Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Eating Our Way Through a French Christmas


Buche de Noel
I have spent four days trying to catch up to myself on line. I think I’ve been fairly successful. I have more to do (always) but finally feel ready to get back to my revisions on two works in progress. Our trip to France for the holidays was much more than a “vacation” for both my husband and I. For him it was a journey to reconnect with his other life there, the one that came before me. For me I discovered just how much his “other life” there has become mine as well. I fell in love with France all over again and not just because of the food!  Which, of course, is amazing. I’ve posted little on this blog about the trip but only because I needed time to settle in enough to write beyond a sentence.  I didn’t write at all while I was there. I thought I would have the time and space to write but obviously I was meant to have a different experience. Instead I went on to spend time with my daughter whom I haven’t seen in almost nine months, develop an even closer bond with my “other” mother-in-law (belle mere in French meaning pretty mother) than I already had, and enjoy the chance to eat with at least 70 to 85 people over the entire three weeks. That is a lot of folks to break bread with.
Cheeses and Saucisson
Can you imagine how much food that is to consume?! From pain au raisin or fresh bread (with homemade jams) in the mornings to Fois Gras, saucisson, salads, veggies and pâtes for lunch, to oysters, magret de canard or confit de canard for dinner. With hot meals, cold meals, desserts, before dinner drinks with hors d’oeuvres, after dinner drinks, pastries, cheeses (hundreds of different kinds) fruits and “Bûche de Noël” one can become overwhelmed.  This doesn’t even count all the wine and champagne! I came home not wanting to eat another anything.
12 dozen oysters!
The fun part about eating in France, especially during a holiday season like this one, my first Christmas ever in France by the way, is the company one has while ingesting.  Meals just wouldn’t be the same without the people. You always hear about how long the French take to eat. The French (most anyway) like to talk when making their way through their meal. They talk and listen to catch up on whatever there is to catch up on. And usually with us, since we’re only there once a year (if we’re lucky and get to go even that much), there is much to discuss, to laugh over and of course we have to sing along with my husband and his guitar to all the oldie French songs no one hears on the radio anymore.
I love Fois Gras period.
This Christmas, everywhere we went, I looked around me at all the wonderful people I call friends or family. I took in each one and what they meant individually to me. I listened to the stories of their lives, their cares and woes or successes and happiness’s. I didn’t find it difficult to be truthful when I shared how much it meant to me to be with them. I felt almost as if I were in a dream intended to show me the essence of what friends and family are. Mostly I felt so damn lucky to be there; to experience the individual characteristics, accents, perfections and imperfections that make up each one of these people that shared this time with me, and, to have the feeling reciprocated was part of the magic. Yes. People are what life is about.
Now I am back to writing, to spending all day alone with my computer and I find I’m not unhappy about that like I thought I would be after such a rousing and emotional time amongst the living and breathing.  I find myself exploring with new people online and hoping we will in some way help each other in this new year to be the successful happy people we all want to be.  I can’t make this journey as a writer completely alone. I see that now.  I need not only the living and breathing in my space, hugging me, loving me and talking to me, I also need my “virtual” friends to help me remember I’m not alone in the adventure called being a writer. So here’s a toast to all my loved ones no matter which continent you live on. Here is another to the new “Virtual’ friends coming into my life; may you continue to do what we love to do so much, making stories into novels or articles or whatever it is that you do with your words, and, make money doing it! Happy New Year all!

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