October 2010

"Juuten Tach" is Berlin dialect and means "hello," and these past few weeks we got a taste of how little Berlin dialect we know. When Bavarians say "Servus" instead, the rest of Germany gets worked up about that, but actually the people from Berlin have no reason to get worked up like that. What's rather surprising is how quickly you get accustomed to such a dialect. By now we find ourselves ordering "Schrippen" [bread rolls] at the bakery or putting on a "Schlüppa" [underpants]. When you live in Berlin, you also notice how the media overemphasizes the difference between East and West, which probably doesn't play much of a role for most people here.

Not much has happened since our last journal entry, though. We're still staying at the residence hall and get to know more and more athletes here. It's quite remarkable how many athletes live here and how many sports are represented at the Sportforum. There are three ice rinks, a speed skating oval, a swimming pool, an archery range, a beach volleyball facility, a track and field indoor arena, several gymnasiums, weight rooms, soccer fields, two big ballet studios, a boxing ring, a judo room, and probably even more facilities. Not to mention that the next sports complex on Paul-Heyse-Straße and the Velodrom are only a 8-minute car drive away. This is great for us since the atmosphere is always very motivating. All the time you can see athletes walk around in apparel of the sports support program or even wearing the current Olympic collection.

Unfortunately, we can't really make use of all this as we'd like to. Carolina's knee still hasn't healed yet, and a second MRI appointment recently indicated that she may not only have a cartilage injury, but there may also be a problem with the meniscus. The rehab therapy hasn't been very effective so far. For Carolina, this means that she still isn't allowed to practice on the ice. In this context, it was particularly bitter that we had to turn down an invitation to a Grand Prix event. Maybe we would have managed to be in shape in time, but we didn't want to take the risk of the cortisone shots that would have been involved. Too often we have witnessed the damage that these shots can do to athletes.

Towards the end of the month, we ran into a little problem because we had promised months ago to promote a plastic ice surface at a company party. Instructions on how to put on the skates, doing little exercises, organizing a practice for children, giving interviews – those were the activities we had agreed on. When Daniel took off his skates in the evening and checked the sharpening, it seemed like the blades had withstood the unusual force without any problem. On Monday morning, however, he had to abort the training session after just a few minutes. All the edges were completely gone and Daniel could only continue his training after the blades had received a new basic sharpening. The man who does the sharpening swore a bit when he got his two skates and said that he had rarely seen such bad edges. It was a completely new experience for Daniel to skate on plastic. In the short run, this can't possibly be a full-fledged alternative for the expensive ice. However, we've heard that Canada is already a step ahead and that there's a 60x30m synthetic ice surface there that's supposed to be comparable to a normal ice surface.

In other respects, we're both glad to return to studying come the new term after we've been away from college for a year. Carolina will continue her bachelor's degree, whereas Daniel will attempt to work on his master's degree in business administration. Of course we still want to focus on skating, so the studies are of the distance learning type.


Carolina and Daniel




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