We are a 50ish, end of the ish actually, multicultural Americano-French couple.
I have lived in the United States long enough to have brushed and tamed any outrageous differences but one: the taste in bread. I take this one very seriously!
Before he came to France for the first time, my husband was content with the only quality of bread he had ever known.
However, he was in the bliss of ignorance and did not even know it. The sliced bread that resembles cardboard was acceptable.
Two years ago, in Summer, hot summer in France. He was in for a trip.
We started to walk to the boulangerie every morning to buy our bread…and not to forget The croissants, “pains au chocolat”, “croissants aux amandes” etc…
Of course, the Bread became the center of our attention.
We likely ended up skipping lunch most days after a big breakfast. I write Bread with a capital B, because it was then that Gary realized he had been fooled all his life by the notion that sliced white bread is it.
So, here it is was on the table: Gary opened his mind to another universe…mine and more...
We were moseying in the Nantes region, cruising along and admiring the place, the old cities, and the beautiful landscape of Brittany.
As an American, he likes his drinks icy cold.
Unless you ask for ice in France, they do not always serve your drink with ice cubes unless it is Pastis, maybe and not always. That was a shocker for him.
He struggled with it a bit then got over it, laughing. He was not quite ready for the pastis just yet.
When in the US, I have the opposite problem, I don't like my drink cold so I have to ask for no ice...real difference, I guess.
We love to talk about our cultures and the good old days.
Gary has tons of interesting stories from growing up in rural Montana.
There were lots of fantastic characters who patronized his grandpa country store in Sanders, Treasure County, Montana.
But let us come back to our funny contrasts.
That same Brittany trip led us to my good friend Moisa's place.
Gary’s first visit there, he realized that a seafood dinner might be more than one dish.
He was presented with a platter of oyster, clams, shrimps, etc. and happily, dug in.
My husband enjoys good food and good company and has a tendency to eat pretty fast... So, he was enjoying himself a lot when the hostess brought another big platter of different fishes and rice…
Gary looked at me funny. He was just realizing that he might have to pace himself.
I, then, told him, "Honey, the shellfish were only the appetizer” …He released his belt and happily partake.
After that, we had a cheese tray and a strawberry cake. All in good balance with the wine, or champagne, as my friend only drinks champagne. Needless to say, we were content.
Now was the time for a little pétanque tournament.
Gary discovered “la pétanque”, for those unfamiliar, it is a bit like bocce ball play.
We French take “la pétanque" really seriously, almost a religion in the South of France where every village has its own court.
Immediately we formed teams... The court had fairy lights all around and it was quite a magical evening of good laughs and camaraderie, even though the teams were really at war.
That the precise moment when he said “Sweetheart, I am going to build a pétanque court in Montana.!"
And as I write this little story, the construction of the court in Montana is in full swing!
Bless his heart he is putting a lot of effort and professionalism in the making.
We will then invite all the neighbors and have a tournament, laughs, BBQ, and smores the Montanan way.
Another funny anecdote from this French summer.
We were walking on the beach in La Turballe and it is a long, long one.
It was a beautiful September day, we were talking, walking and laughing.
Suddenly, we ended on the part of the beach reserved for nudists. but almost without noticing. I knew about it but it slipped my mind had.
Gary looked around and was wondering what was happening. I believe it was his first encounter with nudists. And it is strange as he is well-traveled, but mostly for business…so I looked at him and said: “oops… sure you can survive that” smiling!
Indeed we continued our promenade and were still laughing when back at the BNB,
Here is one of our many little adventures, to be continued...
Sophie, but my friends here call me Sof.