Me and the Fishes

Aqaba, Jordan

It’s been a great summer, but I find myself very tired and quite nervous about my new job as a second grade teacher. I really love the people I’ve been here with, and the circumstances of our stay, but I didn’t have true introvert time, not a day completely alone without any human contact, for more than 2 months, and it’s been starting to wear on me. As we arrived in Aqaba this afternoon, I could already feel myself getting crabby and unpleasant, particularly when there was all this wavering back and forth as to whether we really wanted to go to the Royal Diving Club or not.

Eventually, most of us did go, and it was exactly what I needed!

I don’t think I’ve been so happy to be in the water since I was about 10 and would stay in Grandma’s pond till I was literally purple. Snorkelling in the Red Sea was a more intense introvert time than I’ve had in a very long time. Just me and the water. You can’t hear anything, you can’t see any people more than 10m away, and you can’t talk to them anyway. You have the fish and the coral to keep your attention, who make no demands and no judgements of you.

When I developed goosebumps, I got out to lay in the sun and warm up, but I couldn’t take it for long. Too much chatter, too many eyes. I’m so glad, though, that I got back in the water, because just as the goosebumps were starting to get to me again, something had changed about the light, making the prismatic little ripples of light on the sea floor glow golden. Suddenly there were fish everywhere, with their unbelievable bright colors. Fish that I’d been trying to get a look at under ledges or in the fan coral all day were suddenly in plain view, with their enormous, light-sensitive eyes. Some new fish, fat colorful ones longer than my forearm and outstretched hand, had come up from deeper, darker waters. It was incredibly beautiful, peaceful and restorative.

Quote of the Day:
“I just saw an unfortunate Eighties fish next to a more stylish Seventies fish. No, really! One was neon blue with neon pink stripes, the other was a nice yellow and brown.”
–Reema Hijazi

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