(the misadventures of an expatriate corporate dropout)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

summer is winding down ...

went to a dinner / barbeque Monday night ... will be about the last (felt like it anyway) of the summer's outdoor fêtes. school starts on Friday ... at least six of the guests are teachers and they are gearing up for the year.

three picnic tables were drawn together and covered with colorful cloths. when I arrived there was a huge circle of chairs, with everyone seated ... glasses in hand. I made the round of bises (everyone rose and there were only one or two vous-es in the group)

one of the guests manned the rosé and sirop de pamplemousse. there were all sorts of apéro nibblies, smoked salmon cake, huge bowl of melon balls, a gorgeous pate de campagne and another of rillettes de canard.

about 20 adults, plus kids. me, the only non-French. I managed some topics and followed several conversations. there were some fast talkers there! as dusk descended, it was not too cold and the bats made their whooshing appearance to partake of their daily apéro, insect-hunting high in the sky and treating us to their acrobatic swoops and swirls.

later it was a simple meal. i know some of you are always curious about the meal: bbq'd sausages (merguez and chipolatas - good quality ones), some big salads (endive, apple & emmenthal, bow tie pasta with tomatoes and onion, a big rice salad with vegetables) ... oh and an absolutely amazing ham quiche ... made with the real savory, unpackaged ham, a bit crispy and just divine ... then a huge platter of cheese and beautiful bread ... desserts : pear tart, raspberry tart, chocolate tart, nut tart ... and good red wine throughout. we finished with coffee. so yeah, not haute cuisine but simple and delicious and seasoned with laughter and friendship under the stars.

I sat eating and staring up at the leaves of the enormous tilleul tree tossing magical shadows on the buttery stone walls ... entertained by the musical notes of french voices filling the air and realized that I have indeed connected with this place. the smells, the sounds the colors of my life here resonate like no other. if I were a believing kind of person instead of the stubborn atheist that I am, I would think that I have lived here in former lives ... based on the fact that I have been drawn here for years and years like no other. and the sense of belonging that I have discovered since giving in to that pull and finding a way to get here.

but I was talking about summer's end. my fourth summer here. still head over heels.

the nights are starting to get a little fresh. summer is backing out of the room. soon flashy autumn will be here with her colorful, attention-grabbing glory and start stealing the show.


Rosie said...

Lovely post full of delight in being part of something familiar. How far you have come in four years.

Anonymous said...

Sounds fabulous and makes me want to be back in France. We are still tucking into winter fare here but not for much longer.

J said...

Beautifully written.
You certainly have integrated well within your community in a short time -- and yes 4 years is a short time in ex pat years. Kudos to you.
And thanks for being a role model.


Anna said...

Great that you're living your one precious life, Kim, and not frittering it away.