Per request of Michelle I will dutifully sit down and write one of many stories that have happened within the last 2.4 weeks since returning to being a foreigner. Let me just start out first by saying it is much better  this year than last coming off of winter break and returning to being an outsider. I feel less foreign, albeit, still a lot, than I have previously. Secondly, for those few of you who have stuck around the entire last year just dying to know when I would post again, Thank You for not giving up on me. This first blog of the new year is dedicated to all of you faithful followers.

I have always said that I want to be fully immersed in another culture. I’m not a huge fan of traveling and being a tourist. I mean, I will do that and enjoy it, but what I love the most is to live with the people, experience daily life, learn new languages, and have my ethnocentric bubble popped (that’s just a big word for thinking that America is the greatest and best and nobody can top it kind of attitude). So, God said, “You have my blessing beloved.”

Well, with this blessing comes a lot of funny stories. They may not be funny to anyone but myself, but I will still write about them. If nothing else, when I am 100 years old, I will log into my WordPress account and remind myself of what my life was like when I was young and restless (if I can figure out how to work the computers of the future).

The story from today, January 18, 2011 involves a very important mode of transportation for me. My bicycle. This is a crucial part of my daily life. Now I have had my fair share of bike mishaps since moving here, but I think this one is pretty good. I’ll try to keep it short and sweet, but no promises (I still have 10 minutes left of icing my leg).

I was leaving my teammates house after being treated to a “French Speciality” (pronounced spec-i-al-i-ty with a french accent [a whole different story in itself]) to return to my apartment just a 3 minute bike ride uphill in order to pack my bag and head out to training for the evening. Well, my teammate’s house is close to a gas station and I thought that it would be a good time for me to put some air in my tires. They had been feeling a little low. I generally put this off as long as possible because it is always a catastrophe, as in, I make my tires completely flat when trying to fill them up, and I get a bit anxious. Since I really need to be able to use my bike multiple times a day I cannot afford to be without for a day. I figure if I just avoid it all together than everything will be ok.

I workthe courage up to do it myself. I pull up to the pump and notice there are air compressors at all the pump stations. I pretend my bike is like a car and pull on in. I go to take care of the back tire first. I try and try to fit the pump piece from the compressor into the valve of the bike…the pieces don’t match. So, I try the front tire. And Voile! I have a full front tire. Now going to attempt the back tire again: Complete Fail! I unscrew something and take a piece out of something and put the pump up and so now it fits, but as soon as I take it off the now de-fragmented valve the tire goes completely flat. I have no clue how I am going to get home now. Next step: Wait for a nice Danish somebody to pull up in their car and begin pumping gas. It doesn’t take long until I notice this older man on the pump over from mine. I have a good feeling about this one. So I bust out my Amazing Danish and sweetly ask for help. He comes over and is speaking Danish and I understand, but then I fumble my words and use really bad grammar. He looks up and asks if I am from around the area. My response, “No, I’m American.” Typical American, right?!

It turns out I was trying to fill my bike tire with a hook up that is for filling up car tires. What an idiot I felt like. Or I guess just extremely American. Which, there is nothing wrong with that. After our brief conversation I learn that this man is originally from California, but has been living in the area for the last 30 years or so. He kindly goes into the tank station and asks the attendant for a bike pump. 2 gas pumps over is the bike compressor with the correct valve attachment. He teaches me the best way to fill up my tires and away I ride, anxious to get home. Five feet out of the entrance to the gas station I have further complications. I hear a grinding sound and then, pedal, pedal, pedal, but no movement. Awesome! My bike chain snaps! I am no longer mobile with my bike, freshly pumped up, pimped out (I got new lights put on when I came back after Christmas!), and oiled up. Thankfully, again, the teammates house was right next door to the station. I park my bike and go up the stairs and “knock knock.”

**Said with a French accent**

“What are you doing back?” and a very confused look on the face.

It had been 10 or 15 minutes since I had left the first time.

I ended up running up the hill instead of riding my bike. I ended up having 20 minutes to relax and get ready for practice instead of 45. I had to leave my prized possession as a foreigner behind. But teammate #2 saved the day. She had the car for the evening and would be stopping by to pick me up.

Unfortunately I will be walking the distance to the clubhouse early in the morning, hopefully not slipping on any black ice on the way. I really should have brought my ice skates back with me! They definitely would have come in handy at “soccer practice on the ice rink” last week.