Sunday, January 12, 2014

Christmas in France- as weird as ever

I pride myself in being part of a family that makes others look conventional. Going to France for the year, I was plagued with many worries: would someone I care about get sick/die when I was away? How much would change when I was gone? Would people actually send my my Christmas presents? The one worry that is most relevant here, however, is whether or not I would be able to handle a holiday outside the heart of my overly personal, overly critical, completely irreplaceable family.

Well it wasn't the same nor was it a fraction of what it usually is, but Christmas in France was one for the books, and just as weird as ever.

I went down to the South of France the sunday before Christmas. The last time I attempted to travel I missed my flight (I blame Ryanair, and that blame is only slightly misplaced) so I arrived at the Train station about an hour early. In typical Kara fashion I also somehow went to the wrong train station first and then had to backtrack to the one that was only two metro stops away from where I live. It's okay, I was still way early. But I'm genuinely curious, does this kind of thing happen only to me?

So I got on the train from Paris to Nimes only to find out that I had somehow booked the same seat as another lady! Joking, joking, I was just in the wrong car. Of course. So I found my damn car and spent the next three hours stressing about what the hell my life was going to look like for the next week.

When I arrived Zoé was waiting for me outside of my car (apparently she could find it) and led me to her grandpère's car. He was one of those people that probably knows everyone in the world and has probably done them all a favor. He is really kind and really outgoing and speaks great english and strikes me as the type of person that gets what he wants without much effort. I guess he just seems to me like a powerful person.

The car ride from Nîmes to Marguerittes was short and full of roundabouts. Being in the South is completely different from being in Paris. The landscape, the people, the shops, the atmosphere is something else entirely. It was nice getting out of Paris, remembering that I am not in fact the ugliest person in every room.

I met Zoé's grandmère upon arrival, and she was hilarious and wonderful. She is adventurous and charismatic and funny, and I really can't think of a more wonderful combination of traits.

I said hi to Zoé's brothers with kisses and talked to the grandparents a little but and that night ate a lot of food: basically just some potatoes smothered in cream and cheese accompanied by red wine and dessert, of course.

That evening we went to pick up Nicolina and the following week was a complete blur of eating, drinking, napping, speaking french, eating, making chocolates, touristing the South of France, and eating.

Every year the family goes ice skating so the night after we arrived we met up with the rest of the family (Delphine, Christophe, and their kids Charlotte, Jean-Baptise, Victoire and Simon-5 yo twins and too cute). Zoé, and Nicolina were there, of course, along with Zoé's brothers Pierre, Jeremy, and Ben.

And let me tell you: this ice skating rink was more dangerous than the lobster tank at red lobster. lobster. Point is, it was just a giant mess of what seemed like thousands of insane and drunk european children on 15 sq feet of ice that was so abused it might as well have been snow. We were all having fun, especially Pierre and Zoé who were in charge of Victoire and Simon as it was the first time the twins had ever been on ice. Nicolina was attempting to bond with Ben (14) by racing, but of course, since it was christmas and christmas is about drama, Ben fell, broke his wrist, and had to get surgery.

Marie Laure (his mom) hadn't yet arrived and when she did she went straight to the hospital (obvs). At this time I was eating my weight in some sort of southern french delicacy while listening to Victoire complain that she didn't get to go around the rink by herself.

The next morning I woke up to a beautiful breakfast in the beautiful dining room. There were fresh pastries and bread in a basket, multiple types of juices. Homemade and store bought jams and, of course, my favorite, fromage blanc. Breakfast and chocolate were my favorite parts of my culinary experience, but that says a lot considering the other delicious food I ate while down there.

That was SO MUCH WRITING. welp, next time I will tell you about actual christmas and then new years and then probably I'll devote a whole post to the house, the gorgeous house. And the walk that Nicolina and I got lost on.

Also, I didn't proofread this because it's 1:30 am and though insomnia helps me write, it doesn't help my spelling and grammar. Sorry!

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