I'm actually really surprised by how much I like swimming. Although I definitely am of the opinion that swimming has been my godsend and lifesaver for this spring semester.
Before I started swimming, the semester was going really crappily. For many reasons. But I was feeling down and dumpy. I was realizing that the way I felt and looked (skin rashness) after every meal had to do with being allergic to most things I ate. Imagine, if you will, what it's like to slowly realize that you have been allergic to the all the foodstuff you've been consuming for the past ELEVEN months. Not a fun thing to do.
I was also feeling super-blech because I was coming off my visit to America high. And my, Oh, look, Korea's not so bad upon returning high. ANNND trying to JOIN a swimming pool and get lessons was proving an obstacle NIGH insurmountable. Obstacles just KEPT popping up and every time I knocked one down, ANOTHER THREE would come out of left field to taunt me and test me.
And test me they did. But I also realized just HOW badly I wanted to swim. Even before I started, the fuel for my passion was there. And even after I joined a pool and had a week of lessons, the obstacles kept coming. Sucky bosses at the pool, random rules (that are then lifted) about cutoff times for lessons, etc. etc. etc.
But through it all, swimming has been my saving grace. In all senses, but one of the most important is health-wise. Right when I stopped eating because I was feeling an aversion both physical and mental/emtional to the food here, I realized I HAD to eat in order to swim. I was too weak and sick/dizzy-feeling during my swim lessons once I stopped eating school lunch and skipping dinner. (Breakfast was toast or granola bars so I was eating that). So, yea. I'm back to eating my school lunches. Nutritious, if not completely delicious. And I'm eating dinner more regularly. Skipping dinner made the next mornings unbearable.
I have more energy than I did. Swimming coincides with what was previously my late afternoon slump (what my apparently Spanish body thinks is "siesta time"). And so now I'm powering through that and the extra adrenaline is making me feel better.
And my springtime (seasonal) insomnia (past 3-4 springs have been unbearable!) is totally out of the picture. It had started early April and now it's totally gone. I can fall asleep ANYWHERE at the drop of my head. (I even awoke at the end of my deep-tissue massage very surprisedly because it's always so painful I couldn't believe I fell asleep during it!).
It's also been really refreshing mentally to be sportsy again. Running was getting boring and yoga at my studio wasn't challenging enough. Ashtanga in my room was getting claustrophobic. And running outdoors in this pollution was not an option. So it was nice to find something new to keep me active. Especially after my 2-month hiatus.
It's also nice to have something that forces me out of the house every day. It's really easy to just get sucked into coming home after school and melting in a puddle of tiredness from teaching in my bed and staying there until the next morning when I have to go to school all over again. It's nice to have new friends and people to look forward to seeing each day. It's nice to see people who aren't school people and offer a different perspective on life. People who enjoy and appreciate an active lifestyle NOT centered on their own kids and husband (i.e. like my fellow teachers). Also, all the swim instructors are fairly young (range is 25 to 32) and not married so they are a little more like having "friends" in the more traditional sense of the word, meaning we are more or less at a similar life stage.
This is me. Doing the butterfly. Now. But soon my elbows will not bend (I will get strong - my arms will strengthen) and my instructor will stop yelling, "ELBOW!!!" at me every time my head comes out of the water.
Swimming helps me clear my head. I heart it. And I'm more focused when I'm at home. I also have much less time wallowing in my room listing the evils of Korean life (Cheongju life). hehe. My schedule is much more tightly packed with actual substantive STUFF. And not just free time to procrastinate school prep or count down to America. =T