Sunday, April 03, 2005

Family Ties

I don't have a large family and we don't really keep in touch with the few relatives we have outside of our immediate family. My sister is changing that. A few years ago she started working on our genealogy and recently she has been in touch with our cousins to get more information about our ancestors. One cousin she was talking to recently told her our second cousin was coming to Paris. So my sister contacted this cousin Janet and told her we'd like to get together.

I met Janet and her 8-year old daughter this Saturday. We got together and brought our daughters to the Jardin D'Acclimatation (my son was at a friend's house). The third cousins really enjoyed playing with each other. Here are the two of them using the remote control boats at the Jardin.

After the Jardin, both of my kids had a birthday party to attend. As usual, my daughter required me to stay with her at the party. I really don't know what to make of this. She actually gets unhappy if I leave the room. At one point she cried when I left to get a drink in the kitchen. The host, a good friend, was a bit offended.... "doesn't she feel comfortable in my home?" What do I say? Although she has a lot of strong traits (stubbornness and determination are on top of the list) she just doesn't like to be without me (with the exception of school). At least she is making progress... going to a friend's house for lunch a few times a month.

After the birthday parties, my husband and I headed out for a dinner. Some acquaintances invited us over with 4 other couples. For three of the couples, one spouse was American. One couple was French. We were the only American couple. The host greeted me with three-kisses. I've never had the three-kiss greet, so it took me by surprise. According to the map that Glacons found and photoshopped, I guess many people kiss four times in Paris... I haven't found that, but maybe I don't know the right Parisiens! Looking at the map, he is from the southwest -- smack in the middle of three kiss country.

We ended up sitting next to a interesting couple at the dinner... an opera singer and a commodities trader. When we lived in Washington, DC, all of our friends were people who worked in the same field as we did. It's such a pleasure to meet people from different walks of life... professions I've never even thought about.... from countries I never really thought about.

The guy sitting next to me was born in Tripoli, Libya, and moved to Rome when he was 1. His mother is French. His father is Jewish, Italian, and emigrated from Israel. His father moved to an Italian colony in Libya, but he never obtained Libyan citizenship. My dinner companion has lived in France for 20 years. He is trilingual.... I thought he was American when I first spoke to him. I asked him what he told people when asked what nationality he was... basically, he has no simple answer. I lived in the same home for the first 16 years of my life. His life story was fascinating to me.

Happy Birthday to my sister in the US!

-- said Auntie M in Paris
9:10 PM



That's such a cute kiss map! I didn't realize people kissed more than twice, ever.

I used to be like your daughter, when I was young. For a time there in grade school I constantly wished that for some reason my mom would pick me up early from school. I turned out okay!

# posted by Janna : 12:27 AM  

My 7 year old would not be left at a party for a long time. My youngest child has been completely happy about it for a long time. How rude of that mother though, to make matters worse and to make you feel so small at the same time. Hi. I have come here via the Second Half

# posted by franchini : 1:17 AM  

Just wait until your daughter is a teenager--she'll have no separation issues then. You won't see enough of her. Take it from me, a teenaged girl with a preteen sister.

# posted by Sophie : 1:58 AM  

Janna, I am sure my daughter will be fine... but the clown and the host were taken aback by my daughter crying just because I left the room. Additionally, another little girl then started crying because her mommy had left her at the party.
Franchini, It was actually the father who said it... he really felt like my daughter was part of the family and he couldn't understand why she was scared.
Pilar, I'm sure that is true! I don't look forward to when she doesn't want to be around me... somewhere in the middle would be nice!

# posted by Auntie M in Paris : 11:41 AM  

Thanks for the kiss map of France! I shall have to keep that in mind if we ever get to spend any extended time there.

At nine, my daughter is also still a bit clingy in some social situations. As she is also separating quite a bit from me in other situations, I'm learning to appreciate it.

# posted by Donna : 12:06 PM  

I've been here for (yikes) 17 years and I still have no idea how many times to air kiss anyone... Most of the people who know me now just slap me on the back, like at home in NY. It's become a joke amongst our friends -- whenever someone has a new spouse, or significant other, etc, and they start to approach for the "kiss", someone else just shouts out "no, no, she's from NY, just slap her on the back and say 'Hey' ". There you go...

# posted by Jennifer : 12:24 PM  

THANK THE LORD! Somebody solved the kissing problem for us... whew... now, if we could just get one up for all of Europe, then we'd have something to market!

# posted by NARDAC : 10:58 PM  

the kissing map is so cute but i don't think it's all that accurate. or else my relatives are wacky kissers.

# posted by maryse : 1:31 PM  

Donna, My sister thinks the kissing map is accurate for her part of the south of France. Most people I've met kiss twice in Paris.
Jennifer, That is too funny. My husband, from the midwest, hates the kissing thing.
NARDAC, If it were only so easy...
Maryse, I hate to tell you, but I think your relatives are wacky. Just kidding.

# posted by Auntie M in Paris : 9:42 PM  

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