The River

Friday, August 19, 2011

Hi there friends.  Sorry for being MIA from my blog...I was attempting to not be MIA from my own life.  So it's been kind of a rough couple of weeks.  To combat the rough weeks of training, we took to the rough seas...err, Hudson River.  

In true New York style "team building" fashion, the wonderful Barnard College residential life staff took a little field trip.  After days of endless training, deep conversations about serious student issues, and lots of talks about procedures, we needed a break.  As it turns out, the Downtown Boathouse at Pier 96 offers completely free kayaking.  Summer at Hudson River Park is actually pretty, run by volunteers, lots of outdoor cafes along the way, and a nice break from the concrete jungle.  

Nothing like life jackets and an extremely tiny boat on one of the world's dirtiest rivers to get to know your new coworkers...

After a stern speech about how not to get sucked under the George Washington Bridge and signing a waiver clearing the volunteers of drowning and death and other potential side effects of kayaking, I worked up all my brave New Yorker attitudes and managed to roll into my own kayak.  No seriously, you have to roll into it.  Note the absence of pictures of the rolling part.

And we were off.  I mean, off in the sense that it took me about five minutes to row away from the pier, since I kept turning in circles.  I found out later that they teach a free class on turning.  Might have been helpful, folks.

I did awesome...for all of ten minutes.  Then the tide came in and the waves got way bigger.   I mean, they don't look so big from the pictures, but they looked MASSIVE from the boat.

Then I got scared about not being able to make it back to the dock, getting sucked into the current, and ending up at the George Washington Bridge (which is about six miles away).  I paddled my way back to the general vicinity of the pier.  That's when the trouble started.  Remember how it took me awhile to push back from the dock?  It took about three times that long to get close enough to the pier that the volunteer lady could lean out over the water and pull me back to safety.  It was bad.  

I rolled my way out of the kayak.  I pretty much immediately overheard someone talking about the massive sanitation leak and how tons of waste are getting dumped into the Hudson every single day.  Yay.

After a sunset dinner along the water, we finally made our way back home to campus.  And I proceeded to take the longest shower of my life.  Kayaking was super fun, but I definitely needed to wash off the Hudson.

Lots more to catch up on later.  Happy Friday folks...

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