Thursday, July 30, 2015

Africa-Europe 2015 Day 12. Happy Father’s Day!

Feliz Dia del Padre! Bonne Fete d’Pere!

Today the grand event is the trip to the countryside, where Geraldine’s family is getting together to celebrate Father’s Day. For us is going to be a drive of an hour and a half, but for the many family members coming from Orelans it will be only an hour.

When we got there the party was in full swing, so it took the best of half hour to meet the uncles and aunts, cousins, and nephews and nieces. Everybody was delighted to meet “the friends from America” and we were smothered with double beises and the multi-language expressions of greeting that characterize a European family. Some of the family came from Spain, so we got to talk in Spanish, and the young generation was quite fluent in English. Maya did wonderfully, going from English to Spanish, and then back to the few words she has learned in French (we played Guess the Character in the car, and by the end of the game she was quite able to ask if the character was from real life or imaginary, alive or dead, man or woman, or a comic book or movie character).

The hosts were Olivier and Axel, both of whom make a living training dogs. Their ranch house is large and ideally suited to boarding dogs, and to train them in open spaces or narrow winding paths (Axel trains sight-seeing dogs).

We met Geraldine’s parents, and her Mom’s sisters, as the senior generation. Geraldine, her sister, cousins and other halves made the next generation. Finally, their children, ranging from 8 year-olds Lucas and Mateo to the 20-somethings Julie and Laura, made the third generation. In total there must have been a good 30 people at the table, all speaking and laughing loudly at the same time, as befits a happy Mediterranean family.

After a glorious dinner we had the chance to play Molkky, a game in which 12 pins are stood up, and in which you have to knock down with a wooden cylinder. If you knock only one of them, then you get the point number marked in the pin (say I knock down the one marked 7, then I get 7 points). If you knock down 2 or more, then you get as many points as pins you knocked down (so if I knock down the 7 pin and the 11 pin I only get two points). The goal is to get 50 points. If you overshoot the 50, then you get thrown back to 25. Maya did quite well at Molkky, and got second place in the competition.

I, on the other hand, joined the game of Petanc (the game we call Bacci Ball) being played by the uncles, Nicolas, little Mateo, and myself. I was delighted to be able to play with the pros, although I must confess that I didn’t do any better than Mateo. Oh well, you cannot win them all.

Saying goodbye was quite the production, because by this time we had been accepted as part of the family, and everybody wanted to exchange a few kind words, welcoming us to France, wishing us a good stay, and hoping for the best of lucks in the rest of the trip. Baises flew right and left as we said goodbye to this wonderful family.

It was a great Father’s Day!

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