On Sunday, we went to
On Sunday, we went to
That being said, I had a wonderful trip.
My first thought upon waking up on Saturday morning was, “Is it too late to back out?” I just didn’t think I could go through with it, I was so nervous. But then I’d read online that if you cancel on meeting the parents at the last minute, “you better be seriously injured or dead when they find you”. So I got up early and spent the next 1.5 hours getting ready.
I wore a grey sweatshirt dress, brown knee high flat boots and a leather jacket with my pink scarf. Cute but casual—I didn’t want to come off as too “city girl” and scare them (they are country folk after all) but I didn’t want to look like I hadn’t tried either. I woke B up about 10 mins before we had to leave for the train station. It was pretty funny—he was so confused as to why he only had time to brush his teeth and throw on some clothes, “Did I sleep through the alarm? I didn’t hear it”. And I said, “No, I woke up earlier and turned it off. I just needed the prep time for myself and didn’t want you hogging the bathroom… they’re your parents, you don’t need to shower”.
We arrived in
It was about 68 degrees so we sat in their beautiful garden (B’s dad hand built a pond in the backyard and caught fish from the lake 20 mins away to fill it with), drinking aperitifs (cognac) and eating cheese while belle-mère showered me with questions… surprisingly, I was able to answer everything with just a little help from B on the French words I didn’t know. I was even able to have actual conversations with them. She told me she was really impressed with my French and mentioned how her daughter-in-law (B’s older brother’s American wife) can’t speak any French. B told me that when the wife is with them, she doesn’t say a word—so apparently my barely intelligible, kindergarten level conversation was a welcome change.
Afterwards, B and I went “into town” to sightsee. While we were walking, a black girl ran up to us and said, “Excuse me, are you American?” She said she hasn’t met a single American the entire 3 years she’d been living here (she had the typical story: American moves to France to teach English for a year, meets a Frenchman, falls in love and stays), let alone a black American. We chatted about expatriate life in
We returned to chez B around for dinner with the folks. His dad BBQ’d steak on a grill he built out of a trash can (his father is seriously something else) and we drank so much wine that B told me I was starting to look drunk. Its really funny considering I grew up in a household where alcohol consumption (no matter how small) is considered taboo… meanwhile, B grew up drinking wine since he was about 5 years old. That’s American culture for you—if we weren’t so strict about everything maybe we wouldn’t have so many alcoholic kids running around. Anyway, later B and I met up with a friend of his at a little dive bar in town but I was so exhausted (read: drunk) we had to leave around . That night, even though we were SUPPOSED to be sleeping in separate rooms, B knocked on my door around 1am and told me the guest room was too cold so he wanted to stay in my room (I was sleeping in his old bedroom)... just to sleep... hmm...
On Sunday, B and I had decided to go for a drive in the country so he could show me his childhood—picking mushrooms in the forest, playing & fishing at the lake, biking through the wheat fields—I would laugh if it weren’t so cute. So after a late lunch of escargot (beau-père picked the snails from the forest himself) and grilled sheep (sounds scary but it was delicious!), we were lounging in the living room watching TV when beau-père walks by and says, “10 minutes”. B barely turned his eyes away from the football game he was watching to say, “Oh yeah, my parents are coming with us”. Greeeaaat.
It actually turned out to be a good time. We drove around for about 3 hours and they gave me the full history of the village and showed me all their family hangouts which was really nice of them. And the countryside of Champagne (their region) is gorgeous. We went back home for a gôuté (a torte) and then belle-mère drove us to the station to catch our train back to
As relieved as I was to leave and switch the perma-smile off, I had a really great time. It went a lot better than I had imagined. They were really nice people and I think they actually liked me (they even invited me to come back in the spring). Plus, seeing where B grew up, what his life was like, who he came from, that was pretty cool. And the best moment: B’s brother is coming to France with his family in May for his daughter’s baptism and belle-mère was talking about how full the house would be and started ticking off on her fingers who would be saying that weekend and said, “…and Stacy and B will take one room...”. It’s gotta be the best feeling to have your boyfriend’s mother include you in an important family function as though you’re a part of the family. I sent them a Thank You card the next day.
(I forgot my camera at home so I have to scan in the pics from my disposable later)
Saturday is a milestone—I’m going to B’s hometown to MEET HIS PARENTS! I am literally freaking out, I don't think I've ever been so nervous about anything, ever. What to wear? What to bring as a gift? What to talk about? Will they hate me? He’s from a small village (who even uses the word “village” to describe a place in real life?) near Troyes, about 2 hours east of
B said that we’ll do the typical village stuff—eat with his parents, bike ride, go to the lake, drive around the village so he can show me where he grew up, that kind of thing. And he told his dad that I’m a football fan, so his dad got us tickets to see their local team (who were relegated to Ligue 2 last year, but whatevs) on Saturday night—that was really sweet.
I’ve never met a boyfriend’s parents before—and B has never brought a girl home before either—so I have no idea what to expect. When he told his mom we were coming, she was like, “Wow, I guess this is serious then?” And he was like, “Yeah, it is”. I don’t know why, but I have a feeling that she’s thinking of me as “the awful American who is planning to steal her darling baby boy away from her”. Totally unjustified because she actually seems super sweet… but you know French mothers and their weird obsession with their sons. All I know is that his parents don’t speak any English and my French is shoddy at best… so that will make for some lively discussions! And we’ll be there for 2 whole days… lordy… stay tuned...
As part of the humanitarian bit of my Parisian adventure, I joined the
I really love the premise of H4H’s Global Village: these houses are SOLD to the family (at a very low rate, of course) rather than given to them for free—the idea being that people respect something more and take care of it when they actually have to pay for it themselves, rather than when its just given to them. So they’ll make monthly payments to Habitat on this home and at the end of 5 years or so, they own the house outright. I think its going to be an awesome experience and cannot wait to go—although Lord knows I am not a builder, do not like doing anything with my hands or any physical labor whatsoever (especially not in the dead heat of August) and am pathetically weak… so it should be interesting!
Anyway, here’s the link if you want to make an online donation (in the part where it asks for your name, please also put my name in parentheses):
Thanks for your support, friends! And remember, all donations are tax deductible! :o)
Last weekend, B and I went to
Later that day, we came across a small, kiddie amusement park. Hundreds of kids on merry-go-rounds, rollercoasters, etc… and then I saw it—a moon bounce! I haven’t been on one of those in ages and B and I looked at each other, grinning. He was like, “Do you want to?” and I said, “I’m DYING to but we can’t! Its for kids… look at all those parents standing around watching their children play—how crazy would we look asking if we can get in there with them?” So we walked off and laughed about how much fun those childhood days in the park were. Suddenly, B grabbed my arm and said, “Lets just go ask… who knows, maybe they’ll let us get on anyway”. I was really skeptical about looking stupid or like some child molester, but I reluctantly agreed to go back and ask. And it turns out anyone can get on the rides! So we bought our ticket and got in, and let me tell you, I haven’t laughed so hard in ages! It was so fun! The funny part was, after we got out, suddenly all the other adults decided that they wanted to go on the moon bounce too—we started a trend!
Afterwards, we went to a bar to meet up with B’s friends for a drink. Then we went to the hotel to hang out for a bit before heading to his friend’s apartment for pre-drinks (yes, they do A LOT of drinking in
Sunday was more sightseeing after a long, lazy brunch, and we caught the train back to