Kayaking and Aerial and a New Stove, oh my!

Let the challenges begin! If you recall, I made myself some terms of unemployment, which include having to try something new (or something I haven’t done in a long time) every week. I’ve received a lot of great ideas for challenges from friends and family, and I started my funemployment with a bang. (Note: my last day of work is actually October 1, but I decided to start the challenges last week anyway.)

Week 1: Kayak and Aerial class

At the beginning of the summer I thought it would be cool to go kayaking. So my boyfriend got a kayak lesson and guided tour on Groupon (with Toronto Adventures). And then we never used it. Until now! We went tandem kayaking on the Humber River – which was an absolute blast. We had both been canoeing (independently) before, but never kayaked. Apparently the skills are not 100% transferrable. I was in the back of the tandem kayak as the more experienced boater – and not pleased how surprised the instructor/guide was to find out I was the more experienced! We hit a few tree branches and reeds, and somehow managed to run ourselves aground in the middle of a river even though everyone else magically avoided this. But by the end we had the rhythm down and picked up a bit of speed.

It was amazing to see how much nature there is inside the city. We started on the Humber by Old Mill subway station and went all the way down to Lake Ontario (although not onto the lake). We saw lily pads, ducks, swans, and a couple of egret (which we had originally thought were herons… oh city folk). It was relaxing and freeing to be out on the water and seemingly away from the city (until we reached the Gardiner Expressway), and a nice reminder that there’s a lot of fun stuff to do in Toronto.

Right after my kayak adventure I headed down to Liberty Village for my very first aerial class. I did this on the advice (wait, what’s the word for when someone nicely forces you to do something?) of my friend, Natalie, who has been doing these classes for a couple of years. We met up and headed to the class, which was held in what looked like a converted factory building with really high ceilings. Inside was a trapeze and two huge silks hanging from the ceiling, as well as a very fit instructor named Joanne.

We started with a warm up, which was really a quick bootcamp class and did some trapeze specific exercises including pull ups (thank goodness I’d been training for those!) and this thing where you hang from the trapeze, lift your straight legs up until your toes touch (or almost touch) the bar and then slowly lower down. I hurt from that one for a couple of days. Then Natalie and John (the other participant) practiced their upside down hangs, which is when they hang upside down from the trapeze.

Then it was my turn. I’m afraid of heights, but the trapeze was really only 7 feet off the floor, and there was a big cushy mat underneath, and Joanne would be spotting me. Still, it was a bit scary. I grabbed onto the trapeze, took a deep breath, lifted my feet up to the bar and hooked my knees over. The trick, as it turns out, is squeezing your bum together (if you don’t squeeze enough, you get a poke from Joanne). So I squeezed and let go with my hands and did my first hang! It was really cool.

Natalie and John went through their routines that they had been working on for the past few weeks (which was awesome to watch) and then it was my turn again. “You’re going to do a layback,” says Joanne. I’m going to do a what? One of those things that Natalie and John just did? But they’re so much more experienced than I am! Thank goodness aerial class is not a democracy.

I sat on top of the trapeze, let go with my left hand, and twisted around to look back while my legs lay on top of the trapeze (get the name?). It was really cool, and once I tried it a couple of times I actually got pretty good. Apparently going to an aerial class with a background in fitness is a plus.

Towards the end of the class it was time for silks. I learned to wrap my feet around the silks and climb up and then slide back down (and I have the bruises to prove it). It was a test of my grip strength and endurance, and it was so much fun. I will definitely be trying this again, and hopefully never testing the thickness of the fall mat.

Without the motivation of the challenge per week challenge (I’ve got to find a better name for this), I would never have tried an aerial class, and that kayak Groupon would have expired. I’m so glad that I’m trying new things, finding new passions, and exploring the city!

Oh, and then this morning our stove top cracked. I’m still glad I’m leaving this job, but jeez universe, not cool timing.

My very first hang. (Not really the first because I forgot to ask Natalie to take a picture. So really my second hang.)

My very first hang. (Not really the first because I forgot to ask Natalie to take a picture. So really my second hang.)

No photos from the kayak - we were not sure how wet we would get.

No photos from the kayak – we were not sure how wet we would get.

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