Meeting the family

His family.

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!

What is the recipe for success?

I just read this from Blake Shelton and it gives me some confidence…

“Miranda and I have been together, it’s getting close to five years now,” he said. “We’ve had our good years and our bad years and our really bad years. But I think right now, she and I have a stronger relationship than we’ve ever had, even in the early times when it was new and exciting, it still didn’t feel like it feels right now. We’ve been through a lot together, and we’ve toughed it out. It’s exciting to me.”

“Probably for the first time I can realistically say, I can see us being together forever,” he added. “I can see us getting married one day, maybe, where before you would never have gotten me to say something like that. As far as I’m concerned we’re definitely closer than we’ve ever been to maybe taking that step.”

I guess because this level of seriousness is all new to me, I look for benchmarks to measure my level of confidence.  I know it’s wrong.  Every relationship is different.  But some of us are better students of other’s examples, some by experience.

I’ve always been one for experience.  Especially in the realm of amour.  But this time, the experience is jumping a stage or two, rather than running extra steps.  To uproot and to move, to follow someone who has shown you for ever in a few months.. this is the pinch of scary with handful of exciting, in a bowl of adventure.  The adventure bowl is getting grains of both ingredients.  Most of the time, it feels as though the hand is afraid to let go, allowing the pinch to become overwhelming.  The hand is getting tired, but doesn’t know whether it’s making the right decision or not.  Is this the stage where it’s better to follow the recipe book, or to wing it?  Being unfamiliar at cooking, and this dish, what if the mix isn’t right?  I know it’s all about learning by trial and error, but what if it the results are catastrophic?  I could burn my hand, reminding me of the pain of learning how to cook.

But then again, there is a reason as to why God gave me two, right?