Friday, September 7, 2012

Dirt Road Lesson: Just Stand Up

Picture it: Cancun, Mexico about 12 years ago.
My Mom, brother and I had just landed in Cancun's airport, ready for our vacation.

The following exchange between my Mom and brother still tickles me:
Bro: "Look at all the foreigners!"
Mom: "Yes, son. And you're one of them!"

It was true. I guess we all forget that we can be foreigners at some point in our lives.

That's the truth for me right now. When I moved to CajunCountry, I became the foreigner.

I don't talk like anyone here.
I don't know this place like others do.
My friends and family aren't here and this is almost a foreign land, despite the fact that I am still in my home country. 

And this feeling reminds me of something so memorable about our vacation: the jet ski ride.

You see, this little outing in Cancun consisted of riding a rented jet ski to the middle of Cancun Bay to go snorkeling. My Mom and I had no interest in snorkeling, but my brother did. So we went.

After some training about how to use the jet ski and instruction about life vests, we suited up for the ride. Mom and I got paired up together and my brother rode with another man to the bay.

The whole way out there, the jet ski Mom and I were riding kept taking on water. The guides would pump it out and we'd just take on more.

On the ride back from snorkeling, the jet ski suddenly took on an incredible amount of water and veered off course, right into the bank of the Bay. 

We crashed. Hard. 
Mom and I were both knocked off the jet ski and into the water.
My Rosie the Riveter, we-can-handle-anything-Mom burst into hysterics.
She was flailing her arms and screaming for help.

I knew I would have to stay calm for both of us, y'know, just in case.
So I let myself sink a little to figure out what I was working with. 
"Mom! Just stand up!," I screamed.

By the grace of God, we had crashed in a shallow part of the Bay.
I'm talking 4 1/2 feet of water.
We just didn't know it.

The water was so murky that when we were knocked into it, all we knew to do was panic. It never occurred to us to find out if we even could stand up before we panicked.

So it is with me here in CajunCountry. For almost a year now I have been screaming for help and flailing my arms around, searching for any sign of rescue from this new way of life.

Turns out, I didn't need to be rescued. 

I just needed to figure out that I could stand up.

Thanks for a great laugh and a great memory, Mom!

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