Vale la pena (it’s worth it)

So I haven’t blogged in a while… (sorry!), but I definitely have things to talk about, so I will try to get up to date in the next week!

First I’m going to talk about our excursion to Tulum.

Tulum is a beautiful town on the coast of the Caribbean and our main objective for going was snorkeling because the majority of students here are in a tropical ecology class.  I am not in the class but was really looking forward to the chance to tag-along because I’d never snorkeled before.  I’m not the strongest swimmer so I was a little nervous, but overall I was just excited… especially once we got geared up!

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However, unfortunately despite my positive attitude, my first snorkeling experience was awful.  I could not wrap my head around the idea that I was supposed to be breathing even though my head was underwater.  Each breath I took was panicked and shallow, and every time water entered my air tube, I began to flail and scrape my knees against the rocks below me.  When they finally called us out of the water, I was more than ready.

After that, we snorkeled in a lagoon.  It was better for many reasons… the water was still instead of in waves, and I had a life jacket.  I was slowly improving my breathing skills, but it still wasn’t enjoyable because there wasn’t much to see just floating on the surface.

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(me on the left)

The next day, we swam out into the sea.  Overnight, I completely lost any improvement I had made the previous day.  I had a life jacket again, but every time I put my face underwater, water seeped into my mouth and eyes, and I surfaced spitting up water, gasping for air with my eyes stinging.  However, no one else seemed to be having any problems, and I was definitely falling behind.  One of the guides ended up switching masks with me and pushing me forward, so I could catch up with the group.  I honestly hated it and spent the whole time hoping we’d return to the shore soon.  However, we saw some pretty awesome sea turtles, a sting ray, and a lot of cool fish and coral.

The following day was our last time snorkeling.  We were going in boats farther out into the sea this time.  At this point, I had no more optimism about snorkeling.  I was completely over it and dreading jumping out of the boat.  I had definitely given up on it and decided that I never wanted to do it again, but I got in the water anyway.  To my surprise, it was by far the easiest snorkeling so far.  I had absolutely no problems and saw a lot of really awesome things and even held a live, moving starfish.  I’m not sure what it was exactly that made the difference, but I suppose it just took me longer than most people to get the hang of it.  If I hadn’t tried it again, I would have left with a horrible attitude about the trip and hating snorkeling, but instead, I thoroughly enjoyed the last experience, and now I would definitely do it again.

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Like so many new things I’ve tried since I’ve been here, at first it may seem bad, strange, uncomfortable, wrong, or awkward, but if you give it a chance, you may find yourself growing to enjoy it.  Much like speaking Spanish, I found that snorkeling just takes a lot of practice, persistence, and patience.  There have been many times where I’ve wanted to give up learning Spanish, but hopefully someday like with snorkeling, I’ll be glad I didn’t.

Hasta luego…

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