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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Water Lovers

Update: Let this be a reminder that memories are not always what they seem - apparently I mixed several memories into one. My father filled me in on what actually happened that day and here it is: "that initial story when you were 2 is that we sent you to the "Nene School" with James because you hated to stay home while he went. They have a pool and as soon as you showed up from their bus one morning you jumped in the pool. No one else was in it or planning to go in at the time. Mami and I were not there. The swimming coach who also drives the bus had to jump in fully dressed to save you."

One of my earliest memories has been told so many times in my family that I wonder if I actually remember it at all or if it's so vivid as a consequence of all it's retelling. I was very young, two-years-old, with my parents as they watched my older brother during his first swimming lesson at a pool in Colombia.


Once all the children were situated in the shallow end the lesson began. Everyone was focused on the coach who was busy giving instructions on how to properly kick to stay afloat. It was at this inopportune moment that I decided to show those kids exactly what he meant by running to the deep end and fearlessly jumping in. It wasn't until mid sink when I realized that I had no idea how to swim and panic quickly set in. Lucky for me, one of the coaches, and my parents, witnessed everything so I was rescued within seconds.  This was when my parents decided that if I was going to be jumping into pools on a whim then I needed to learn how to swim as soon as possible, so I was enrolled into my brother's swim class. 

My love of water has followed me into adulthood, but fearlessness has not. This is why I enjoy lap pools but have no interest in surfing (or most water sports). I'd like to remain as whole as possible and as I get older my will to live forever gets stronger so I don't willingly put myself in situations that seem dangerous to me - like surfing. I'm afraid of sharks, dolphins (Chris knows someone who had a dolphin jump and land on him while he was surfing - he broke his board and his back), I'm afraid of a big wave knocking me over and rolling me until I drown, and I'm afraid of poking my eye out with my own board. So, I'll take swimming in the clear, still waters of a lake or pool over the salty ocean any day. 

Luckily for Chris, who lives to surf, I can be very content with simply hanging out on the shore or in a boat while he engages in the more extreme. Since moving to California I've done much of both.


During the week Chris surfs by himself after work and on weekends I accompany him to the beach and jog while he surfs. But every once in a while he'll decide that he wants to surf an obscure area and then we'll make a day trip out of it, like we did a few sunny weeks ago. He decided on a spot that's only accessible by boat (or a very long paddle out) and convinced Dave to ready the motor boat for a family outing. As the sun rose over San Diego we stuffed ourselves into the Bronco and made our way south, aiming to beat the Labor Day crowds at the loading dock. 


Due to our diligence in keeping an early schedule we were in the motor boat and on our windy way to the surf spot before long. 


We anchored close enough to the wave but far enough to not interfere with the surf and soon after suiting up Chris and his uncle Doug were on their way. 


The rest of us relaxed in the boat as the morning warmed up while reading, sipping coffee, and taking in the nature around us, like the massive group of birds that had been wading nearby and then simultaenously flew away. 


After their surf session Dave took us on a tour around Coronado Island, where the rich dock their beautiful yachts and sailboats and the richer live. 

Eventually I even jumped into the water for a brief moment to cool off. I decided it was safe because there were children swimming around and no one seemed scared. But for the most part I stayed in the safety of the boat while reading a book written by Jimmy Buffett. Later, when we went wake boarding with friends near Fresno, I took this same book along to entertain me while everyone else engaged in dangerous water sports.


What I didn't know about engaging in dangerous water sports, like wakeboarding, is that all you do is ride around a lake all day listening to loud music and drinking beer while people take turns in the water. Now this is a sport that, as a spectator, I can get behind. Beer drinking and jamming out all day long? Not once did I open my book. And because I had been drinking we were in the relative safety of a lake, I even got into the water. I even tried to wakeboard!



It doesn't matter that I was never able to get up, my forearms will still sore the next day, so it counts. The rest of the people we were with did get up and performed well - jumping from wake to wake and sometimes doing complete flips. Of course Chris, because of his surfing skills, was really adept at it. In the five years that I've known him he's never once been on a wakeboard and then he goes on one and it's like he's done it all his life...showoff.



Maybe if I didn't have such an unreasonable fear of getting hurt I'd have more confidence and be better at these types of sports, too. What I was good at was holding onto my beer with one hand while holding on to a float with the other while the boys took us girls on a joy ride around the lake.


Chris was good at that, too.


In all seriousness, it's not a competition. We both love being around water. Chris enjoys using the water in a physically demanding and spiritually awakening way (surfing) and I enjoy it's serenity, I acknowledge and respect it's power, I realize all the fun that water can bring, and I am in awe of it's versatility and beauty, like this cotton-candy sunset that enveloped the lake on our first day there. It wouldn't have looked so stunning from dry land.

And who knows, maybe our love of water will land us here one day, on a simple houseboat, amongst the other water lovers out there.


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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very interesting, Nanita! Mami may know more details than me, but that initial story when you were 2 is that we sent you to the "Nene School" with James because you hated to stay home while he went. They have a pool and as soon as you showed up from their bus one morning you jumped in the pool. No one else was in it or planing to go in at the time. Mami and I were not there. The swimming coach who also drives the bus had to jump in fully dressed to save you. You all seemed to have a close brush with death at some point in your childhood; it is a miracle that you all came through fine, and is a warning for all parents!
Pop

Ana Lucia said...

Great blog and great pictures Nanita, I love the first one with both of you on the boat.
Yes! you loved the water. The first time you fearlessly jumped in the pool you were only 1. We had just moved from College Station to Cali, Colombia, and were temporarily living in one of the houses provided by CIAT to their new scientist and guests. You had started walking only a month earlier and you loved anything that had water in it like the bathroom tub, the kitchen sink, ... and CIAT's swimming pool. One day we took you and James to the pool and while papi was giving James a swimming lesson I was getting you ready when suddenly you took off running and before I could reach you, you jumped in the water... thank God papi saw you and was close enough to catch you before you went into the deep water ... you laughed and thought it was funny, and decided to do it over and over, and over ...
A few months later after we moved into our own house in Cali, one evening after taking your routine bath, you were ready for bed in your pajamas, fresh diaper, hair brushed, ... you decided to go back into the tub in the same water were you and James had bathed and got wet all over again ...you had a big smile when we found you