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Bandy in Sweden.

Hej, hej (hey-hey)! That's Swedish for "hello!" Our names are Julia and Maggie, and we're cousins. We live in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and play traveling youth hockey for a team called the Minneapolis Storm. This past October, our hockey club offered kids the opportunity to go on a trip to Vasteras, Sweden (an hour from Stockholm). A total of about 20 kids went, including five girls.

We went to Sweden to see how people in other countries play hockey and to learn the game of bandy. Bandy is like hockey--you play on a sheet of ice and wear skates and most of the same protective padding. It's different from hockey because you play on ice that is the size of a full soccer field, use short, curved sticks, and play with a small ball instead of a puck. And shooting is just like striking a golf ball.

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We both play hockey and soccer, so it didn't take long to catch on to bandy. The Swedish boys we met were very talented and mostly focused on bandy instead of hockey. By the end of the week, we were so used to bandy that when we played hockey on our final night, it was very difficult. Our sticks felt as if they were tree trunks, and the puck as heavy as a cow. But after a while, we remembered how to play. We haven't played eight years of hockey for nothing!

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Our favorite part was when we went to a Swedish school. Some of the bandy players we played with attended the school we visited. Small class sizes were a shock to us, with around 15 kids in each class. That's about half the size of our classes at home. We learn a lot of the same subjects as they do: language arts, history, and math. But the Swedish kids have the amazing opportunity to be in classes like woodworking and knitting.

Some other really fun experiences included touring Stockholm, participating in a half-day team building activity that involved mental and physical challenges, and shopping and eating in Vasteras. Our only disappointment was that we didn't get to try much Swedish food. All the restaurants were Asian, Greek, Italian, or American. We were told that to eat Swedish food, you have to get invited to someone's house for dinner.

Our trip was a blast, and our families gave us a warm welcome home. We really got to know all the kids and bonded very well with them. We learned some new hockey moves that we now use in games. And we can't wait to host the Swedish bandy team when they come to Minneapolis in the summer of 2012!

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Read more articles written by kids like you and learn how to be a U.S. Kids Reporter at jackandjillmag.org!

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Article Details
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Title Annotation:U.S. Kids REPORTERS
Author:Shepard, Julia; Fisher, Maggie
Publication:Jack & Jill
Article Type:Travel narrative
Geographic Code:4EUSW
Date:Mar 1, 2011
Words:477
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