Sunday, October 26, 2008
That’s a wrap!

HPIM0731-767189What a whirlwind weekend it has been!

This morning’s practice and competition were crammed together. We practiced from 7:45 a.m. to 8:20 a.m. and caught the bus back to the hotel to eat breakfast. Then just 30 minutes later, we left to get back to the rink, warm up again, and compete at 11:00 a.m.

On my way into breakfast, one of the police/security guards who has been stationed at the hotel stopped me and asked if I was in the newspaper yesterday. He was so excited to meet someone who was in the paper. And I was happy to be recognized. 😉

We were pleased with our free dance performance today. Not too bad for our season debut. Now we know what we have to work on to prepare for Cup of Russia. I can’t believe it’s only four weeks away! We leave tomorrow morning for our short five-hour flight. I’ve had a great time here in Everett, but there’s no place like home.

Now it’s time to have a rest and get ready for the Rock ‘n Roll-themed closing banquet.

I’ve been having so much fun skating and blogging I’ve forgotten I’ve still got homework to do! Thanks to Daphne and Michelle for giving me the opportunity to blog this week from the skater’s perspective!

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Saturday, October 25, 2008
Two down, one to go!

KKC1721-790552Two down, one to go! I can’t believe it’s almost over!

Today’s crowd for the OD was much better than for compulsories, which is expected; I even spotted a Lithuanian flag! 🙂 The arena was briefly transformed into a dance hall where all the ice dancers were swinging, tapping, Charleston-ing and having the times of their lives.

But now it’s time to get in the mood for the free dance, which is a little bit more emotional than the light ‘n lively swing. It looks like many of the other teams have gone the modern/emotional route as well.

I haven’t mentioned anything about the food here yet. We have been eating around the world. Thursday’s dinner was a Southwest/Mexican theme, Friday (yesterday) was Italian, and tonight was Oriental. The menu for tomorrow night’s closing banquet is anyone’s guess.

Also, I vow to never again wear a white dress, so that Michelle can continue to take awesome action shots of my team. 😉

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We’re famous!

KKC7-784009We’re famous! Well, not quite. But we did make it into the local paper here in Everett. Every morning the hotel staff hangs a bag with the local paper and USA Today on the outside door handles of all the rooms. We glanced the front page, featuring the German pair (Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy) from their short program last night, and then continued to the rink for our 8:00 a.m. practice. After practice, our team leader showed me the paper. I couldn’t believe we missed it! Definitely a nice boost for the day 🙂

Even at breakfast we couldn’t get away from us. In the dining room, two projectors had been set up and were playing the Viennese from the day before. They were playing the warm-up from the first group, ours. It’s funny to watch yourself over 20 feet tall hanging on the wall. The accreditation room was showing the men’s event across the hall on their projector, and we were able to catch Johnny’s short program.

Gotta go rest up for OD this afternoon (evening if you’re in the East)!

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Friday, October 24, 2008
I’ve never heard so much cheering!

I found out today that if you drive two hours to the north, you will end up in Vancouver. It’s exciting to be so close to where the 2010 Olympics will be held in just 16 months.

KKC2-720160Today the competition was opened with the Viennese Waltz. It was a decent crowd for compulsories — enthusiastic, too. I’ve never heard so much cheering during the dances! It was nice to hear. However, I’d like to know why the opening ceremonies are always after the compulsory dance event.

After I returned to the hotel my parents informed me that our dance was on YouTube. And already an hour old. The speed of the Internet is incredible. It must have been posted almost immediately after we had finished. Still, I thought it was nice to have an instant replay with commentary. Now I know what I need to work on for tomorrow 😉

Tomorrow is the original dance, and I am totally psyched. I think this year’s ODs are really fun, and I hope our performance will have the audience dancing in their seats.

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First practice of the day (at 8:00 a.m.!) means an empty arena and perfect ice.

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The judges’ stand – not so intimidating now.

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This way to the Olympics!

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Mountain view from Everett

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Greetings from Everett, Washington!

I am very excited to be here for our first international competition in the United States. It hasn’t even been 24 hours yet and I am already sure that Everett should host Skate America every year, and these are my reasons why:

We arrived at the Seattle/Tacoma airport around 9:00 p.m. and were greeted by volunteers, who were cheerful for that time at night, and were offered water and a snack. The drive to the hotel was about 50 minutes and well worth it. The Tulalip Resort Casino has pretty much ruined any other hotel stays for the rest of my career. It has a very luxurious feel the minute you walk in with dark red, gold, and black decor and Native American totem poles and artwork. The proud orca of the Tulalip Native American tribes can be seen on the outside of the building

My room is as big as a suite. It has a large flat screen television, couch and lounge chairs, spacious modern bathroom and floor-to-ceiling-wall-to-wall window overlooking the parking lot. I even found a channel this morning dedicated to Skate America, showing clips of skaters from the 2008 U.S. Nationals in St. Paul, Minnesota set to music.

The rink is 15-20 minutes from the hotel and the ice feels amazing. On our first practice of the week, we had a choice of Original Dance or Free Dance. We must have missed the free dance memo that everyone else got, since we were the only ones in ’20s/’30s/’40s-themed costumes in our group.

The people on staff at the rink and the hotel are extremely friendly and hospitable. There are even smiling faces with kind words from sponsors on the water bottles!

I will try to remember to bring my camera with me tomorrow for some photos. I can tell it’s going to be a good week 🙂