So, as you can imagine (based on how long this has taken me to get around to), State-side has kept me busy.
For the most part, there is a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff that is not skydiving related that contributed to this post, but this is more about the experiences and adjustments that come with moving approximately 8453 miles around the world to follow my skydiving dreams.
I would have to say that the biggest unforeseen “slow down” would be financially. Although it should have been obvious to me, I didn’t expect the fact that I have no credit history in the US to be such an expensive problem. Paying cash for a car was expected, but having to pay for 6 months of motor insurance up-front at outrageous prices was not, nor was paying a $500 deposit for a cellphone contract. I will not dwell on the financial side of the move because I’m sure you get the idea; it’s been expensive. haha.
I’m extremely thankful to my family here in Florida for the support they’ve given me so far, it definitely makes the move a lot easier.
To date, I’ve made a total of 22 skydives (in 5 months [sad face]), The first 8 of which were out at Elsinore over November 2012 when I flew over to meet one of my South African friends who was there. Southern California is amazing, after landing in LAX and meeting up with my buddy, one of his friends from Elsinore, as well as a South African chick that flew out for 2 weeks or so, we headed out to check out Venice beach. WOW, that was an eye-opener. Awesome. Amazing. Weird. Unique. The night ended up with a bunch of slightly drunken skydivers running amok in Wal-mart while I buy a tent, sleeping bag, beer and other necessitates for the weekend. Unfortunately I ended up buying a kiddies sleeping bad that was really only good at keeping my legs and feet warm :/ Uncomfortable, sleep-less nights aside, Elsinore is a FANTASTIC dropzone, I met a lot of really awesome people, tried a lot of new things in the sky and had a great time. Blue Skies Mag were not joking when they voted Elsinore #1 for the hottest female staff 😉
After returning from Elsinore and a month or so at my new job, I decided to head out to Sebastian for the world famous “Invasion Boogie”. For those readers who skydive but have not yet been to the Invasion, this is one trip you HAVE to make. If I were to go into detail about all the awesomeness, naughtiness and craziness that goes on there, you’d still be reading next week. And that does not include the skydiving side! Just do it, I’ll buy you 5 beers if you don’t have an amazing time. I met people from all over the States, as well as a few people from other countries. We had great parties together, amazing skydives together and loads of beers together! Trust me on this, it’s worth it!
My South African skydive membership expires at the end of March 2013, which means that unless I renew it, I will no longer have a C-License to jump on. As a result, I’ve been frantically trying to get all the paperwork and requirements sorted out to get my USPA C-License, one of which is a basic canopy course to complete the B-License requirements (besides the written test which I have not studied for yet). After reviewing Skydive Cities calendar of events, I decided to hop on the next available basic canopy course which was about two weeks ago. Although the instructor was awesome enough to help me help me improve my high performance landings, he also helped to re-affirm many of the basic (yet essential) canopy skills required by a good, safe canopy pilot. This was a great learning experience for me as, until now, I have not have such in-depth, intense canopy instruction. I am very interested in canopy piloting and this was a great introduction to the quality of instruction that I can expect with future courses.
Now some of you might tar and feather me for this, but I’ve always said that the act of skydiving (for me) is only about 35% of the reason I skydive, the other 65% is the social side (and everything else that can’t be bubbled); seeing your really good friends every weekend and every other chance you get, having beers after a good (or weathered out) day of jumping, weekday safety meetings at your favorite pub with your skydiving buddies, and of course all the shenanigans that happens in-between. This being said, I’ve lost 65% of the reason that I skydive. I generally love irony, but in this case, I do not. Who would have thought that the very reason I moved 8435 miles to pursue my love for skydiving would be the same reason why I lose the enthusiasm I’ve always had for it? Don’t misinterpret that, I’m certainly not about about to sell my gear, let my USPA & PASA memberships expire or even put my rig bag away in the cupboard, I’m simply frustrated with the fact that I no longer have my friends by my side, and because of the fact that I’m still slugging away at the debt I incurred through the move here (plus the car, cell phone, auto insurance, medical insurance etc. etc), my goals of meeting new people at the DZ and getting mad skillz have slowed down drastically.
So, I am not one for negativity and like to end things on a positive note as much as possible: Due to the fact that I have only been here for less than 6 months, the IRS gave me back all of the tax that I have paid so far…and it’s going towards a brand new LiquidSky jumpsuit 🙂 🙂 🙂
Blue Skies and Happy Days!!