After leaving the farmhouse for our first night in France; Didier, Clem, Flore and i went back to his grandparents’ for lunch. It was a Sunday (tho i wasn’t keeping track of days anymore and had to think a tad). We sat around chilling out till Didier suddenly jumped up remembering he had to do the beans for lunch.
Clem helped to carve the lamb we were going to have with the beans. Yeah. Do some work, boy.
I can’t even decide whether i prefer Saturday’s lunch or Sunday’s… It was sublime. They were all sublime.
This time, we started with three types of pate. From left to right – pork liver pate, pig head pate, and rabbit pate. Clem looked at me with big eyes, “Ohhhh there’s RABBIT pate..! Are you going to eat it?!” He knows i avoid eating rabbit cos i just can’t stand the thought of eating Thumper. But… it would have been rude to turn it down, no? So i tried it.
Thankfully i much prefer the other two. I have discovered new French food i ADORE, just when i thought i’d tried most of them! I was nodding my head to myself while munching it slowly, plotting how i could tapau/bungkus/transport some back to Malaysia for friends to try. This was TOO good. It HAD to be shared! I asked the family aloud whether it was possible to bring to KL. And they all said no… it’s fresh pate, it wouldn’t keep, etc. SAD!!!
The pig’s head pate is my FAVOURITE PATE IN THE WORLD NOW. It’s got soft rubbery bits of flesh mixed with wobbly yet firm fat… oh lordy lord… I was even thinking that i wouldn’t mind moving here with Clem if i got to eat this every week!
The little Chinese. Lah perh-teet shee-noo-ahs. That’s what Clem’s sister calls me.
Our flight was relatively painless save for an hour delay from Doha to Paris. Friends are always asking me what airline I take, and I’m always happy to rave about Qatar Airways. For a return ticket to most cities in Europe, I usually pay RM3,300. During non-peak seasons, tickets go as low as RM2,800. Their service is wonderful – the stewards and stewardesses remind me of how I grew up envisioning airline service. They’re insanely polite and smile genuinely to the point I feel guilty. Their food is so delicious I have trouble picking what I want at every meal. Oh and their entertainment choices are prime as hell. The movies are always so up-to-date that at times they haven’t even reached Malaysian cinemas yet. Score. On the KL-Doha flight, I picked a new Hindi film to watch, called Agneepath. I had no expectations, as I’ve never heard of it before, but I’d say it’s my favourite Hindi film since Devdas. I sighed in awe at the production quality of the dance scenes and costumes, told Clem ‘I’m sorry, but if the main actor proposed to me I might say yes’, and sobbed through all the sad scenes over two small bottles of shiraz.
After a 16-hour plane & transit journey in total, we arrived in Paris on Saturday morning at, I don’t know, 8am. We took ages to get through the tunnel that leads one off the plane as the French policemen were doing strict checks for illegant immigrants. All the French around me were cursing ‘merde!’ about how we had to stand for roughly 20 minutes in the hot sunny tunnel. When I showed one of the policemen my Malaysian passport, he look at it, and brightly greeted, “Selamat Khabar!” I grinned back at him widely, appreciative of the local welcome he gave me, and he said a few more words in Malay which I returned, before being allowed to pass through. Clem said, “I think you must have met the only policeman in France who speaks Bahasa.” I laughed, glad to finally be on French ground.
At the immigration queue, one of the officers let us skip the queue when he saw Clem and I in the ‘international passport’ line and also spoke to me in simple Malay. Clem was completely taken aback, “What? Everyone in Paris can speak Bahasa now or what?!” It IS a really surprising thing but I felt quite proud that people in Europe actually KNOW Malaysia and Malay words. Clem and I arrived at two different immigration booths at the same time, and we separated to go through them. Strangely enough, the officer glanced at my passport, chopped it, and I went through the barriers before Clem. Clem wasn’t amused, “I don’t understand this country. I’m French and I take longer than you!?” I commented maybe it’s my red hair. No one would try to be dodgy and have such an apparent hairstyle at the same time.
Before the big ultra-extended family dinner on the 24th,
we had a small family dinner at Clem’s grandparents’ house,
where his dad Didier prepared most of the food by himself.
Funny owl that i fancied
Big slabs of foie gras – ready to be pan fried
My favourite way to eat it! Followed by raw
We opened pressies before dinner.
I got a lovely silver necklace from Clem’s mum,
a bunch of French kids’ storybooks from France,
a top from Flore,
and a scarf from his grandparents
Pastries to start off our night, teamed with champagne
Clem’s grannie and me
I gave Didier some reindeer ears for fun
me + Flore
Clem’s grannie laughing at him for wearing her glasses
Didier + Dom
Foie gras pan-fried with grapes
Dom, Serge, me with my mouth hanging open
Lots of cheese after our turkey (which i forgot to take pictures of )
Dancing off the food after dinner!
I think that was the night i ate the MOST here in France.
(The occasion i ate the most was when i threw up in my own mouth afterward :p)
At one point i physically couldn’t swallow anymore.
You know? When you’re so full that you’re chewing and chewing but you just can’t seem to make yourself swallow.
Clem saw my face and said, “If you can’t finish it, leave it!”
But i’m Chinese yo.
And Chinese people don’t usually leave food on the plate…
it’d be rude!
I think his family are astonished at my appetite,
and he told me his grannie and dad wondered where i put it all.
I was just allowing myself to pig out,
and then religiously start gym and yoga in January.
… which is in 3 days time.
Since i landed in Paris,
i’d been waiting to see snow.
I didn’t want a thin layer that counts as snow for its first few hours,
before turning into ice or melting into slush.
I wanted Christmas card-worthy snow.
Not being impatient as the weather forecasts reported plenty of snow to come,
it came on the 23rd while we were in Le Mee.
For hours and more than a day,
it snowed non stop.
Swirling down from the sky in pretty patterns,
the white dots darted maniacally during its course,
as if unable to decide where to land.
I felt like a child again!
Deja vu jiggly wiggly feelings of boots crunching in the whiteness,
making soft squeaky sounds.
Admiring the scenery from the warmth of the car,
it looked like a big giant up above had accidentally spilled sugar frosting on the world.
Layering everything it could – cars, curbs, bushes, faux presents on Christmas trees outside, railings, rooftops, chairs left in the garden.
The world’s new look suddenly seemed to go hand in hand with the cream apartment we were staying in at the time.
Belonging to Clem’s aunt, it looked like something that wouldn’t look out of place in Vogue Living.
Catherine greeted us with pink wine, caviar and shrimps,
wearing a dusky pink sweater and leather pants.
We sat in her cream living room with its cream carpets and eggshell curtains;
the latter, hung gallantly at the floor to ceiling windows,
as if to nonchanlantly show off its view right in front of the River Seine.
Joyce likes the apartment, Clem told his dad.
“Of course she likes the apartment ,” he replied in French, “Look at it!”
+ + + + + +
view from the living room of the River Seine
nature’s miniature ladles of ice
playing with grannie’s scottish terrier
wilson’s first time in the snow!
clem’s gazillionth time in the snow… and he still managed to fail making me a giant snowball