Dosvidanja Nalchik

Thursday 10/18/12 time 12:24 AM

2012-10-15_18.18.32.jpgOn January 19th 2010 I started a big adventure. It all started at hotel Kremlin Palace in Antalya, Turkey when I joined Spartak Nalchik´s winter training camp. I still remember the confusion I felt when entering Kremlin palace´s lobby filled with Russian speakers. At that time of the year the hotel was inhabited with teams from former Soviet countries. The language in Spartak´s trainings was Russian and I didn´t speak a single word of it. It felt a bit weird but at the same time it was tempting – wouldn´t it be great to make it in Russian football? This is how my adventure as a Spartak Nalchik player started.    

Being the first western player in the history of Spartak Nalchik, I got a warm welcome from the fans and everyone else. Luckily my goalkeeper coach, Sergey Krashenko, spoke English. David Siradze, who became a close friend, spoke German with me. Both were of great help. Playing for Nalchik offered not only great success but also some bitter disappointments. We played in freezing weather followed by extremely hot conditions. I´ve made long trips by plane and even longer trips by train. I´ve made friends for life, I´ve got to learn fantastic new traditions, I´ve encountered hospitality I never knew existed, I´ve drunk the best beer in the world, I´ve been skiing at Mount Elbrus, I´ve had the chance to enjoy the Russian sauna culture (which is nearly as good as in Finland), I have witnessed car driving I couldn´t even imagine in my worst nightmares, I´ve fallen in love with the most delicious Caucasian cuisine, I´ve been able to play in front of great fans… Moreover, I´ve had the privilege to play with amazing players and to learn from specialists of the highest quality.  

On the other hand, I´ve also suffered from loneliness at times without my family who stayed in Norway. I´ve been frustrated because of the language or better to say because of my lack of it (and the others´ lack of English). But what doesn´t kill you makes you tougher. I´ve learned that the Russian saying: vso budit harasho, is actually true. Sooner or later things will work out – there´s no need to stress.

I´ve just returned back from Nalchik where I spent 4 memorable days. Due to my injury I´m not able to play football this year, and therefore I´ve come to an agreement with the club to finish my contract immediately. So I´m a free agent from now on. The next big issue is to get fit for football again and then we´ll see where my journey will continue to.

I wish to thank each and everyone in Nalchik for the great time I´ve had there both on and off the pitch! You´re hospitality has touched me and my family. Hope one day I´ll be able to give something back!

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Finland vs Georgia

Friday 10/12/12 time 4:13 PM

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Tonight is a night I have been looking for since the World Cup 2014 qualifying groups were announced in July 2011.

Finland meets Georgia in World Cup qualification at our home stadium, the Olympic Stadium in Helsinki. My good friend and team mate from Spartak Nalchik, David Siradze, is Gerogian. Our dream was to meet on the pitch tonight but as usual things didn´t go exactly as planned,  I got injured and David wasn´t called up for the Georgian squad.

Anyway I´m sure that tonight´s georgia.jpggame will be an event worth seeing. Come´on Finland!

 

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Live strong

Friday 9/28/12 time 5:23 PM

Do you know anyone who has fought cancer?

I do.

Especially in the past few years there has been a huge increase in the number of people around me who have fought cancer. Unfortunately I am one of the many who have lost someone near and dear to cancer.

Nobody knows which one of us will be the next one affected by cancer but we can choose the attitude we face it with. I choose to live strong!

Do you?

I support Lance Armstrong’s foundation Livestrong which fights to improve the lives of people affected by cancer.

My yellow bracelet reminds me of my choice. livestrongranneke2.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.livestrongday.org

www.livestrong.org

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Feeling alive

Tuesday 9/25/12 time 11:34 PM

 

pyorakuva.jpgI rounded up my training week last Sunday by training outdoors. What a perfect way to finish a good week at work! One of the great joys of being a football player is that I get to work outside in the (often) fresh air. Sunday’s workout was actually my first one outside since the injury in May, and I have missed training outdoors. Therefore it probably felt extra good. And the work out?  

Cycling.

My speed was nothing to brag about but my father´s 20 years old Peugeot served its purpose well. Even the autumn storm which was saluting my workout didn´t bother me. Experienced as I am, I chose to fight the first half of my tour against the wind only to enjoy the lightness of cycling while having the wind behind my back on the way back home.

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Dinner for one

Tuesday 9/18/12 time 11:25 PM

I´m now back in Helsinki and had a busy day today. I had a consultation with my surgeon Dr. Kirjavainen. Good news: my knee is stable and looks pretty much like it should 3 months after the operation.

From there on I went to Somatic studios and had a good session with my physiotherapist Jari-Pekka "Gene" Keurulainen. Some new and more demanding exercises were added to my training program, which caused shaky legs but gave a peaceful mind.

So, good nutrition was needed... 

This is what I made out of fresh local ingredients.

dinner.jpgstarter.jpgStarting with a mixed green salad, cottage cheese and mustard dressing. Only to continue with some delicious zander, chanterelle sauce and steamed potatoes, carrots, and cauliflower as side dishes. Yummy! But who´s going to do the dishes?

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From One Fredrikson To Another

Saturday 9/15/12 time 11:34 PM

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Home sweet home! Though I often describe myself as a nomad thanks to a life on the run, I would identify the town of Oulu in Northern Finland as my home town. This is where many significant events in my life have taken place. This is where I started to train seriously aiming to become a professional football player; and this is where I spent the crucial teenage years of my life. I still have many friends and family members in here. That’s why it is so great to be back in the capital of Northern Finland.

I don’t think I have spent this much time in Oulu since I left the town in the beginning of 2002 to move to Mönchengladbach. During these past few weeks in North I’ve been thinking back to the good old days of my youth. I can tell you the wind is still the same but money smells less. (For those of you not familiar with Oulu: part of the town’s characteristics is its paper industry. Back in the time when I was a child the paper factories smelled quite a bit. Here in Oulu they often commented the smell by saying that money smells.)

While in Oulu I’ve been training at Pilates Oulu which is located at the old Åström leather factory which has been reconstructed. In a way it could be said that I’m walking in my grandfather’s footsteps: back in the late 1940s my grandfather (now 92 years old) worked at the Åström’s leather factory here in Oulu and has thus worked inside the same building as I have these past weeks. The times and our professions are different but it feels good to feel the connection. The time in Oulu could be seen as important for my grandfather as he later on started his own leather factory in Jyväskylä and surely had use for the knowledge and experience he was able to gather in Oulu.

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Bottle It

Monday 9/3/12 time 11:07 PM

 

 Good things have happened lately. Drinking coffee with relatives enjoying of the summery weather that at last reached Finland; berry-picking with my daughter and enjoying of the nature’s products every day; new explorations on the training front with Pilates technique as my aide; and, most importantly, progress in rehab. Currently my situation is that I have started working out again. I am allowed to train strength two days in a row. Biking is still rather limited as my knee doesn’t bend optimally yet. The current rehab program I am following is Pilates inspired. To support that I have also taken a few Pilates lessons from the great professionals who work at Somatic Studios in Helsinki. It’s great to be back in business again (or at least being allowed to sweat and train so hard that my muscles ache the next day). I know I have many tough months of training ahead of me, which is why it’s great to be able to savor these small joys of life. As my physiotherapist put it, I should store this feeling in a bottle and save it up for later days. I know there will come days when I need to crack that bottle open and find strength from remembering these good feelings.

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One Small Step

Monday 8/6/12

One Small Step for a Man…

…but one giant leap on the rehab process. Yes, I’m walking again!

It’s been a rather long and complicated process. The surgery in itself went well but unfortunately I was unlucky enough to get an infection on my knee one week after it. During this summer I’ve been in and out (well, mostly in) of hospital because of the complications. I am grateful for having been in good hands throughout the entire process and for having received excellent care. My surgeon at Dextra, Dr. Mikko Kirjavainen, deserves big thanks for having taken my calls even during his summer vacation and for having fixed things the way that I could receive the best possible care.

Because of the infection I haven’t been able to start rehab until now. The positive side is that my knee has had good time to recover. Currently it seems that the reconstructed ligaments haven’t suffered any harm despite the infection. I will continue to keep my fingers crossed…

A few days ago I took my first steps without crutches again. Strange but wonderfully liberating! As my surgeon put it: “you’re in no rush” – that’s painfully true. Despite moving forward slowly it’s still a wonderful feeling to be back on my feet again. Now the trick is to try hold myself back so I wouldn’t overdo it the first days.

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About Optimism

Saturday 6/9/12

 

 

In mid-May I got to experience both extreme highs and extreme lows (the latter on a footballers scale). The highs came in the form of becoming father for the second time and the lows just 6 days later when I injured my knee. How unlucky can you get? It was the last cross of the warm-up before I would have started the international friendly against Turkey for Finland. I was feeling great and sure that this would be my evening on the pitch. Well, someone wanted it differently. As I landed my other foot got caught on the grass but the rest of the body kept on moving… The result is that I got operated in Helsinki at the Dextra hospital past Thursday and am expected to be out for about eight months.

 

According to my wife one of my main characteristics has always been profound optimism. There’s no good in dwelling in the situation. That’s why my thoughts are already focused forward. Currently I’m mapping the best options for my rehab in order to make sure that I’ll get the best possible treatment and training in order to be fit when the time comes. I’m glad to have the support of the Finnish FA and to be able to use the expertise the national team has in their supporting staff.

I am mentally ready to face the challenges ahead. Just bring it on!

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Den Pobedy / Victory Day

Thursday 5/10/12

Yesterday was for many Russians the most beloved holiday of the year - Victory Day. Victory Day (May 9th) marks the capitulation of the Nazi Germany to Soviet Union in the Second World War.

 

Here in Nalchik, at least, the day was marked by traditional celebration. There was a small military parade in front of the court house or the White House as they call it here. On the program as well: traditional Russian and local music combined with the local dance.

 

In Nalchik people celebrated the day the traditional way, i.e. enjoying the beautiful May weather, going for a walk in the one of the town’s parks, or by going out on a picnic either in the nature or following the fantastic local tradition of a "car picnic" using one of the town’s many squares.

 

Here is the receipt for a successful "car picnic":

 

Park your car to one of the town’s big squares. Turn on your stereos, open the trunk and get your beverages. Serve the beverages from the top of the front hood of your car and keep the trunk open to make sure each and everyone nearby has the chance to enjoy of the music pouring out of the loudspeakers placed in the trunk. After being done with these necessary preparations you just drink, enjoy of  the music (or rather get an ear damage due to the irrationally loud volume), drink more, start dancing the local dances, whistle loudly as you cheer to the other dancers, drink more, dance more and enjoy of the day. After the beverages have been consumed or you just have had enough you throw all your trash on the ground next to your car, get in to the car and drive to the next destination... After it has gotten dark there are many other functions you can use your car for to celebrate or just enjoy of the holidays but I won’t go any deeper in case I have readers of all age...

 

Anyway, being a Finn and being well aware of the fact that our country paid a high price during the war we fought against the Soviet Union from 1939-1944 I chose not to celebrate the day too much. Instead, I had a two-hour individual work out with some of my team mates.  

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Like coming home

Sunday 5/6/12

I love Tomsk. That´s the feeling I got when we landed here today early in the morning after 7 long hours in the airplane from Nalchik including a planned(!) pit stop in central Russian city Samara. After our long journey the Sibirian breeze which greeted me welcome when stepping out from our airplane was something beautiful. I didn´t know that I had missed the northern fresh breeze that much! Like coming home after the hot Caucasian spring we´ve had this year. I guess staying longer than 2 days here could change my opinion but for now I´m more than happy to be here. Have to enjoy the small good things life has to offer! :)

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4000 km N/E (Nelisen tuhatta kilometriä koiliseen)

Thursday 5/3/12

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Facing the last and furthest away game of this season. We´re flying to the central Sibirian metropol Tomsk. We´re leaving tonight and supposingly landing in Tomsk tomorrow mornign local time.

Edessä on tämän kauden viimeinen vieraspelimatka ja samalla pisin sellainen. Kohteena Keski-Siperian helmi, Tomsk. Tänään illalla lähdetään ja huomenna aamulla paikallista aikaa ollaan perillä. Jos netti toimii, niin seuraava uutinen tullee Tomskista.

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