Hey there! Long time no talk. I haven’t blogged in over a month and I knew if I didn’t get around to posting soon, there would have been a good chance this blog would sizzle out and die. But have no worries, I’m here to catch you all up on some updates, most notably, the 10 days my family was here in Angelholm to visit! With over a month of stuff to talk about, and my Arsenal boys playing in Champion’s League in just under an hour, I’m going to try to be brief for this post so I’m not writing a novel (Best for both parties).
1). The Pothast’s Take on Sweden
-My mom, dad, little Mike, Uncle Matt, Grandpa, Uncle Mark, Aunt Irina, and her brother Misha, all came over to see me and get a taste of what Angelholm and my new life was all about.
-Although the weather could have cooperated a little bit more (it rained nearly every day), we were able to do/see a lot. They got to see me play 2 games, one being a BIG win over Hammarby (1-0), who was 1st place at the time. The other was a Swedish Cup game (5-2 win) that they somehow were able to make it to, having rented a car and with no map, navigate the snakelike streets up to Gothenberg.
-We ate like kings/queens while they were over here. If there is one thing the Pothast family loves… it’s food. Every night was a different restaurant and although it was tricky to decipher some of the menus, everyone seemed to enjoy the cuisine and go home with a better idea of what the Swede’s love to eat. My mom loved all the seafood options, my dad must have had schnitzel 5 times, and my uncles/grandpa ordered enough Falcons (local beer) to get the party started.
-One of the days, we took the ferry from Helsingborg to Helsingor, Denamrk. We tried some authentic open faced sandwiches at a local Danish diner, walked the streets to see the shops/people, enjoyed an ice cream in the square, and got to listen to some live New Orleans Jazz (in a slight accent). Overall, the whole experience of taking a short ferry ride to a new country was exciting and enjoyable for my family and I was glad we could fit that in to our plans.
-Another highlight was the impromptu adventure to Copenhagen with my dad and Uncle Matt to see a Champions League soccer match. The game was FC Copenhagen vs Bayer Leverkusen of the German Bundesliga. Hours before the game, we were huddled around a computer looking for tickets, how to get there, and finding a hotel since it would be too late to jump on a train back to Angelholm. Without a second thought, we got everything we needed and we got to see our first live taste of Champions League soccer. There is something special about the Champions League music and the pre game festivities that really get the blood flowing and the game was an absolute blast. We saw 5 first half goals (soccer is boring) and Leverkusen ended up winning 3-2. The atmosphere and crowd was great and we even navigated our way around Copenhagen like we knew what we were doing (When asking for directions one guy just said “follow that crowd of drunk fans”). Definitely a night I will remember.
-Later in the week, the whole crew was able to take the hour and a half train ride into Copenhagen to explore. Our first order of business was to take the famous Copenhagen canal tour. Although I had been on this before, it didn’t disappoint even the second time. You get to see so many of the city’s landmarks as well as listen to an informed tour guide explain interesting tid-bits you’d otherwise have no idea about. Whether it was the breathtaking opera house, royal yacht, little mermaid statue, or the views of Copenhagen from the water, everyone enjoyed. We then got lunch right on the canal in a part of the town called Nyhavn (very famous) and waited out the rain before taking the long walk down the main drag to shop and explore. I must have gone into every sports store with little Mike in search of soccer jerseys… the little guy knows what he likes and he found 2 that he can show off to his buddies on the first days of school. Uncle Matt was also so close to getting his feet gnawed on by fish at a salon called the “Fish Kiss.” You stick your paws into a tub of water where a special breed of fish nibble off the dead skin. It is supposed to feel great and I’m disappointed it didn’t happen for the sheer fact it would have been a great picture to make fun of him with 10 years down the road.
-As far as everyday things, I was able to show everyone my apartment, where my mom helped clean and organize. I showed them my favorite bakery, showed mom the grocery store, and the places they now can visualize when I tell them what I have been doing with my days.
-Almost every night was a bro sleepover with little Mike. We found a new movie to watch each night and he loved being able to stay up later (and eat more ice cream) than would have been kosher with my parents at the hotel. I loved being able to spend time with him and since I’m separated from him for extended periods of time, I had to get my little Mike fix. We kicked the ball around after training sessions and he even got to come into the locker room to sing, meet the team, and celebrate after the Hammarby win. He’s growing up too fast so I have to try and spoil him when I have the chance.
-My grandpa was a trooper this trip. After taking a tumble on the tricky cobblestone curb in town the first day he was here, he could have stayed low key and chilled. However, he was walking EVERYWHERE we would go and was always so excited to get out and explore. He has never met a stranger in his life and I think he made more than a dozen new acquaintances in the short time he was here in Angelholm. I hope I have half the vigor for life at his age. It also made for a great inside joke when he would unknowingly call the local currency, Swedish kroner, Swedish Caronas. Many laughs were shared over that one as he went to get more Swedish Caronas from the ATM.
-It was such a valuable lesson being able to pick at my Uncle Mark’s brain while he was here and have conversations about living abroad with him. He has been living abroad for the last 22 years of his life and was able to really give me some good advice and make me think about the big picture. He’s certainly set a good example and some mature wisdom can go a long way. So thanks for that big fella.
-Family is everything and I’m just so happy to have spent time with them over here. It was my mom’s first time to Europe so hopefully it didn’t disappoint and everyone had a good time. I know all of you will be reading this so thanks again for coming and I love you all very much. See you all in November for some turkey!
2). Keep you up to date on the soccer stuff:
-Since I last posted…
We beat Jonkopings Sodra 1-0 at home
Tied Assyriska 1-1 away
Beat Hammarby 1-0 at home
Beat a Division 2 side 5-2 in a Swedish Cup game
And most recently lost 2-1 to Sundsvall at home
It’s been a pretty good stretch for us as a team, but we haven’t been able to put too much a separation from the bottom teams. We are still in 10th place with 9 games left in the season. The next few games are vitally important and hopefully we can establish some breathing room. And it’s about time I score…
3). Lengthy Interview
Below is a link to a lengthy interview I did with a writer up in Stockholm who follows North American soccer and loves interviewing Americans who have decided to play in Sweden. This was for his podcast called “Across the Pond” and we cover a bunch of topics from childhood sports, Marquette, and how I am liking it over here. Give it a listen if interested, the first couple minutes are in Swedish with the rest in English.
That’s basically the meat of what’s new and/or relatively exciting over here. It’s time to focus and finish the last few months of the season strong. Also good luck to all my guys at MU and elsewhere starting their college soccer seasons soon. Oh, and I guess good luck with classes starting as well. Hope everyone is doing well and I will catch ya later. Ciao.