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