Throwback Thursday: The foreigner tries ice-skating in Russia

When my Russian friends Alexander and Anastasia heard that I have never actually ice-skated before, they took it upon themselves to teach me. They picked me up early one Saturday morning and we headed out to their weekend house ( Datcha) just outside of Moscow close to a small town named Shishken. Their weekend house looks like a log cabin out of a movie. It is situated right next to a forest and they even have a small pond in their yard. It was this pond that had frozen over, and which they were going to use to teach me how to ice-skate. One of my biggest fears of ice skating outside is breaking through the ice and falling into that freezing cold water! But it had been -25 degrees celsuis the whole previous week so according to them the pond should be solidly frozen over.

After a warm lunch, accompanied by loads of vodka shots I was ready to brave the cold. It was -27 degrees celsius outside and being in that cold for longer than 10 minutes scared me. But the vodka did its job and warmed me up enough so that I didnt feel like I was turning into an ice cube while walking outside.

Even baby Michael got dressed up in a snow suit for the walk in the forest

We all went for a stroll through the snow covered forest. I was quite surprised that even the baby got bundled up and taken out in the cold weather. He got zipped up in a mini snow suit and actually looked as if he ws enjoying the fresh air.

It was amazing to be walking through the snow and I even got to stand on a frozen river!! I never thought I would be able to walk outside in a snow covered forest and not be freezing to death. But bundled up in feather down coats and warmed up by vodka it was actually a lot of fun.

That afternoon I got my first and last ice-skating lesson. Bundled up in my thermal coat, wearing Anastasia’s old ice scates,armed with knee and wrist guards I was scared but ready for this adventure. I was sure that I would only end up falling down and hurting myself not to mention making a big idiot out of myself. But I really wanted to learn and wasnt going to let the cold or the fear of falling keep me from trying.

Testing out the ice before I try and ice-skate!!!

It turns out that I am a very, very bad ice-skater. I have no balance and can’t do anything other than move in a very tiny circle. As I kept falling over, Alexander gave me the snow shovel to hold out in front of me as I moved. The shovel actually helped me balance a bit and I moved forward more than 5 steps without falling down!!

Im actually moving and staying up right but only with the help of a snow shovel

I did look like an idiot clinging onto the snow shovel and basically walking around on the ice. What made me feel even more like an idiot though was when their 4 year old girl came zooming past me and then tried to show me how it is supposed to be done!!

By that time I was wet and sore and had spent most of my time strugling to get up from the ice. I got to take a break from “ice-Skating” by warming up with a glass of spiced warm wine.

I stayed on the bench, sipping my hot wine and watching the kids ice scate for the rest of the afternoon.

Drinking hot mulled wine and glad I can still walk after all my falling around on the ice!!

My first ice-skating experience left me shivering and bruised and I havent worked up enough courage to tray it again.

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13 comments

  1. Take group lessons in the US , the instructors will teach you how to skate without getting hurt. Taking some lessons is the only way to overcome the fear. I took a lesson when I was 33 or 34! My first lesson as an adult and I was very scared too so I understand, if you practice more you will have less fear and skate better. Don’t try any single jumps, some can be hard to do. Try also roller skating, it helps a lot with the balance and helps you ice skate much better.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Reflecting on Anselm and commented:
    Well I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing, it’s always fun visiting Russia. Remember if you don’t know how to ice skate, well……….. I can see she had a great time. There were a few times when I shared with someone here that I’ve haven’t tried this or that. Oh, the response I always get, We will take you to try it. Spontaneous events have proved to be quite rewarding. Hope you enjoy her post.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I was like that when I tried it too, I hang on the fence of the rink, holding on to dear life. Some activities that needs balancing I believe should be learned when very young. Even my boss begged me not to go for fear I would just break my bones.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for sharing you trying something new. It can be humbling to do something for the first time, especially among those who grew up with it. If you try it again, maybe do like I did the second ( and last) time I tried snowboarding. In addition to knee and wrist guards, wear some extra cushion for your seat. 🙂
    Vincent

    Liked by 1 person

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