Swimming Lessons

Emma Fang

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If I were asked how I learnt to swim, I would tell the truth...

which is I never had my swim lessons in a swimming pool. Instead, I learnt swimming by playing in the water with a bunch of my friends in a river when I was a child. Did I have a floater? Yes, of course I did, an old car tire.

I still remember… the cooling, clear water in Qujiang River where all the pebbles were laying along the river. There was only a ten-minute walk from my home to the river. During summer time, all the kids from my building went swimming in Qujiang River, carrying old car tires, whether they knew how to swim or not. We played from around 4 o’clock in the afternoon until the sunset. After rushing back home with a rumbling tummy, I ate my favorite meals - steamed rice with stir fried meat and vegetables grown in our own garden, telling mum and dad what I was up to with my friends.

I still remember… the smell of the rubber from the big black car tire that I could sleep on and let myself flow in the river, watching the clouds in the blue sky. It took me everywhere: to a rock in the middle of the river where only one person could stand and to the shallow water across the river where I found lots of little fish and crabs.

Dad never taught me how to swim even though he was a really good swimmer. Instead, he said, ‘Don’t worry, eventually you’ll learn how to swim and will swim as fast as me.’ That’s my childhood, full of fun and adventure in nature.



Photo by Olivia Basile on Unsplash