Wednesday, February 2
We spend most of the next recovering from jet lag. By late afternoon, the bikes have not arrived, so I ask Luca to call the bike shop. I tell him I am not comfortable speaking Italian on the phone, and it turns out to be a good move, as it takes him at least two minutes of vigorous Italian to explain what it is that we want. He tells me that first a bambino answered the phone, and then he spoke to the nonna; Francesca was not available, but after a bit, Luca was able to make himself clear. The nipote who was supposed to deliver the bikes had not come home from school, so Luca would come in his van and get them.
The two bikes, with chains and a basket for Lucy, cost 150 euros, more than I had originally expected, but a bargain considering that the first bike shop wanted 90 euros, plus 10 euros more, for a single bike with a basket. When Luca and I return, the tecnico has just arrived to fix the wireless, and Lucy is in conversation with an Italian man who speaks excellent English. His name is Ari Natali and he was born in America but returned to Italy at age 12 when his father died. He has lived here ever since and wants to get together with us on occasion to keep his English sharp. My eyes light up when he tells us that his wife works at the comune in Pescia. Yes, he says, he will go with us when we try to get our Italian passports. We would never be able to get them without someone who knows what he is doing, he explains. He take down his phone number and promise to call him when we get more settled. Suddenly a day which seemed entirely uneventful has proven fruitful. We have our bikes, we have a new friend and ally, and the tenico is at work. Unfortunately, the work day is over, and the tecnico leaves with the job unfinished. Forse domani.