Thursday, July 19, 2012

BFF Trip 2012

I honestly have no idea where to begin or how to put the past two weeks into words.  So, I will start here, with this circle of friends.  And I will attempt to make sense of how we all came together.
It started three years ago with my pastis-pouring friend whom I met on the social networking website New York in French.  He is the crazy glue that holds us all together.  La colle folle??
(Pictured here pouring drinks for his guests.  He prepared my sister-in-law's first ever pastis.  A proud moment for a Provençal Frenchie!)

Then M. Pastis introduced me to his son's English teacher, Mme P, pictured here with her beautiful daughters.
Mme P and I now have an exchange program in place with our schools so we get to spend time together each spring.  (If you are a regular reader, you know all about this!)
I can't leave out her handsome husband--
Who made this for us in the cement around their pool.  What a great surprise for both of us.
And here is the son (my 7th and 8th grade girls would never forgive me if I didn't include his photo), shown here with Ms. Arizona.

Add in my BFF group, pictured among the lavender at the Abbaye de Sénanque.

Next stir in Lyn and Dave, my friends from home, pictured with M. Pastis' lovely wife.

They are exchanging houses with M. Pastis' mom, pictured here with moi and Dave's sister.

Then comes Bonnie, whom I met on-line through an AATF colleague here in NC, but not face-to-face until this evening.
She and her husband are living in France for a few months and met M. Pastis after I sent out an email asking if anyone was interested in exchanging houses with his mom.
And last, but certainly not least, mix in Jim and Connie.

M. Pastis met her on NYIF also and they have become great friends.  He introduced me to her and we have been e-pals, but once again, we hadn't met face-to-face until this evening.  Her sister, Carole Fredericks, was a singer living in Paris until her untimely death at the age of 49.  Connie keeps her sister's memory and work alive through the Carole D. Fredericks Foundation.  (As a French teacher, I must find out more about this and use some of her materials in my class this year.)
While in Paris, I visited her grave in Montmartre.

We discovered that Carole (and their big brother Taj Mahal) didn't get all the talent in the family.  M. Pastis had already told me that Connie has quite a voice, so I asked her if she would sing for us.  She willingly obliged and we were enthralled as she serenaded us under the stars (they have the Big Dipper in France, too!) in M. Pastis' garden.
She and I are both huge Louis Armstrong fans and love his rendition of La Vie en Rose so she chose that song for us.
What a wonderful evening and the time spent with old and new friends was the absolute best I could ever have hoped for as I planned this trip.
Merci from the bottom of my heart to the two people who helped me make this happen--
On to the food--
M. Pastis prepared a cold buffet for us featuring, among other dishes-
(I ate as much melon as I possibly could while in France.  The taste is heavenly. Pure summer Provence sunshine.)
This salad was delicious, served with a vinaigrette sauce very heavy on the Dijon mustard, according to  the chef. (The sauce was also great on his cold potato and ham salad.)
And a very simple-to-make tomato-goat cheese tart-
Pie crust (store bought or homemade), fresh goat cheese, cherry tomatoes cut in half, herbes de Provence, baked until crust browns-- voilà!  Served with chilled rosé, preferably from Tavel, bien sûr.
We even sipped a lovely drink made with rosé and grapefruit juice.  I think that this as yet unnamed BFF enjoyed it immensely.

Mme P made her famous best in the whole world mousse au chocolat for dessert.
An enchanted evening.
Bon appétit to all my BFF friends!  Je vous adore tous et toutes!

No comments: