Saturday, February 13, 2016

SPGI 2015 - Dorm Life

St. Louis Trip, Day 2, Saturday, July 25, 2015
We were in St. Louis for the Susan Polgar Girl's Invitational because my youngest sister had won the Iowa Girls Chess Championship and was representing Iowa at the event.  My other sister (Charity) and I were both returning as alumnae, since we had participated in the Invitational in 2012.  Papa traveled with us as bodyguard and chauffeur.  
We had a very difficult time finding our dorm Saturday morning due to construction.  I really hate b̶e̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶l̶o̶s̶t̶  unintentionally visiting unknown destinations, so I was relieved when we found it.  My youngest sister received complimentary room and board from SPICE as the state representative.  The rest of us paid $300 a person to cover room and board for the week.  Considering a nice hotel room is $100 a night (a mediocre one $50), and an average meal is $8, I think we were given a pretty good deal.

After visiting the cemetery and the zoo, we returned in just enough time to change and head downstairs for game analysis with SPICE students at 4:30 pm.  GMs Ray Robson and Illya Nyzhnyk reviewed scoresheets/games the girls brought to be analysed, one at a time.  Most of the girls at any one time were standing around, so I got out my chess board and played some blitz and bughouse with girls who were waiting.

One young lady struck me at first glance as a nice person.  I asked if she'd be up to a game, and I learned her name was Karen (the same name as one of my long-time best friends). Karens are awesome!  

Another very nice young lady who played bughouse with us was Elvia from Guatemala.  She knew very little English, so I had an opportunity to test my Spanish!  And oh, my language skills (honed mostly by reading) are terrible!  If she wrote down what she wanted to say in Spanish, I could almost always understand.  But I had difficulty speaking, and understanding what she said was even more difficult.  I need a lot more practice!

After the analysis time ended, we headed to the cafeteria to eat.  Then my family and I, and Karen and her dad spent the evening throwing tennis balls to each other around the circle shown above.  We took turns counting how many times we could successfully catch the balls.  To keep it fun, I counted in Spanish, Charity counted in Pig Latin, my youngest sister counted in Greek, and Karen counted in Japanese (each of our second languages)!  We girls also fed the mosquitoes while playing some exhausting games of freeze tag before heading to bed.
The air-conditioning in Charity's and my room was too cold, so I asked Charity to turn it up a little.  The thermostat didn't seem to acknowledge her request, so she pressed the temperature up button a few more times.  We relaxed a bit.

Then a horrendous shrill *beep-beep-beep* started! It was a fire alarm!  I looked up and down our hallway...but nothing.  A neighbor (also attending SPGI) peaked out of her doorway and asked if the alarm was from our room, and then kindly proceeded to call security.  Pretty soon we had a couple security guys on the case.  They disconnected the alarm, and the obnoxious beeping stopped.  

At first they thought it was a simple malfunction of the device, but the real problem proved to be that we had inadvertently turned our heater on by turning up the thermostat for the air conditioner!  Our room was slowly but surely being turned into an oven, and the regulator was strangely unresponsive!

Eventually the security guys (and remote help, + maybe an angel or two) got the problem fixed.  It was near midnight, so we finally went to sleep--and refrained from touching the air conditioner again for the rest of our stay! 

22 comments:

  1. that wasn't a bad deal for a week, I don't blame you

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  2. Sounds like a fun adventure! :-) ~Lisa

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  3. It sounds like you had an adventure for sure...especially with the techie malfunction :) Good for you exercising other languages! I am not gifted in remembering languages other than English and it takes me lots and lots of practice. xx

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    1. It's hard to remember languages unless they're practiced frequently.

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  4. Wow- that would have made me so nervous. Sounds like otherwise a great trip. Happy Valentine's Day!

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  5. Sounds like quite an adventure! And what a great deal you got. My daughter's university residence also rents out rooms to tourists and visitors during the off season when the students return home or move out to other places. At terrific prices, too! I didn't realize colleges and universities do this until she attended. Such a great option.

    And how wonderful that you speak other languages. I was quite surprised when I read that your sister speaks Greek. If I was closer, she and I could carry on a conversation because that's my Mother tongue!

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    1. That would be awesome if you lived closer! She doesn't really have anyone to practice with around here.

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  6. What a lovely time! I've no doubt having your games analysed and spending so much time with good players improved your game immensely as well.

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  7. Sounds like an exciting situation! lol (not really!) Glad you got such a great deal!

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    1. At least excitement helps keep life interesting! :)

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  8. You two are such trouble makers! Sounds like a fun time though.
    PS - my long time best friend is also named Karen!

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    1. That is awesome! And it is strange how it's possible to make so much trouble with such little effort!

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  9. The Institut looks interesting with those ornaments that reminds to the "Fachwerkhäuser" in Germany. I like the room and as you say the price was fine and I found funny the story with the air conditioner. I also think that with more practice you can improve your Spanish pronunciation skills. I struggle with English in the same way. Congrats because your sister is a champion. I see that there is a great support for this sport.

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    1. Now that I've looked up Fachwerkhäuser, I wouldn't be surprised if the building was intentionally designed to imitate it. More Spanish practice would be good. Thanks! Chess isn't nearly as popular as physical sports here like football, but it is awesome that there are so many tournaments and chess camps.

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  10. Sound like quite the adventure! :)
    Thanks for sharing!

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  11. What an adventure! :) The two hallmarks of dorm living seem to be fire alarms and unpredictable temperatures!

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