Great day for a BBQ.

I’m sitting here listening to Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings which totally contrasts to the mood of the day. I read a blog post that was Freshly Pressed (put on the WordPress homepage….it means your post was really good and well received or something :P) and it had a link to the piece. So here I am. It’s so emotional and haunting. But it’s beautiful so I’ll leave it on even though I had a really great day.

So we went to Valerie’s parents house for a BBQ. I got to meet her parents, her two Grandma’s, her sister’s (I’m pretty sure they were all her sisters) and their significant others/kids. And the De Coster family was there as well.

I had a lot of fun. At one point I was talking with Valerie’s Mom and she told me that they have 20 cows. I’m pretty sure she said the cows were theirs. I explained how there are a lot of dairy farms around my house. Two on my section of the road and of course the Bretz’s over by Washington. She told me their dog is 8 (I believe it’s a golden lab…or something like that). I told her about Sarah and how she was 13 or so and how she recently passed away. She then told me that she had helped train a seeing eye dog (a Golden Retriever). It was great to be able to hold my own in a conversation. I have a long way to go, but if I can learn as much if not more in the next 6 months that I’ve learned so far, I’ll be in a good place.

And the hors d’œuvres! There were so many of them. I have a list. And pictures, but they won’t all be up here. Sorry.

  • mango and shredded meat in cups
  • wraps with meat, cheese, and veggies (I think)
  • what is easiest described as egg salad on mini round toast
  • bacon wrapped prunes
  • tomato mozzarella cake
  • veggie plate
  • croissants with bacon and leeks
  • lettuce leaves (that acted like bowls) with anchovies…I think that’s what it was. Really salty fish and Valerie’s Mom said they go on pizza. I didn’t try these.
  • north sea shrimp with guacamole and tomatoes. I tried a teeny bit, even though i hate shrimp. Jean said ‘yes, but they’re from the North Sea so try them’. Still didn’t like them.
  • apples and salmon
  • gazpacho (cold soup, like V8 juice)

Mango, meat, and bubbles!

I kind of feel like I’m missing one or three. Hmm. I put a list in my iPod, and that’s all I’ve got, so maybe that’s it.  For the BBQ there were chicken skewers, lamb, beef, sausages. Different salads, potatoes, veggies. Then desert. Oh desert. There was chocolate mousse, fruit salad with ice cream, and three different kind of tartes. And by tartes I mean pie/cake like deserts. It’s a tarte in French. I say pie/cake like because the filling is like a pie and it’s cut into wedges, but the crust is soft like cake, not pie crust. There was cheese, sugar, and one with a white filling and fruit on top dusted with icing sugar. Let’s just say that we didn’t eat supper when we got home.

For beverages there was water, wine, and bubbles. Well, the bubbles were Spanish. Valerie’s Mom (I can’t remember her name!) said it was champagne from Spain, but I know that it’s technically not called champagne unless it’s from the Champagne region of France….I’m a little confused, but it doesn’t take much. I believe the brand was Cava. It was pretty good. Valerie’s Dad kept filling my glass. Well, he only did it twice, but still. I didn’t take any wine at dinner (mostly because I’m not a huge fan of red wine, but also because I had to drive home). I remember the last time I got my oil changed in my car before I came here. The one woman who works there said that by the time I get home I’ll love wine (I had told them I wasn’t partial to it when they asked – the people the folks who were working at the garage at the time). I think they got Belgium (or maybe just Europe in general) confused with France. I’ve probable mentioned it before, but beer is to Belgium what wine is to France, so by all accounts I should be a lover of beer when I return. Maybe if I drank it more (wine and beer), but I don’t want to wast it when I know I’m not going to like it. Sometimes when I’m in the mood I’ll try a bit, but it’s always the same result, especially with the red. I will never be a lover of wine and I am fine with that.

Bastien had some other kids to play with. Clémence was there, as well as Valerie’s two nephews (one being 3, the other was younger, but walking). There was Sylvain, Maëline, and Capucine, as well as Valerie’s 6 week old niece Alice. There was a big tree in the backyard with a huge hole in the center. All the kids either wanted to know, or said there was a squirrel inside. By that time I was over there and I asked who wanted to take a look. Of course they all (the 4 older ones) all chimed in with a loud ‘YES!’. So we took turns. Then Bastien asked to look again and the others wanted to as well, but they were all kind of pushing and wanting to go first (maybe this happened the first time, I honestly can’t remember). So as not to play favourites I did ‘eenie, meenie, mynie, moe’ (how do you spell all that?) and they thought it was the funniest thing. Bastien ended up being first, then the younger of the nephews, the older, and finally Clémence. It was good times had by all. And no squirrel.

While I was sitting on the patio watching the guys barbecuing and chatting, I made an observation. I know I’m not known for them, but this one was staring me right in the face. Think of all the BBQ’s you’ve been to. All the people hanging around, a group of guys or gals (at my house, Mom does the BBQing) standing by the grill. What was everybody drinking? Beer, pop, or water most likely. And beer in the bottles or cans (which is never done here…you always pour it in a glass). Well, today it was the champagne. I remember looking at them and thinking something was striking me as odd. That’s when I noticed the glasses in their hands and realized what it was. Other than that (and all the fancy hors d’œuvres) it was just like a North American BBQ. When we first got there it was sunny and got hotter as time wore on. Then the clouds really came in and it looked like rain. Fortunately everything was already set up to eat inside. We brought in all the chair cushions and whatever else we didn’t want to get wet. Also, as a side note, they had a really cool sandbox that, while open, had a little bench on two sides which then turned into a lid. Cool huh? It would sprinkle a tiny bit here and there. By the time we all sat down to eat it started rain. Talk about timing. They even had a kiddie table. That brought me back to family gatherings as a kid.

I really like Valerie’s family. They (like Jean’s family and the Duchâteau’s) were really nice and welcoming. I talked with both the Grandma’s and the one told me about someone she knows (I think it might be her god-daughter?) who spends 6 months in Florida and 6 months in the south of France so it’s sunny all year round. And how her (the god-daughter’s) daughter lives in Washington (USA) and son lives in a town near Washington that starts with a ‘CH’ I think. She couldn’t remember exactly. It might be her niece and nephew or someone else entirely. I hope the fact that I always forget all these details is just because they’re coming at me in another language and not because my memory is going or because I don’t pay enough attention. Bah.

Good day. I had a lot of fun. I’m getting a little more confidant with French. Also, sometimes I find myself thinking in French. I mean, when I want to say some things I usually try to work them out it my head first so that I get it as right as possible. I called my Dad and found myself thinking about what I wanted to tell him….in French, not in English. And when counting out the powder for Sylvain’s bottle my go to language is French (unless I’m really tired). Sometimes I’ll alternate each number between French, English, and German just to keep my on my toes, but mostly I count it in French even though it’s just in my head. So this is an improvement. I actually think sometimes about how I’m going to greet my family, but it always ends up being in French and then I remember they don’t speak French. I mean, they know bonjour and things like that, but other stuff not so much. Maybe I’ll send them home with a few phrases.

Ok, wow. When did this post get so long. As I write this there are 1571 words. Good night!

Leave a comment


  1. OMG, if that was the hors d’œuvres what was the main meal? Sounds like you’re having an amazing time there. I imagine you creating a book from your posts and saving it for your kids and grandkids to read. Reading is better when you’re flipping the pages.

    • So true. There’s nothing like curling up under the blankets with an old friend. And by old friend I mean the most reliable kind (as long as you handle with some care). Lots of BBQ’d meat; chicken, lamb, sausages, beef. Salads, veggies, potatoes. The works. And I think creating a book out of this is a great idea! I had thought to write a book while I was over here and people had given me some suggestions (like a children’s book or a book about the differences between here and home), but I haven’t yet felt inspired. At least this way I’m already half way through!

      • I’d buy it and there are so many services out there like Lulu that can do it for you 🙂

        • Excellent and thanks :D. I’m interested in your book that you’re working on. Every time you mention it I get curiouser and curiouser.

    • Those hors d’oeuvres sounded like meals to me as well. Sounds like a wonderful experience. 🙂

      • I have to say, even though I didn’t try all of them, I wasn’t ‘starving’ by the time the actual meal came around, but I sure was full after it! We didn’t even eat supper that night….did I actually mention that above?

        Thanks for stopping by. I haven’t been by your blog in a while, but I did check it out about a month or so ago. ^_^


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