Today we took our dear American friends to shopping for shoes at Montceau downtown in the morning and then Chalon-sur-Saone after lunch of Polish cabbage wraps (first time for me and I had 3!). Above photos were all taken in Chalon and the church is sitting right in the middle of the city where Fabrice and Mike had their coffee and the kids, Vera and I were running in and out of the surrounding stores. Got few gift items. It's a big sale week of the year but our friends bought nothing. This is the third time that I went in any stores during our whole 6 weeks of vacation and this tells you how much I "enjoy" shopping. We spent quite some time at the park at the center of the city for the kids. They have earned the right to have some fun. Hopping in and out of stores really does not suit them.
Dinner at Camille's was fun. The 2 bottles of red wine that our guests brought would have gone well with the grilled duck breasts and merguez but Ton Ton Neville served his own red wine stock, which was great too.
What's worth of recording is that Fabrice got lost in the middle of nowhere on the way back because he did not want to follow our "outdated" GPS. A result of this? We spent our next 40 mins. on the country curvy roads and ended up going over 30 Kms on our rental car! BTW, do you know here in France, the rental car's daily limit is only 100 kilometers? Unlimited distance rental is available but not without selling one of your kidneys!
July 5, 2013. Saturday
It's the last weekend for us to be in France during this trip so we took our last chance to visit le marche in town. As you can tell, my happiness is almost gone and stresses are building up just to think about next few days. Wrapping up the "shopping" with few kilos of fresh fruits we went to the post office to send postcards to the kids' teachers - we will be arriving before the cards, but better late than nothing, right? The kids enjoyed the carousel by the city hall for the last time. We had baked pork sirloin lunch. Upon request, I made this (see photo on the right) for the family for dinner. Do you want some? After that, I can hardly eat another bite of French food. It's time to go home, I miss Chinese food now.
The highlight of the day is Fabrice spent his afternoon shopping for more food - we will have 17 people eating lunch tomorrow! He got a whirlpool stainless exhausting hood for his parents also. When he was installing the thing, he managed to cut his finger resulting a blood shed all over the kitchen and his clothes. The poor man now have an injured finger to bring back home!
July 6, 2013. Sunday
We are overwhelmed today by the lunch. My mother-in-law is gathering her whole family to lunch so that each can say goodbye to us properly! To give her time to get the table and food ready, Fabrice, Da Da Camille and Ton Ton Neville take all 5 kids, Tavin, Zhuzhu, Leone, Niuniu, and Stephan out of the house to the swimming pool. I drop them off and go on with my running life instead because the pool automatic machine does not sell tampons yet it has regular pad for women in need, how odd that is - it's a mini-store at the pool, do the French think?! I had to change my purse for this trip, you see what the damage that caused. I so wish I were in the U.S. and I would have gotten a tampon for free!
The kids could not stay at the lunch table because it's way too hot. We were eating outside under the sun while they were jumping in (hot sun) and out (cold water) of the pool at the back yard. I spent my lunch hours watching others enjoying their couscous and Andre's signature desserts - from left, down, and then right are: pineapple-cream cake, cream brulee and strawberry-cream cake. They looked tempting but I had something else for dessert - the kids' left the blue cream-jelly-fruit cake (not shown in the photo) that Camille made on their plates and I could not let it go to the trash. It's tasty too.
Among our 17 people, there are 4 from the volcano region - our Aunt-in-law brought her daughter and her grand daughter of 1 yr old. The dark blue eyed and blond haired doll made my day - I had quality time walking her at the back yard.
Following a massive lunch that lasted forever, our volcano's relatives left and the rest of the family of 8 adults continued to chat and the kids fighting/playing in and out of the pool until 7 pm. Then Fabrice took the kids and me to say goodbye to his grandma - the very old lady, as the kids called her. She is only 87 and in a great shape - she eats as much (or even more than) as I do yet she only weights half as I! When Fabrice told her to "continue eating well" she answered with all the seriousness, "I eat a lot, as much as I can, but cannot manage to gain any weight. I look so ugly." Then she pulled her skin off her bone to show us how "skinny" she was. Funny grandma. What a world of perfectionists!
Dinner at 8 pm is escargot. Zhuzhu and Niuniu both do not like the snails yet their cousins Tavin and Leone can't have enough of it! When Leone starts to lick his plate for more, I share mine with her. It's too hot for me to enjoy it anyways. The sad moments are when we all start to kiss each other to say goodbye - Zhuzhu cries, Leone refuses to kiss Zhuzhu, Stephan gives hugs as tight as an anaconda, Tavin, well, he squeezes everyone's hands, and Niuniu gives "French kisses" to everyone - I don't like to see kids saying goodbyes to each others.
We are heading to Paris to meet our American friends tomorrow. Want to hear more of our adventure in Paris?