It has been a few months since I have written. I figured it was time to write a summer update!
As you can imagine a lot has happened, so I’ll start where I last left off. I arrived home from a two week training session in the Netherlands (after Junior Worlds) on March 16. I was so happy to be back in the US and to see my family.
While I was back in Pennsylvania our PBS station, WVIA had asked my Mom and me to participate in a live interview show, “The State of Pennsylvania” and talk about competitive figure skating. It was a 60 minute live interview show with a studio audience and callers phoning in questions. I was so excited to be able to take part in an interview set up in a live format. My Mom met with the production staff earlier in the week while I was away to give them background information and share some old and current competition videos. The first question I was asked was, “When and why did you start skating?”
Did I ever tell you this?
They were surprised that I started skating at the age of 10 in November of 1999, and even more surprised that I got interested in skating after I saw a local competition in Binghamton, NY and saw skaters winning medals for doing a lot less than the skaters did on TV. I saw the awards ceremony and thought “I think I’d like to win a medal too!” Shortly after, I registered for group lessons and took a few private lessons at a local rink. The following summer I went to Philadelphia and began training with my former coach twice a week. Most of the questions were straight forward, “What do you like most about skating?”, “Where is the most interesting place you have been?” They showed my programs from nationals and some old video that I had forgotten even existed. Questions were asked by members of the studio audience, who to my great delight included some adult skaters I had once skated with at a local rink. (I included pictures in the photo gallery) A few questions came from people who called into the live broadcast. I think the most memorable question that night came from a little girl that called in and simply asked, “Do you still like skating?” I smiled and quickly answered “Yes!”
I loved being a part of the show and staying after to meet with the audience. The staff members at WVIA were incredible to my family and me. It was really nice to feel and see the support from people in my hometown. It was also great to see all those people I had skated with before. The weekend following the PBS interview I was invited to skate in the Binghamton Figure Skating Club show. Binghamton NY is about 50 minutes north of my home in Pennsylvania and over the years when I am home for a holiday or a break the members have been very kind to me and allow me to skate on their club ice. It was fun to skate in their show. We all had a great time.
After a long week off, I was ready to get back into skating again and return to the Ice House and my New Jersey life. I was so happy to see everyone. They prepared a warm welcome and hung posters congratulating me. I thanked everyone for everything they had all done to help me have a successful season. Their appreciation and the support from fans that have written to me have served to inspire me to work even harder this season.
When I returned to Hackensack I also moved into a new apartment with a few other skaters. Before I could get too comfortable in my new place I was off to Colorado to attend Champs Camp with Nikolai. I had such a fun time there and I learned a lot too. Paul Wylie gave the keynote address and his words were so motivating and relevant to a competitive skater. While we were there they announced the Grand Prix assignments for the upcoming season. I was thrilled to find out that I was assigned two competitions, Skate America and Cup of Russia. I am very excited to start competing on the Senior Grand Prix. After Champs Camp I returned to New Jersey and a few days later I was able to complete an important piece to prepare for the upcoming season. I took my senior freestyle test. (Yes, I passed). It was a memorable four minutes, forty seconds and now I am officially ready for my first senior season!
Two days after the test I went home to Pennsylvania. I was not returning to visit my family, but to visit a local surgical center. I was scheduled to have my impacted wisdom teeth removed. Before I left, many people felt compelled to share their horror stories about their personal experience with wisdom teeth. I will not repeat them in case any of you are considering a visit to your dentist. I remember very little about the procedure. I do remember looking at the IV in my arm and thinking, “Ok, great, it’s not working.” It seemed as if a second had passed and the nurse was asking me if I was alright and that the procedure was over. The nurse helped me to sit up and asked my mother to sit with me. I keep trying to get up and help the nurse clean up the room. They made me sit down. I guess I was just relieved that it was over. About 40 minutes later I walked out to the car with my Mom. I remember trying to convince her to drive me back to New Jersey and told her that I thought I could skate in the afternoon session. At some point during the ride home I heard my Mom talking on the phone with my brother. She told him that she was going to need his help get me in the house and up the stairs to my room. I took the phone from my mother and assured my brother that I was just fine. I also told him one hundred or so things that made absolutely no sense. Needless to say, he was waiting for us when the garage door opened.
They helped me into bed and covered my face with ice. When I woke up the next morning I realized that it was going to take more than one day to recuperate. I was upset that I was not able to assist with the Adult Skating Camp in Hackensack. I had such a great experience working at the camp last year. The skaters that I had the opportunity to work with were so appreciative and really loved skating. I was disappointed that my wisdom teeth dilemma coincided with the camp. However, I was able to attend the camp on Sunday, the last day and took part in the Question and Answer session. I also stayed after for some photos. (I included one in the gallery) You can only have your wisdom teeth out once, so I hope to be there next year for the entire weekend!
I returned t o the ice the next day, Monday and was back to a full schedule by Wednesday of that week. I have been working with Nikolai on my programs. They are not finished yet but I promise less face touching! 😉 this year! I feel like I am developing my own style and working to improve jumps, footwork and spins to make them all have more power behind them.
My first competition is the Moran Memorial at the Ice House August 22-25th. I will not compete at Liberty this year but I am attending an “in-depth evaluation” on Thursday, July 17th at the Liberty competition. The evaluation gives competitors an opportunity to have their programs as well as elements in their programs reviewed.
We know that the competitive season is underway when my world traveling b egins. After my evaluation on Thursday, I leave Friday afternoon for Andorra. I will be doing some pre-season altitude training with Nikolai and a few other skaters. I return in early August.
Last but not least, I completed my final exams for my senior year of high school. I was so pleased that I will be graduating on time! It has been a great challenge to complete courses on the road and with limited Internet and limited access to teachers. I hope to take my first college class in the fall.
Oh, I almost forgot! Some people have been writing to my website and asking if I am from the same “Scranton” that is featured on the NBC show, “The Office.” The answer is: yes, I am. I was born in Scranton and I moved to Clarks Summit when I was two. Clarks Summit is about 10 miles north of Scranton. Clarks Summit is a very small town. Scranton is our big city! I took some photos of Scranton and included some of the shots that are in the opening credits of the show. I hope you enjoy them!
To my friends in Bulgaria: I have included a picture for you. (It is in the gallery) I did follow your advice and hung the Martenitsa you gave me in a flowering tree in my family’s yard. Thank you for your gifts, your kind notes and your support!
To all of the people who have written to me, thank you. I appreciate you all taking the time to share your thoughts with me.
Enjoy the summer and thank you for reading. I appreciate your support and will write soon!