Hello everyone and welcome back once again to our blog!
It has been awhile since we last wrote our blog and we have a lot to update you all on; some bad, some good, and some life-changing!
When we last made a blog, we had just come back from our two international competitions of the season and we were looking forward to Switzerland, and boy was that an adventure! On the way to Switzerland, Josh’s skates didn’t make it on to the flight; which is pretty important! We had flown into Zurich, with the plan to take a train to Lucerne where the Swiss National Championships were held. However, being that we had to wait around for Josh’s skates to arrive at the airport, we decided to just spend our first day traveling around the beautiful city of Zurich. We did quite a lot of walking, drank about a gallon of coffee each, and even got to see a chihuahua wearing a sweater to try to keep warm in the Swiss environment (we felt a lot like the chihuahua). Once we got Josh’s skates, we were finally free to head to Lucerne and start our venture at the Swiss National Championships.
Everyone at the skating club in Lucerne was extremely welcoming. It was an absolute blast to be on a new set of home ice where everyone supported us and wanted us to do our best. We met a lot of new people and tried our best to keep up with the German-speaking there, but our foreign languages could use some work to say the least. Although we did not skate perfectly there, we had a great opportunity to show ourselves off to our new federation and become national champions in our new home country! It was so cool to have the gold medal hanging around our necks on the top of the podium. After the competition, we stuck around a little bit so that we could meet Jessica’s family that lives just an hour and a half away from Lucerne. It seemed that everyone that we met was so friendly and welcoming; even though we didn’t speak their language, they were always willing to go out of their way to help us. We took the lift up the giant mountain there and saw beautiful sights of the city from up above, we visited restaurants that had been in business for over 600 years, and we even got to spend a day in Bern all before we went back to the US! Overall, going to Switzerland was an amazing experience and we cannot wait until we can go back.
The one thing that we missed out on by going to Switzerland was Thanksgiving. Obviously, other countries do not celebrate American Thanksgiving, and we had to travel during one of our favorite holidays. Luckily, we convinced our families to celebrate a week late and we still got to participate in the festivities and take the opportunity to look back at all the things we are thankful for. Once that week was over, it was back to reality and training to prepare for the European Championships, to which we had just been named thanks to how we skated in Lucerne! Jessica got a new pair of boots as soon as we got back from Switzerland, which is great because at the time that we competed, her boots were so broken down that they were about 50% tape by weight in order to keep them held together. The new boots have proven to make a big difference for us and we just wanted to give a quick thank you to Riedell for doing everything they could to get us the boots as quickly as possible.
Training for the European Championships is no small task; with 25 teams scheduled to compete, that meant that 36% of competitors would not advance to the free skate. We knew that we would need a good short program so that we could even participate in both segments. After all, you don’t want all that training to be for naught. So, we took to running our short program multiple times a day, and it began to pay off dividends; with improvement on it coming faster than we could have ever anticipated. Suddenly, our short program was our bread and butter and we could so easily and confidently make it through without mistakes. We were scheduled to depart for the European Championships on January 8th, one day before Jessica’s 24th birthday. However, the new year had something up its sleeve that we did not anticipate. Where we live, Florida, happens to be the covid capital of the world. We have seen upwards of 75,000 new cases a day where we live. On Wednesday, 12/29 Lyndon, our coach, tested positive for COVID, so we started training on our own for a few days. No worries, we thought, we can skate well with or without a coach there. Then, on New Year’s Eve, Josh started to feel sick too. Josh took the weekend off of work and did not skate the following Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday; just days before we were supposed to leave for the European Championships. Still not feeling well, but not having tested positive, Josh came in to try to train on Thursday and we actually skated really great, even though making it through the program was difficult, we were able to do it without any flaws. Later that day we took our COVID tests so that we could leave for Tallinn (home of the European Championships) on Saturday, but something else was in store for us. Both tests Josh took came back positive; which put an end to our attempts to go to Estonia. It really was quite unfortunate for it to happen, but with COVID all around us in our state, it seemed like it was inescapable. Yes, we are all vaccinated and boosted, but even then, Omicron shows no remorse.
So, what’s next for us? Well, Josh is still home sick with COVID, but obviously on the road to recovery. For now, we await the end of the European Championships, after which the World team will be named for Switzerland. We, of course, hope to be named to the World team so that we can show all the training we have been doing in Montpellier. We are due to get back to training next week, provided Josh’s clean bill of health, and we are ready to show the world what we are made of!
In personal news, Josh got married in December! He and his fiancee eloped in the courthouse, but plan to have a big wedding in Mexico when the time is right. Jessica’s boyfriend JT made the trip to Switzerland with us for his birthday and also to support us; and well everything else in our life is pretty much the same!
Thanks for reading, and we look forward to updating you again at the conclusion of our season. While we are sad about having to withdraw from the European Championships, we are keeping our chins up and eyes looking forward to the future. We just hope that “future” includes all of you!
– Joshica 🙂