Monday, I went sailing.
My sailing partner, and coach of sorts, was my roommate's girlfriend, Anne, who, like Lars, is from Germany.
As a matter of fact, she has spent most of her life racing sailboats. One season, not long ago, she was world champion in her class.
Needless to say, she is a good sailor.
I, on the other hand, took a sailing class one summer. So I could describe a tack or a jibe to you. But I'm certainly not a sailor. I was a bit intimidated.
Anne is an old friend. She came to visit Lars last winter and ended up staying for a number of months in our commodious apartment. While she was here, she applied for an internship in the R&D department at Adidas, which (of course) she was given.
So she's back (she said it was like coming home), living in our apartment with us, and testing out all kinds of top-secret equipment.
And she's teaching us all to sail.
Lars, not about to be outdone by the woman he loves, somehow became the president of PSU Clubsport Sailing, which certainly helps. Boats are easier to come by, especially since none of us are wealthy.
So we were sailing the Clubsport boats, and my sailing partner was Anne, who is happiest when she is hanging out over the edge of the boat.
I love it, too, but my reflexes aren't honed like hers, and I spent most of the time I was hanging over the edge of the boat wondering whether the wind (which was great, but choppy) would stop, and I'd end up landing butt-first in the Willamette.
We sailed for a while, practicing mostly. My body remembers going through the motions, so I actually felt moderately comfortable after a small warm-up period.
And then at one point, Anne started talking about why she loves sailing so much.
(Lars once told me that for Anne, everything in the world is either sailing or not sailing. No in-betweens, no other form of evaluation.)
She pointed to the shore of Ross Island, which was littered with driftwood, rocks the size of bowling balls, and young trees.
"You would never see that when you are on the land."
And isn't that just the truth? Sometimes, a new location gives us a look at something we've never seen before.
Better still, something like Ross Island, which I've seen a hundred thousand times from the freeway as we pass lightening-quick over the river, changes its appearance. Suddenly it's an entirely different place.
This method works anywhere. Walk when you would normally drive. Ride a bike instead of the bus. Ride the bus instead of driving.
Visit an old friend in a new place.
Put on clothes you would never wear anywhere and go out to eat.
Say hello to people on the street as you pass them.
Have lunch in a park and watch the people who visit while you are there.
Look hard at something you've always ignored.