Our First House Guests

Saturday night I found out what happens when a friend you haven’t seen in nearly 20 years comes to visit, if you’re lucky. You sit up until all hours of the night talking and laughing.

                Our first European house guests, Annabella and her husband Vito (who I’ve never met) arrived from the US. I was very excited until I went to the train station to pick them up. First, Clyde (my gps) gives horrible directions downtown and he kept telling me “turn around when possible.” Then I couldn’t find parking around the train station. I rushed up to the station just as I saw the TGV pull in. Whew. There can only be one TGV in Grenoble. I walked in the station, up and down the platform, back in the station, back up and down the platform. No Annabella. I presume no Vito, but I’ve only seen pictures. Just as I was starting to get really worried they appeared at the top of a staircase I’d have never thought to check, I just happened to be standing there.

                    Annabella said she wanted to experience some local culture (aka: cuisine) while here. Because she didn’t come to see snow, that left little else. So we started with a stop at the pizza truck. It was genuinely local fare. Annabella speaks French so she struck up a conversation with the woman at the pizza truck. Vito and I just sorta stood there. I live here; she chats here.

                    Sunday no one stirred early and the weather didn’t lend itself to doing much anyway. Vito won the “best houseguest” award by making breakfast for everyone. Well, it was more like brunch since he and Annabella didn’t get up until one in the afternoon, but that’s ok. I hadn’t cooked anything for us because I kept thinking they’d get up at any second!

                    Finally we decided to defy the drizzle and go out somewhere, so we headed downtown. That meant countless rides down the giant slide for Kaitlyn (how is it that she always sees that thing?). While she did that, Annabella and Vito got crepes from the little truck set up next to the kiddie slide. There, some man heard us speaking English and started talking to Annabella. Again, I live here; she chats here. Vito said she does that everywhere. (you can learn more about their travels at: mywifetakesmeplaces.com)

                    Eventually the rain returned and Kaitlyn got too tired since she slid through naptime, so we returned home. Bill volunteered to stay home with the grumpy child while the rest of us went out to dinner. Instead, Annabella and I left both the men at home and went to pick up Chinese food. (That gave some quality man/computer time we didn’t have to endure.) There is a restaurant in Uriage Bill has been determined to try, so we agreed to go there.

                    Chez Ngyuen. I don’t know, the name just is funny to me. But it is way closer than driving back downtown and that was really the only reason I gave in. When we went inside it was far from busy. There was one woman at the bar, she’d apparently also made a to-go order. Two men were asking for a table. In the corner of the bar there was a tv sitting on a table showing a French game show to keep the employees entertained in between customers. It appeared the tv was pretty handy in that regard. With Annabella’s help, we figured out enough of the menu to make our choices. Bill wanted soup, but you have to take your own container. Seemed weird to me, since they had to go containers for all the other food. Seemed especially weird to me when they held up a bag of what looked like eyeballs in syrup and said “dessert.” Lychee fruit. It’s still sitting in our fridge, although I don’t know why we didn’t just toss it. Who wants to eat a big bowl of eyeballs? Not me, thank you very much. With a soup container and minus the eyeballs, I’d go back I think.

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