Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Facing my fear of White Water Rafting 05/25/15

     Imagine being whipped around, dunked in freezing cold water, and yelled at to row "adelante" (forward), "atrás" (backward), and to get "adentro" (inside) of a raft packed with five other people. This is what white water rafting in the Cañete River felt like. Ever since I was little, I have been afraid of fast moving rides, roller coasters, rocky boats, heights, and pretty much anything dangerous. It used to be so bad that I would hyperventilate and nearly have a panic attack if I was even close to being in any of those situations. There is really no reason for my fears, so a few years ago, I slowly started to go on small roller coasters and the rooftops of high buildings, and I actually discovered that once I gathered up enough courage, I enjoyed adventurous rides, heights, and roller coasters. From then on, I decided that I would try adventurous things at least once, and if I did not like it, I never had to do it again. When I heard that we were white water rafting, my stomach dropped. I immediately pictured us on a raft speeding down a river towards a large waterfall, and me hating every second of it. Of course, I immediately wanted to tell Profe that I simply could not white water raft because of my fears, and that I would just wait on the bus for the group. However, I knew that if I did not go, I would see everyone come back laughing and raving about how fun it was. Everyone would tell me that I should have gone, and my first thought would be they're right, I should have gone. So I suited up in a red life vest, a yellow helmet, and a yellow paddle and hopped in the raft.
Linus modeling our raft gear
Luckily, Profe and Steve, the assistant professor of our Maymester, kindly volunteered to sit next to me to help me feel more comfortable. The rest of the girls, Alex, Quinn, and Paloma, also joined our raft so that we could scream and not worry about bothering any of the boys. In a matter of seconds, we were off on our journey, and our raft was leading the pack. At first, I thought that this was a horrible idea because if anything scary happened, we would experience it first, but then I decided that maybe this was a good thing, because we would be done first. We were immediately yelled at to paddle forward and backward. I could barely get myself to paddle because I was clinching onto the rope on the side of the raft so tight, and I did not want to let go. After about a minute of smooth sailing, we were splashed with a wave of water leaving us all completely soaked head to toe. It was then that we were reminded that it is currently winter in Peru, and we were all shivering from the cold water. All of a sudden, the water got a lot more calm and I thought to myself, maybe I can actually enjoy this and let go of the rope so that I can help out my team of rowers. However, we immediately got right back into a rough patch of water, and were even instructed to get inside the raft. Everyone laughed at how quickly and aggressively I jumped inside that raft. I was definitely not messing around. Eventually, I was able to laugh with them and let go of the rope to help them row. The other two rafts full of boys then began to speed up to try to pass us; however, we had two secret weapons in our raft, Profe and Steve, and they did not let anyone catch us. Then, our rafting instructor said we were nearing the end of our rafting experience. I thought to myself, wow that was it? I was so filled with adrenaline the entire time that I am still unsure if I actually enjoyed it or if I would do it again. Nonetheless, I was very proud of myself for facing my fear and not missing out on this experience, and of course, I was proud of our raft for winning the race to the finish line.
The Cañete River

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