I started taking Icelandic lessons this week. In my class, there are people from all over Europe: Finland, France, Denmark, Czech Republic, Germany, and Poland. They all speak their native language and fluent English. There is also a Canadian. During a class break today, I was talking with the Frenchman. Someone from the other class, who already met me and knew my nationality turned to the Frenchman and asked, "Are you American too?" A look of horror passed over his face, similar to what I reckon my face looked like upon noticing my mom attempt to eat edamame by stabbing it with a fork and chewing on the outer shell. I jokingly said, "He's French. That's probably the most insulting thing anyone has ever said to him." Well, everyone always thinks I'm French so we're even!
Butlerite Friends, check out tonight's edition of the Butler Eagle for an article about my coaching in Iceland! The newspaper also featured my trip to Turkey last fall. I am grateful that they are so supportive of my travels and hopefully I inspire some people in my hometown to book a plane ticket, a night bus, and a hostel bunk bed. There are more places to explore than Sheetz gas stations (even if they do have coffee and frozen yogurt) and Wal Mart!
Speaking of Wal Mart, I've been carrying my tennis shoes/ trainers to the gym in a plastic bag. I noticed yesterday that it was a Wal Mart bag. At first I thought that made me look hopelessly, obnoxiously American. Then, I recalled exchange students in Colorado asking me to take them to a Wal Mart, so I'm just going to hope people here think of Wal Mart as a novelty.
As I mentioned in my last post, I spent this past weekend in Akureyri for a skating competition. I went without any knowledge of Icelandic skating competitions so I found the differences between American competitions interesting. Skating here is divided by age and level. A is the top tier, B is the middle, and C is the lowest. This competition had 8C, 10C, 12C, and Novice C. Unlike in the States, where stuffed animals and gifts are saved for the national and international stage, friends and family of every skater threw out gifts and they had two tiny ice sweepers! At the end of the competition, all of the skaters take the ice for a fun session until the results are ready. Results are not announced until the end of the day, when there is an on-ice medal ceremony. Only the top three are announced and everyone else gets a participation medal. Scores are not given out, unless requested. The scoring is different for A and B skaters, as they use the IJS system.
Training is also different. Ice time is limited compared to what I am used to from World Arena Ice Hall Olympic Training Center Site. The skaters work really hard to maximize what time they have on the ice. Instead of picking from a variety of coaches and working one-on-one, all the sessions are group lessons. As a skater, I think this would be motivating. As a coach, it is nice to always know what my skaters are doing when on the ice. I can always give a correction or watch an element, which I wouldn't be able to do if it was all private lessons. Working with such a large group can be a challenge and I always try to give each skater individual attention.
Hi, I’m Crystal! I love to travel and am currently a graduate student in Scotland. You’ll get all the best tips and insights from my experiences as a former ice-skating coach in Iceland and former study abroad student. Of the 27 countries I have visited, a type 1 diabetes diagnosis has been the strangest land yet. Type 1 has not slowed down my travels and you'll learn how to take type 1 with you on the road! You can connect with me further on Instagram @CrystalChilcott, or send me ideas of where I should travel next via email: firstname.lastname@example.orgHappy Travels, Crystal
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