I don’t mean to compose blogs drenched in meloncholy; re-reading my previous postings makes me sounds like an angst ridden teen scribbling furiously in her lock and keyed diary. The time after the (epic & somewhat ridiculous) hiking trip and pre back to back (blow your biking brains out) cycling Tuscany trips has been delightful, relaxing and culturally enlightening.
Several days have taken me on lengthy journeys by bike into the Tuscan country side. I have stacked long haul rides next to simple, slow pedals through our town. I have had a brilliant opportunity to meet up with people I have worked with in Alaska, California and Canada (and Italy the first time 'round). I spent an afternoon in Florence with Em and Bea,  I've skyped with my Mum and Dad, my sweet boyfriend and been able to email my siblings and wonderful friends who have been sending me love from all over the globe. How did I get so damn blessed? 
Of all these things, biking, post office, grocery shopping, wandering about, sleeping in, reading and preparing for the next work go round, the some of the best (or most cultural) experiences I have had are in our local Pool.
I didn't think I would get a chance to swim on this Italian journey, I thought I  would be without a pool for seven weeks. This thought made me inwardly groan and simutaneously dread my return to the pool, where sureadly Grant will shred me for losing my slowly improving form. Imagine how happy I was to discover this place, and although I had to expand my Italian vocabulary to include "lane swim" "change room" and "kick board",  I was a happy, happy camper to be in the water. 
The pool is in Montevarchi, one town over from where we live in San Giovanni Valdarno. I navigated there twice alone, twice with Lindsay, another swim friend in this work world. For all the pools I have been lucky to swim in this year, this one really takes the cake for its uniqueness. As I rounded my first 50 meters I turned at the wall I did a double take. Did I really see...? I do the 50 back and 50 to the original wall. Yes, it is a cell phone at the bottom of the outdoor pool. Also spotted on the bottom: various bandaids, leaves, sand (where the hell is the beach?), exposed wires sticking out of the wall (God only knows what for), yellow discolored tiles (all the others are blue), and a small plastic truck. I can't imagine why or how or what these items are doing, so I try really, really hard not to think of it. For another another few laps, anyway.
The lifegaurds at the pool are all young males. Their uniform is a small red speedo with the pool name emblazed acoss the cheeks. The true kicker for me are the Tom Cruise ala Top Gun aviators which each one of them have, identical in size and colour. I don't think I have ever seen any of them out of their chairs, except for when they oil each other down. For serious. All the patrons of the pool smoke including other lane swimmers who suck back the last pull of nictoine and exhale as they go for their first breath in the freestyle. Unbelievable.
Females sunbathe topless, children run amok and into my (very obviously sectioned off) lane. The dive board is dangerously close to the lane swim section. You can buy wine and espresso at the snack bar. The pool leaves a noticeable grime on your swim cap that slightly discolours it.  All this for the bargain price of 6 Euros for a drop in. Sheesh!
This afternoon off, tomorrow morning it's back to the grind.
I'm loving this girl. She is having a really, really good day.