Before marrying Tim, my longest trip anywhere was 7 days, tops. Usually a weekend. But we've been here 14 days already and we have another week before we head home to the states. The length of this trip has really given me the opportunity to get to know Tim's family in a way that wasn't possible before we were married and during the wedding. We've had the time to fall into a routine here, make multiple visits to friends and family members, meet church acquaintances of my in-laws and attend a few events there. It's been such a special time for me too, to reconnect with the culture in which I was raised and see how another intercultural family "does life" here. I have loved every minute.
I've been collecting memories with my camera phone. We've brought out the big camera a couple of times, but sorting/editing/publishing those always takes a back seat to our client's pictures, so who knows when I'll be able to share those.
Here's what our days have been made of:
Table time is sacred here. Twice a day, my mother in law cooks a delicious (multiple course) meal and we gather and pray and feast and talk across the table. I really want to bring this back to Chicago, lengthening our meal time and making it into a restful, recharging time of day.
Look at these two pictures. This is the same room.
How often have I not invited friends over "because I don't have enough space"? Our table at home in Chicago seats 4. I keep letting this little detail put an endpoint to my hospitality. The Tabailloux family home is not large, they actually eat their family meals in the kitchen. However, every year they host up to 23 friends and family members for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. They do this by moving the couches outside onto the patio, bring a long garden table inside, dress it up, and seat everyone on gathered chairs and stackable stools. We were shoulder to shoulder and loving it. I got to know lots of Tim's cousins just because the proximity was so close, we had to talk. I'm going to invest in a table with leaves, stools, and long tablecloths when I get home. And who cares if my dishes don't all match. Spending quality time together across a table is more important.
After Christmas dinner, my father in law, Jean-Luc, passed around printed lyrics to Christmas carols and we all sang together. It was such a sweet time of remembering Jesus' birth and the dire and miraculous circumstances surrounding it. Tim played the piano. Is there an end to his list of talents? I haven't found it yet.Huguenot's cross and presently has come to signify the faith of French Protestant Evangelicals. My mom has this necklace from our time living here in the 1990's and so do all the Tabailloux wives. I have now joined the club.
He's so handsome. I want to nuzzle my cheek in that beard every minute.
The mountains around the Tabailloux home are breath-taking. I took this on a ride to the grocery store. The most mundane of tasks are infused with so much beauty around here.
Tomorrow morning, we'll board the high speed TGV train to Paris. When we got married four months ago, we knew we had this luxuriously long trip to France plus this detour to Paris ahead of us and we had a hard time conceiving of taking a nice honeymoon. What could top Paris? So we went to Wisconsin, and it was kind of boring. We are so excited about our little lover's excursion to Paris! I think we're both thinking of this as our real honeymoon.