Lake Simcoe, Ontario - Angeli Marteja

My name is Angeli. I was born in the city of Manila in the Philippines, immigrated to Saudi Arabia at the age of 2, and then finally settled in Toronto in Canada at the age of 6 with my family. Up until I was 21, I don’t remember any significant experiences with bodies of water. Sure, I went to wading pools with my family, and to the beach sometimes with my friends, but I never felt confident enough to dive into the waters. To me, water signified endlessness, the possibility of drowning, of never resurfacing to see the sun.

This past June, however, I was fortunate enough to get a chance to go to Lake Simcoe, right past Newmarket, with my family. My oldest brother had just gotten engaged (although it wasn’t that much of a surprise, considering he had been with his fiancée for the past 10 years). We were in high spirits, plotting of ways to celebrate.

It was a milestone, that engagement. It felt like a signifier of things to come. My oldest brother had just secured his first full-time job, my younger sister had just gotten her first tattoo, and my youngest brother had just finished his first year in high school. I was on the cusp of adulthood myself. The next semester was going to be my last in university. Some of my friends had started their careers, and I approached each day with a mixed sense of anxiety and excitement.

We were at the lake, cautiously splashing at the water by our toes. It was a chilly morning, and we were laughing at each other, trying to get warm. No one wanted to be the first one in the water, but that morning, with my whole family beside me, felt ripe with unspoken possibility.Before losing my nerve, I ran to the water’s edge, the shock of cold barely registering. I dipped my head into the water and barked with laughter, relishing the feeling of cold sunshine on my skin. This moment still runs through my mind as a stark instant where years of fear melted away into the water’s ebb and flow. I sank into the lake’s embrace, no longer cautious but trusting, brimming with a newfound fondness for water.

Today, the thought of drowning barely touches my mind whenever I see the water. The endlessness that I feared has turned into a mystery that mystifies and intrigues me. I can now fully appreciate the pure beauty of water. This memory of Lake Simcoe will be forever dear to my heart, as one of those defining moments in my journey to adulthood.

Lake Simcoe, ON
Samantha Quinto
Angeli Marteja

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