Tuesday, December 1, 2015

My George Bailey Monday

Sophomore year of college I interned at Walt Disney World as a lifeguard for two hotels near the Magic Kingdom. The highlight of which was watching Shaq swim in the Grand Floridian pool, getting to wear crocs to work, and taking the little boats out on my lunch break. I loved this job and continued lifeguarding in Brookline and Boston after I returned to the Great White North to finish up my time at Northeastern U.

Although I've always said lifeguarding was the best job I ever had and encouraged my students to do it as a job in high school and college, I realized no one wants to see a 28-year old lifeguard unless they're watching "Baywatch" reruns. Little did I know a walk home from school Monday would result in me getting my lifeguard feet wet again. Pun intended.

Alright story time:
Recently, I moved to a new village due to a safety concern I had in my first PC crib which means I now have a three-mile walk home from school, something I love because the views are amazing and I have a new crop of kids to walk home with part of the way.

On Monday, after school, we decided to go to the Mt Carmel Waterfalls since my students are always pointing it out to me from an overlook on our walks home and I hadn't been since my host brother brought me in August.

The kids asked their parents, changed out of their school clothes, and although I didn't have my bathing suit I figured I'd stay dry and take pictures. After buying some snacks and cokes for the kids, payment for being great tour guides, we set out on the small hike to the upper part of the falls. Mt Carmel is the tallest waterfall in Grenada and we're so lucky to have it in our backyards, plus the lower part of the falls is like a waterslide too!

After years of babysitting, teaching, and lifeguarding I should have known that dry clothes and kids in water do not mix.

I decided after this that it is my goal for a secondary project to help promote water safety with my students. Although they live on an island, surrounded by water, many cannot swim. As diplomatically as I can put it...This scared me, BIG time. Since one of my favorite things to do is be in and on the water, I think it would be foolish for me not to share experiences and my knowledge with my students. So under the umbrella of an Environmental Club I hope to share not only water safety lessons but also conservancy- just basic do not throw the snack wrapper and can of coke Miss Lyons bought you on the ground next to the waterfall kind of stuff. I actually met a local teacher who works with another PCV on a kid's summer camp all about ocean conservancy and SEA TURTLE rescue. She had mistaken me for someone who works with the camp previously (we all look alike) but really I think my love of turtles and the ocean just comes across that strongly.

I decided to post the video footage of yesterday's after school excursion on here and not Facebook because I know only my family reads this blog. I can't watch it without getting shaken up at the last 10 seconds mainly because I'm embarrassed at how slow my reaction time really was. I didn't know if my student was joking and the other kids were laughing at him to make it seem like the whole event was orchestrated to pull my leg.

The look in his eyes let me know though that it was not a joke. I threw my phone and ran over the rocks to get my third grader out. It probably took between 10-20 seconds overall to see and get him out, but it was the scariest moment of my life so far. In those mere seconds I thought what if I don't remember CPR correctly, why didn't I jump in sooner, but mostly I thought of my third-grade student and how to get him out as fast as I could.

I feel like I should post a "Viewer Discretion is Advised" label on this video because I can't even watch it:

After I threw my phone to jump in, I've jumped in before with a cell phone and spent the rest of my lifeguard shift in the ladies room using the hand dryer on my old iPhone, one of the other third graders picked up my phone and took pictures and video of how funny it was to see Miss Lyons all wet in her school clothes...they definitely did not understand the severity of the situation that just happen...oh kids haha!

After I carried him out everything went back to normal and I decided to just keep swimming in my clothes. Which resulted in a bunch of UK tourists taking photos of the America PCV swimming in her clothes with a bunch of her students crawling all over her. I went home soaking wet after walking about a mile more to my new house. I made dinner and thought since I don't have WiFi installed yet that it was the perfect time to watch one of my favorite Christmas movies, "It's a Wonderful Life." Hence the title of this post. I tossed and turned with nightmares the rest of the night, really not able to get the image of my student's eyes begging me for help out of my head.

But now back at school the students are all begging me to take them to the waterfall after school...maybe tomorrow!


  1. Wow. What a traumatic experience for everyone. You did exactly what any PCV would do. Keep up the great work.

    Mackenzie, Grenada 2010-2012.

  2. Thanks for the comment Mackenzie!

  3. Don't second-guess yourself - give yourself credit for seeing what needed to be done, and doing it. I don't know you, but as a PC applicant, I am proud of you!