Yesterday I took a group of 4 girls to the swimming pool. I know you are probably picturing a local outdoor pool where neighborhood kids gather to splash and dunk each other while the moms sit on the edge with legs dangling in the water, absorbing the sun. You just need to throw away that picture! Seriously, that is nothing like our actual swimming experience.
We are thankful to live next to a big university that has amazing amenities, like an enclosed olympic sized pool, that we are able to enjoy. The pool is divided in half, length-wise. One half is available for swimming laps, only. They even have lanes roped off. The other half is available for free swim and play, sort of. They’ve added a false floor so the water comes up to my shoulders, instead of over my head. There is no shallow end of the pool.
The first tell-tale sign that we weren’t going to a local “stateside” pool was the required dress. Swimming caps are a must, no exceptions. Any swimming suit for girls is acceptable, but men and boys must wear those tight speedos. (Long, loose swim trunks are made for the beach, not the pool. I don’t think most Americans know that rule.) ☺
We walked in and headed to the locker room to change into our swimming suits. Stood under the shower, to get the “outside” dirt off of us, and were finally ready to head to the pool. I had brought my Kindle with the thought that I would sit in a lounge chair and read while the kids swam. Ha! The Kindle stayed locked up in the locker room. What was I thinking?
The pool was crowded and those black swimcaps made it really hard to spot my kids! So I opted to get in the water so I could keep an eye on them and play. No splashing, no jumping from the sides, no roughhousing allowed in the pool. You could swim (all the people made a great obstacle course). You could stand (apparently standing in chest high water is great fun for older adults in our area). You could dance (yes, many grandmas were practicing their graceful tai-chi or ballet in the water). You could jump (an activity our girls found to be a lot of fun on the springy, false floor – Yikes!). None the less, the girls had a great time. Friends and water just seem to foster fun times.
Three of the girls could stand on the “floor” and their head was out of the water. The water came up to the edges of Alia’s mouth; so as long as she didn’t talk or laugh, she was in good shape. I was really impressed with Alia’s swimming. She had just learned to swim unassisted while we were in California this past March. And she hadn’t swam once since then. On this day, she was under the water a lot and sometimes it was actually on purpose! She may emerge as the best swimmer in our family.
When it was time to leave the pool, we gathered our things and headed through the showers, back to the locker room. The guard (aka the cleaning woman) at the door wouldn’t let anyone enter the locker room unless they were dry. Unfortunately, everyone (except me) leaves their towels locked up in the locker room. So there was a line of dripping Chinese and foreigners waiting to get into the locker room so they could grab their towel and go back to the showers. Just another sign that we are not at that local pool you first imagined.
It really was a great day and the girls are all anxious to go again. I’m looking forward to going back as well. I just need to find some swimcaps with flashing lights that make it easier to spot my kids in the crowd.