Sunday, March 4, 2018
Hello from Bulgaria!
We arrived yesterday afternoon and took a shuttle to the hotel, got our rooms and accreditation. After unpacking a bit, Logan, Massy, and I were all super hungry so we grabbed a bite in the lobby and then went for a walk to get our bodies moving a bit and explore the city.
At first, there didn’t seem to be many beautiful buildings, but then when we got closer to the city center we saw many old, beautiful churches. Sofia is an interesting city because there are a variety of old buildings and newer buildings all dispersed throughout. Some cities have the “old town” and “new town”, where development took place, but that isn’t the case in Sofia. Some buildings are not old in style of architecture but very rundown, some are very modern and beautiful, and some are gorgeous, old, buildings that can’t be found in many western cities. We returned from our little expedition with much more appreciation for the city than when we began.
We then had our team meeting where the team leaders hand out any information we need and, of course, the festive merch to wear when we cheer for each other. I love our team and I am so happy to be here with people that I know so well and have traveled with (mostly) over the past few years. It’s really special to be able to visit new places with friends that you have grown and matured with over the years, as athletes and as people.
After the team meeting, a bunch of us went up to have some dinner and we ate with a few of the Canadian and Spanish skaters of various disciplines. After that, we all went our separate ways and crashed into bed.
Monday, March 5, 2018
I woke up this morning feeling very excited and awake. Upon realizing that it was only 3:30, I tried to calm down and eventually I fell back asleep. When I finally woke up later closer to my alarm time, I dragged myself out of bed, put on some makeup, and went to do my hair. The voltage is different here than in the US, so the curling iron wouldn’t work, but I managed to somewhat (emphasis on somewhat) get my hair in a decent style for practice. After finishing getting ready, I went down and had a quick breakfast before leaving for our first practice at the main arena. Practice went really well! We did our free dance this morning, so we will do short dance later tonight on the practice rink.
After practice we had lunch with some of the other Americans and some Canadian skaters as well. After that, I caught up with a close friend that I hadn’t seen in ages, took a nap, and here I am! It’s only 6pm and we have practice around 9, so I’m finishing this blog here because when I get back from practice I know I will pass out for the night.
Ok, I hope you enjoyed these first two entries!
I’m excited to share some random details with you throughout the week.
SOFIA FACT: Sofia is one of Europe’s architecturally most beautiful cities, according to Conde Nast Traveler, with Roman, Ottoman and Byzantine buildings mixed in with big parks filled with children, families and dogs –and delicious restaurants!
Sunday, March 11, 2018
This past week in Bulgaria has been an incredible experience that is going to be hard to summarize and conclude.
Beginning with the achievements of our awesome team, it was a very successful trip! The pairs TJ and Sarah and Audrey and Misha had a strong finish and were able to secure three spots for next year! Our ladies, Ting and Emmy, both put out beautiful programs, and our men skated super strong short programs with Alex winning the small medal, and despite Alex’s awful injury in the long, Camden and Tomoki both put out solid and exciting long programs. The dance event also concluded amazingly as Christina and Anthony moved up to take home silver, Caroline and Gordon skated two strong programs, and Logan and myself had two of the best programs of our career together. It feels so awesome to be finishing the season on such a positive note and be able to look forward to next year with new goals and momentum.
So, the last time I updated you was Saturday morning. Since then, we attended ladies long program which was an unbelievable event. Afterwards, we attended the closing banquet and danced for HOURS with all of the competitors from all different countries. It was truly a perfect way to cap off a beautiful week, and everyone was just full of joy and I guess a sort of relief and freedom as the season had concluded (for most). The next day was spent mainly in bed for me because we stayed up so late dancing and hanging out afterwards, but later in the day my roommate Emmy and I went to the arena to watch the gala. It was really fun and entertaining, as pretty much the entire week was looking back on it whenever I was with Emmy. I am so grateful to have roomed with her this week and to be flying back to the states with a new friend that I feel like I’ve known for ages.
After the gala, everyone went back to the hotel to finish packing before having a team dinner at a traditional Bulgarian restaurant, and then just hanging out all night until we took our various busses to the airport. Something super wonderful about being on the junior international circuit for several years is the friendships that form throughout, and I was able to spend a lot of time with close friends that I rarely get to see this week which was so special. As much as I love that, it makes leaving and going back to normal life much harder.
So, I guess this is where I leave you! I am full of love from the week and also gratitude: to US figure skating for the opportunity, our coaches for preparing us physically, mentally, and so much more that I can’t even begin to describe. I am SO grateful to our team leaders, doctors, and other mentors that have led us through this week and helped with everything from mental support to technical issues and tissues needed rinkside. This trip would literally have been impossible without you! Of course, i am endlessly grateful for my parents and for Logan… and many more people but this has begun to sound like an Oscars acceptance speech.
Thank you so much for reading this! I hope you’ve enjoyed my brief recaps of the events of my week at Junior Worlds!