Child Unit 1, more commonly known as our daughter Michela, decided she needed to put a little bling in her life. So before heading off to Duke University for graduate school, she and her friend Kristen decided to jump out of an airplane. I can just imagine the discussion. “Hey Michela, what do you want to do tomorrow. Feel like jumping out of an airplane?” “Sure!”
The girls were flown to about 14,000 feet – and then jumped out of a perfectly good airplane. Yikes! Why would you do that?
Here are Michela’s own reflections on the experience:
“They pushed you out of the plane as soon as you got to the door; you didn’t have enough time to freak out or jump back to the back of the plane. The process was really fast!”
“When you jump out of the plane, you feel like you’re in a dryer. It doesn’t hurt, but you’re tumbling every which way; you’re upside down, sideways, rightside up. After a few turns, you don’t even know which way is up. After a few seconds you level out, and you’re falling face first down from the sky. The wind pushes all of your skin back and you look like a putty version of yourself.”
“You’re free-falling at a speed of 120mph; it was so fast I couldn’t even scream or move. You can’t even process what’s happening quickly enough to freak out in the beginning. I remember my thoughts clearly and I remember thinking about what was happening in a very logical way. The only thing my brain would allow me to think was, “OK Michela, you’re falling. Yep, definitely falling. Breathing seems important. Yeah, let’s breathe. Breathe in, breathe out.” It was a slow and calm thought process. It was almost like a person outside of myself was trying to calm me down. If you see the pictures taken during that thought process, I actually look peaceful! Eyes closed and kind of smiling. I eventually got around to the screaming part :).”
“Once the chute opens, it is PARADISE. This is the part where you’re truly floating. Even being high up in the air, you feel safe and secure and the ride is smooth and peaceful the whole way down.”
Had it been me? Well, let’s just say, you would have heard me screaming in Tibet.