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The apple juice party

Our day got off to a beautifully slow start. Big kids were up before 6:00 but somehow, they played peacefully together giving us an hour to lie in. We moseyed down to eat breakfast and just lingered in each other’s presence. At one point in time, all five of us were happy to be at the table together, tooling around on some personal project. Baking, painting, puzzle solving, chewing on a toy… such weekend bliss.

We left all the projects in quite some state of disarray to go over to that apple juicing party with the neighbors I had mentioned. TM made muffins (apple muffins, naturally) for the party, which turned out to be a bit of a cultural faux-pas. Of course, no French person was going to chow down a muffin between the breakfast and lunch hours. And certainly not standing up, without a table. I realized this, the very moment I handed our neighbors the dish. *face palm*. Oh well.

The kids ran out the door ahead of us, always up for a good party. As expected, the neighbors and a small group of friends from around the village pillaged each orchard of apples and pears. All bruised fruit but the most rotten and decrepit made it into the wheelbarrows. Fruit found its way back to the juicing station made of a wicked machine to shred the apples and a glorious traditional, wooden juice press. Everyone pitched in to pick and juice and bottle. And everyone tested the most succulent apple juice batch, alternating juice swigs with a delicate Gewürztraminer to clear the palate. TM brought a few guys to our place to chop off our sour grapes and try them juiced, and a few more hands tweaked the DIY sterilizing device back in the neighbor’s basement.

Kids were nowhere to be seen for a good portion of the time. They reappeared to dunk glasses into fresh juice, to relieve full bladders or clean a scraped limb. Eventually, when about seventy liters of fruit juice had been bottled and there were no more empty bottles to fill, the equipment was washed down.

Nobody was in a rush to leave. “Time for lunch!” someone shouted. We napped kids in our empty home and on went the party, into the late afternoon hours. We chatted with folks over the apéro, where we discovered our muffins, of course, and waited for the barbecue lunch at the humbly set outdoor table. Our neighbor told us that this was the 13th year they had juiced together. Wow. And they had invited us into that sacred space of friends coming together. How honoring was it to us newcomers, to be invited to join in. It definitely got me thinking about how readily I would open up a special party to new kids on the block…

What an experience.
So thankful. And windblown.

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This post was part of the #Write31Days challenge, on the topic: Our family in global transition.
You can read the other posts written this month, by clicking on the links below!

1 – French Preschool
2 – Making friends in a new land
3 – ‘Yes’ people in a ‘No’ culture
4 – How language affects transition
5 – Not all French people are foodies
6 – The apple juice party
7 – I’m the third-born
8 – French-Mex ridiculous
9 – Busted by the Swiss police
10 – Educational field trip
11 – Visitors: the good and the bad
12 – Christmas in October
13 – A good place to get sick
14 – C’est les vacances!
15 – Playdate anguish
16 – The five year plan
17 – The Q&A edition!
18 – Holidays are for world-schooling
19 – The Granny I want to be.

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