Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The weekend in review

Wow, it's been quite a weekend. Well, really, it started to get interesting on Thursday when we celebrated the second anniversary of my arrival in Florence. Thursday was also Cinnamon Bun Day in Sweden, and therefore also here in our own little Swedish Holler. We drank Swedish coffee (pretty much American coffee) and ate buns and cookies and felt superior to everyone who wasn't Swedish because if you aren't Swedish it's just another October fourth. We had a quiet dinner at home, alone. It was perfect.

Friday I babysat and enjoyed the beautiful fall weather. Not an exciting day, true. More like the calm before the storm. Because on Saturday I rode with Leif on a Florence by Bike tour for the first time and I was nervous as hell.

I've ridden with him for other tour operators, but Florence by Bike is special. It's one of the first groups that Leif worked with when he got here, so he's been with them for almost eight years now. Also they sponsor the bike team he's on, so there are many levels of relationship between Florence by Bike and Leif.

No surprise that I was more than a little nervous about this. Riding along for tour operators I've never met, and probably never will, is one thing. We spend a certain amount of time at the bike shop and with people from the bike shop and from the team. I screw up here, I screw up in a very public way that reflects on Leif as much as on me.

On the other hand the opportunity to earn money is appealing, especially if I can earn while doing something fun like riding a bike. I mean, I already earn money babysitting, which is basically getting paid to swing, slide, color and play with dolls....watch the occasional cartoon and maybe take a nap. Why not earn money riding a bike too?

Ready to ride.
Of course I was hoping for clients that were couch potatoes with desk jobs. Naturally what I got were a husband and wife team of super athletes. She wore her New York City Marathon 2011 t-shirt and he carried his Ironman 2012 backpack. I wore a borrowed Florence by Bike jersey and felt a little like a fraud.

As a group  we were certainly a study in contrasts. Leif, Tim and Carol are tall, lean, athletic machines. Their legs went all the way up to my armpits. I looked like the Pillsbury Doughboy next to them. Short and round and slightly soft.

But wicked strong, mind you. They did their best to lose me, even Carol who claimed to be "the worst biker ever," but I stuck with them. When we finished they said (I should clarify this, HE said) that this was the best day of their trip so far. I think she would have been much happier running those hills than riding them. But it was nice to think that I helped to make their visit to Italy just a little more special.

After they left Leif said "You did good, those are the two fittest clients of the season." Just my luck. On the other hand they didn't have to leave me behind, so maybe I did all right. Maybe next time I'll get the clients who climb slower.

The birthday boy.
Sunday we had a birthday party for one of our good friends here in Florence. He's Italian and married to a Swedish woman. It was a fun and loud night of food and wine and jokes in three languages and laughing and friendship. I always leave feeling a little dizzy and dazed, but happy to the center of my being.

Yes, it was a good weekend.

No comments:

Post a Comment