by Danielle Anderson, Kate Liang, and Michael Edzant
Our journey to Scotland started in sunny San Diego after our red, white, and blue-themed practice. From there, we were set to take off from Lindbergh Field to London! Our twelve-hour flight felt extremely long, especially for some of us who had never traveled internationally before. We then had a three-hour layover at London Heathrow, followed by an hour and a half flight to Glasgow. Once we arrived in Scotland, everyone was excited to finally reach our destination! The scenery was so beautiful that we did not mind the two-hour bus drive to Dumfries; we were happy to finally reach our destination. Once we arrived at the hotel, exhausted, we went to bed excited for our day in Edinburgh.
Tuesday morning we woke up rested and ready for some sightseeing. After having a traditional Scottish breakfast at the hotel, we started on our two-hour bus ride to Edinburgh. It was an amazing scenic drive with beautiful green hills, flowing rivers, and countless sheep. The fairytale-like environment was so nice that we couldn’t resist stopping to take pictures. Once we arrived in the Edinburgh, we were immediately awestruck by all the historical architecture and were enthusiastic to explore. One of the most memorable moments of our trip was walking inside Edinburgh Castle. It was so fascinating to learn about this historic fortress and marvel over its beauty. After visiting the castle, we walked around Edinburgh and shopped along the royal mile. Our last highlight of the day was having high tea at The Dome. We all enjoyed having tea, finger sandwiches, scones, and delicious pastries in an elegant old building with beautiful chandeliers. Sadly we left Edinburgh, but we were excited and ready to get to work skating on Wednesday.
Wednesday and Thursday were filled with on ice practices, off ice work, and video reviews. The ice surface was a slightly different size than what we are used to and the on ice practice time was extremely helpful to map out our programs and feel prepared for the competition.
When Friday came, we were all excited and ready to compete our short program. After our official practice we headed back to the hotel to finish getting ready and for some last minute video reminders and make-up touch-ups. Then going back to the rink we were all in competition mode. Our coach, Karen Wiesmeier, reminded us to have fun during our skate, and to remember why each and every one of us was there: because we love what we do and we want to perform. These words from Karen really did the trick, as our short program was one of the best run-throughs we’ve ever had. When we got off the ice we were thrilled with our skate. Although we celebrated a great short program we knew we had to stay focused and determined for our free skate. On Saturday we awoke with the same excitement we felt after our short program and applied it to our free skate. We all know how much concentration and determination it takes to get through a free program and we were ready for the challenge. We had a strong official practice and were ready to put our free program out for the world. And this is exactly what we did. We all skated our hearts out for the second night in a row and it paid off- we won the gold at our first international competition as Senior Team del Sol! It is so hard to put into words what it feels like to stand on the ice during the awards ceremony while the national anthem is playing for you- it is truly a magical experience.