When I was just a kid, we went to the beach maybe once a year (2.5 hour drive). At the beach I quite happily enjoyed myself with building sandcastles and river rapids, but I hardly ever went for a swim. If I swim, I want to be able to see what's underneath the water. Strange quirk, I know.
To make things worse, I had an unpleasant encounter with a washed up jellyfish *STING*. Add to that the stories you sometimes hear about shark attacks, and suddenly little Robbie was too afraid to ever go swimming in the North Sea again. I swam in the Caribbean sea (crystal clear), I swam in the Hungarian Lake Balaton (lake, so no sea and no jellyfish), but the fear for the North Sea remained.
So, last Sunday I decided it was time for me to face my fears. I spent a few hours at the beach (for the first time in 10+ years), took a book along and at first just laid there. Reading Stupid White Men (Michael Moore kicks butt!). At a sudden point it was time for me to cool down a little, so I strolled up to the sea. Up to my ankles. No prob, grinning a bit at the cold water. Taking a deep breath, I went deeper, to my knees. That wasn't so bad apart from the few meters of shells I had to walk across. A few minutes later, I was up to my neck in salty seawater *ptooie*.
So, after 5 minutes I got out again, fear not totally gone yet, but it actually felt as a victory to me. I swam in the North Sea, wasn't stung, wasn't eaten. Happily I returned to my towel and my spot on the beach. The next morning I was RED AS A LOBSTER! That'll teach me for getting bottles of suntan lotion and tan accellerator mixed up. No stretching (ouch!), bending over (ouch!) and absolutely NO SCRATCHING (triple ouch!). How the hell will I survive 8 days in Turkey?.....