Posted by Amanda
So, more on skydiving. I actually went skydiving! Another RD, Marsh Allen, went with me. Well, really it began with another one of the RDs being an avid skydiver. She tried to bring her parachute with her but security at the airport in the US got nervous about someone flying with a parachute and a one-way ticket. She had to leave it behind. Her excitement slowly started to infect others of us. She went in Brazil with one of the RDs. Then she went again in Cape Town. She was supposed to come with me, but she had a financial crisis and couldn't make it.
I was really glad Marsh Allen was there or I wouldn't have been able to do it. The Skydive Cape Town people picked us up near the ship. They were playing Red Hot Chili Peppers on the way there. There were many of us from the ship going. SAS pretty much takes over their drop zone when we come to town.
When we got to the site we were broken into groups to get on the plane. I was surprised we didn't wear jump suits or helmets. We didn't even get any instructions. Pretty quickly Marsh Allen and I were up. A student named Ryan was with us. He was actually more nervous than Marsh Allen and I were. My tandem master was pretty deaf. He wore 2 hearing aids which he had taken out. Six of us squeezed into the tiny plane with the pilot.
The plane ride was quite long as we reached the right altitude. The views of Table Mountain and Robben Island were amazing. The ocean below was also so beautiful. Overall the ride up was very uncomfortable since we were like little sardines.
I jumped first which was probably good.I think if I'd seen others go before me, I would have been more scared. My tandem master, Paul, hooked our harnesses together, gave me some brief instructions, and then told me to swing my feet out of the plane. That was the scariest moment. It was so windy. I was more worried that my shoes would blow off. The next thing I knew we were out of the plane. Rachel, the regular skydiving RD, said it isn't scary because you have no frame of reference as to how high you are. That is completely true. You don't even have the feeling of falling—just wind and air. Paul did have to tell me to open my arms out and skydive. It was impossible to keep my mouth closed which dried me out as the air flowed in. When Paul opened the canopy it wasn't as much of a jerk as I thought it would be. Paul asked if I had enjoyed the two flips we did. I actually didn't notice them. He then asked if we could swirl around with the parachute. We did that a bit. Within no time we were on the ground. I did shout down to Noah that I love him as sound does seem to travel from up above.
Skydiving was really great, but I don't think I need to do it again. I think I saw this as a way to remind myself that I have a lot of courage and bravery in me. Whenever I think about changing my career, I get so nervous which then makes me discouraged. Perhaps this will help me summon the courage to seize an opportunity that might come along or even to look for something outside of higher ed.
And, I did it in an amazing city that has, in recent history, summoned its courage to admit mistakes and try to repair them. Cape Town and South Africa have a long way to go to get passed the racism and systematic injustice, but they are trying. I know my skin color and my socioeconomic buying power helped me have an amazing time here, but I am glad I was able to go to a township and help; that those black residents saw white Americans coming to help them with love in our hearts. I cannot wait to return to this wonderful and promising nation.