Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Free Falling

Though I initially would have wanted to do this before turning 30, my time and schedule wouldn't have allowed me to do so.

So, in the final weekend of the birthday month, I got on a plane to travel to Los Angeles to visit family, friends, and go skydiving.

It's one of those things that I decided I wanted to do way back in high school.  But I had never actually thought about planning to go for it until recently.

My friend, Jenny, had done it a couple of times before several years ago, and that definitely put the spark back in my mind.  But what cinched it was hearing another friend who was planning to go.  I made plans with Jenny almost immediately.

When I told my parents that I was planning to come to LA for a weekend to go skydiving, my dad sends me a text saying that I should consider taking my mom because she was interested.  At first, I didn't believe him.  My mom wasn't necessarily the adventurous type, so I would have never thought she would be interested in anything like this!  But, as rare as it was, my dad wasn't joking.

On the early morning of the 20th anniversary of the L.A. Riots, Jenny, my mom, and I went down to Lake Elsinore.  The place is called Skydive Elsinore.

Firstly, they make sure that you initial and sign this pamphlet of a waiver form.  When you sign and date the document, they make sure to video tape you reading the agreement, the date, and your name.  They really want to make sure no one sues them.  But, they've supposedly never had any problems with the beginners jumps.

As we were in the lobby, they were showing videos of other people's jumps.  With every video, I grew more and more excited.  It was almost strange how calm I felt about it all.  I mean, I was excited, but I was not very scared at all.

After a couple more videos and being weighed, we were told to go suit up. 

We were dressed in a couple of layers already, but we then put on these jumpsuits and harnesses.  We were given a brief run through of what the door of the plane would look like, and how important it was to arch.  Arch.  That was an important word we needed to remember.
My mom and I met our videographers, and soon we all met our instructors.  After one last practice with our instructors in another structure, we were told to get ready to get on the plane.

There were 5 skydivers in our little plane alongside the instructors and videographers.  There were 2 moments when I suddenly could feel anxiety.  First, when someone mentioned that we were halfway to the jumping point, and I thought, "What?? Only halfway??"  Then, when it was my turn and as my instructor and I were swinging in preparation, I was a little nervous about the coldness.  I legit thought, "Damn, it's cold!!! Can I handle the coldness??"  Hahahaha!
I honestly felt really serene
I was the last one to jump out of the plane, and it was exciting to see every one else go before me!  I know when the first person jumped, I gave a little squeal of excitement.  Then, my mom went, and I was cheering her on as she went flying into the atmosphere.
my mama!
It's really one of those things that you just can't think about.  When you're doing a tandem jump, the instructor is basically telling you what to do, and you just have to remember how to situate your body when you're free falling.  You know that he doesn't want to die either, so he'll do everything in his power to make it a successful jump.

Before I knew it, we were in the doorway of the plane, and next thing you know I'm falling towards the ground.
ready? set? GO!
free falling over Lake Elsinore
look at how excited I look!
I'm pretty sure my brain was going, "Wheeeee!"
it's an absolutely amazing feeling...
and it was so beautiful up there..
When the parachute was deployed and I was finally able to move my face, I screamed, "OHMYGOD THAT WAS FUCKING AMAZING!!!!!!" out into the atmosphere.  My instructor got a kick out of it.  I just couldn't help myself.  I'm sure I repeated it over and over, and just talked about how beautiful it was up there and how I understood how people get hooked on it.

When I landed, I felt like I couldn't even get up off the ground.  I just wanted to float or fly forever.  I felt giddy with excitement that we had done it!
how happy do I look??
For the rest of the day, which I ended up going to Glen Ivy Hot Springs with Jenny and her friends, I would get flashbacks to the moment we jumped out of the plane and the sensations of falling fast.  We joked about how much adrenaline we had flowing through us, and how we were then calming ourselves with massages and mud baths.

It was an amazing Sunday!  It was hard to leave Los Angeles, as it always is hard to leave.

But it was the perfect end to my 30th Birthday Month.  From hair dye, to tattoos, to skydiving.  Adventure sure doesn't have to stop just because you age.

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