At one of the first social events of 2018 on a chilly Friday evening, the CEU community once again came together leaving behind the classes, the anxiety of midterms, deadlines, and the daily routine to celebrate Valentine’s day and warm up at a traditional ice skating party. A renowned CEU tradition for more than 10 years, it has brought together not only couples but friends and families, enthusiastic about sharing the joy of this cold-season fun-time.
As it was approaching 7 pm, students, both current and former, members of faculty and staff, partners, friends, parents and children, young in age and in spirit gathered inside the small tent eagerly waiting to receive their fresh pair of skates and test the ice at the Marczibanyi sports center. It was especially heart-warming to observe the natural enthusiasm of the youngest participants, children, for many of whom this was the first time enjoying the thrill of this winter adventure.
The rink quickly filled up with couples holding hands, friends slowly chatting away in circles, and some, being more competitive, trying to race or display skillful patterns with sharp turns, spins and switching back and forward. While for many skating seemed like a common past time, those less experienced were nevertheless warmly accepted and encouraged, as the rink welcomed both experienced skaters and newcomers wishing to get acquainted with this winter sport traditional in many CEU students’ home countries.
Personally, not having tried skating since early high school, I felt a bit shy and wary, as sometimes falls and bruises seem inevitable even for “veteran” skaters, not to mention people like me. Luckily, an experienced coach was there to generously offer guidance and a helping hand of support for those deciding to set their skates on the ice for the very first time.
Not restricted to the ice rink alone, the venue offered an opportunity for tired skaters to relax at the improvised café, have a chat and enjoy a hot cup of tea or mulled wine with friends both old and newly found. And as the evening drew to an end, dozens of people coming and going all felt the special atmosphere of the evening. It was reflected in warming smiles of friends and families - a community spanning across all the continents that shared a wonderful night to be remembered.
By Aleksandr Shishov, MA student in the Department of Political Science.