Several months ago, when we were booking our flights for the holidays, it seemed to make sense to skip our annual pilgrimage to Austin in order to see my family at a cousin’s wedding in St. Louis between Christmas and New Year’s. But when Stephanie learned last week that she could work from home before and after Christmas, it didn’t seem right to stick in San Francisco while my family was at home in Austin. I’m all for feeding that first-born spirit of making my own traditions, but frankly, the holidays are best spent with family (a chance I only get once or twice a year). So we decided that if we could afford to change our flights, we would. And we did.
Unfortunately mother nature didn’t quite get the memo, so on Sunday, our newly booked flight to Austin was canceled due to weather just after we got through airport security. To make a long story short, we got to Austin after midnight, an arduous 5 hours later than planned, but all that matters is—we got to Austin. Which meant we were able to spend a lovely Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my family.
My parents drove all the way from Austin to visit us over Labor Day weekend. It was the first time they got to see our new home, not to mention the first time my mom had been to San Francisco since before I was born. It was also the first time we had anyone stay with us overnight, hence the aforementioned preparations.
Their trip gave us an excuse to be tourists in our own city, which is a role we always enjoy playing. On Saturday we took them on a driving tour that included Twin Peaks, Golden Gate Park, Ocean Beach, Lands End, and Union Square. Then on Sunday we had lunch at Fisherman’s Wharf, visited the Musée Mécanique, and checked out the old boats at the Hyde Street Pier.
From l’aéroport in Paris we traveled by train to Loriol-sur-Drôme—the town where Jean-Claude, Sabine, and Gaïa (Stephanie’s dad’s family) live. We stopped there to take a much-needed shower before continuing by car to Ruoms, a village across the Rhone where Sabine’s family has a country house.
On Saturday (the day after our arrival in France), Jean-Claude and Sabine held a reunion at the house for over 100 friends and family (hence the program of preemptive jetlag before we left). We were there to help out and, of course, partake in the festivities—which included lots of eating, drinking, and pushing Gaïa, Stephanie’s 20-month-old half-sister, on the “ba-la-lo”, her word for balançoire (swing). We took it easy on Sunday, enjoying the leftover ratatouille et rosé, and then we spent most of Monday packing up the house before heading back to Loriol.