(the misadventures of an expatriate corporate dropout)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

nice week-end in Paris ...

Jean-Yves invited me for an extended week-end visit with his family in Paris. We left Thursday night (Jean-Yves, Etienne, and me) ... the drive was fun ... we stopped at MacDo's in Limoges (blech) and then pushed on up. Around 11:00 pm, I took the wheel (about an hour outside of Paris) ... and was told to follow signs "Lille".

When he woke up an hour or so later, he claimed we were lost! and the car was doing weird things ... a light went on which indicated electrical difficulties (well, it seems to be sparkplugs...or really that the car needs a tune-up and I'm negligent!!) ... so after lots of muttering and chuckling and car-sputtering, we rolled up around 2am.

JY's mom lives outside of Paris in a small suburb town, Chambly. It is actually pretty quaint. Beds were made up for us and we collapsed after kisses all around. shattered!

Friday arose around 8:30 a.m. JY's mom arises early to care for her youngest daughter ( injured when she was young ) and so since my bed was a futon in the open kitchen, the smell of coffee awakened me.

Like most family gatherings I'm familiar with, despite the best of intentions ... no one really got their act together until around 11am. We were up ... but with everyone juggling or taking turns with showers and make-up and coffee ... ( and the fact that I was sharing a chair with JY and he upset the table with the coffee onto my new white jeans and I had to soak and change!) well ... you get the drift, the usual antics.

We wanted to head into Paris to check out the wholesale district ... drove straight there and found a park. As we were hungry AND it was lunch hour (shops firmly shut) we decided to eat first. JY headed for a jewish restaurant he knew but alas, it was no longer there. We settled for another brasserie that was decidedly ho-hum. After that, we wandered around the shops ... disappointingly it was an endless stream of low quality Chinese imports. I bought just a few items and we left.

Since last week-end was Noémie's birthday, we wanted to find her a gift. We went to Carrefour and the surrounding mall. I found some blank music disks ... Etienne hung out in the games section of each stop we made ... we got her some Gucci perfume and Etienne bought an orchid for his Mamie. (sweet!)

We hit some other game stores for the petit monsieur and then made a tour of some other spots. JY took me by the town he had lived in when married and we saw his old house, etc. We then headed back and spent time at Yvette's (JY's mom). Saturday and Sunday were spent lazily visiting, preparing lunches and dinners to eat on the terrace, playing volleyball with Etienne in the garden, heading to the grocery store with Yvette, welcoming various family members who stopped by to see the prodigal son and grandson. I got to know his mom and daughter better as well one of his aunts who is staying with Yvette, recuperating from surgery for a torn Achilles tendon. Many of the folks I met were in their 70s but robust and vital. Sunday, because we share a love of flowers in the garden, Yvette took me around the yard and made cuttings or dug up root samples of some very pretty specimes in her yard. I am so Stoked! I have already dug a new bed and placed them. Plus she gave me one water plant and I filled the bassin to commence with my water garden. And I have some seed packets she brought out that will be sown next.

The drive home was also not bad. JY and I were chatting about various things and he asked me about a comment I made while there ... to the effect that he was nearly perfect (lol). He asked what I would change about him since he was not perfect. I hemmed and hawed because .... well because I'm not good at the old honest expression of feelings thing. then I managed to get out that I would change our 'amities' ... he protested that he was my friend, that we were friends, that he wouldn't change that ... I told him I have a bad habit of not expressing my feelings and that I didn't want to do that with him ... that I wouldn't want something to happen to me and I hadn't been honest ... and that I wouldn't want to change that we were friends, or change our friendship ... but I wish we were more ... or I would like more. (mind you, I really don't think this is a big news flash for him ...) He listened without judgement but with understanding... I didn't expect a response ... some big outpouring of emotion or anything. I just wanted to say it. I also didn't say much more, although I'm probably feeling more.

It is a struggle because I don't want to do anything that changes our friendship or pushes him away because of my feelings ... so it is a tightrope. There are days that I know I must be terribly annoying because I feel like a teenager and put on a good pout ... without going into all the reasons why or other details ... suffice it to say, I'm glad I said what I did. and after I got home I sent him a text and thanked him for listening so well.

but all in all, it was a terrific week-end with a dear friend. le sigh.


amy said...

I feel choked up reading this (maybe it's the wine talking, but) - how brave of you to open up with him! The photo says so much, you look like a teenager. Sounds like a very sweet weekend.

La Framéricaine said...

Lovely photo, Madame de Brantôme! And I hope that all continues to go well with you and your friend, J-Y. It is really a compliment that he took you to visit his extended family and that everyone opened up their home and lives to you! High compliment indeed.

Hope you are having a wonderful summer!

Randal Graves said...

You frisky little devil.

And remember, America still has the best cheap Chinese trinkets. Don't forget that.

Non Je Ne Regrette Rien said...

amy~it was hard, how silly eh? that expressing an emotion is hard. meh! but like I said, I'm glad I did. and what we have...just as it is...IS very precious to me.

LaF~ya know, I kind of overlooked that...I tend not to group JY with all the 'french' and their customs...but hey, he IS french and it WAS a big deal, no?

RG~you betcha darn tootin!

cynthia in the French Alps said...

You are brave in many ways - moving to France and taking risks in sharing your feelings. You have my respect. I do hope that things progress for you too. The best way to start any romantic relationship however is to be great friends first so you are on the right path. Cynthia

La Framéricaine said...

Yes. Culturally-speaking, it WAS a big deal. The French don't just "fall on my the house" with strange Americans, especially to meet their mothers, sisters, etc.

I'm really glad that you had a good time!

Non Je Ne Regrette Rien said...

cynthia, je vous remercie!

laF~ hurry home!