(the misadventures of an expatriate corporate dropout)
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
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.