Friday, January 29, 2016

Summer's End

Proud Boat Parents

After many weeks of work on the boats, we finally launched our first 4+ with a christening ceremony. We named it the Robert Englehardt, after the wonderful man who had stored the boats for us for nearly a year, and loaded them so carefully into the container on our behalf, along with all the other equipment we had shipped to him.  Though it was drizzling during the ceremony, a small group of fans turned out to help us sprinkle champagne over the new boat.  A few of these people would become dedicated members of our little team, and would spend a lot of time with us in the workshop and on the water. But the rest of our gang was still to come.

They all wanted champagne...

We began giving lessons in the mornings and working on boats in the afternoons. The second boat that we completed was a double, which Maurizio and I had purchased for our own use, followed by a quad, and with our new sculling oars we could now teach both sweep rowing and sculling.  Hernando made us a rowing simulator out of an old rowing machine and an oarlock box, which has been an extremely valuable training tool.  We began to spread the word around the club, and even got the US embassy to run an ad in their newsletter.  Maurizio worked tirelessly to contact newspapers and magazines and other sources of advertising, and spent many hours conferring with his cousin Juan Pablo, whom we had hired as a graphic designer to create our logo and marketing materials. We have recently succeeded in gaining some interest from a couple of international schools, and we look forward to hosting teams of students in the new year.


Learning on the simulator

Although I went home for three weeks between June and July, work never ceased on this new business.  While I was catching up with friends and family, doing Zumba and learning how to paint in my sister's classes, going to birthday, anniversary, and Independence Day parties, and rowing in singles and doubles with the Cooper Rowing Club, Maurizio was learning about carbon fibre repair and nautical paint prices.  More than that; he had a surprise brewing which would come to light on my birthday.

Grandma D: 80 and Fabulous

My sisters are awesome

I’ll abbreviate, because most of the people who care about the details have already heard me tell the story: He took me out to the countryside for a lovely lunch at an Alsacian restaurant (meat-and-cheese-tastic), followed by a drive to a sweet little hotel in Suesca, which he intended to follow with a hike up some trail to this beautiful cliffside where we would have a view of a lake. Only, because of our lengthy luncheon, we got to the hotel at 5 pm, and the sun generally sets at 6. And it was raining. And the trail was covered in mud and very steep, so we slid and fell and squished and slopped about in it till we were indistinguishable from said mud. And there were parts where it was so slippery that we had to hold onto barbed wire fences in order to progress. What I mean to say is, we never quite made it to the cliffs. So we came back, stripped off our muddy clothing, and showered, and then we ate some pizza by the fireside. I was getting sleepy and thinking of heading to bed when Maurizio suggested we sit in some lawn chairs outside (next to our discarded clothes), and enjoy the (rather chilly) evening for a bit longer. And then he produced a little speech (which he had written out) that described our relationship and our love for each other and our goals for the future, and ended in some elvish words (like Lord-of-the-Rings elvish), which, of course, I didn't understand. And then he handed me two cards with more elvish on them and told me to choose my response. And I had to just guess which one was the right one, which fortunately I did, because one said "Yes, I promise I will marry you," while the other said "Forgive me, but I do not love you”!

The sparkly!

And so we are engaged...I think.

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