So this is pretty cool. We got in touch with Canadian Women’s National Team Member Stephanie Labbe and asked if she would contribute to the blog and without hesitation she said “Definitely!” We didn’t really give her any great direction on what to write about. Lame on our part… yes. But Stephanie was fine with it and decided to give us the low down on packing up the North American lifestyle and heading back to Europe to play professional soccer. It’s a new start for Stephanie with a new city and team in Örebro, Sweden.
Within my first week back here in Sweden, in a new city with a new team I have been asked the pretty standard questions from back home. “How do you like your team? How do you like your apartment? Is the city nice?” Some friends who are a little more soccer oriented ask , “How do you like your coach?” and “How is training?” Right now, I am going to give the full answers to what my life has been like in the past week in this new city!
The airport in Örebro is pretty small, so its much easier to fly into Stockholm and bus to Örebro. So I did just that! Only issue was that I had 3 big bags plus a small rolly carry-on. I’m not sure if you know, but I’m not overly gifted in the sense that I only have 2 arms like the majority of people on this planet. I managed to get them all onto an airport cart to get myself onto the first bus. Had to transfer buses half way, and it was a little stressful until I got off and realized the next bus stop was right behind the one I got off. Some guy said “I think you packed too much” then walked away…it might just be me but I think the nice thing to do would have been help? Never the less I managed to drag 2 at a time 10 meters at a time to the next bus. Another bonus, free wifi on the bus. They know how to do it here in Sweden! My first few days I spent with a teammate, who I had never met but knew from playing against her with the National Team. I had my own room in her apartment and she was very welcoming and helpful. She showed me the ropes, gave me a tour of the field/locker-room/gym/coaches offices etc and had a full fridge of groceries waiting for me. What more could I have asked for! I knew after 5 minutes of meeting my coach that it was going to be a great year. He has so much knowledge for the game, has coached the men at some of the highest levels and was very genuine and honest. The trainings have been at such a high level, with good tempo and control. I already feel the demands, and its a great feeling to have.
It took a few days before I ventured into the city center which has all the shops, cafe’s and grocery stores. Its a beautiful city with lots happening. There is even a castle here! Örebro was recently awarded the top sports city in Sweden because of all the different sports teams in the highest divisions. I can already for see a future of a lot of sports watching! I have got to know the girls on the team, and they have been so nice and welcoming to me. Lucky for me I can understand most Swedish now, so it makes it a little easier to get to know them right off the bat.
After a busy few days, I was ready to unpack my bags and get settled into my apartment. As soon as it was available for move-in I was picked up and transported over with all my luggage. Its a small apartment with one room. And by one room I mean there is a bathroom, a kitchen, and then one room for my bed/tv etc. Its very cozy and its all I need. And for me, it means less cleaning which I am always a fan of! Now that I feel settled in, and I have decorated a little with some IKEA goodies, I feel ready to set out and explore a little more! Step one is to find my way from my new apartment to the grocery store…good thing for google maps!