Saturday, July 20, 2013

Learning curves
Today T taught me how to ride a bike. F taught her when she was seven. T taught me when I was 43. Well, my uncle taught me when I was eight, but I immediately rode right into a parked car and decided it was not for me. It is pretty amazing that I have resisted riding for three years here since it is a biking city and everybody does it. I realized that it is not a friendly activity to my lady parts. After a bit of strategizing, T decided not to bring her bike, which was good in that we traded off at the beginning when she taught me things like how in the world to stop. Unfortunately, after a few short wobbly runs I just kept going.

While I was riding and too scared to stop, I had a few interesting moments of introspection. First off,  I was so tense at one point that I realized my hands were making the L for Loser shape with my index fingers and thumbs separated to the maximum to allow for hand braking. My poor fingers were so tense that I decided I better relax them for a minute. The relaxing of my hands manouver caused me to zig zag rather dramatically so I reverted back to the L for Loser stance. I also wondered why people were staring at my face weirdly. Afterall, I was riding fairly normally. It was then that it occured to me that while sailing into the pounding late afternoon sun, I was grimacing with my mouth wide open and my eyes squinted tight, as though trying to win a part as an extra on CSI.  To be fair, T told me to keep going until we got back to our porta, but I am not good at directions and so I both forgot when to stop and how to stop simultaneously. T says she was yelling and waving her arms, but I didn't hear or see her. Once I finally dismounted, I turned and walked the bike back in search of T. Once I rounded the corner, I saw her, hands in the air, laughing hysterically.  The good news is that it is over.

Now that I am exchanging language lessons with a really good teacher, I have discovered that I have been making a few errors in Italian that are super embarrassing. I am probably the only instructor, for example, at the fancy gym who routinely asks if there are any feriti/wounded people. Apparently, there is no exact translation of the word injured in Italian and so that explains a few of the bemused looks I have received. There is also no way to say second set when referring to the next bunch of exercises, so I have been using the mathematical term for set - insieme - which is absolutely wrong when I should have been saying something more like seconda serie. I tried that expression on for size today and I could actually read on my students faces that they were thinking finally. F and I are always surprised at the threshold the people of Lucca have for listening to us make the same mistakes over and over again. We have come to the necessary conclusion that our mistakes are just ADORABLE. .

Yesterday we finally went to Richmond's English Shop where a fellow ex New Yorker named Tara sells all kinds of goodies from England like english muffins, clotted cream, marmalades, and chips. The store is in Viareggio which is a beach town about half an hour from us. T started in on the cheddar flavored chips as soon as we got back in the car. I don't miss a lot of American junk food, but we have a weakness for flavored potato chips and tortilla chips, chips ahoy chocolate chip cookies and chocolate twizzlers that cannot be denied.Tara, if you're reading this, we will make you a mexican brunch sometime with homemade bagels. You scratched my english muffin deprived back and I'll scrach yours or something like that.

Why didn't you people tell me how good that American tv show Newsroom is? Now I have to catch up on the whole first season, which is perfect for these slow, hot days in front of the fan.

For the record, it turns out that I am not physically exhausted as I feared. I just have fancy gym post traumatic stress disorder so that every time I am supposed to go to that place my body has this pavlovian reaction whereby it wants to play dead.

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