Last week I taught my partner how to dive, and I learned a lot. So did he, of course, but I wasn't expecting as much of a learning journey for myself. Some of it wasn't exactly enjoyable for me to learn either, but as I reflect on it, it was necessary.
I should also start with the significance of the event taking place at all. The subject of me relocating to work as a diving instructor was brought up early in our relationship, and didn't immediately sit well - in fact, we broke up about it almost by accident, the suddenness of which was a surprise for me and I'm fairly sure for him too. Since then, we've been through various rounds of negotiation and developments - for the better, I hasten to add - and these, along with a newly mended, incredibly supportive relationship, have actually served to give me a long term focus beyond this season. I still don't know what I'll be doing when I get back, but I know where I'll be doing it and who's coming with me, and this is something I now find incredibly comforting.
All of this, however, has meant that a fairly new relationship turned into a fairly serious relationship quite quickly, and a long-distance one at that. Since the start of the season he's been out twice (including the trip for his course) and I've been back to the UK - albeit very briefly - twice. The rest has been a standard long-distance fare of WhatsApp, videos, and Skype calls. I will always be grateful for his commitment, as it hasn't been easy, fun, or cheap (for him). So when he booked his open water course, I saw it as the ultimate commitment, although I'm sure he'll be inclined to disagree. In my eyes, however, teaching him to dive was making something that's been a huge part of my life a part of our lives, him saying, ok let me in. So I really didn't want to fuck it up.
As he'd completed the theory section of the course prior to arriving, there wasn't much to do before the actual diving began - some paperwork and a waterskills assessment. This was the first big hurdle to overcome, though, as swimming 200m in the ocean is a daunting prospect if you're not a strong swimmer. As he was more worried about it than I was, we spent a couple of very enjoyable days off at the beach so he could practice and at first he seemed genuinely put off by it all, which made me feel a bit sad. When the time for the waterskills assessment, it was of course no problem for him at all, and I felt very proud - while I am emotionally invested in all of my students, and this is partly what makes teaching the OW course so tiring, it seems that this is amplified 10-fold when it involves your nearest and dearest. Still, I was fairly sure of my ability to remain ostensibly detached and professional at all times.