|View out the window this morning|
This week, we've had some real, great snow. I love the kind that sticks to everything and here, where it's quite dark during the winter (current sunset at 3:30pm), it brightens things up so much, letting the light bounce off it even in the evening, keeping things so much brighter.
Along with the wintery feel, last weekend the majority of our skating club took the train to Gothenburg for the weekend to compete and watch the 2015 Leon Lurje Trophy. It was a blast. Our club's skaters did a great job, had a ton of fun, and made friends with a team from Michigan (USA) which was really fun for us to watch. It's so wonderful when they can be inspired by older skaters that they can look up to. A bunch of them swapped contact information and will hopefully keep in touch.
|Warm up before competing|
|Goodbyes after arriving back in Stockholm|
A few of my favorite moments from the weekend:
- While in the stands, one of the younger girls listened to the American team cheering (the typical, "Give me a U, give me an S, give me an A! What's that spell?!") and while they chanted, "USA! USA!" she leaned over to ask her older sister for a translation, who then pronounced the letters the Swedish way so she could realize what they meant.
- While eating breakfast, the same younger girl as mentioned above sat with us (the adults/coaches) and at one point, whispered to her sister that she wished we'd speak in Swedish so she could follow along. While that wasn't quite possible for the whole conversation, when things quieted down, I leaned over and asked her a little bit about herself, how old she was, what teams were her favorite, etc. This went well and we had a nice little conversation, but not before she first automatically asked for a translation of what I was saying before she was told, "She's speaking Swedish, ask her to repeat it!"
- I pulled up the competition's live video feed on the train home so that we could watch what we were missing by having to leave a bit early. When the American team that the girls had met skated, everyone was super excited to crowd around and cheer for them together. When one of the team moms, confused why they wanted to see this specific team so badly, asked why, I overheard one of the girls answer, "Because they're our friends!"
That all said, I am reminded of three things from my group classes last night, which made me laugh as well:
- I had two new skaters in my first group of the evening, hockey playing brothers, who are taking our classes to further improve their technique (very smart of them!). Throughout the 45 minute class, I talked with each of them, asked what types of things they'd been working on with their previous coach, and gave them some new things to work on. They happily followed along and answered my questions. (All fully in Swedish, it should be noted, so this story makes sense.) Near the end, with only a few minutes left in the class, the younger boy (maybe 6?) suddenly said, as we stood in a circle, as I was giving directions, "Doesn't she speak Swedish?" to which the whole class replied, "She is!" It's been the same every time I start with a new younger kid, because my accent is quite thick still, but their reaction seems to be different every time. After a week or two, they're fine with it and there's generally no further major hassle with their comprehension of my words.
- Later on, in my synchro team's hour, we didn't quite have everyone available for a real practice, so I decided to do a a skills session instead. Our big focus was learning how to do a choctaw. They listened well and tried over and over -- it's a complicated move for beginners at first! All was going well and I was checking with each to make sure they were doing okay when one of the girls came over to ask how much longer we'd have with them and said, (translated Swedish in italics), "Can we continue doing more croptops?" It was ridiculously cute. After a few more mispronunciations, she had it down by the end of practice.
- And last, after all was done last night, I was chatting with a couple of the parents and one of their daughters arrived, ready to leave, said "thank you for today and bye!" to me (in Swedish) and suddenly, I realized that I couldn't remember anything. After a moment's stuttering, I replied, "Hejdå och tack för today!" (Goodbye and thanks for today!) Fail. I don't even understand it, but speaking Swedish in front of all those adults just cleared my head right out. Kids? No problem. Adults? That remains a work-in-progress.