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Belize Dolphin Studies

DS21 Update - Sunday, July 17, 2011

Together at Last!

The relationship between expectations and outcomes

We all waited apprehensively for what was to come. The seven of us had our own stigmas and expectations, but we had no way of knowing what things were really going to be like upon the arrival. The seven of us, Michael, Chelsea, Mia, Cooper, Sarah, Victoria, and myself (Josephine), had been, since our own arrivals, pondering on the nature of the new additions to our incomplete group and how we would all unify. I’m sure Abbie and Robbie, our counselors, had similar thoughts.

In order to get certified for scuba diving, the first seven of us came two days early for training. We were able to meet the counselors first and get familiar with our new environment on Spanish Lookout Caye. That being said, we were all given the advantage to interact and get to know each other through activities, meal conversations, scuba training, rooming, and establish our own mini family so to speak. I remember speaking to Mia and Sarah about what we hoped the nature of the rest of the group would be. In general, we hoped for down to earth and motivated people with whom are easy to get along. However, deep down, I anticipated some adjustment issues between the ‘settled in’ group and the new arrivals who were already certified in scuba diving.

As leader of the day, I planned to take full advantage of my options as well as take on my many responsibilities, which included the following: waking up the rest of the group at the discussed time, communicating my day’s schedule to the rest of the group, making suggestions for the group, leading dinner rituals (moment of silence, toast, glums-and-glows, quote of the day, closing remarks, etc), and initiating and using games, the word of the day, and goal(s) of the day. The night before, as I planned for the following day as leader, I really hoped for the best and wanted to make it a great day for the six others as well as for the Abbie and Robbie. But what’s a worse way to start the day than waking up late for both morning call and breakfast and having Abbie wake me up? Who knows… Well it happened and I did the best thing I could to move on: I apologized to the group. Although it didn’t seem like it was a major problem. I was still pretty hard on myself after expecting so much of myself.

During breakfast, I told everybody the plan for the day. The seven divers-in-training traveled with Robbie to the other side of the island with our diving certification handbooks to get a change in scenery while Abbie got herself ready to pick up the rest of the group from the airport. During our walk, we encountered a shallow body of water covering thick and slippery mud. I rendered it a great opportunity to put my word of the day idea into action. As we all struggled through the terrain, I managed to run off to the side with the camera and yell, “QUIRKY!” At that, my group knew to freeze in their tracks so that I could take a picture and laugh at their discomfort. My group and I had discussed this procedure during breakfast and I warned them that there would be several quirky’s throughout the day.

Upon arrival, we all sat down and began to read the diving book and also got a chance to swim, jump, dive, laugh and get some more memorable pictures (glow!). After going over our review answers and eating a conversation enriched lunch, we finally headed out to finish dives two, three, four and five. Since my goal of the day was to, with the group, notice or write down some phrases in Creole and since people fluent in the language work at the dive shop, I found this to be a very opportunistic time. As the leader, I suggested to the group that we should ask the men some phrases after we finish our dives and everyone agreed on the idea. However, at the end of the dives, not only we were all pretty exhausted but all the men had disbanded. Before our descent on the fifth dive, we could see on the horizon, a boat which carried Abbie and the five newly added group members. We all took a good look at their faces, waved politely and I’m sure everybody’s initial feeling was curiosity. We were also hung up on seeing what the rest of the group was like, whom we now know as Nathalie, Sammie, Alejandro, Caleb, and Galen.

Contrary to my “deep down” expectations and complimentary to our hopes, our newly established group seemed to unite with ease, laughter, and smiles at dinner. As the leader, I felt honored to make everybody more comfortable and help create a welcoming environment for Nathalie, Sammie, Alejandro, Caleb, and Galen throughout the dinner rituals and the short orientation. After meeting them, I can truly anticipate that they will settle in comfortably to the rest of the group and add to this mini family of ours.

The many events today, including the arrival of the rest of our group and my experiences as a leader, have taught me to expect the unexpected to avoid disappointment and confusion. Most importantly, I learned to go with the flow and to deal with the situation at hand.

Sincerely,
Josephine

Quote of the day:
“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take out breath away”
-Anonymous

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