Originally my former mentor was to serve as a chaperone for the trip and I was listed as a substitute. However, many of her students qualified for the state National History Day, which would take place the same time as the trip. So she had to make the difficult choice of stepping down and that bumped me form being a substitute to being an official chaperone.
I was both excited and terrified. In my mind I had it planned that I would go on the next trip next year - this would allow me to better prepare myself physically, mentally, emotionally, and intellectually. But that plan is now down the drain and I find myself scrambling to prepare for a "once in a lifetime experience."
I found out in early May that I would be definitely going on the trip scheduled for April 16. I had a month and a half to prepare myself. A huge part of that preparation was learning how to swim. I know, I know, I've heard it many times - "you live on an island and can't swim." I have no real excuse other than the fact that the first time I "tried" I almost got drowned and needless to say I'd been hesitant since. I had absolutely NO swimming skills, but the wonderful teachers I work with on this project weren't gonna let that get in the way. They, all 4 of them, were going to teach me how to swim.
Our first lesson took place at Ko'olina. Sandy gave me a life jacket so I would feel more secure. I didn't hesitate getting in the water because at this point I was tired of just staying where I could touch the ground. I wanted to learn to enjoy the water. She taught me some basic things like treading water, breast stroke, scissor kick, frog kick, and flipping from side to side. Surprisingly I enjoyed myself and I felt proud I could do something other than stand/sit in the water. The jacket really held me up well and I feel in love with it.