Falling and Rising (in One Day)

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Last night I remembered something about a Sportnap (Sports Day) taking place today; drowsily checking my messages, I realized that I was supposed to sign up to help with one of the activities. Oops! The biking excursion looked just right; I enjoy biking, as readers of this blog probably know, and we would return in time for the award ceremony for winners of regional academic competitions. (Three of my students won first, second, and third place, respectively, in one of the English competitions.) So I signed up, heard my conscience sigh, and went to sleep.

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In the morning, when I got there, a large group was ready and eager to go. My colleague took the lead, thanked me for coming too, and explained where we were going. She asked me to hold the rear, since she knew the exact route. We took off, crossed the street, and headed northward along the Zagyva (on my usual route to and from school). I thought I’d take a photo as we were going along, and I did, while bicycling. But I didn’t realize that someone was directly in front of me and someone else coming in my direction. As soon as I saw them, I slammed my breaks so hard that I got thrown from the bike (even though I was not going fast at all) and felt my nose hit the ground. One member of the group, Gábor, waited for me, but the bicycle chain had come off the gears, the front brake was stuck, and the bike wouldn’t move. I urged him to go on ahead, since I needed a minute or two to fix the bike.

It took about ten minutes; when I was done, I continued northward, pedaling as fast as I could, but could not see the group anywhere. I continued for a few meters onto the dirt road, only to find it muddy from the rain. Mud caked my bike, immobilizing it again; with some digging and pulling, I managed to get some of the big clumps off so that the wheels could move. Now I headed in the opposite direction; I remembered that my colleague had mentioned Széchényi, so I tested out those environs. No one familiar in sight. I also remembered a mention of the Marcipán cafe and cake shop; when I reached the place, I saw almost all of them standing outside! (A few were inside the cafe.) I hope they weren’t waiting for me, or if they were, I hope it wasn’t for long. I joined for the second hour of the trip, which was fun. I felt bad about missing the first part and not helping out, but there was some victory in fixing the bike, finding the group, and biking with them for an hour. This time, when I took photos, I stopped first.

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But why did I fall from the bike? I think there were several reasons or causes. First, I was trying to take a photo while biking (not a good idea, especially in a crowd). Second, I am not used to biking in groups or biking slowly. Third, I am a bit exhausted from the drama festival and the week; and fourth, these things just happen sometimes.

After that fall, it was all upward. The award ceremony featured several musical performances by students (several choruses and a xylophonist) and many, many awards. For each award, they announced both the winner and the teacher(s) who helped him or her prepare. Both the student and the teacher would go to the front of the auditorium; the student would receive a certificate and flowers and would then present the flowers to the teacher. Thus a colleague and I received flowers three times: when Szabina, Laci, and Fanni received their awards. Many other students from our school won awards–including my former student Gábor Kozma, featured in the Szolnok TV video of the event. Then came a reception with some delicious pastries; in one of them, the sour cherries (meggy) tasted so fresh, they seemed to be from this year. I haven’t seen sour cherries at the market yet, but they’re around the corner, and I watch for them every day.

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So it turned into a good day, with more rising than falling. Now it’s almost time to fall again (asleep).

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