N and I are off to France and Portugal for 3 weeks (I’m soo excited to be able to spend so much time with him!). His sister in Coimbra just had her first baby last month making him a first time uncle, he needs to get a new passport, ID card, driver’s license which all need to be processed back home in Portugal, and he gets a week off for Chinese New Year. So all these things coming together, made this the best time to head there.
Portugal is where most of his family members reside. The only family member I’ve met is his beautiful mum. She’s just the second most lovely lady next to my mom ;), a true Mama. At less than 5 feet, on the rounder side, bright, constantly smiling, and is a happy soul. She speaks Portuguese, French and Spanish, but not a word of English. Luckily,vI took French when I was younger, but last studied it when I was 16. Needless to say, j’ai oublié beaucoup (I have forgotten a lot).
Nevertheless, we both tried our best to communicate as best as we could through my very broken, hardly existent rudimentary French. Even with the language barrier, we adore each other. She met my parents when she came to visit last year, and had a lot of fun with my mom (whose last French lesson was not too long before I was born). Mama and I even call each other for quick chats every so often to give each other bises (kisses), and at the end of our last conversation, she said “J’taime beaucoup beaucoup P” (I love you a lot, very much). I melted.
So Mama, love. Now I’m going to meet his father, sister, her husband, his cousins, his aunts and uncles. Level of nervousness is standard meeting-the-family level. The one family member I’m really nervous about meeting is his paternal grandfather. He pretty much raised N and has a huge influence over who he is today. To make it even more challenging, his Avô only speaks Portuguese, none of which I speak. Let that sink in.
N bought me a Teach Yourself Beginner’s Portuguese book, complete with 2 CDs which I have ripped onto my iPhone. Out of the 20 chapters, I’ve done 2 – Pleased to Meet You, and Where are you From? On top of that, Portuguese is nothing like French or English, so no shortcuts for me there either 😦
With a little more than a week to go, I don’t know how much more I can absorb. I’ll keep trying, but while there, I need to make sure I am accepted by his other family members so they can help pass on the good word 🙂 Overall though, I am really excited and nervous but rearing to go!