Two weeks have quickly flown by since competing in Seoul at the Four Continents Championships. I’ll pick up where Madi left off in her last blog, after the closing banquet in Korea. After a late night at the banquet, an early morning bus to the airport was unwelcomed. Yet, with just a mere 12-hour plane ride separating my king size bed and me, I hustled to get to the bus (barely on time), before promptly falling back asleep on the 30-minute ride. I wasn’t the only one snoozing on the bus, so when the brakes finally hit at the airport, the dozen or so of us awoke looking like extras from a zombie movie. We were tired.
Some say the best remedy for sleep deprivation is duty-free airport shopping. Actually, I’m probably the only one to ever make that claim. Really though, could it be they pump extra oxygen into those fluorescent-lit shops to keep you shopping? Or maybe I just have an affinity for Korean skincare products? Either way, we made the rounds, and after a final purchase at Jamba Juice, we boarded the plane.
The Turkish say, “No road is long with good company.” Given that we sat in the bulkhead row in the good company of fellow Team USA ice dancers Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker, you might think the road would not feel long. But I’m here to say, the Turks were wrong — it was a long trip home, flying 12 hours straight over the North Pole from the other side of the world.
The next day, Feb. 17, I got to celebrate with my mom on her birthday. I brought her candy and flowers and we went out for dinner with my dad. We reminisced about the year before, Feb. 17, 2014, the day Madi and I competed our free dance in the Olympics in Sochi. This year our celebration was much more low-key, but still great given we got to see each other.
My family has this odd string of February birthdays. After my mom’s on the 17th, my grandpa turned 94 on Feb. 21, my birthday was the 23rd, and my sister and niece both had birthdays on Feb. 27. Five birthdays in 10 days feels like a lot of birthdays. Regardless, it gave us reason to celebrate and so the last few weeks have been filled with FaceTime calls, birthday cards and emails.
This past weekend, Madi and I had the pleasure of performing in Frenchie Skate, a benefit show directed by our friend Georgia Glastris. She assembled a really impressive cast of figure skaters to skate for North Star Reach, a camp for kids with serious health issues. As competitors, we less often get the chance to perform for crowds when the pressure is low, like in a show. It’s times like these that we get to skate for the sheer joy of loving what we do. We love to perform, to help a good cause and to make people happy. Frenchie Skate provided all three of those for us. So, I’d just like to say thank you to Georgia for having us at Frenchie Skate this year and for doing a stellar job organizing, running and skating in a great show. You have a heart of gold.
We are now three weeks away from the world championships in Shanghai. At this point, our training is intense, but not much different from how we prepare for any other competition. Even though the training has remained the same, we do want to have our absolute best performances at worlds. It’s our biggest competition in a non-Olympic year, and so all of our focus and energy over the next few weeks will be aimed at peaking in Shanghai.
We will undoubtedly have more stories to share from our journey, so be on the lookout for Madi’s next blog! We are also on Twitter and Instagram @chockolate02 and @evan_bates.