6.20.2013

Wind power


My first day of sailing was epic. I enrolled in an adult sailing class for the summer at the local yacht club. I registered by mail from Australia, and have been excited about getting into a sailboat and learning to sail for months now. Yesterday was my first day. I showed up, butterflies in my stomach, and it seemed I wasn't the only one. I realized that it had been a while since I had made the effort to learn a new skill or take a formal adult class. The last time I was in a class (pretty informally that is) was 2 years ago to learn phlebotomy. In the last 6 months, I've been on an alpine glacier hike, dove the great barrier reef, backpacked through the Overland Track in Tasmania- all new exciting things, however this "new" experience felt SO different. I actually stopped and asked myself "why was I was so nervous?". Always priding myself on being confident and secure in who I was, was I a more insecure person than I thought? As we went around the picnic tables in the room, introducing ourselves, there were people from all over the area, all with mostly no sailing experience. You could see the energy in the tent go from nervous to relaxed within a few moments, as we all realized that we had more in common that we thought. 


The class was full of white-legged northerners, who seemed to burn within five minutes of encountering any type of sunshine that afternoon. All wearing our boat shoes like they were some type of informal formal uniform, we split up into teams of three.  Recently, despite the fact that it is June, there hasn't been enough sunshine to grow local crops properly- let alone get a tan. It was obvious from my tan shivering legs (in the 70-degree weather) that I was not from this area. I felt like a blubbering idiot stumbling over my answers to their friendly questions of "where do you live? what do you do? where are you from?". Those simple questions for me right now felt so complicated to answer, but no one seemed to notice. 

Our instructor was a local boy, a young blue-eyed blonde-haired Pre-med college student with more sailing experience it seemed than most old mariner men- including one of the other older instructors (by 25 years) who kept heeding his advice of "let the jig out" or whatever the jargon is. Our team of 4 consisted of myself, a younger woman, and a younger couple. The wind was perfect and as we sailed along that afternoon those three hours quickly turned into hundreds of minutes full of moments knowing I was in the right place on earth at the right time. You could hear loud laughter leaving our boat as soon as we set off from the harbor. I mean big booming belly laughs where you laugh so hard you close your eyes. Everyone's insecurities on falling out of the boat, tipping over, getting smacked in the face with the boom just came pouring out. Those insecurities that once felt so big, were now laughable when we realized we, all strangers five minutes ago, felt the same way. It became easier to share our stories, our lives, it was like we bonded instantly. I can't stand how much fun we all had together. Sailing was so much easier than I thought it would be and I think it's official, I'm in love with sailing.