Thursday, July 28, 2011

a perfect family .

Just now I happened to stumble upon the thought of the family that I stayed with in France. Despite the fact I don't have Facebook, you could still find them as I remember the first names and family name as well. All I can say, is man, have the kids changed.

It was at this point that I realized my trip to Europe was 5 years ago. That may not sound like that much in the grand scheme of things, but that is basically a quarter of my life. I suppose it's true that we've all grown up more or less by now. Aurélie, the eldest girl they had, was very pretty when I had stayed with them. I remember thinking that, despite the fact I was young. Alex was a few years behind me, but a cool kid nonetheless. And then there was sweet little Clarisse, and let me tell you, there is nothing more cute that a young princess toddling around and mumbling in French. According to Facebook Aurélie has a different last name... I'm not sure if that's because she was birthed by a different Father (something I recall the Mom telling me) or if she's married now. I can't remember how old she was when I visited...

Watching the Tour de France, I realized that one point that the cyclists were riding through/near Carcassone, an old walled city with narrow streets and castle-like features. When I was in France my group visited Carcassone. And I don't think that was too far from Nîmes, where I stayed with my French family. It left me wondering if maybe the riders were going through some places I had even visited with my family.

The homestay was only a few days, but a vital part of the trip, and really a life-changing one too. There's no doubt about it, things were awkward at first. Not to mention we were in France, and I didn't much French other that oui, non, mercí, and bonjour. The language barrier sometimes made things difficult. Yet it was clear that this family put so much effort into making my stay a good one. They took me all around the area, introduced me to the father's parents (who also had a pool and a gorgeous little backyard where we often ate dinner) and really just showed me some interesting things. But some of the best times were the times when we just talked. It took a bit longer than usual, what with Dad translating everything for those who didn't know English. But hearing all of the cultural differences and language pronunciation butcherings (we all got a kick out of that) it was a time I will never forget.

Upon leaving I full had the intention of staying in contact with my family. And though I had been friends with Bruno (the father) on Facebook before my new-found abstinence of it, we never really talked. It's a shame, really. These people became a super close part of my life in just a few days, and seriously, tears were shed on the way out. It was nice to get back to the big group with all of your friends who spoke English, but something was just intriguing about the way this family lived.

Everything was so easy, and though people fought here and there they really had a great love for one another. They didn't have much in the way of material possessions but it clearly didn't matter. Their generosity flowed out of them like a waterfall, offering to wash my dirty clothes and to do all of these fun things.

I hope one day I get the opportunity to host a foreign student or whoever they may be at some point. I think that would just be really cool. In the mean time, I hope that all of the members of that wonderful family are doing fantastic. And who knows, maybe we could even schedule a reunion while I'm over in Spain for 4 months. It can't be that far away!

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