I spent my third weekend at home in Gaming. It was our first free weekend- no school trips, just three open days. My fellow students were going every which way- some to various places in Italy, some to nearby places like Prague, so even to London. I decided that it wouldn't be prudent to take such a big (and probably costly) trip so early in the term. So my weekend was spent at the Karthause, and as it turned out, several of my friends stayed because their plans fell through.
Staying in Gaming turned out to be a wonderful thing: my friends and I relaxed, spent time in town, went out to the local pubs in the evenings, hiked to the nearby waterfall, and got to know the Eastern European students better. I really settled into my new home. Friday night after the pub, my friends decided that we needed to do something...out of the ordinary. There is a large, rushing creek across the road from the Karthause, and a particularly deep spot in this creek into which the bravest students sometimes jump.
So, at one in the morning we trooped out into the freezing, windy night in our bathing suits. Actually, I was wearing excercise clothes because I had forgotten to pack my swimming things. One by one, we half-walked, half-slid down the snow-covered bank to the edge of the creek- barefoot. Also, the wind was very, very strong. Need I say that I was freezing? And that was before I actually jumped- and that took some time, since I had to work up the nerve to actually do it. I stood on the bank for what must have been a full minute before jumping in with a shrill scream.
That water flows down from the mountains- it is far beyond cold. Those of you who have seen the movie Titanic will remember that Jack describes freezing water as knives stabbing every inch of your body- that's pretty accurate. After the initial plunge, I bobbed on the surface for a few agonizing moments, completely unable to think and move. On the bank, everyone cheered, and then began shouting for me to swim out before I froze. It took me a while, but I managed to move to the side of the bank, where they pulled me out.
A hot shower, a hot mug of tea, and a shot of Schnapps, and I felt warm and cozy again. We stayed up for several hours afterwards in the tea kitchen, hanging out and talking. I feel proud of this accomplishment- I can now claim that I jumped in the creek, at one in the morning, in January. I'm confident that my brothers will be duly impressed when I get home and tell them.