Monday, November 5, 2018

Change is good! Adventure is good!

From my run Saturday morning.
Today, I'm writing this blog post from the couch of my hotel room in Orlando, Florida. Yesterday, we started rehearsals for Sea World's Winter Wonderland on Ice. So begins, then, my first contract as a professional figure skater (!!!!!!!!!!!!!).

After attending the ProSkaters Open Auditions in Sun Valley, Idaho, this past July, I ended up getting cast as a member of the ensemble for the holiday shows at Sea World. I've known I had the offer since about mid-August, and I officially signed my contract in September.

And guys, I am freaking out. This has been my dream for years. Getting skating to the point where it can be a career has always been what I wanted, but as recently as a few months ago, that dream seemed unattainable and far-fetched. So now to be here, a paid member of a holiday show cast, sharing the ice as an equal with skaters I admire? INCREDIBLE.

Things are going pretty good so far. The entire month of October, I worked really hard to fight down my anxiety over the contract. I'm actually pretty confident about the skating side of things, because I feel like I'm pretty good at picking up choreography from my years with Theater on Ice and American Ice Theater. But quick changes? Being away from home for 2 months? Having a roommate? That part was all new and definitely scary. 

I flew in on Thursday and got to the hotel at around 7:30pm. I unpacked, met my roommate, and watched some Friends. Friday morning we started early, at 9am, for orientation, a few meetings, and costume fittings. At the end of the day, we had open ice so that we could practice, and the choreographer could get a sense of what tricks we had and how we looked as an ensemble. 

Rehearsals officially started Saturday, but most of our calls aren't until mid-afternoon. So, I went for a long walk/run in the morning to get a sense of my surroundings and explore a bit. Where we are is the resort area, so other than the theme parks, there actually isn't a ton of stuff around. I was able to locate some restaurants (yay Panera!), a smoothie place, a coffee shop, and a grocery store that's within walking distance. I'm definitely missing not having a car...a few members of the cast have vehicles, and they've been great about picking the rest of us up and helping us get around, but it is a little annoying to not be completely independent. Finding some spots that I can walk to will definitely make me feel better!

Rehearsals were so much fun on Saturday!! It was so fun to learn the choreography, It's all wonderfully cheesy and Christmas-y and I already love it. Afterwards, a big group of us sat in our hotel room, finished off a bottle of wine, and talked and laughed and got to know each other.

This morning (Sunday), I got up and went on another exploratory run with another skater, Erin. After a run and long rehearsal yesterday, and then a run this morning, my muscles are already sore! I definitely need to up the ice baths and yoga and rolling out my muscles haha. After our run, we sat and ate breakfast and chatted more. I LOVE being alone, and love having my own space, but I'm so glad I got to really connect with her this morning. Yesterday I spent the entire day alone until rehearsals, because my roommate wasn't around, and I have to admit I got a little lonely. 

As someone who isn't used to having very much free time, all of a sudden having the entire morning off is kind of unsettling. I was really looking forward to having that space before getting here, but now, having so much time and being in a new place feels a little lonely. But I also realize it's a great opportunity, so I'm really excited to have some time to work on some projects for myself, like getting back to writing, reading more, and doing more running and yoga. Plus, since we're contractors for Sea World, we get into all of the parks for free. I'm definitely looking forward to spending some mornings, especially weekday mornings before the holidays when the parks are pretty quiet, getting on some rides!

My roommate's dog, Maggie.
Other than that, it's really just been getting my feet under me in terms of food and establishing a little routine. Getting a handle on how to eat healthy (there are costumes to fit in!) and cheaply, with just a stovetop, is gonna be a little bit hard to learn. Since all of our work is later in the day, the timing of my day is also changing, because I've been going to sleep later and getting up later. I've been trying to get in the habit of doing some journaling and working out in the morning, and then either exploring or writing afterwards. I also still need to figure out extra time to skate for myself, which is proving a little harder to schedule than I'd hoped. 

One fun thing though! My roommate brought her dog with her, so I've been getting to know Maggie, her cute little German shepherd/corgi mix! I am decidedly not a dog person, and actually am usually scared of dogs I don't know. But Maggie is super sweet, and literally shaped like a potato. I really like her already! I love having a pet in the room, I'm actually alone with her right now and it already feels so much less lonely!

So there we have it! That's pretty much what's been going on. Overall, it's a lot to get used to, and a lot of feelings, but I'm so grateful to be here. I'm happy that after all these years auditioning and training and sending out videos and getting rejected, I stuck it out to make it here. This is a great opportunity I've found myself in, and I'm determined to take full advantage of it. It felt like a big leap to leave home and quit my job at the school, and I want to do my best to keep going and never go back to something that's just a dead-end job. 

I'm determined to do my best here, and while everything still feels so scary and unsettling, I'm excited to see where this all could lead. Adventure is good! Change is good! And this contract is definitely full of both of those. 

Happy Monday! Be the grittiest.
xoxo Gillian