Lesson #5 (GRADUATION!!):
Instructor: Darius (the Devil)
The three of us show up for our 5th and final lesson encouraging each other that we've finally made it to the end. We are the only three there for our graduation lesson and thus we've managed to create semi-private lessons out of all 5 of them. Darius is given the assignment of getting us through this final hurdle and the words he isn't saying are written all over his face. He either hates his job today and doesn't want to be there or he thinks we should be much more skilled at this level than we really are. He tells us his nickname is "The Devil" and the three of us contemplate turning around and going home. So maybe we won't be graduating with confidence and smiles today.
We plunge right into the comfort of Marshmallow run stopping every few turns so Darius can critique everything I'm doing wrong. I start to feel like I'm being picked on. Rachel feels like she's being left behind. Darius is a talker and wants to discuss and dissect every skill we've already learned up until now. The three of us wonder how much actual skiing we'll be doing today. We kick ourselves for wondering when he forces us outside our comfort zone and takes us down Carnival run to end the lesson. We all hate him for not mentioning that narrow catwalk at the top but I know at least one of us would have refused to go had he discussed this terrain beforehand. We made it down a new and terrifying run and Darius reluctantly signed off on our graduating terms. We were officially skiers and we were now on our own.
Rachel wanted to get out of her boots right away but John and I took our maiden voyage down Marshmallow as graduates. The one we had agreed to in lesson 2 when we never knew how far we would come. It felt great. It felt freeing. I knew I still had some learning to do but I was making it down the mountain... by myself! I was proud of what I'd accomplished and the complete 180 I'd done from the first lesson. I forced myself outside of my comfort zone and it paid off. I was having fun.
I called Joe when I got home and relayed my disbelief at my enjoyment. He was proud and it showed. His encouragement (and my brother's... I texted him after every lesson to update him on my progress) through the whole process was everything I needed to keep me going. I can't imagine having done it without Rachel even though I don't doubt she was hating me at least once a lesson for dragging her along. But we both overcame something we never had any desire to do before and we did it together.
And now... I'm a skier.