Thursday, April 10, 2008

Day 61 – This is the house in Route de Ferney. These are the people who live in the house in Route de Ferney. This is the baby of the people who . . .

So here I am in Auréle’s house in Route de Ferney. Auréle left very early in the morning, so Chrissy and I went shopping and had a quiet breakfast. The supermarket is less than half a block from the house and has everything anyone might need. I like it.

Shortly after breakfast Chrissy took off, not looking forward to the 500 km drive under heavy rain. She is such a dear friend, and was quite happy to have driven me down here, but I feel bad that she will have to make the trip alone. “Nonsense”, she told me, “I am happy that I had the chance to see your new city, and now that I know the way I’ll see if Gustav and I can come visit you for a long weekend in May.” Auréle has painted a beautiful picture of a cabin that the family has in the mountains, so maybe we will take their visit as an opportunity to go hike on the Alps.

With rainy weather and the guilty conscience that I have not done much work in the book I decided to spend the day at home, which is my excuse to introduce you to the new cast of characters: First we have Auréle, my gracious host, who is 23 years old and works with an Event Coordination company. He lives in the first floor of the family house, speaks perfect English, and has the largest collection of action films I have ever seen. Auréle’s girlfriend, Nura, doesn’t live here but she was a sweetheart and did a great job tidying up the house to receive visitors. The second floor of the house is occupied by his cousin Julie, her boyfriend Thierry, and their 3-month old daughter Cleo. Julie’s brother, Arto, does not live here, but is also a part of the gang.

OK, so here I am spending a quiet day, when all of a sudden the house erupts and people start pouring in. It turns out that cousin Arto decided to pay an impromptu visit to her sister, and had brought along the makings of lunch. He, like everyone else here, is very friendly and speaks perfect English, so we easily fell in conversation as more and more of the people kept trickling in (the only one missing, alas, was Auréle). Lunch was a happy and noisy affair, with rapid-fire French coming from every corner of the kitchen, only interrupted by cooing noises to cute little Cloe. I am definitely going to like it here :)

The tide receded after lunch, and I had a few solid hours of work (I finished two more chapters!) before I figured it was time to do something about dinner. I started preparing rice and chicken in rosemary, and by the time it was ready Nura and Auréle came home, so we had a very nice time dining together. Nura and Auréle are being very patient with me, letting me practice my French on them (but I am still mixing French and German, so I am pretty sure most of what I said was unintelligible), but at the end Nura had to go to work (a one week gig as a waitress for some special meeting of clock-makers – yes, this is Switzerland) and Auréle and I had a nice conversation in English. I tried to talk him into a game of Backgammon, but he cleverly “misplaced” the board. That’s OK, I will get him later.

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