Tuesday, April 9, 2013

You Want Me To Do What?

I have a pretty open mind when it comes to trying new things and going new places. I am willing to do almost anything (unless it includes a rapid fall from great heights- still can’t get on board with that one!). But I will say when someone described avantouinti (ice swimming) to me, I got very quiet and wondered who would ever voluntarily go into a frozen lake…turns out I will.

Christine joined the teacher crew in March when we were all in Tampere presenting our projects and to welcome her in, we went swimming! Multiple times. With smiles on our faces. And laughter. Lots of laughter. Who wouldn't swim in this lake?

Let me describe how this works-

1. You put your bathing suit on and walk outside in the very cold air and snowy ground to get to a sauna. 
2. You then sit in the sauna until you can’t stand it anymore because you are too hot.  I have discovered I am a sauna wimp and have to sit on the first bench and almost instantly feel like I might be dying, but I like to disguise my wimpiness and will myself to stay there until one of my friends suggests swimming. Then I run for the door.

3. You then walk across the snow, down the long ladder and face the frozen lake. 

4.  If you are someone other than me, you swim.  If you are me, you immerse yourself to the neck and then scramble for the icy steps out of the absolutely freezing water as fast as possible.

5. Next, you take your frozen bum from the water back to the sauna as fast as you can possibly travel over the frozen ground without falling.

6. Then you repeat.  Sauna, swimming, sauna, swimming, sauna, swimming, until you are in such a happy, relaxed place that you forget that this was a crazy idea in the first place.

Here is some proof that we all did it. Thanks for the video Christine!!

Rumor has it that you add 5 years on your life every time you do this. So I figured I should do it again when I was in Helsinki a few weeks later as I took a dip in the water below. I know you are not going to believe me when I say this, but winter swimming is truly amazing. Your body feels such a natural high and you feel so relaxed that I can see why this can be a weekly habit for some Finns!

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