Wednesday, January 2, 2008

France, food and fun.

I am back! I missed writing on my blog so much! I tried, but truly, we were either cooking, eating, drinking or cleaning up after ourselves. With 13 of us in the house it was a lot of fun, and a lot of work. We had a great time... if only for my emergency trip to the dentist!!!
It all started a looooong time ago... when I noticed some sensitivity to cold drinks. I did not worry, and I almost forgot about it -in Italy ICE is a rare commodity, and it is almost impossible to get iced drinks at restaurants. Lately, the pain had become more than a little bother, and I kept on delaying my trip to the dentist. My reasoning behind all this waiting was that I thought I would have to go back to the States soon, and my dental insurance covers me there but not here. All financial worries went out the window when I found myself hurting nonstop in France; I was not able to enjoy any of the great food Adriana was cooking. My friend Maria Teresa called the emergency room, and they gave her the number of the emergency dentist on call. So on December 30th we headed to the dreaded dentist (Could anyone explain to me why I am so afraid of the dentist that I would rather endure pain on my own, than a little bit of pain when getting the anesthetic?) Maria Teresa translated and the dentist took some x-rays -Are they still called x-rays? He did it all with a really small camera placed inside my mouth, then all the digital images appeared on his computer. Amazing! He found the troublesome nerve and took care of it in what seemed to me like a minute! I have been to many dentists in my life (I blame my DNA, since I take good care of my teeth) and I have never been off the chair in such a record time! Root canal with filling: 100 Euro; not having a toothache: priceless!!!
Coming back home pain-free was such a relief! From that moment on, I was able to enjoy all the delicious food that Adriana made. She lives in the north of Spain, in Santander, and she brought with her all kinds of seafood: squid, mollusks, prawns, as well as all kinds of charcuterie: Serrano ham, cecina, and chorizo. In addition to all the Spanish goodies which included a lot of wine, we had the French specialties: Pâté de foie gras, galette de rois, and champagne. We knew that there was going to be a lot of food, but we couldn't stop ourselves from bringing some Italian panettone with mascarpone sauce, and a bottle of limoncello for everyone. But wait, there is more, remember we are Colombian and we had to have some of our food too! We did not have anything traditional, but we had a great sancocho, also arepas and mazamorra with bocadillo.
The kids were together ALL the time, as the four boys were sharing a room. We would heard them talking and laughing late into the night. They also played their electric guitars together, and when their hands were free of instruments or game controls (you know, your typical playstation or game console of choice) they would get busy eating! Some helping around too.
When we were not eating, we took little trips to nearby towns. We were near Valence, in southeast France, where the landscape is beautiful and the wine is great.There are little towns worth a visit like Crest with its tower dating from the 12th century, or Etoile-sur-Rhône with its little streets aligned with stone structures. I particularly loved all the ceramic work for sale on the stores. I bought a nice big cup for my coffee and I would have bought many more if they were not a little pricey. It was money well spent though, as I am now a proud owner of an original, unique and useful piece of art.

New year's eve was the highlight of our visit, as we were able to talk to our relatives and friends via skype and thanks to technology we were able to see everybody and be seen! We got all dressed up, we set a long table with holiday decorations, and we had great food. Have you noticed how many times I have written the word food? I am so happy we were able to visit with our dear friends, and I am so thankful for all the great moments we all shared together. Happy New Year everybody!

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