Be Our Guest

Mom and I took a train from Nice to Cannes this morning, and meet Fede, my “host mom” (what do you call it as an au pair?) at the station. She is too sweet. She has loads of energy, is always smiling and laughing, and is so generous. We wandered the streets of Cannes for a bit and grabbed un café on the beach, before returning to her house, i.e. my humble abode for the summer. The apartment that I will be staying in is absolutely gorgeous, and is more of a luxury apartment than a “humble abode.” I mean, seriously, look at this…

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We had the most amazing lunch: tabouleh salad, quiche, super fresh tomatoes, bread (that we picked up on the way home from the boulangerie down the street), roasted eggplant, and cantaloupe. Then I went to unpack my things in the apartment and we chatted a bit more before Fede went to pick up the three little ones from school. She warned me again and again about their crazy energy, and she certainly didn’t leave me with unmet expectations. The boys, Matt (5) and Liam (4) jumped from the car as soon as they arrived home and raced their bikes all around the yard yelling, greeting mom and I as they rushed by with a “salut les filles!” or “hi girls!” Mila, the 2 year old girl, hid on the couch under her princess hat while the boys ran and played with swords, trucks, WWE wrestling medals, and who knows what else. Finally they settled down a bit, and I decided to give them the presents I brought for them: a cat stuffed animal, princess cover-up and towel for Mila, and Cars monster trucks and a Cars puzzle for the boys, plus some classic English childrens’ story books. I think that’s when the switch flipped (amazing what a few gifts can do for a kid) and for the next few hours I was being asked more questions in French than I could answer (literally, because several times I either couldn’t understand or I had no idea how to respond in French), being talked to by three little French children all at once, playing and helping while Fede gave them showers and prepared their dinner. Talk about loads of energy. By bedtime, I knew exactly why Fede decided an au paris was a good idea.

After the kids were finally asleep, I was able to chat more with Fede and her husband, Jeff as we ate my first classic Italian meal of the summer, spaghetti and homemade meatballs. We finished off with some sort of creamy cake (three kinds — raspberry, pear, and strawberry) and fresh apricots.

Jeff and Fede are absolutely wonderful. This evening they kept telling me things like,”thank you,””whatever you want,”and “you are family now,” and informing me about life “sur la Côte d’Azur.”

Day 1: Check. Tomorrow Fede is planning to take me to the beach while the kids are in school. But first, I get to sleep!

 

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