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my mom & rick's relationship moved pretty quickly. because rick is a supremely intelligent man, i'm sure he knew well before my mom did that they were going to get married. he must have known back in may when he made plans for all of us to go to honduras and insisted we all receive our scuba certifications.

he arranged for a private class to take place in his pool. which meant that on wednesdays and fridays there would be a mad scramble for everyone to locate masks, fins, dive books, equipment, & towels and schlep it all over to rick's house.

did i ever tell you about the time a cop used a loudspeaker to chastise my mom for this behavior?

our tanks and gear bags were always laid out when we got there. it made me feel like we were a traveling circus. everything's better when you do it in large groups though, right?

we'd have to sit through an admittedly boring lecture every day before we could put our gear on and get in the pool.

love this picture of my mom. please excuse aria's humpback posture. 

it was pretty dreadful. i would spend most of the lesson daydreaming, observing things about my family members, and questioning if diving was really worth all this boredom. finally, finally, we were allowed to suit up.

putting on a skin tight diving suit was probably the most difficult thing i have ever done. there was wriggling, jumping, pulling, tugging, and helping. no person put their suit on alone.

the only reason i powered through was the thought of diving in honduras, where a bathing suit would be all we needed to wear.

to all future divers: get the suit wet first. it makes it incredibly easier to stuff your body into. the gear weighs more than you do. fill your suit with water when you get it on, even if the water is icy. it warms you up faster! female divers especially: you will feel fat in these suits and unfortunately you will actually look fat. brace yourself. 

again with the posture. it must run in the family. 

the lessons were as uneventful as anything in my family possibly can be. there were a few bruised elbows and bashed heads, but that's starting to be normal. we trailed each other around in circles in the depth of the pool, practicing stabilizing, navigating, and equalizing. taking off the suction cup of a wetsuit at the end of the lesson was the most beautiful, freeing feeling. we'd spend the rest of the evening jumping on rick's trampoline and playing with the dogs.

actually it was usually just me that played with them. because i am a dog lady.
the culmination of all of this was a four hour drive to do a dive in the deepest, coldest, most beautiful body of water i've ever been in. 

it was an 80ft deep vertical tunnel of freezing cold water. diving in it was the most surreal experience. it was a popular diving site, so there were sets of divers at every layer of the water. we descended down about twenty feet and i looked around at my siblings, all suspended in a crystal clear blue, trailing lines of bubbles towards the surface. i just stayed still, numbed by the cold and the water pressure and the beauty of what i was seeing.

diving in such a deep hole was initially disorienting. we practiced taking our fins off and strapping them back on, relearning how to use our muscles and control our movements in such a different environment. i want to describe it as "beautiful" and "majestic", but those trite, overused words don't do it justice. i don't think i can ever do it justice with words. it's something you have to experience. it is a different world.  

after completing our certification we rode in the back of a pickup a mile down the road to do a less structured dive. the water was less clear and even colder, and the vast lake posed a greater adventure. at the bottom of the murky water were two sunken cars and an airplane. it was absolutely surreal. the depth of the submerged plane was at a level of water colder than all the others, the iciness penetrating our suits. it was more eerie than i'd imagined, peering through the algae covered windows and imagining people that experience the horror of a plane crash. the chilly water only added to the haunting feel of it. 

i remember that experience so clearly. and i remember even more clearly the way it felt to come up from that dive, to break the surface tipping my face towards the sun, dropping my breathing mask and inhaling fresh air. while diving doesn't seem scary or dangerous to me, it definitely takes a greater effort to breathe. it was such a relief to breathe normally again. 

diving is magical. it was even more enchanting in honduras where there were sea turtles and whale sharks, but that's a story for another day. 

[title from atlantis by ellie goulding]

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