Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Quite An Adventure

Along with family and friends, I went on a twelve hour road trip from Dallas to Colorado. I always loved long drives - loud music, wide roads, open skies, stopovers at gas stations, buying some snacks, word games, arguments, discussions...all part of the journey. And if you've kids, things get crazy but have to take it all in stride and accept it as a part of life. Kids had company with books and electronic gadgets, kept themselves busy. I had Steve Jobs biography and for the first time, I read it all with willingness; not with boredom I remind you but with passion, totally engrossed myself in his life's adventures.

There was a slight set back to our plan as recent southwest storm made the I-40 to be closed indefinitely. We panicked as we already booked hotel rooms, train tickets....but thanks to Google maps we found an alternate route using state highway and luckily the highway was nicely cleaned by snow plovers so no risk of any accidents.

Next day, we planned for our ski adventure. Even though, I skied four years ago in a beginner's level, even this time to it will be a beginners’ class. The long road trip made us to wake up late. So, by the time we reached ski area, it was afternoon, that means, we have to enroll in half days class. We quickly enrolled kids, as they had their friends, so no whining. Awesome!

Time for adults to enroll, my heart started beating fast as based on my last experience, I had tougher time to carry the weightage of ski shoes and equipment and walk on higher elevations. I still remember the fainting/queasy feeling. All those thoughts were on my mind. As we were there, have to somehow participate in the ski adventure, uneasy or not. Once enrolled, the instructor told us to carry the equipment and I was like OMG! now, the terrible torture begins. Anyway by huffing and puffing, I reached the private beginners ski area. I was not feeling well, couldn't concentrate even though tried my best to hear the instructor. We did few small slides and learned stopovers. Within an hour, the instructor decided to take us on the lift, I was like - is he sure? I'm not even comfortable on this less inclined slope...how will I manage, sliding from higher elevation. To reach lift, we have to walk at least fifty steps to reach higher elevated place with ski equipment and heavier ski shoes. The same feeling which I felt four years ago, was coming back....I was sweating, feeling dizzy....but still kept on going...felt like to give up and thought its only for people who are healthy enough to walk and who have stamina to carry these heavy equipments and still able to walk on higher elevation.

I knew for sure, the instructor was getting impatient with my slowness. I reached the lift and as it started going up, crossing valleys...I was like - oh God, why I'm going through this...to whom to prove...am I going to kill myself.....Lift is reaching the destination where I need to get off. Everything happens pretty fast in ski places...you'll not have time to settle, lifts have to move quickly otherwise the skiers will spend time only to get on to the lifts. To my surprise, the place where I get down is not a flat ground but a sloppy one, in that way, the skier slides fast and will not be in the way of the lift. Due to me being panic stricken, I fell on my bum....quickly helpers reached and lifted me up. There I meet this middle aged helper/instructor who decides to become my personal instructor and teaches me by giving me pointers of how to stop, how to slow down....with his instructions, I started feeling comfortable but still was scared. Once we slid and reached the lift entrance, I requested to come along with me, for which he agreed. He instructed me to keep my poles in the front to get the needed balance while getting down from the lift. I tried my best but when I was almost about to fall, he had to rescue me by giving support to my bum which was quite an embarrassment. I just ignored and never gave him any look of something-embarrassing-happened.

Holly crap! when I reached the hotel, the dreadful thing happened...PERIODS!! Aww! sucks! how am I gonna enjoy my vacation. Next day, my kids had pretty good day - enjoyed skiing and really did pretty well. Me and my husband went out to tour the town. We went for a long drive, took beautiful pictures and had lunch at a very nice authentic mexican restaurant.

I made up my mind to enjoy and go on ski adventure even though I will be on a third day of menstruation cycle. I took Ibuprofin and with pounding heart enrolled myself to next class. Interestingly, I came across the same guy who helped me on the first day. I was so delighted to see him that I blurted out saying - I'm so glad that you will be my instructor. He said nice to see you again...are you still in begginers class...blah blah...sorry your instructor is over there.

The young instructor struggled a lot to remember my name. He taught the basics very well and even said we may even go on the intermediate lift. I was excited but still I was nervous about getting off the lift. So, I asked him to come along with me on the lift but the other person showed disinterest in learning so, he went off to rescue her and to make things interesting for her. But luckily another woman instructor said she will come with me. I was like 'Thank God'.We had a good discussion while traveling on the lift about caste system in India and what I like about being in America. Time to get off the lift, but thanks to her: no fall...woohoo!

On the slopes, she left me to myself and I was awfully slow and too careful. I was like maybe I'm too old to feel the thrill of skiing or taking risk. While I was having lunch, I was sick with upset stomach, dizziness and headache. But still did not want to give up. What's the use of giving up and sitting idle...when rest of the humans are having thrill/time of their life?

I requested the young instructor to help me and told him that I'm losing interest and not finding any thrill. Other woman as expected dropped out of the class. We started the class with eleven students but by afternoon, only five left. I got the instructors attention and he made me to be the first skier in the queue. That's when things started becoming interesting. What I understood is I needed attention: to someone to see and recognize my progress. While going up on the lift, after seeing my husband who was busy in taking pictures, he asked me, how old I am. He asked whether I have kids. Even before this discussion, I noticed loss of interest in teaching. Understandably, its hard to teach adults, sometimes you've to help them to lift when they fall, fix up their skiers if they come off....pretty boring for a young guy. Because of the first day's instructor, I was able to get off the lift on my own using the tip about how-to-keep-the-poles-to-find-the-balance. All I have to do is keep the poles horizonatlly holding with both hands, right in front of me while getting off the lift and keep my body in forward motion. I felt good about my progress. Then we learned about slithering like a snake, making wider turns, stopping at any moment...basically having control. It was fun but wish I had someone to make it more playful and exciting.

Once I removed the goggles and few more extra layers around my neck and with the help of slight wind in the air, my dizziness, sweatiness disappeared. I was even able to carry my own equipment to rental area without my husband's help but made two trips by

first dropping off shoes as it is pretty hard to walk with them on the snow - always chance to fall.

Should have skied with kids after the class as I was gaining confidence on my ability to ski but decided to just be happy with what I acheived.

On our fifth day, we went to enjoy the best part of the trip - the train journey. Being a train lover, it was the most fascinating enjoyable six hour journey on snowy mountains: looking over valleys, streams, tall trees.....the best train trip ever.

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