Earlier this month, A and I spent a week with his family, visiting more of his family, and staying at the house where his grandmother grew up in France. It was a wonderful, if admittedly overwhelming experience. We were never fewer than twelve people in the house – going up to nineteen at one point, and it was, as A said, much like living in a Mauriac novel. Fascinating characters abounded, and many long and late night conversations were had around the dinner table over cheese and wine.
Many long days were spent reading while A worked on his dissertation. I got through Nora Ephron's Heartburn, her I Feel Bad About My Neck essay collection, and Anne Tyler's retelling of The Taming of the Shrew, Vinegar Girl.
One morning, we went off to explore the nearby town of Niort, before then spending the afternoon punting in the Marais poitevin. You can find lots of pictures and a post on the afternoon over on The Attic on Eighth.
Another afternoon brought us to Rochefort, where we toured a giant reconstruct of the Hermione – the boat that took LaFayette to America during the Revolutionary War. I most enjoyed walking around the city and remembering how much I loved Les Demoiselles de Rochefort when I was little.
The ramparts of the Renaissance city of Brouage.
Time spent working on The Attic on Eighth.
The best part of the trip though was being able to relax and learn more about A's family. I always say that after every family event I go to with him, but it's always true. When you love someone and realize you want to spend your life with them, learning about and getting to know their family becomes something important. A's been talking about this house in France since we met each other, so being able to visit and spend time there with his family was a gift. I'm now able to picture the places he talks about, and now we have our own memories there as well. It was a lovely week, and every moment of anxiety was worth it. Here's to many more trips in the future!
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I'm Olivia, a twenty-six year old grad student studying in Switzerland. This is where I share my thoughts on the academic journey, culture, travels, baking, and my daily life abroad. Read More.