France Day 13 - Fiesta with the Huets!
Trip Start Jun 25, 2008
77Trip End Sep 01, 2008
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Today, the Huet family is coming over around 10:30am or so to enjoy a Mexican feast with us. We wanted to say thank you to them, and it seemed to be a perfect fit. (Of course, I had no idea ahead of time that the store would carry things like cilantro or refried beans ... but with a little extra work, its all going to be fine...)
First thing I do when I hop out of bed is to do the pre-work to the cooking. Today, I will make some homemade guacamole, tortilla soup, and bean and veggie tostadas for our guests.
Around 11am, the Huet family arrives and we are all thrilled to be reunited. A nice surprise in store for us ..
Lots of talking with Vincent and Guenola ... and we decide to go for a quick walk to the local park once I finish cutting up with the chicken shredding. ... A nice ten minute walk lands us in the main park of Chateau-Gontier. There is a large grassy area, a kids playground (fenced so we don't lose them!), and approximately eight goats that can be fed and petted. Its a perfect day here in Chateau-Gontier ... a nice breeze, great temperature, with clouds spotting the sky. Vincent's English has improved tremendously. ... My French is still HORRIBLE. Well, absent is probably a better word. Horrible would mean that I have some French. I don't. I can barely remember how to say hello and goodbye. Seriously. Guenola had an idea to force me to speak more French today, and that lasted for all of two minutes. I can't even repeat what they say to me, even when the do it slowly and three or four times. My brain just doesn't register the nuances of the pronunciation. ... I honestly did MUCH BETTER in China than I am doing here
We return to the house and within ten minutes or so, Guenola's sister Cristal (sp?) arrives to pick up her four year old son, who has been staying with the Huets. I've asked Guenola to extend an invitation to Cristal to eat with us, but apparently she has to work and travel a lot. ... However, with a little effort, we convince her to neglect her work and stay and eat and drink with us! : )
The hours from 1pm - 5pm are filled with cooking and eating, drinking (I found some Coronas at the store and bought some lime for the true Mexican experience!) and laughing. We discover that Cristal is an avid runner, and Vincent claims he is too, but supposedly injured. Hehe... We get some travel tips from Vincent and Guenola and change our plans to visit Versailles tomorrow (the highways are way too busy on a Saturday in August, so they recommend we go on a weekday).
Just around 4:30pm France time, we set up Vincent and Guenola on Skype to call our French exchange friends living in our house, Franc and Sandrine
One thing that I've definitely learned from our time here in France is how great a simple lunch or dinner party can be with good company, with the right attitude. It might be just me, but it feels like our American culture is always in such a hurry ... always go go go ... It seems that an afternoon at a friends house for lunch is a 12pm - 2pm type of a thing instead of a 11am - 5pm type of thing. Having friends come over and relax and drink while the food is being prepared, and then enjoying a nice three or four course meal while the kids run around enjoying the house, the toys, the yard ... this is the good life, ya know? It doesn't get any better. ... And yet, I think that ... at least in our circles, the children tend to be the excuse as to why lunches and dinners have to be so brief. "Gotta get the kids to bed...", "The kids need to get home.", "What will the kids do?" ... and the time is kept to an hour or two. But what I'm finding is that our kids are maturing and exploring their world in new ways when they aren't so supervised
And so, when we get back to the USA, I'm voting for a lot less Saturdays with six different events planned at six different locations around the city, and instead lots and lots of days and nights with nothing but friends and eating and drinking on the agenda. Sound good to you too? Viva la France!
* And now, as I write this, I've received an email from Guenola asking for the recipes of the food I've cooked (hopefully this means they enjoyed it!) ... and also a note that their son Leo now refers to Samuel as "my American friend". And Samuel is talking nonstop about the possibility of the Huets coming to California for a stay with us. Perhaps future pen pals? They sure had fun playing together!