I’ve been back in the UK for a week now after 5 weeks in Spain, and to a certain extent it felt as though I hadn’t even left as soon as I got back into some sort of ‘routine’. Routine is perhaps not the best word to describe my life at the moment – it’s all very busy and despite there being a kind of regularity in what I do – eat, sleep, study, train, drive, coach – there are always things which crop up at the last minute and cause me to re-arrange and reconsider!
Whenever I return from a competition abroad or a climbing trip, I experience what I call “displacement” – a confused feeling of not knowing where I am and still thinking that I should be where I have just come from, and a refusal to get back “into the swing of things”. I never liked that phrase! It is also an odd feeling getting used to spending time alone again after constantly being around a big group of friends for 5 weeks, but I suppose this is a necessity which is encouraging me to study for my exams! :P
It never ceases to amaze me that I can be transported to a place miles and miles away with a completely different lifestyle and culture in a matter of hours, and likewise return to where I came from via a short plane ride. I suppose it could be described as a kind of “culture-shock” - where I become so immersed in one way of life that I experience withdrawal symptoms and become slightly disorientated upon returning home. At the moment I am still very much in Spain mode! Even my eating habits seem to have changed – eating little and often (as was often the case when out at the crag in Spain!) seems more appealing than eating 3 large main meals per day as I was used to before going out to Spain. I have also retained the feeling that Rain = Very Bad. If it rained in Spain, it would mean wet rock and potentially no climbing, and also wet gear and bags if our possessions were outside our tent, which caused me (after looking out the window and seeing rain) to turn to Robbie on our first day back and almost come out with “Are the bags outside?” :P
However, the upside of returning has been the reunion with friends and family and getting on with training and coaching work, and making things happen. After a few days of relaxation it was back into action as I helped out with the Competition Climbing Team club session at Ratho on Saturday, where it was great to see how much the kids had developed in the time we had been away – we were truly impressed with the talent on display! On Sunday we headed to Alien 2 for a bouldering session where I enjoyed trying out some new problems, and felt pretty strong despite not bouldering for 5 weeks. Back at my flat on Monday, I signed the lease for our new flat for next year (which I am sharing with 3 friends from University –Emma, Rain and Jenny!) and had my first exam – German grammar, which wasn’t as bad as I was expecting!
On Tuesday I met with a photographer and journalist to discuss an article in which my life as a climber and student will be featured. They had some great ideas for photos and interview questions and I’m really looking forward to meeting with them again! Wednesday I had my first driving lesson with Dave after a 6 week break which went surprisingly well – I think I surprised him too! :P In the evening I met up with some friends from the Uni mountaineering club at the CSE (Centre for Sport and Exercise) bouldering wall where we managed to get some problems done, despite getting distracted by an impromptu gymnastics/acrobatics session, which resulted in people jumping and flipping on the boulder mats, and performing (attempting in my case!) some outrageous dynos!
Yesterday I met with my flatmates and had a Farewell Lunch (not really a farewell as such, seeing as three of us will be living together next year and one will be just across the road from us!) which involved a picnic of Chinese food, chocolate and rhubarb pie with icecream. Unfortunately I had to dash off early, as I had an interview to be re-selected for the Edinburgh University Performance Sport program which I was involved in this year. The program provides athletes with support on various levels such as strength and conditioning, nutritional and sports psychology advice, injury treatment, physiotherapy provision and financial support. I have really enjoyed my involvement in the program during my 1st year, and look forward to getting involved next year if I am re-selected.
Alongside this busy schedule (and as Robbie is away in Sheffield until tonight on a routesetting course) I have been undertaking the task of sending off the posters for the Yorkshire Sport Climbing weekends which we are running this August. I sent the first batch of 25 poster tubes off yesterday (much to the dismay of the poor lady who had to deal with each one individually at the Post Office!) and still have another 25 to fill, label and send off to climbing walls around the UK. We are very pleased with the posters - thanks go to Will Carroll for his work in creating them! Hopefully spaces will fill up and the weather will hold out for some great climbing in August!
I have also recently taken on the role of Country and English Language Editor
for the climbing site 9b – http://novebi.ning.com/
The site focuses on bringing together climbers from all over the world of all ages, abilities and nationalities. After meeting its creator in Siurana - an Italian named .... (I can't say it, he likes, or better love, his privacy :-) - I was asked by him to help out by providing translations, blogs and UK-based news articles for the site. If anyone wishes to put their sponsor or company web-address on my page, please get in touch!
Today I plan to continue studying, poster-sending and then I’m coaching young Jodie in the afternoon. Saturday is very busy indeed with a full day coaching kids from the Granite City Rock Stars club – I look forward to working with them and hope they will be able to transfer some of the steely determination which I saw from some of their members in Spain to the indoor wall!
Next week is filled with revision, exams and the European Youth Series round at EICA: Ratho – it will be a bit strange going to watch and help out due to being too old to compete for the first time in 6 years of competing internationally, but I am looking forward to cheering on Team GB on home terrain!
Now back to those posters…