first weeks I was getting acquainted with the town, the team, my roommate, the wifi, etc. This week, the FOURTH week of two a days where my schedule is: wake up, eat, practice, eat, nap, practice, eat, netflix, sleep, has been getting a little lonely. I was telling a friend the other day that everyone is very nice and includes me in everything they do, but I miss the conversations and friends I had back home. The conversations I have are usually me asking what is going on, or talking about basic things, like “do you have siblings?” “how was school?”, because there is a little bit of a language barrier. I don’t think I have had a deep conversation or a long conversation, at that, in a while. I am sorry for those people who I talk on the regular with, because I am sure I can’t shut up and have a lot of questions and thoughts that you sometimes might not want to hear about 🙂 I like to thing of the positives in every situation, though, and I was thinking the other day that there will come a day where I am married, and have a job, and have kids, and have to make dinner and am exhausted, and have to be doing things for everyone else, and I am going to look back and wish for a quiet week in Finland filled with Netflix and silence. I appreciate everyone who has face timed/chatted with me, it really does mean a ton, even if it is a brief conversation.
Practice has been going well, we are finally putting everything together. The other day, we were doing serve receive, and if you remember from my past posts, serve receive is mentally difficult, but arguably the most important part of playing because its the first contact you have on your side to set yourself up for the plays you want to run. The key is to not get frustrated, because then you are carrying your bad plays into the next play, and that is very unsuccessful (I am (was) an expert on negative self talk!). I have been doing this skill for a while, and the secret to how I deal with it (I discovered it at UofM) is to take your mind to a very, very, very happy place, which for me is relaxing with a dance too awesome and advanced to perform at Rick’s. In the past, I have had teammates, like Ally Davis, Molly Toon, Kelly Murphy, and Ally Sabol who feel the same way and would join into this madness, making it sort of a group effort. I can remember one practice (actually, scratch that, way more than one), where my methods may have gotten Sabol into a lot of unasked for trouble with me. However, back to the other day, I was back there waiting on a serve and was so focused on the happy place filled with dancing and no recollection of how many times I have just been aced, that my coach I guess was trying to talk to me, and I was just feeling the rhythm and then he stopped practice and everyone was waiting for me to come out of that state of mind, so my form could be corrected. Not my most proud moment, but very close.
The last paragraph is more just some random things/observations I have had in the last week. Men love capris. My travel pants are those man pants where you can unzip them at the knee and they turn into cargo shorts (my sixth grade self would have dug these so hard). Finnish people stare at you for much longer than the average American would. My coaches are hard, but they are hard on everyone, which is refreshing. I was told my power cleans were awesome, a first, and I have been doing (struggling on/attempting) power cleans for 4 years (Matt Segura, this is the truth). A cheep beer is 9-10 American dollars here. The dessert is this awesome tasting fruity, creamy whipped cream looking stuff. I could eat buckets of it, and do after weigh ins. I showed my teammates the music video to Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” and a few of us are gonna start dancing like this at the club (videos may have to be taken).
This weekend I will be traveling to Santa Claus Village to meet the real Santa (to make sure he is the real one, I will make sure to ask him what song he sings on my birthday) and practice up there for a couple days! I miss you all very much!