March 2, 2011

The Things I’ll Do for a Crêpe…

Back in the year 2007, I went on spring break down to Clearwater Beach, Florida with two of my basketball friends. In my opinion there is only one version of spring break that people talk about - the ‘Let’s get wasted, do Jell-O shots off someone’s body, and then go streaking!’ version. My friends and I decided to add a second version to that ridiculously short list and included a ‘Let’s lay by the pool, hit up Dino World, rent some jet skis and mopeds, and kiss my friend’s grandmother goodnight!’ version. I’ll tell you what - that latter version sounded more than perfect to me after a very trying sophomore year. All in all, I was ready to have a tranquil spring break, enjoy my friends’ company, and come home in one piece.

Little did I know…

I believe it was the fourth or fifth day of the trip when my friends decided they wanted to rent mopeds. I feel obligated to sidetrack for a moment; growing up, I led a very sheltered life. For example, I wasn’t permitted to watch Dawson’s Creek (although I occasionally stole glimpses when my older sister was watching it – sorry Mom :)), had to have all the right answers to the questions, ‘where are you going, who are you going with, will there be a parent there?,’ and knew all the dangers of cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, and motorcycles. I would call this being sheltered, but I would also call it good parenting (high five Mom and Dad). Okay, back to spring break 2007. Naturally, I was a little nervous about getting on a soul-sucking death bike, but as I was the first kid in my family to go on an upside-down roller coaster, I thought maybe it was not as big of a deal as I was making of it, and that I’d love it.

I was wrong…

Me on moped, spring break 2007
After signing a waiver saying if we died we wouldn’t sue (this really eased my nerves…), the guy renting us the mopeds asked if we’d ever used one before. My two friends had, hopped on the big gas mopeds, eager and ready to go on their expedition. I, however, hadn’t, so he gave me a little moped (I swear its horsepower was similar to the Barbie car I used to drive when I was six) to practice out on. After feeling the weight and driving around the parking lot for five minutes, my friends were anxious to get going since we were renting by the hour, so I told the guy I thought I was ready and switched to a big girl bike.

I wasn’t ready…

I got on the big gas moped, gave the guy a nervous smile, kicked up the stand, took my place in the middle of my two friends, and hit the gas. Our first turn out onto the road was a left hand turn. There was traffic coming from both directions. I could hear my one friend (who must have seen me hesitating) say, “Hill, just hit the gas and go, it’s worse if you’re unsure of what you’re doing.” ‘Alright,’ I thought, ‘I’m a confident, strong, adventurous woman – I can do this.’ I hit the gas and made it across the first lane of traffic about to fill in behind my friend and hit the open road.

I wish I were lying about what happened next…

me after fall off moped, spring break 2007
While completing my turn, I hit the gas instead of the break (they should have mopeds for lefties…), I ran right into the curb, I went down, the bike came down on top of me, my aviators went flying, I started cursing, some old man laughed at me, my friend in front of me saw a ball of green go down in her review mirror and kept driving straight to CVS to get me Band-Aids and Neosporin, and my other friend was hysterically laughing behind me and telling me to pick up the bike quickly (since we had to pay for any damage we did to the equipment). After I bandaged myself up and calmed down (about 1/3 of our time was already up), my friends took off on their bikes while I pulled into a development and practiced driving straight-aways. For the rest of spring break 2007 I walked with a swollen knee and a limp. I vowed never to get on a motorcycle or a moped ever again.

Spring break 2011…

Okay, so I’m not exactly on spring break, BUT my alma mater has their spring break next week so I thought this was fitting. One of my teammates invited the team over to her house last night for a crêpes dinner and to go see a movie afterwards. I’m sorry, but I cannot turn down crêpes. The way the Swiss make crêpes is seriously wonderful. You can start your meal by putting ham, bacon, cheese, (you know- the things that make up a dinner) in your crêpes and end your meal with chocolate, honey, bananas, etc. (the things that make up dessert) in your crêpes. How cool is that? Unfortunately for me, the only way I could get to my teammates house was by getting on my coach’s moped (okay, so I just looked up the definition of moped…Wikipedia claims that in most countries, “mopeds are typically restricted to 50 km/h (30 mph)”). Since my coach’s moped went up to 115 km/h, I will from hereon out, refer to my coach’s moped as a ‘death machine.’

My coach had tried to get me to ride on her death machine before, where I informed her of the basic reasons why I refused and she let it go. So, when I sent an email confirming my attendance to my teammate’s dinner if someone could drive me, and received an email from my coach saying there would only be four of us and she would promise to drive safe, I replied that I would practice balancing all night in preparation for the next day.

My teammate and me after my first trip on death machine
There were three different trips I would be making on my coach’s death machine: from the train station to my teammate’s house, from my teammate’s house to the movie theater, and to the theater back to Nyon. The first trip was pretty cool actually; we rode up into the mountains and my coach told me, “I know you’re stressed, but try to keep your eyes open; it’s really pretty.” I kept my eyes open. Switzerland is so incredibly beautiful I cannot put it into words; you’d just have to be here. The fields, castles, mountains, and sunsets are quite unlike anything in New Jersey. I survived trip one, maybe even started to get a little cocky, enjoyed my crêpes, and was ready for trip two. To the movie theater! Trip two was a little darker, a little windier, and a little scarier. Still, I took deep breaths and triumphed. We saw Largo Winch 2 – if anybody has heard of Largo Winch, please tell me. The movie was primarily in French (although a bit of it was in English), and by the end of it I was French-talked out.  After the movie came the big test:

The ride home…

We would have to go on the highway. It was nighttime, it was even windier, and we were going even faster. I found out what goes through my mind when I think I’m going to die, it’s personal – so I’m not going to share, but it’s surprisingly calming. As the wind swerved the death machine, I envisioned the bike flying out from under us and our bodies rolling across the highway as I could see an oncoming car unable to stop and running over us. At one point I got so nervous I let my head drop. YOU NEVER LET YOUR HEAD DROP ON A DEATH MACHINE. I lightly tapped my helmet against my coach’s and envisioned me knocking her out, and then repeating the aforementioned scenario of bike flying, us rolling, and cars running over us. I kept thinking how cold my legs were (although I was wearing sweet windbreakers), tried valiantly to suppress them from shaking because I could startle my coach, and then repeat the aforementioned scenario once more. When I finally let go (not physically, dear God, but mentally with all my worrying), I looked up, saw Orion’s belt, took a deep breath, and did my best to enjoy the rest of the ride. I won’t sugar coat it…I survived that ride home.

You know the saying, ‘when you fall off, get back on that horse?’ I understand why people say it, it’s supposed to be inspirational and prove how you can overcome anything you are willing to keep trying. I mean, I got back on the moped in Florida, and I got back on the death machine last night, but I don’t really know if I feel like I’ve reached a major milestone in my life by doing either. I suppose it’s just one of those things, when you want something as bad as I wanted crêpes, you just do what you need to in order to reach your goal.


  1. HAHAHA hill. That picture of you on the baby moped. i DIED.

    Miss you!

  2. I'm glad I could brighten your day Chloe! Miss you too!!!

  3. Great post! I love your explanation about crepes and why they are awesome. Spring break 2011! Those pictures are priceless. I'm glad Orion's belt calmed you know it's my favorite. Death machine! LOL. Love you nana!

  4. Remember when we were younger and I would fly around on a bike? Well I feel as though I might be ready again and your post put a definite frame of "I'm going to do this" in my head. Also it's starting to get warmer here which means bike riding all day long. Also must congratulate you on not giving the death machine the satisfaction of fulfilling it's name. Love you hooze can't wait to see what you have for us next :)