One of my favourite places to be in the world? It might be surprising, but it’s right here at home. Toronto and the surrounding area is the place I grew up, where a lot of my family lives, and where nearly all of my friends are (except for a few stragglers and travellers that I don’t get to see half as often as I’d like to). It’s also the place of some of my favourite traditions, including the Annual Fata Skate.
On Saturday evening, we reached 13 (!!!) years of this favourite tradition of mine, one that started when I was 10 years old (and my brother was 6) and terrified of being knocked over while trying to keep myself upright and moving during crowded public skates. As a solution to this problem, my dad rented out an ice rink for two hours every year so that I could skate without feeling my encroaching, impending doom. Flash forward over a decade, and I now I can not only confidently skate around the ice, but have (tried, with what basic knowledge I have) to teach my friends and cousins to skate along the way.
My main pupils for the past three years have been my little cousins, Lauren and Nicole. Nicole, the littlest one, still likes being pulled around on the ice without putting in much effort to move around on her own (I can’t really blame her — I used to do the same when I was 6 years old). Lauren however, now almost 10, has improved so much since last winter. In fact, we were booting it around the perimeter of the rink trying to do fancy things without falling and killing ourselves.
Here’s one such “fancy” thing, in a Boomerang with our cousin Debora:
Best of all though, I love to just spend time catching up with my family and friends who come to hang out during the skate. Not everyone is actually on the ice skating around, but it’s still a time of year where we can all get together in a relaxed environment, chat with everyone, and just have fun.
For those of us who spend the entire two hours on the ice, we find the time to catch up with the non-skaters when we head over to Tim Horton’s afterward to spend more time talking over coffee and doughnuts. This year, I spent basically the entirety of the skate with my best friend of nearly a decade, Marta. In fact, for the first time in a really long time, I actually took a hockey stick onto the ice this year and we “played hockey” for the first half hour, firing pucks around the ice before most people showed up for the event. I have to say, I was a lot better than I thought I’d be, especially up against someone as competitive and athletically-inclined as Marta.
Like Lauren, Marta and I also tried out a little figure skating number:
And while watching this video back on my phone afterward, it decided to freeze, but it was on this exact still of the clip, which I had to screenshot because HOW CUTE IS THIS? Definitely need to frame this one.
Do you have any traditions you keep with your family and friends? Any seasonal activities you always do together? Let me know in the comments! 🙂