When I was little, I spent most of my childhood in Montreal. From the age of 3-10, I lived in the suburbs of the very Europe inspired city. I remember speaking french in nursery school, to playing hockey as our gym class in the 3rd grade and loving poutine! I also have vivid memories of grocery shopping with my Mom and picking up milk in a bag, Aero bars and Humpty Dumpty ketchup flavored chips. But the thing I remember most was the first time I ever put ice skates on and hit the ice. It was right in our backyard.
Montreal is COLD and the winters are brutal. It snowed every Halloween and it didn’t stop until May. Our lives were snow. One winter day it got a little warm and all that snow in our backyard melted. And then overnight, froze right back up. It created a sheet of ice that was perfect for ice skating on. My older sister had already been skating for a year or two. She already grew out of her first pair of skates, so there was a pair primed for my little 6 year old feet.
I remember taking to the ice in our backyard and loving it. Was I a natural? My mom said I was, but let’s be honest, I never became an Olympian so I think that’s just Mom being Mom. But it started my love for figure skating. I ended up taking lessons for years after this. When we moved to Portland Oregon, I also took up synchronized skating which was a really fun sport to do with a team.
Since ice skating is a way of life in Quebec, there was a rink on every corner and everyone did this sport. But when we moved to the Northwest, it wasn’t. There were only lessons offered in the morning before school. So I would wake up while still dark out (I used to sleep in my skating tights to make getting ready quicker in the early hours) and head to the rink for an hour or two of practice.
I’ll never forget in middle school, they allowed me to make my gym class my figure skating. So I would skip my first-period gym class to go to practice and show up to school a whole period late. Once I got to high school I decided to be a cheerleader instead.
Putting my figure skates up for good wasn’t a hard decision at the time. But looking back, it’s the one thing I wish I stuck to. I don’t think I would’ve ever become an Olympian like some of my peers from my childhood. However, I just wish I stuck to it and committed more time to it instead of giving up so swiftly.