So my wonderful, beautiful, definitely under 50-year-old mother* finally came to visit me!
As I’ve said before, I was just a bit excited for her arrival, resulting in my telling an uncomfortable number of people about it in the preceding weeks (think around the number of people that Liam Neeson kills in the first Taken movie).
As per our beloved tradition that only I know about, I did the appropriate hiding of everything that might be even slightly disconcerting for a mother to see in her daughter’s dorm room before she came – you know, the beer bottles, the nipple rings, the pictures of me and Charlie Sheen.** With all of these things tucked snugly away into hiding spots that I consequently forgot after she left and spent an hour trying to find, I was ready for her to be in France! I’m not sure what age it is suddenly no longer uncool to like your mom, but I’m pretty sure I’ve passed it, so let me just say: it literally felt like waiting for Christmas day (minus the present wrapping anxiety).
On the day of my mom’s arrival, I met her at the train station with baguettes, wine, and Iberian ham – so basically everything you need for an adventure! We trudged her abnormally large suitcase to the hotel and were ready to take on France, Rouch women style!
So about a million, thousand awesome things happened while my mom was here, so I’m going to indulge myself and talk about most of them, but in two parts. This first blog post is about the beginning of the week when we stayed in Lille.
Here are just some of the highlights:
“He says to tell you that I’m really awesome”. Undoubtedly one of the best parts of the trip was taking my mom to meet the family I tutor for, who have pretty much become my family here in France. Not going to lie, I was a little nervous for how the night would shape out: my mom doesn’t speak any French, the family doesn’t speak any English, and I don’t have nearly the attention span conducive to being a translator. However, it actually ended up being relatively painless (minus my attempts to play Twister with people under the age of 12)***. We picked up the kids from school and headed home to make some homemade crepes and play with the ridiculous number of American toys that my mom brought for them. To my chagrin, Louie, the youngest boy, took an immediate liking to my mom; by immediate liking I mean, of course, that he did not run away from her every time she tried to talk to him. He played teacher with her using a children’s book, teaching her need-to-know French terms like “rabbit” and “cave”. The girls even got my mom and I to challenge each other in Wii dancing which, if you’ve ever seen me at a Bennigan’s on Tuesday night, you know that I won. Once the parents got home, we drank some champagne while talking about Paris and I had to take a minute to let it sink in that this was actually happening. It was a little awkward translating compliments about myself back and forth between the two groups but hey, what can you do, life’s hard sometimes.
Speaking “American” and eating like one too. My mom is some kind of satanic voodooist in the kitchen; she has always been able to make the most delicious meal out of practically nothing. Literally you could have only mayonnaise, pineapples, and a package of questionably-aged hot dogs in your fridge. Give my mom half an hour, and you are suddenly eating the best mayonnaise/pineapples/questionable hot dog dish in your freaking life, and loving every minute of it. What’s my point? While she was here, my mom was able to make an American-tasting meal that made it feel just like home using the tiny stovetop provided in her hotel room: breaded chicken, mashed potatoes, baby carrots, and, of course, wine. It was exactly what I needed: a nice, homemade meal while being able to speak “American”. Yes, I am completely aware that the language we speak is actually called English – I’m not a Republican after all. But in this instance, I actually do mean American. So many of my friends here are from England and, while I love learning their different ways of saying things like French fries (chips) and chips (crisps), I needed some time speaking with some American slang and not having to explain my meaning. To this day, I have no idea what my English friends thought I meant when I asked if they had any “whiteout”.
The Great Gauffre Debacle of 2012. First let me say that I am not going to explain what a gauffre is. The beauty and perfection of gauffres surpass my literary abilities, so you’re just going to have to Google it. Anyways, when my mom came, I was super excited to impress her with my French abilities and show her that the millions of flash cards I have made over the years and that she is still finding in the most remote areas of our house were finally worth something. This was going pretty well for most of her trip. I mean, sure, French people might think I sound like a five year old on cough syrup, but at least to my mom I sounded cool. This coolness came to an abrupt end when I innocently tried to order a gauffre at a booth in the town center. I still have no idea why French people never understand me when I order this, but every single interaction I’ve had trying to buy a gauffre has resulted in sheer confusion and a series of awkward pointing. My waistline be damned, I will persevere and keep ordering them until I get it right….even if my mom is not here to see it.****
So those were definitely the highlights of my mom’s trip while in Lille. Next post I’ll give you all some deets about the time we spent in Paris, including our unnecessarily long quest to find the Eiffel Tower.
*I was contractually obligated to include this description.
**I feel the need to clarify that I am completely joking. Maybe it’s a problem that I feel this need.
***Twister is going on the Murtaugh list.
****I mean she won’t be in France, not that she’ll be dead. Although, the end of the world is coming up so who knows.