Sunday, July 28, 2013

The company we (would like to) keep

We are jealous of our many British friends here in France. They warn us: "Once you open the floodgates to company, it'll be non-stop." But the Brits' relatives and friends can fly here quickly and cheaply on Ryan Air to Bergerac. Our potential guests would need to spend more than $1,000 and have the luxury of a few weeks of paid vacation in order to spend time in our neck of the woods. Because we're so remote, it would be unlikely -- and unwise -- to spend their valuable time and money just to visit little old us.

So, we were thrilled last week when one of Ken's (six!) nephews and his mom (Ken's former sister-in-law) decided to spend part of their European vacation here in Lauzun. 

After a whirlwind week in Paris and Barcelona, they arrived in Marmande via train from Toulouse. A little tired and a bit overwhelmed by the first two-thirds of their trip, where they saw sites Ken and I have yet to see, they were happy to take it a bit slower for the last few days of their precious vacations.

Still, we were determined to show them the best this region has to offer to a 19-year-old smart, funny young man and his vivacious mom. 

Persevering through the unrelenting heatwave engulfing the area, we took them to le châteaux de Duras, we explored the dawn of civilization in la vallée de la Vézère, and we showed them how our little village celebrates a hot summer evening with a repas de rue (street meal). 

But even more significant than sharing the sites and tastes of our petite partie of France, we had the singular opportunity to connect with family: une belle-soeur we hadn't seen in years and un neveu who previously had been just one of a large clan. We gossiped, we talked about U.S. politics, and we laughed a lot. We established bonds that will continue through the years.

It's unlikely they'll come back and visit again, at least in this configuration: mother and son. But, we now have shared memories.

And, fingers crossed, they will give us a good review on the family/friends version of Trip Advisor. With the right word-of-mouth, peut-être, we'll get some more company. I mean, come on: We have two, count 'em, two, guest rooms and a spare bath. Ken's a gracious pilote. And I'm a pretty good cuisinier, if I do say so myself. 

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