August 2, 2018
Our travel day started, like most skaters, with a final practice at home. After putting in the last bit of pre-competition work, the five of us (Misato and I, Shiyue and Xinyu, and Pascal) packed into a jumbo taxi and headed off to the airport.
Our original travel plan was to fly the Tokyo to reach Bangkok, but we received an alert that with a delay of almost two hours, we’d be missing our connection. A few phone calls and a quick reroute later, we were rebooked and on our way to Shanghai (thanks, Air Canada!).
The preparation in the days leading up to competition can be extremely busy, particularly before the first outing of the year, so a long plane ride isn’t always an unwelcome occurrence. For the first time in a couple of weeks, we can sit back and enjoy some (albeit mandatory) extra time to decompress.
We had a second delay in Shanghai, with an extra hour of taxiing inside the plane as well, but at the end of the day we’ve made it to Thailand safe and sound.
August 3, 2018
Our morning started with breakfast at the hotel and a little gym time. We were lucky enough to have practice in the afternoon today after a late arrival yesterday evening, so we walked a bit and stocked up on some essentials at the local 7-Eleven.
The architecture has been quite foreign to the majority of what we’ve come to expect from competition locales, which are normally dominated by European influence. The vibrant colors and sprawling concrete structures have a repetition that, though greatly varying, has a simple harmony to it. The rink is situated on the fifth floor of a shopping mall, which creates a relaxed, and very warm atmosphere.
Our practice went well. It was special to see so many skaters at the rink from so many different countries. What a beautiful opportunity to share what is for many a first international competition. I admittedly can’t quickly pinpoint Kuwait on a map, but I could pinpoint the smile on the faces of the skaters from Kuwait today with their new friends, making new memories together. It’s those moments that remind us why we love what we do, and the chance it provides to connect with people from all over the world.
See you after the Rhythm Dance.
August 4, 2018
The day began, as is typical for us dancers, with an early wake up and hair and makeup preparations. After the practice, it was business as usual, which usually means a mini meal, an attempt at a nap, and a redo of the hair and makeup.
The ice has been fairly fluctuating in texture since we’ve arrived, so adjustments were to be made between the morning practice and the competition to be sure we approached things correctly.
We were pretty happy with our first outing of the season, particularly to have prepared earlier for an August debut with a big change of rules and relocating our training home to Montreal in the spring. I hope this is the beginning of a fantastic season. We had a wonderful time out there, and finished 3rd with a new season’s best score.
We finished off the night with a quiet dinner at the hotel, spicier than expected but delicious nonetheless.
Until the Free Dance.
August 5, 2018
Well, after a lovely competition experience we placed 2nd in the Free Dance, 1st in the technical score, and overall finished in 3rd place. It’s our first Challenger Series medal together, and to have it be at the inaugural first-ever Asian Challenger Series was a special and humbling experience for us both. We are so honored to have shared this together with the other couples and our teammates.
After the event we went to Wat Arun near the city center to get a closeup look at a local Buddhist Temple. There are many in the city, so we chose Wat Aran based on it’s particular art style that almost bears resemblance to the works of Gaudí. Patchwork pottery covers the Wat from head to toe, and you can climb a steep set of stairs to see a different perspective and the river cityscape nearby.
We’ve had a beautiful experience kicking off our season, and the Challenger Series here in Thailand.
Until next time, we say a heartfelt thank you and a good luck to all the skaters in the upcoming year!