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Carving it up over break

Well hello again readers!

I have missed blogging quite a bit since break started, but I am here to tell you that six weeks away from the Bubble hasn’t been what I expected.

Despite the fear that six weeks would be much too long of a schedule-less life and that I would be on my deathbed fighting the cancer of boredom once most of my friends with normal break periods went back to school, I have been making the most of my time and making memories which I hope will last.

Long boarding adventures

One memorable moment from the past few weeks has been learning how to long board! Most of my friends ride the long skate boards made for cruising and carving, and they felt it was about time that I learned too. So I borrowed a board from a friend and off we went around Oceanside, a beach city in San Diego, nice and slow while I got the hang of the board. Having watched my friends carve the streets and do tricks that seemed altogether too dangerous to be done helmetless, I naturally wanted to try my skills, knowing full well that I lost all sense of balance at age seven when I grew out of my roller blades and never bought new ones. This didn’t stop me, however, and before I knew it, we made it from the beach to the street a few blocks up on our boards.

I gave the board back to its owner so she could ride for a while, and we walked up to a pedestrian tunnel that dipped under the street and came back up on the other side. Smooth concrete colored blue and grey covered the tunnel floor and the echoing walls softly roared with the sound of speeding wheels racing down and slowing on the upward climb. Cars passed by overhead, and I walked through unfazed. We got boba, enjoyed ourselves, and headed back toward the beach. So it was on the way back that the challenge came.

The dare

“Alyssa, ride down the hill!”

“Everyone’s done it but you, it’s easy!”

“You don’t even have to turn; you’ll stop at the end without trying! Come on Alyssa!”

So of course I did.

My friend hooked the board on a crack in the sidewalk so I could step on. “Just give it a push,” she encouraged. Nervous and thrilled, I waited for passing pedestrians, and when the coast was clear, pushed off into ocean wind.

Scared for my uprightness and balance I knew I lacked, my feet became shaky, and in my efforts to stay vertical, I got speed wobbles. Just as I let out an inaudible “Eeek,” I hit the depth of the slope and began my ascent, slowing by the second and was soon able to jump off.

Nothing compared. It was one of the greatest feelings of exhilaration and freedom I have felt, and I fell in love. I scooped up the board in one arm and turned, wide-eyed and rosy-cheeked, hair blown back to my friends on the other side. I saw smiles and thumbs up, and then I heard “Now come back!”

And I made it back without a hitch! The invigorating feeling of speed and cold wind in my face, nothing stopping me or blocking me, totally free… it was great! I long boarded the rest of the night, learning turns and getting the hang of it.

Second slopes

The next day was Sunday. Judgment day.

After church, my friend whose board I borrowed brought it out so we could do some riding in the parking lot. It was easy like the day before, and just like yesterday, I was challenged a hill much smaller and less steep than the one I had conquered the night before. So I gladly accepted, feeling confident enough to at least jump off if I felt unsafe.

This blacktop hill went down and curved around the church building, a fence lining it all the way down. I was instructed to carve the hill by making wide turns back and forth, like rounded off zig zags, and turn at the bottom where I could coast to a stop behind the building. So just like yesterday, I pushed off at the top and began my coast down the small decline.

It was wrong from the start. I was going straight, and before I had the chance to start carving, speed wobbles shook me hard enough to make my “Eeek,” audible this time. I wasn’t carving, I wasn’t turning, and the bend around the building was only getting closer faster. In a panic only alarming enough to give me the sense to jump off, I did, for fear of slamming into the curb and flying into the fence. I jumped away, and just as my right foot hit the ground and I felt like had narrowly escaped scraping my face into the blacktop, my left foot caught the board, shooting it up towards me and sending me tumbling to the ground.

The smashup

The board slashed my ankle and tumbled away, while I flew over it, rolling over my arms and finally skidding to a stop just at the foot of the fence. Thank goodness only two of my friends were watching, and they came rushing over while I sat where I was, sitting upright, shocked and laughing a little hysterically.

Total damage: - 1 gashed and bruised ankle - 1 scraped elbow - 1 scratched and bruised hip - a right hand that looks like I took a cheese grater to the palm

Not so bad, and three weeks later, I’m almost healed. Praise God that was all that happened, especially knowing people much more skilled than me have died doing not much more than what I attempted. God is good.

Needless to say, I’ve had a great break that has been long enough to enjoy, but has also gotten me ready to get back to college life.

See you soon, Biola!

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