Greetings from the American Girl
Once again I've learned to never say never. I promised myself to never ever dip my toes into a public pool. Middle school mandated swim lessons at the local YMCA gave me what some might call a hyper-exaggerated aversion to communal locker rooms and the germs that lurk on slippery tile floors. Up until two weeks ago, it had been ten plus years since I stepped foot in the watery nightmare people call the municipal swimming pool. Like I said, this was as of fourteen days ago because I've done some major fear conquering this month--I can proudly say the city of Paris has a new, card-carrying, pool-going resident. Someway, somehow I managed to put my germaphobia aside to take a swim in my neighborhood piscine. And not just one swim--I've gone six times! And in those six swim sessions I've seen a lot that makes me really want to avoid going back--swimmers having head on collisions, obscene showering techniques, and way too much hair on the locker room floor, but in the end I've kept it up and it feels so good. Honestly, the worse part was having to buy a one piece and try on a million suits in a poorly lit changing room looking white as a polar bear with signs of a long, winter hibernation. Now I just need to re-teach myself breathing techniques so I'm not floundering around like a fish out of water. That, and avoid getting smacked in the face by another swimmer's frog kick.

While swimming was by far by biggest spring "accomplishment", I've also started tackling my fear of mental math. I pretty much hate it. I especially dislike mental math when I'm under pressure i.e. when guests want to pay their bill at the cafe. I panic, my brain turns to mush, and my cheeks go from rosy to tomato in two seconds flat. Add French on top of these daily transactions and you can imagine how anxious I get. I'm trying not to rely on my mathematically gifted colleagues to take care of every client's check, but let's just say I'm suspiciously busying myself in the kitchen when I sense guests are preparing to pay the bill. My mental math fear hasn't been conquered, but give me a month and maybe I'll be a regular at the register. Maybe.

Finally, I've agreed to summer vacation plans that have me questioning my sanity so perhaps it's a bit premature to say I'm conquering any fears here. The promise has been made though--I've committed to a twelve day trek from Chamonix, France to Zermatt, Switzerland, otherwise known as the Haute Route. Mon mari has assured me that this is a "non-technical" trek (whatever that means...), but when I read the guide book and see the words glacier and crevasse you can bet I'm doing endless Wikipedia searches about "crevasse rescue." My most recent Google exploration led to this email exchange with mon mari:
FROM: Lindsey Frank  Jun 5 (2 days ago)

I  want to be clear. I AM NOT GOING WITHIN 1,000m of a crevasse. Just looking at photos of them makes me want to cry. I don't wait to die like that. Seriously. I am not stepping over one, taking a ladder over one, or going near one.

TO: Lindsey Frank

“Today’s alpine hiking route follows a network of well-marked and signposted trails that stays below 3000 meters and takes advantage of the popular mountain huts and small inns and hotels in the charming villages along the way. The route is safe, entirely non-technical (requires no ropes, crampons, or protection devices) and while challenging because of its daily elevation gains and distances, is achievable by any hiker in reasonably good physical condition.”

We will not do ANYTHING DANGEROUS. And there is nothing you won’t be able to do easily, except maybe keep up with me on the uphills :)


I'm still not convinced...we may not have to put on crampons, but I know there's a portion of the trek that involves climbing up a very steep ladder. My palms are already sweating. Seriously.

Sometimes I think this fear conquering business is really about preventing needless Internet searches. I really just shouldn't look up things like "Paris pool cleanliness" and "risk of avalanches, Mont Blanc." So if you don't see any blog updates, know that I'm keeping myself away from the computer to avoid unnecessary trips down the Wikipedia vortex and practicing my mental math with flashcards. Plus, the sun is out! I gotta get outside while it lasts because we all know this could be a fluke. Time for lazy weekends in the park, evening strolls, and afternoons apéros with friends. 


06/09/2013 03:58

Lindsey! Nice post, and good to hear that things are going well. I'm right there with you on the mental math. Doesn't help that I rely on my nerdy husband to do all things number related :) Your summer adventure sounds much more exciting than mine--the scariest thing I'll be doing is flying solo from Canada to Paris with Henry. Although crevasse-crossing sounds kind of tempting!
Oh, and re. pools: I finally took Henry swimming, and like you it has been YEARS since I set foot in a public pool. I was kind of surprised that I still own a Speedo. Anyway, I've only been to the pool in Belleville and it's quite new and pretty clean (and Henry is very good at bee-lining for the grossest thing possible). The foot bath grosses me out though. What's up with those?
Looking forward to seeing you guys soon.

07/16/2013 04:35

Oh geez. I won't tell you about all of my biggest fears...but let's just say I'm right there with you! You will have so much fun and be so proud of yourself afterward. Can't wait to hear how it went!

08/02/2013 11:11

This is such a funny post! I have never shared your fears of public pools persay as I was a swimmer growing up however in a different country (aka not the USA) I'm having a hard time pushing myself to go! My frenchie goes during lunch at work and it seems like so much fun... This is just the little push I need.

I'm so glad I found your blog! I see that you have just opened up a little cafe in Paris and cannot wait to go and try it!

have a great time on vacation and don't let your fears get in the way of having an amazing time!


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