Saved by the Bell – another “crazy Lori story”

If you’re interested in reading more of these crazy stories (that my brother says only “happens to my sister”)  click on the tag “crazy Lori story”… there’s plenty to keep you occupied during a lunch break or while waiting in line somewhere.

Watching the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics this week has reminded me of my time living and working in frigid Geneva, Switzerland (in the later winter/early spring of 1999).   It was one of the coldest, stormiest winters in Geneva in decades (from what I understand).  Yay!  Who decided to send the California Girl to Geneva?!  Brilliant!

A friend of our family heard I was going to be in Switzerland at the same time her nephew, who was studying to be a chef, was going to be in Switzerland.  She gave me the number to Luigi’s flat and I called it over and over again, hoping he’d pick up.  The message on his voice mail was spoken in a language I didn’t know.  So I felt that leaving a message might be time wasted.  In fact, I wasn’t sure we’d be able to converse once I DID reach him…. you see, I’m your typical American.  I pretty much only know one language (and can conversationally understand parts of a few of the latin languages… but I certainly can’t verbalize my response in that language, except for a word here or there).

So, as the story goes… after many attempts to reach Luigi … I finally did.  And he told me to call him by his middle name, Ignacio.  Actually, he wanted me to call him “Nacho”, short for Ignacio.  OK, very good.  I know how to say “Nacho”.

Eventually we met up at the train station, with a few of his other chef student friends.  And then we started making plans for some weekend trips.  (Thankfully he spoke enough English!)

One of those weekend trips took me to the Cote d’Azur, the French Riviera, where Nacho and I enjoyed a meal sitting at a table in the sand in Nice, France.  It was Valentine’s Day.  It was warm… it SOUNDS so romantic.  But we were just friends.  There was no romance between the two of us… (note to self:  take your husband back to this location someday!)  There WAS however great food, fun memories made, and another story for my wacky little world.

However, this is not what this post is about.

This blog is about my first (and last) attempt at snowboarding.

I was not prepared.  AT ALL!  I planned to rent a snowboard.  I was not wearing the proper gear (jeans are NOT a good option for snow sports, noted!).  Go ahead, laugh away.  It gets better!  And we were in a blizzard… remember, a really bad blizzard.

So bad of a blizzard that I couldn’t read the signage from the lift… and didn’t hop off the ski lift when I was supposed to.  In fact, I hopped off at the WRONG run and was now on a black diamond run (or worse).  I had no idea what that meant.  At first.   And then I quickly figured it out.

So, for a quick recap… 1) I’ve never snow boarded, 2) I’ve only skied 2 or 3 times in my life, 3) I’m dressed in jeans and an oversize jacket that is way too big for me, 4) I have no idea what I’m getting myself into…

And it gets better… the slope is obviously way too steep for me and the others I was with took off (not aware of my predicaments).  I soon lost them.  Or rather, they soon lost me…

And here’s where it gets good…  I fell {duh!} and the coping on the snowboard broke.  And so I struggled… for at least an hour… to walk down the black diamond hill, snow board under arm, in my soaking wet jeans.

About half way down the mountain I started to wonder where/how I was going to find the chef students.  And then I realized I was completely lost.  And then I realized they had my i.d., my passport, and my money in one of their backpacks.

And in the distance I heard a church bell ring, another 15 mins had passed (yes, it rang on the quarter-hour).  And I remember hearing it ring when we parked the car in town.  We were close to the church when we parked.  So, I knew I could at least wait until the church bell rang again and try to find the car… hoping the chef students wouldn’t leave without me.

To be honest with you, I was hoping that one of the chef students was at least worried about me?!  I mean, really…

Soaked and frozen, I trudged through town, listening for the church bell… and there it was again!  I was closer.   So I moved in that direction… and then I sat down on the curb to wait for it again, trembling.  And feeling very alone in a stunningly beautiful french village in the Alps.

By the next ring of the church bell I could walk around the corner and down a block or two to find the car, where I sat on the curb again.  In the pub next to the church (ironic, no?!) were my chef friends, sitting in the window seat…. all snug and warm and sipping on hot beverages… waiting for me.   THANKFULLY!

I am so grateful for that church bell… and those chef students who waited for me.  We had many more adventures together … but not as crazy as this one, thankfully.


4 thoughts on “Saved by the Bell – another “crazy Lori story”

    • If I can only remember the name of that village… I probably brought home a souvenir. It might have been a coaster from the pub next to the church, if my memory serves me correctly. Hmmm…


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