October 16, 2022

The final stage of the journey for 3/4 of us was our return via Paris. We stayed overnight in Paris (arriving later than we had hoped due to a delay leaving Dublin). By the time we had made it to our hotel and found somewhere to eat it was quite late. We debated long and hard about going to the Eiffel tower and in the end Erika and Chris decided to make the trip while Elizabeth and Daddy went back to the hotel to snooze. Elizabeth was very sad about this but also completely exhausted and had a very big day ahead of her. Erika and Chris were successful in their mission but only made it to bed by around 1:00am. In the end I think this was the right call all around and hopefully Elizabeth will have a chance to visit the tower with Delphine.


In the morning we ate breakfast at the hotel (which was amusing in itself as breakfast was in the basement where the dads did not exactly fit. After breakfast we walked over to the train station and found Elizabeth's train. She was quite anxious about it, but we calmly explained how to find her car and seat and walked her to her gate on the platform. Once she was actually on the train she relaxed and enjoyed her ride. The train was a super fast TGV and she said "it really zooms". In the time it took us to make our way to the airport and check in she had traveled 500kms across the country. With Elizabeth safely picked up at the other end we boarded our flight and headed home - leaving Elizabeth to start her own adventure.

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October 14, 2022
Trinity College Library and the Book of Kells

On our way back through Dublin we had an afternoon to spare. Being wise to the popularity of the Trinity College Library we were clever and booked tickets in advance this time. The tour is guided by and app on your phone that gives you an audio tour of the various exhibits as you walk through the building. It started with an introduction to various ancient forms of recording information and then went into lots of detail on the writing, pigments and process of creating the book of Kells. After this you got to go through a dimly light room with the book enclosed in glass and a guard to enforce the strict no photography rule. The book is closely monitored for exposure to light and the pages are turned to limit exposure on individual pages in order to reduce further deterioration. The page that was open as we went through was not one of the hugely ornate ones but rather simple text with some fancy characters on each line. It was very pretty and clearly the work of many hours of very careful labour. Dating from roughly 800AD is really is quite the impressive work. After that you are led into the "long room". This is the main library. A truly massive room with two floors of super tall bookshelves (with ladders to access them on each floor). This room also houses the trinity harp. This is a harp from the 14th or 15th century and was used as a model for the Irish coat of arms and the logo for Guinness. It was definitely worth a visit and uncle Chris was very happy to have gotten to see it after having missed out at the start of our trip.

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October 13, 2022
WKC World Championships 2022

The tournament itself was much bigger than last year's event (which saw no Europeans due to COVID). The makeup of the teams was interesting to note. Canada, England and the USA were all pretty much tied for size of their teams. Canada must have sent somewhere around three times as many people as last year and the USA sent many fewer (understandable as last year it was in the USA). The rest of the America's sent many fewer as well (again understandable given the much greater travel distance). Elizabeth was much less nervous this time around having some idea of what to expect. Erika however was in awe at the size of the event.


In Elizabeth's divisions there was a lot of very tight competition and the judging did not go in her favour for the eliminations. She narrowly missed advancing to finals in 3 out of 5 of her day one individual divisions. While she was clearly disappointed, she did a fantastic job of refocusing on her remaining divisions. The girls made it through to the finals in their team forms division in 3rd place out of a very strong group of 8 teams and were extremely pleased with that.


In sparring Elizabeth handily won her first fight and then ended up matched against her teammate. It was sad that one of them had to be eliminated but Elizabeth didn't mind losing to Remy and they both ended up on the podium together in the end.


In the finals Elizabeth came fourth in another very close group for traditional weapons. She absolutely nailed her extreme weapons routine finishing a very close 2nd. She beat last year's gold and silver medalists handily.


Erika and Elizabeth put forward a very solid team form and for reasons beyond anyone's understanding dropped to 4th leaving them heartbroken. A number of the senseis made a point of talking to the girls about the loss and how you don't always come out where you deserve to but you learn from the experience and improve for next time. It really is amazing that they not only made it to the world championships but also to the finals and ultimately there were many others who would have loved to have even had the chance they did to compete at that level.


Overall Elizabeth was disappointed to have a significantly smaller haul of medals compared to the unbelievable results from last year. However, she understands that you don't always win and that it isn't really about winning either. Her progress compared to last year is really quite amazing and she is already talking about what to work on for next year. Her rate of improvement is much faster than most of her competition and we noticed this year that she really isn't that far off what some of the adults were putting forward.


We are super proud of her amazing karate skills but also of her maturity and development as an individual and team player in dealing with all the nerves, emotion and pressure of such situations. It was really great to see her supporting her teammates instead of wallowing in defeat and to see them do likewise. Her senseis of course also gave it their all, not just on the mat, but in supporting their students between their own divisions. Special thanks is owed to sensei Cody for the huge effort he has put into training Elizabeth (and Erika) this year. It was such a delight to watch him compete and take home grand champion in both forms and weapons.


We are so proud of both the girls and we can't wait to see how they continue to grow.

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October 12, 2022
Travel Food

Over the course of our trip we encountered a wide array of food like substances. Overall it was all pretty good. We did find that there were perhaps too many meals with fries (some of which would definitely not win any awards) but most of the food was quite tasty if different from what we are used to. Elizabeth found the water tasting different in every place we visited very disconcerting. Her favourite meal was the strawberry crepes we had for breakfast one morning.

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October 11, 2022
Nighttime injury

In the random drama files, Amelia woke up this morning with a bloody lip. She apparently chomped on herself in the night!?!

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