Tuesday, July 29, 2008

#7 Choking a Snake

This will be short and sweet...so at least ten paragraphs long!

It happened on a whim. I had just flown back from visiting my friend Chris in New Brunswick (where I had completed a slew of firsts) and had promised Chapters that I would work that night because it was the release party of the last Harry Potter book. Who wouldn't want to miss that? It was actually pretty fun and crazy. They had everything from "Bowling for Dementors" to a magician and a gingerbread Hogwarts and Quidditch pitch. It was pretty impressive. Even the staff was dressed up as characters from the series. Cudos to Cody on the awesome Neville Longbottom outfit.

I didn't know everything that was going on when I got there, but I heard from someone that there was a reptile display in the kid's section (of all places). So I took a quick break and went back to see it. The Snake Lady was just tearing down when I got back to that part of the store. However, there was still one snake being mauled by a few kids. I don't know what got into me, but I suddenly saw this as my opportunity to hold a snake. That probably sounds strange, how many people think of holding a snake as an 'opportunity'? But I knew this would be something interesting to add it to my list so I mustered up the courage and asked a six year old if I could hold it and another kid if he could take a picture.

If you look at the picture, it looks like I am about to choke that monster of a snake, but I was trying to keep my fingers as loose as possible without dropping it. I think I held it for a total of 15 seconds while the boy took the picture. There was no way I was going to spend any longer letting it slide through my fingers or having its beady little eyes gazing into mine. (I think it liked me!) Honestly though, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, but be sure that you will never see me holding a boa constrictor and dancing backup for some pop princess.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

#22 Cliff Jumping

This one was a bit unexpected.

I'm a part of a Young Professionals group through a church. This past Saturday we planned a trip to Elora Gorge to go river tubing (which would have been another first). However, once arriving at the Gorge we found out the tubing was sold out. I was a bit disappointed, but thought that relaxing or hiking would be fine too.

Instead, our group headed over to the Quarry just outside of Elora. There is a beach there and a swimming hole in the middle of the old quarry with a hard rock slop in the centre. I imagine this is were trucks would have rumbled out with their loads. I was pretty content to sit on the beach and read a book, visit or eat Kristibeth's food (she's my roommate), but because of the heat, literally, everyone was going swimming and the water on my feet was so refreshing. So I decided it was time to join the rest. By the time I doggy paddled/butterflied/breast stroked/floated out to the centre, where some of our group was treading water, the rest had climbed up this slope in the middle and had joined the throngs of prepubescent kids jumping off the side into the water. Now mind you, there were college age guys there too and they were jumping off the highest spot...so this is exactly where I headed, bringing Kristibeth and Anthony, another YP, along with me. This was where the action was happening!

There are signs posted everywhere that you are not allowed to jump off these ledges, but for some reason the park employees just sat around watching kids hurl themselves headlong into the water without so much as batting an eyelash. So I figured a pasty white, late twenty-something wouldn't bother them too much.

I'm not exactly sure why I decided to do this. I really think that I'm starting to become a little fearless and nonchalant about these kinds of things. I saw them from the water doing it and just said, "Hey, why not?" After scrambling up the rocks, I took a look at the first ledge. Not too bad, I thought. But not big enough. The second one was equally as disappointing. Slightly bigger but not enough drop. The third one was a decent hight and would be a good place to start this first time experience. I might venture a guess to say that the drop was 20 feet, or be like Bill Bryson and claim it was 1000ft drop into a tiny swimming pool below. Lets go with the latter, as it sounds more exciting. This spot also had a great running start. If anything I think this is what scared me the most. I feared slipping as I pushed off and cracking my skull off the rocks as I fell. Oh, and did I mention I had to do this without my glasses? Well, I did. But strangely, jumping off a cliff without much sight or depth perception that made it that much more exciting.

As several kids plunged off the edge into the obis, I decided I better push myself in front and make my move before I thought about slipping on that ledge too much. It was starting to get to me so I said, "I'm next." And that was it. As soon as the running path was clear I asked the kid who was the lookout if I was good to go...twice. I had to buy a little more time. Was I actually going to do it?

I took off running and hurled myself forward, arms flailing, over the edge. I hit the water pretty hard and felt it swallow me whole. It was a rushing sensation as I popped like a cork to the top and inhaled for air. It amazed me that I didn't even have to think about holding my breath on the way down...of course I started thinking about it once I was underwater and hoped that I had not went down so far that I would run out before I sprung back up. At the surface I coughed to get the water out that had went in my nose, then swam to the side and turned to wait for Kristi and Anthony...problem was I couldn't really them. There was lots of colour and movement, but I couldn't tell who was next until they were flying through the air. Eventually both pushed themselves past the kids and had safe landings. I did, however, manage to get a lot of water in my ears and at the restaurant later I looked like Will Ferrell in A Night at the Roxbury, trying to shake the water out of my ears.

It was a great experience, so much so that I did it a couple more times, almost losing my bikini top in the process twice, but managing to pull it back down before I came to the surface. Lucky me. Unlucky college boys. :)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

In the Beginning

Last year I sat in my living room watching an interview with Phil Keoghan, the host of The Amazing Race. He was discussing his new book which talked about all the amazing things he was doing in his life because he had started a list. A list of things he wanted to do before he died. I have often heard about these 'lists' and wondered how fast it would get buried or lost in my room and I would find it in ten years and think, "I haven't done any of this."

So instead I decided to do something more manageable. I told myself that I wouldn't create a life list but set a goal to do ten new things a year. They could include just about anything, from physical activities to work goals or even traveling to new places or eating new things. A lot of people have commented on this and supplied me with lots of encouragement, and my goals are starting to become more gutsy and exciting. I love every minute of it.

So here are some of my adventures. Enjoy!