By Alison Kreviuzuk
Since I first began curling with Team Homan all those 14 years ago, my life evolved almost exclusively around curling. Back then, we would always say that school came first but in reality, it was a close second.
Life in Sweden has been dramatically different from what my norm was before, but I think I’m adapting quite well. Not having a regulated training program each and every day has been strange, but oddly refreshing. Here are a few other differences I’ve noticed since moving here:
It is encouraged to take multiple fika (Swedish for coffee break) breaks during work and your allocated five weeks of paid vacation a year.
- Karlstad is called the sun city, but yet in November we had a total of eight hours of sunshine all month. Fredrik ended up buying me a sunlight lamp to help ease the pain.
- Although there is barely any sun, the winter has been extremely mild so far. The temperature barely breaks the 0-degree mark. I heard Ottawa was at -28 last week… 🙂
- The biking culture is intense. People bike everywhere. No need to buy a car, just throw on a pair of winter bike tires and you’re all set.
- Sweden’s banking system runs almost exclusively on cards. The banks here don’t even distribute cash anymore. If you’re coming to visit, don’t even bother getting cash before you come. They will know you’re a tourist.
- There are no breakfast or brunch places that exist in town. We are trying to start up a Sunday breakfast club at our house to try and make it feel a bit more like home.
- Speaking of which, living next to Niklas Edin’s team means you have to always have a stacked fridge and a pot of coffee always on. They show their faces quite a bit, but that’s probably because we’re the only ones in town who get all the Canadian sports channels! It’s been great having such good friends close by.
Learning a new language is proving to be quite difficult. I attend classes every day and do my homework every night. Effective pronunciation will get there eventually… I hope. Their u’s and r’s are practically impossible for me to say right now. I feel confident enough to order sometime at a restaurant, ask where the washrooms are and tell a small story about who I am and where I’m from. The phrase ‘jag talar inte svenska’ (I don’t speak Swedish) seems to be the sentence most used right now though. Sometimes I don’t even say that, I just pretend I know what strangers are saying and just nod along. My neighbours must think I’m crazy.
Even though I talked about taking a step back, it seems as though I miss it too much to stay completely away. Should the girls qualify, I was asked by Margaretha Sigfridsson’s team to spare for Maria Wennerström at the Players Championships while she is busy becoming a new mom. They are all a great group of ladies and I couldn’t be more excited to team up with them for such a fantastic event. I have also signed on to do some broadcasting for the World Curling Federation at the World Junior Championships in Estonia, beginning on Feb. 28. I am thrilled to be handed such great opportunities and I look forward to what else 2015 has to offer.
That’s all for now Canada! I miss you all and I can’t wait to return in April.
(Alison Kreviazuk played second for Team Homan for 14 years, winning two Scotties Tournament of Hearts Canadian championship. This past off-season, she moved to Sweden to be with her boyfriend Fredrik Lindberg.)