I am Chicken

The past week has been terrifying, exhilarating and oddly memorable. The events which were all except subtle started out with me preparing for an Interview. The journey from Pécs, Hungary to Rodewisch, Germany lasted 9 hours, not including rest stops and Highway tickets we needed for crossing a few borders.

Our destination was a sleepy little town in east Germany. By the time we arrived, the town was in it’s default quiet mood. Even mosquitoes managed to turn in for the night. Our hotel’s reception was only available by phone call and no restaurant was open.

It reminded me of a movie I saw a while back, Silent hill If I’m not mistaken. But really any film where people disappear in small cities and no one ever remembers their last seen location. I half expected a man with a chainsaw and a mask of human skin to stagger across the road behind us as we checked into the hotel. In my defence, I gotta stay sharp and ready.

But no wonder, I was all anxious. This was my first interview ever so I did what normal people do, deliberately conjure up a series of apocalyptic events in order to take the edge off. That is what people do right? if the town was eradicated, I wouldn’t have the face a panel of healthcare experts judging my intellect and character. Alas my horror fantasies remained only fantasies.

Although the interview went better than my subconscious played it out, I did something that is unlike me. I chickened out.

I know I’m not a big city girl. As it turns out, I’m no small town girl either. I couldn’t imagine spending no less than 4 years doing my residency there. Even a caged phoenix like myself needed to feel the bustle and grind of life saturating the air around me. Neither my desperation for the position nor the amazing hospital staff could convince me to call Rodewisch home.

Hence, it wasn’t even midweek yet and I was devastated. So my hubby rode the spontaneous wave and detoured to Prague on our way back. It was my second time in the city. The first time I was in Prague, I tried tandem-jumping. This time, we visited the Thrill park.

Everything about thrill park was horrific. I thought it was odd that my husband found the place because he scares easy but perhaps he knew it would help me cease whining about the Job.

By the end of our talk with the host, we were more scared than ever. She added that we could simply yell out a safe word, “I am chicken”, at any point during the experience that we couldn’t continue. What kept me on my toes was really the fear of the unknown and a rumor that more than 800 people had chickened out.

We then made our way into the dungeon in complete darkness.

It was adrenaline surging, gut wrenching and utterly horrific. We held onto each other like we were each other’s breathing machine. I laughed each time I freaked out which was probably not the reaction the host expected.

It was as though all my favourite horror movies came to life around me and I was the protagonist. I wasn’t fazed by the costumed people or the wax figures. However, a period did come when my stamina was tested. After a spook from a monster, a red light turned on to indicate a key inside a toilet bowl. Being a huge fan of the saw franchise, I appreciated the reference. However I wasn’t about to put my hand down there even if it was clean.

I just couldn’t. I was chicken.

My husband reached down there and found the key attached to a long chain that attached to the toilet. We felt our way around the prison bars and found the key hole. We soon continued our journey once again in darkness.

The exercise ended at the 24th minute with Jason pursuing us up a flight of stairs with a sputtering chainsaw.

In the end, I had an amazing week because I learnt a couple of things. Since the world didn’t end like I thought it would, I would recommend travellers visiting Prague to check the thrill park out and if brave enough, try tandem jumping too, because truth is, you never know what you’ll discover when you decide to wear your heart on your sleeve.

Inside the dungeon

The day I almost died

Tschechische Prag, den 13. Juli 2013.

The day I jumped out of an airplane, I didn’t quite think much of it. I was having fun like young dumb girls do with their young dumb friends. It wasn’t for the blood boiling gut wrenching eye-popping gush of adrenaline. It wasn’t exactly a dare either.

Two small town girls from a small west African town daring to overcome the limitations that are stacked so high against the African woman that we needed a small helicopter several meters in the air to proof that we can stomp them. No it wasn’t because we were curious, we knew exactly what we were doing—or did we?

My thoughts swirled in a multilinear direction. From my restricted vault of childhood memories to macabrely fantasies. If my aim was to die, that would be exactly the way I’d do it—sacrificing myself to Gaia, the goddess of sustenance. Venus in her verdant embellishment of flora and fauna. Surrendering skin, blood, saliva and soul. That sounded like me.

So we signed a death contract and laughed in the face of danger. Took a 20 mins course on how not to die, and soon we were way up there, still laughing. Shit got real when the door flew open. I realised that though I like to sit across a candle-lit sycamore table eating steak and drinking chardonnay, laughing at death’s joke and poking some of my own. I like to dance to cinema paradiso with him and make him buy me cocktails, enough to make me unwind but not enough to get drunk, I NEVER want to fuck with death.

At the moment I was instructed to jump out, I gulped and resisted the urge to breakdown while the condensed air from the high atmospheric altitude slapped my already shrivelled skin. This was one thing that wasn’t going to limit me. So I yelped GERANIMO, made peace fingers and went plummeting down to uncertain doom.

I had never wished so much to be Wendy as when I was falling heart first. I NEEDED to fly. What would my mother say? I was struggling against the resisting pull of the earth’s center, quite unlike the surrender and serenity I dreamed of. Suddenly, the parachute flew out helping me defy gravity.

Ha Ha, not today death. Not today Satan.

I may never have another epic superhero moment again. I stopped free falling and started dangling like a pearl on the edge of a maple leaf, Looking down to the world stretching its arms to straddle my weightless body. It was serene, and almost angelic. This wasn’t death grappling at me with it’s dishevelled claws. This was me taking a leap to live. These were two small town girls tearing at the bricks of limitation. And it was beautiful.

We ended it that day, laughing hysterically at our reflection in the bathroom mirror. Maybe because we enjoyed splitting our sides with cackles or maybe we devoured 2 grams of marijuana for the first time. Did we do it for the thrill or was it a dare? that’s a story for a different day.