June Bucket List

Hello. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Carol. For those who do, I went Surfin’ Safari.

It’s summer in Florida. When you think of Florida summer, you instantly think of crowded theme parks, 100% humidity, intense rainstorms, and hurricanes. Oh! and the beach… of course. I like going to the beach, but I’m the kind of person who doesn’t go in the water. I like being on shore, reading a book, soaking up the sun, and relaxing. In Florida, there are things in the water that can kill you. Last year, there was a flesh-eating bacteria. More recently, there have been sharks spotted of the coast of my regular beach. Gators aren’t beach-dwellers, but they also live in the water and are a very real threat. Understandably, I don’t go in the water much. This time, I decided to change that.

I’ve never gone surfing before. It always looked cool and exciting, but also REALLY difficult. How do surfers stay on their board? How do they stay balanced and not fall off? What happens if a giant wave comes crashing down on me? What about sharks? These are very real questions I had about surfing, but not anymore!

EZride_surf_school_Logo

I did some research into surfing schools in Florida and found one called EZride Surf School. They are a Florida company that travels to just about anywhere down the Southeastern coast of Florida, between Miami Beach and Cocoa Beach. They have summer surf camps, private lessons, professional coaching, and group lessons. I gave them a call and scheduled a 2-hour lesson for Molly and me in early June.

When the day came, we got ourselves ready, drove down to the beach, and met our instructor, Marcello. Marcello is originally from Brazil and was once a professional surfer. After a couple years with the pros, he decided to retire from professional surfing and began teaching. He’s incredibly nice and easy to talk to. Unfortunately, the Florida weather was not going to be kind to us. It began storming and thundering not long after we arrived. Marcello said it would be great surfing weather if there was no lightning, but we didn’t want to take any chances. Plus, it was Molly’s and my first time surfing. If those waves were any taller than 3 feet, we would not have been comfortable. We decided to reschedule for another day when the weather was better. I had a whole month to plan this lesson, so there was plenty of time to spare. Marcello was very understanding, and we were able to find another date in the last week of June that would work for all of us.

The day came and the weather was perfect. It was sunny, warm, and just a couple of clouds. Yet again, Molly and I assembled our beach gear, applied quite a bit of sunscreen, prepared our lunches, and set out toward the beach. We met Marcello at the beach around 10:30. He provided the surfboards (9 ft soft surfboards, if anyone cares to know. They are best for the beginners, so I’m told) and swim shirts/ rash guards. We just brought ourselves, water bottles, towels, and anything else we needed for a beach trip. Molly and I were planning to stay on the beach after the lesson was over and veg out, so we brought beach chairs and an umbrella.

The first 30 minutes of the lesson was mostly safety and a science lesson on weather and oceanic physics. It was really technical, but interesting all the same. For example:

  • Winter is the best time of year to surf, even though I think of surfing as a summertime sport.
  • The sweet spot in the water where waves just begin to form is called a line-up. That’s where surfers wait for their waves.
  • Waves are formed when energy from the wind propels the water toward shore. When that water hits a sand bar, the energy is deflected up and forms a wave.
  • A surfboard is only stable and balanced when in motion. Don’t try to stand on it in still water. (I tried. It doesn’t work.)
  • The way you stand on the board is very important to balance. You have to bend your knees to keep your center of gravity low, and keep your arms down! Stiff arms might help to keep balance on land, but in the water, it moves your center of gravity up, which affects your balance.

The key to surfing is to relax and be confident in what you are doing. The easy part is learning to stand on a board. The rest comes with time and experience. Now on to the wipe outs.

Molly, Marcello, and I got onto the beach, put our boards down, and practiced standing up on the board before going out. We practiced this once, then Marcello said, “Looks good. Let’s go!” Well alright, eager beaver. This is my first time doing this. Could we practice a little bit more? But I didn’t argue. I just went along with it. That might have been a mistake.

We paddled to the line-up point, sat on our boards, and looked toward the beach. It was very crowded. It’s what you’d expect from summers in Florida. There was nowhere to hide from the sunbathing audience. I accepted quickly that they didn’t matter. I was a beginner, after all! Who cares if they saw me fall off my board a couple times? (At the start, I was very confident that I wouldn’t fall too much. Boy, was I wrong…)

Then the moment of truth came. Marcello found my first wave. I got into position and was instructed to paddle. I started paddling toward shore with all the strength I had. As I felt the wave come up from underneath me, I heard “STAND UP!” coming from behind me. Oh crap, here I go. I pushed myself up, found my footing, stood up for a couple seconds, then fell over into the ocean. OMG I DID IT! I SURFED! What an amazing feeling! I just glided over the water like a freakin’ GODDESS! I found the surface, and instantly went back to try it again.

The next couple waves I began to overthink everything. My mental checklist was getting longer and longer with each wave. 1. Push up 2. Jump toward the center of the board 3. Feet point toward the side 4. Stand up THEN release hands 5. Relax. I had issues with not jumping far enough, not going quick enough, moving my hands to early and losing my balance, etc. With every pointer from Marcello, I was relaxing less and less, but I was still having fun! It was my first time surfing, after all, and I was doing this for fun. I’m not planning on going pro anytime soon. I managed to ride a wave once, maybe twice. Molly, on the other hand, did really well! She was determined to stand up on the board and she did. She rode her way to shore a couple of times! As I saw Molly improve more and more, I was getting a little frustrated with myself. The next one is going to be the one!

I was kidding about that. THIS one is going to be the one!

Maybe this one?

Ok, new goal: don’t swallow too much sea water!

Aced it.

I didn’t get the perfect wave, but that just means there is room for improvement! Now that I have an understanding of the basics and what I need to work on, I can practice whenever I want. Again, I’m not looking to become the next big surfer; it’s just fun to do. With that being said, I would DEFINITELY go surfing again. I’ll also mention that I did NOT die from a rogue shark or disgruntled jellyfish. That’s a victory.

If you are ever in South Florida and want to learn how to surf, go to the EZride Surf School website or call 954.803.7988 and schedule a lesson. If you can, ask for Marcello Loureiro. He was a great teacher, incredibly supportive, and he really knows what’s up. Happy Surfing!

Aloha,

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Carol B

March Bucket List- The Sequel

Hello. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Carol. For those that do, I can be very persistent.

So I left off my March Bucket List feeling very disheartened. It was definitely an emotional experience having to attend a Disney audition with 200 other girls looking for the same part. For some reason, that rejection only made me want to be in Disney so much more! It’s one of those things where someone tells you “You can’t do this because…”, which energizes you to want to prove then wrong. I like proving people wrong. It’s a weird personality quirk that I’ve never been able to shake.

After the last Disney audition for Belle, I was obviously upset. I wanted to be Belle and perform her songs in front of an audience. However after the audition, I was told by some people (not by the same person, nor all at once), “You don’t want to be a performer. They don’t get paid much at all. Didn’t you stop performing because you had performance anxiety? Performing really isn’t for you. You auditioned for the experience, and that’s all, right?” Well, some of that is true, but I wanted to at least TRY to get a part! That would have been nice. I don’t know if they said those things to make me feel better or give me a much-needed reality check, but after being told that I shouldn’t, I did.

The next vocalist audition was for Disneyland Hong Kong and Shanghai in May. I prepared a month or so for this audition, because at least for this one, I was guaranteed an audience with a casting director! I was finally going to sing at a Disney Audition. I didn’t practice for this one as hard as the last one. I didn’t want to get tired of the song too soon, because I’ve done that before… many times. I chose a song that I liked and thought I could sing and perform well. Based on my previous experience, I was ready for Round 2.

The day finally came, and I drove up to Orlando early for the 1pm audition. It was the same schedule as the first audition: wait for directions, sign in, wait some more, then audition. I didn’t take pictures this time because I was originally thinking of not writing anything about this audition. When I arrived at the Animal Kingdom Rehearsal Center, I stood in line where a nice, energetic woman was walking around, talking to people, and introducing herself to everyone. I was one of about 40 total auditionees, so it was easy to get to know everyone there. Much nicer than the 200+ girls in the first audition! I found out the woman’s name was Deborah (Debra?), and she was auditioning as well. When she returned from her conversations, she notified me that I stole her place in line. Purely accidental, of course. I apologized and returned her spot to her. She jokingly said she didn’t trust me because I stole her spot. Naturally, we became fast friends and talked throughout the audition process. Deborah (I’m sticking with this spelling) was originally from New York, but she came to Florida to perform with a theatre company in South Florida. After the performances ended, she went to stay with friends for a couple days before returning to New York. When she saw Disney was auditioning, she jumped at the chance.

I think she was under the impression that I was looking to make performing a career (at the time, I might have considered it, but I wasn’t set on it yet). With that said, she gave me a couple tips to help “get my big break”. Since I have no need for them, I thought I’d share them with you. You might find Deborah’s advice more useful than I do:

  • Audition for everything!– Even if you don’t really want the part the company is auditioning for, go for it anyway. It will be good practice for a part you really want later on. Also, the more times you show up, the more the casting directors will remember you. Apparently Kristin Chenoweth got her start because she auditioned for everything. The casting directors got so tired of seeing her at the auditions, they gave her a part so she wouldn’t come back. *That’s the anecdote Deborah gave me. I just tried looking it up and found nothing to corroborate that story. It may not be true, but it’s still a nice story.*
  • Know the Florida Professional Theatres Association (FPTA)– Every year, there is a conference in South Florida where all the big Floridian theatre companies come together and do one big audition/ conference. So instead of doing 20 different auditions with two people in each audition, it’s one audition in front of ALL the casting directors! Two birds with one stone. You can click here for more information on their next conference dates.
  • It’s normal to be nervous– Everyone gets nervous. Contrary to popular belief, the casting directors really WANT you to do well. Shocking, I know. Most of the time, they are really nice and want you to feel comfortable. If they are rude to you during or after the audition, you probably don’t want to work for them, anyway.

Back to the audition…

It was about an hour of waiting and talking to people (I socialized! It was great!) before we were called to the back room in intervals of 15. I was #17, so I had enough time to panic, hyperventilate, and psych myself out before I had to go back. Luckily, Deborah was in my group (she was #16), so I didn’t feel too nervous. One- by- one, we saw our new friends walk from the back room, shake their head discouragingly, then walk out the door to go home. By the time we were called to the back, no one had received a callback. I was worried about my chances, but still hopeful.

The next group of 15 were called back to the same rehearsal room as the type cast audition in my first Disney audition. Luckily, there was no type casting in this audition (thank GOD!). The singing audition was closed, so the only people in the room were the auditionee, the casting director, and the accompanist. We were asked to prepare 16 bars of two songs of contrasting styles, but a majority of the girls were only asked to sing one of them. The other song was there if they REALLY liked you and wanted to hear more. Deborah went into the audition room first. I was silently practicing my song when I heard a sound that made my stomach drop. It was Deborah. She. Was. AMAAAZING!!! She had such a beautiful, soulful voice. I don’t know why I was shocked. I should have expected such a remarkable voice! I can’t remember her first song, but her next song was “And I Am Telling You” from Dream Girls. She nailed it! I’d honestly have been surprised if they DIDN’T ask her to sing another song. I wanted to go in and give her a nice applause. At that point, I was her biggest fan. There was silence, then she walked out of the door with a timid smile on her face. She got a callback for The Lion King!! I wanted to stop and congratulate her, but then I remembered that it was my turn to sing.

I walked into the room shakily. My legs were not going to let me walk in a straight line, so I made up for it by smiling really big. If smile big enough, maybe she won’t notice my bowing legs. I said hello and gave my music to the accompanist. I gave him a tempo and starting point, then made my way to the center of the room in front of the casting director. After that, I blacked out and I can’t remember anything… KIDDING! I remember, but in my head, it looks like a video someone filmed while they were running; blurry and shaky.

I greeted the casting director again, then let the accompanist know I was ready. I wasn’t really ready, but I had to do something. He began to play the beginning of my song, then stopped playing. I looked at him, slightly puzzled, then realized, “Oh crap… I missed my cue.” I quickly looked from the piano to the table, apologizing frenetically. She said that it was fine, and we could start again. The piano started up and I began to sing. I don’t think I got my cue that time either, but I wasn’t stopping. I had to keep going. I tried to animate myself, but I think I ended up looking like a mini dancing Groot: business on the top, dead on the bottom.

Then, the worst possible thing that could have happened happened. I realized how stationary my feet were being, so I did the first thing that made sense with the song: I twirled. Not even a graceful twirl like this, which was what I was trying to go for:

Instead, it felt more like I was pivoting with a basketball. Keep in mind that I still had no control of my legs. I tripped myself in my own twirl, and landed ungracefully back on two feet. I finished my song, looked at the director, smiled, and waited for her verdict. “Thank you, Carol. That will be all.” I said, “Thank you…” and I left.

I met Deborah outside and congratulated her on her success! For the first time since I met her, she was bashful and modest, while I was the talkative one! While she waited to be “called back”, I said my good-byes to everyone I had met, and went home. Strangely enough, I wasn’t sad. Nor was I disappointed this time around. Even though I’ll always remember my first, I think this time was more of an experience. I met lots of great people, who made the wait more fun, and I got to sing for Disney! I’m glad that I mustered up enough courage to audition again.

When I got back into the car, I thought back on my audition. Then I remembered the twirl.

Why? Why did I think that would be a great idea? I thought about that twirl for the rest of the day. Because of that, I knew I had to write about it. The only way to get it out of my head is if I get it off my chest and tell the world. I did a clumsy twirl during my Disney Audition. It shall be one of my most embarrassing cringe-worthy memories for the rest of my life.

Would I audition for Disney again? Maybe, but not in the near future. I have something more exciting coming up which will leave me no time to worry about auditioning for Disney. More on that in July! That’s another thing: had I gotten the part in Disneyland Hong Kong or Shanghai, I wouldn’t have been able to take advantage of this new opportunity that I will be starting in July. God has a plan. It’s a bit annoying that I don’t KNOW his plan, but I’m trusting him. Who knows? Maybe I’ll become a princess in the future. Is Prince Harry still taken?

Until next month,

Carol B

May Bucket List

Hello. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Carol. For those of you who do, I’m the Flash. The Lead-Up to the 5K In the week leading up to the 5K, I made two mistakes: Completed a strength training … Continue reading