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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tennis, France



It was supposed to be just another sunny day in the French Riviera. However, by the evening, a cloud was forming that could have swallowed my whole apartment complex. Chilled, I checked to make sure tennis practice was still on, it was a go, so I bussed it to the courts for some indoor drills.
Leapfrog was the drill to kick off practice. I waited to hop in line, because I figured there had to be a French version. Nope. As the only American in the room I was ready to show these Frenchies that we too grew up leaping and ducking. As we carried on our grapevines, shuffles and bum kicks something even greater was forming outside, a massive storm that was taking over the city of Antibes. We walked outside, and tuned around to walk back inside twice as quick.
Three feet of slush already piled up, the busses were shut down, and cars were stranded on the side of the road with red lights flashing. The city was frantically trying to figure out how to respond to the first snow they had in over twenty years, this is the South of France after all!
With no idea or option of how I was going to make it the nine miles home, or 15K (we were on French terms after all) my tennis coach said he would drop me off. And here is where it gets interesting, he spoke a very limited amount of English, and my French was worse than limited. But we made it through, smiling and nodding at each other, pretending like we knew exactly what the other person was saying.
I even saw a glimmer of hope for my French skills because my French Angel was driving the directions I was saying. It was magical, I pointed right and the car would turn that way, and same for the left…until I pointed to the left, (Vers la gauche) and the magic finger wasn’t working. I shook out my index finger and tried again, nope!
The road had shut down, and my enthusiasm of making it home before his little European car was buried in snow went down right along with it. We looked at each other, and both understood, girls got to do what girls got to do!
There was no other option and I was in survival mode here! He said, “Carri, the journey ends here.” Are you kidding me? The journey has just begun! Snow up to my knees and I did my best to run the last mile home.
After a few wrong turns, more than a few falls, I reached my apartment completely soaked but still clenching my tennis racket. The only thing that could have made it better would be to have my whole tennis class with me, to leap frog the whole way home!

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