January 23rd, 2010 by Tessa
The jumpers suited up!

The jumpers suited up!This is the extent of our "safety" training - "put your hands up like this when we jump, and when your insturctor taps you on the shoulder, put them down. Also, make your body in the shape of a banana." Seriously?Cool sign, but it would have been so much funnier if his head would have been cut off!

Us walking towards the perfectly good plane we are about to jump out of!

Us walking towards the perfectly good plane we are about to jump out of!

I have a theory. It may already be proven, but my theory is that the human brain releases a chemical to numb the “common sense” portion of our brain to make death easier. I have come up with this theory because of the fact that for the 20 minutes before we were jumping out of a plane, we were all giddy and happy like we were going to some special event. I have to admit though, the only thing I can remember that didn’t seem like a dream was the instructor telling me to sit on his lap so he could properly strap me in. I’m not sure if everything was echoing because I was light headed (not in the sick way, in the OMG what the HECK am I doing way) or because I had something strapped to my head that covered my ears.

I remember looking up at around 6000 feet and thinking, “There is no way in the world I am jumping here”- but after we got to around 10000 feet, and the squares of farming land melted together like a bunch of chocolate squares, I thought “huh. I can’t even see the ground. I’m glad we went to 12000 instead of 6000”. I watched as my Dad crawled to the edge of the plane. The plane was traveling so fast that I didn’t even see him falling, only him zooming out to the left as the plane traveled away from him. Olivia had a more dramatic fall and I could see her falling out of the plane before flipping backwards. I remember STARTING to crawl towards the whole in the side of the plane, but I don’t remember the actual crawling itself. I do, of course, remember dangling over the side of the plane 12000 feet in the air right before we jumped.

"Ah, the serenity"

"Ah, the serenity"

OMG - what have I done!

OMG - what have I done!

My stomach felt like it was in my throat as we lunged out of the plane, but was gone in an instant. I wouldn’t have realized my mouth was open if my teeth had not instantly felt cold and my mouth dry. It felt like I was standing in a very cold wind on the edge of a cliff EXCEPT for the fact that my feet weren’t touching the ground, and I was plummeting to the earth. It was oddly discomforting to have someone strapped to my back- and if I ever go again, I want to take a solo course so that I can go by myself.

Lisa Barrett - this one's for you!

Once the initial shock was over, it was AWESOME! Lisa Barrett - this one's for you - peace sister!Our cameraman was below us falling like he was dead! My "free fall" lasted for about 45 seconds and was my favorite part of the jump.Still in free fall - about to go through the clouds which I didn't even notice!

I swear that my cameraman was dead (or at least unconscious). The camera man had originally been my back up plan if our parachute didn’t work (that if my instructor fainted, the cameraman could probably rescue us) but now I was afraid that we might have to rescue him. He was sitting there so peacefully and it looked like he was either savoring the moment, or was knocked out cold. I decided to go for the savoring the moment assumption and continued to smile at the camera strapped to his head. Then he pulled the shoot and we were drifting. It was kind of awkward having a guy strapped to my back.

“So… Those things that look like little grains of rice down there… Are those sheep…?”


“Wow. They’re like…really small…”


“And…Um… Where are we landing this thing?” Suddenly a hand came over my shoulder and pointed at a small green patch with larger rice grains on it (planes, not cows. You can still tell the difference 6000 feet in the air).

“How cold is the lake…?”


I gave up trying to make conversation with the guy strapped to my back after a couple more efforts at small talk. I don’t know how high we were, but at some point, he explained how to land to me, and we landed. Olivia and my dad were already inside getting unsuited. I wasn’t aware of the fact that I had a huge grin on my face until my mom ran up and hugged me.

Back to earth - check out my perfect landing form (the instructor told me what to do about 10 seconds before my feet touched down!)

Back to earth - check out my perfect landing form (the instructor told me what to do about 10 seconds before my feet touched down!)

Thumbs up!  First thing I said to my mom... "that was AWESOME - they have a $50 off coupon for my next jump!"

Thumbs up! First thing I said to my mom after landing... "Oh my god that was AWESOME - they have a $50 off coupon for my next jump!"Post jump reunion - we're all ready to jump again - solo next time!

I loved the whole thing! Even drifting with the instructour was great! I’d go again in a heart beat.

6 Responses  
Auntie Liv writes:
January 23rd, 2010 at 7:23 pm

this made me laugh so hard i cried

Theresa Sanchez writes:
January 25th, 2010 at 12:16 pm

Happy Belated Birthday Tessa! You are officially a teenager!

Jennifer Prescott writes:
January 28th, 2010 at 10:04 am

I think you are officially some sort of higher life form than I am.

Anita (Nana) writes:
January 28th, 2010 at 1:33 pm

How many friends now do you think will want to celebrate their 13th birthday from your exuberant exemplary feat?

Cricket Bourget writes:
February 1st, 2010 at 5:44 pm

Wow. Astonishing.
Sheesh, and Meg and I had thought we were baaaad news because we braved a flight in a hot air balloon!…
(And yeah, I just BET your mom ran up and hugged you! Has she let go yet?)
Oh and, glad the cameraman lived too.

Sophie writes:
February 21st, 2010 at 10:42 am

hey tes,that must have been really fun, i can’t belive you jumped off an airplane!!!! wish you were here, it actully rained all weekend, iknow i’m still in shock….hope your having fun with whatever crazy thing you do next.

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