I put my daughter Hahna into swimming lessons this year and boy, does the smell of the pool bring memories! It may be embarrassing to admit but I learned how to swim when I was 9 (!!) years old. We did have mandatory swimming classes ever since I was in kindergarten but they did not seem to help. Years and years of training and no results. You can imagine the communist government was not pleased with me. In fact, I am surprised they have not sent me to gulags or somewhere even worse where they deal with the ‘slower’ individuals!
I do have a good excuse, however. Those years of swimming were pure hell. You want a proof? How about if I told you that every Thursday morning my mom would wake me up – it was still dark out – to inform me to get up because it was time for my swimming class. The next thing I would do is threw up. I threw up EVERY Thursday because I was so scared of those darn classes! As I said, it was still dark out, I had to wear a rubbery swim hat that always pulled half of my hair out, the teachers were evil and the pool stunk of pee. If you forgot the hat, they would not let you into the pool AND you would get yelled at. Sooner or later the forgetfulness of the 4-year-olds was taken advantage of by the locker ladies. You know, the ones that sit in the locker room and don’t do anything? Anyhow, these evil women would offer us some hats for rent but they would also charge us 5 krowns under the table. The problem was that as a kindergartener you kind of did not carry any money….
Once I made it through the locker rooms it was time to go to the pool area. The evil swim teacher would make us sit down on the chlorine-drowned floor and we would practice swimming moves, first with legs and then with our arms. And then it was time to try it for real. It was quite a different experience than what Hahna has gone through so far; everyone is so gentle with her, they make the lesson fun and there are swim guards everywhere just in case one of the children started to drown.
Not with our class though. One by one, we were literary thrown in the middle of an Olympic-size pool and were expected to swim. Naturally, I began to drown. Only when I was just about dead the evil teacher would hit me with this 10-foot pole, which was supposed to be a hint for me to get hold of it. If I wasn’t dead by then I would catch onto the pole (more out of a survival reflex than as an act of obedience) to be pulled out of that pool. After a few other kids fulfilled their turn it was my turn again…and it went like this for the whole hour.
After my swim class was over, life was good again. I was so happy to be alive! Now I have another week without puking, pee-stained water and the constant threat of dying!If you liked this post buy me a coffee! (Suggested:$3 a latte $8 for a pound) Thanks!