Jet lag can be a killer, but so far California Gold has been holding up pretty well. Being all the way from the west coast of the United States, our time has been altered considerably. However, this didn't stop our team from having a great first day touring Paris, second day spent practicing and preparing for competition in Rouen and a third day in pre-competition spirits.
We have been doing considerable amounts of walking, keeping us fit and fatigued. On Tuesday we walked from Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower, by way of the Musee d'Orsay. On Wednesday it was back and forth from the rink several times, in weather considerably colder than most California girls are used to. But this is what makes international travel, and competition, so exciting. Its about experiencing new and different things. Los Angeles is an area where many of us spend large chunks of time stuck on the freeway, not walking amongst centuries old architecture. Its a place where we rarely huddle for heat.
Thursday, after a particularly cold but productive practice, we had the opportunity to participate in the opening parade for the French Cup. We walked with teams from all over the world through the streets of Rouen and chatted with the other U.S. Teams here: Miami University senior, Team Braemar junior and Skyliners junior. All the teams performed a flash mob dance at the end of the parade. The U.S. Teams all went out to dinner together, hosted by our team leaders Robin and Bob, who gave all roses and beautiful cards. (One of my teammates began crying at this point, partially the beautiful quote on the cards, partially the jet lag catching up).
It has been a trip of firsts for many at this competition. For many members of my team this is their first time representing Team USA, for a few its their first time to Europe, it is my first time to France and I got to participate in my first international draw. This is part of why this opportunity is amazing. Skating is not only a gift in and of itself, but also gives us a context in which to exit our comfort zones and experience new things.