July 2009

The month that has probably been the calmest of the season is now over. Since June 1, the ice rink of the Westfalenhallen Dortmund has been de-iced. We're trying to make the best of the situation and keep in shape by doing conditioning, athletics, ballet, acrobatics and strength training, as well as endurance runs. Just going into training camp was unfortunately not yet possible because Daniel had to keep some mandatory college appointments until the end of June. He was also taking his last exams in this period. In addition, we also had to pass the conditioning test of the German Skating Union, and in between we had been invited to a charity run in Dortmund. For each participant, a certain amount was donated to a children's rheumatism foundation.

The exam period is extremely stressful for Daniel, and even though you're also nervous on the ice before important competitions, academic exam situations don't compare to that at all. In contrast to skating, you can always still learn a lot in the last night before the academic exam and then pass it somehow. At least you have a diploma in your pocket afterwards which cannot be taken away from you again, and you do learn something for life after all. Although it's certainly questionable at times whether the content of what you've learned or rather the learning process is crucial. A teacher once told me that he thinks you only really need 5% of what you've learned at school in your future life. However, you have to consider that these 5% include different kinds of knowledge for each person and that you're not only imparted pure, concrete knowledge at school. Above all, you learn structures, rules and social aspects without which a future life in our society would be unimaginable.

This past spring, my grandparents celebrated their golden wedding, but since our family is spread all over Germany and everyone is always very busy, we hadn't managed to set a date for the celebrations (a day on which really everybody had time) before June. Therefore we celebrated together on the Isle of Rügen in early June. "Everybody" doesn't even include that many people. Our closest family circle consists of us 7 children, my parents, my paternal grandma, my uncle and of course my grandparents themselves. In addition, everyone (who had one) was allowed to bring their boyfriend or girlfriend, and some local friends were invited, too. Unfortunately our little nephew couldn't be present because my brother's girlfriend was tied up with other obligations. We had first considered to hold the celebrations at a restaurant, but then opted for my mother's horse farm after all. All of us were therefore occupied all morning with rearranging, arranging and decorating. In the evening, food got delivered, and after that my grandparents also got to cut a multi-layer wedding cake as a highlight of the celebrations. It was a really nice evening overall, which went by way too fast. Unfortunately, such get-togethers of family and friends are way too rare, so it's indeed something special to spend a weekend with only those people who have already known you when you were still in your diapers and without skates.

Daniel managed to free up some time from learning on another weekend, so we were able to go to Berlin to work out the Golden Waltz with Mr. Skotnicky. Some people claim that the Golden Waltz is the most difficult compulsory dance that exists. It's a really complicated and fast dance to skate, but very easy on the eyes (provided it is presented adequately). The combination with the Tango Romantica for the next season is certainly suitable for the Olympics. Moreover, these will most likely be the last two compulsory dances that we'll skate in our active career, as a combination of the Compulsory Dance and the Original Dance is planned for the 2010-11 season and afterwards. After all, we'll then have managed to have skated each of the official ISU Compulsory Dances for at least one year.

With a new compulsory dance, it's usually necessary to discuss every single step combination, if not every single step, in order to really grasp in all detail how the step works. Most of the time, you're on the ice for hours to filter out problems thoroughly and to fix errors. It is quite possible that it takes 3 or 4 hours to work out a ¼ round of the compulsory dance until you have finally found a version that works for the individual team and still abides by the rules and guidelines of the dance.

Unfortunately we couldn't work on our programs yet last month and will therefore have to make up leeway in July. I am, however, confident that this will work out with Victor and Maikki.

While Daniel returned to Dortmund or rather to Iserlohn and college, I set off to break in my new skates in Chemnitz. My old ones are already more than 2 years old and resemble slippers more than sturdy leather shoes. Actually, I should have received my new skates in January or February, but there were some problems with the delivery, so I had to wait for the skates for 4 months. Since I didn't want to lose another week of training in Vancouver, I wanted to get onto the ice for a couple of days and try the skates out. There are, unfortunately, some problems with this model, and therefore there's no getting around breaking in new skates in Vancouver after all. I also took care of organizing a lot about our new costumes, so that these can be made while we're in Vancouver for the summer training.

Our flight to Vancouver took off on June 29, and I was already really looking forward to meeting our friends again there and to resuming our training. It's certainly going to be a very hard time, but that will hopefully be seen through with lots of fun and high spirits all the same. Vancouver is a one-of-a-kind city which everybody should have visited in their life.

Carolina (and Daniel)




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