|Weeellll, I apologize for the very long absence, and the time I missed will have to be only lightly touched on, but here goes nothing!
I didn't have time to mope about vacation being over when I got back from Paris, because who arrived four days later but my one and only brother Gabe!! I wanted to be so careful to be there when he got to the airport (you might notice a theme of me being overly worried about my perfectly competent family members) and then I got the arrival gate wrong, so ran around the corner just as Gabe sauntered out. He wasn't singing Les Possions from the Little Mermaid or wearing a Hawiian shirt, two threats I was very happy to see had been empty :) The bus back from the airport was easy, although getting around the train station was...not. Gabe might have made fun of me for taking us through the metro, he is good at that :)
Gabe and I hung out in Toulouse for two days, I showed him some of the sites and we had a lovely afternoon sitting by the Garonne (one of the few days Toulouse managed to be nice that week, hmph, I was not so pleased about that). We also had an adventure finding a 24 hour pharmacy...it looked like the beginning of a horror movie and the woman was behind bullet proof glass! Luckily, heart burn medication was found, and Gabe was the helpful one that came up with the word for acid! Or esophogus or burning, some really crucial word in this encounter. Well done :)
Then come Friday, the whole clan descended. Which is to say, Gabe and I picked up our parents in the morning, and then headed back to the airport in the afternoon for our cousin, Ana Maria. Gabe ended up doing that trip to the airport seven times (counting there and back). I actually begged off the last trip to the airport because I had a giant project to do, I sent my dad with Gabe instead. And they all made it back, which was quite a lovely surprise :)
Together the Munoz family had an excellent long weekend! The weather didn't cooperate much, and I was trying to do a project the whole time, but we managed to really enjoy the apartment where we stayed, and see some of the big churches in Toulouse and a really lovely Turkish bakery I kept meaning to try. I was so excited to show my family restaurants and then when they were here they reminded me how much I love cooking. We did go out a few nights, but my favorite meals were the lentils my mom cooked up one night, or the everything omlette the night we were trying to finish off left-overs!
One of the coolest events actually happened twice, with two different parts of the family. The night before my parents got there my host family invited Gabe to dinner! That was really nice, to have the whole host family plus my real brother. Gabe took French all through high school and part of college, and during that dinner he did well understanding what was going on. He did make me translate all of his jokes though, which made it a little harder for him to make fun of me :P And then my parents last night in town, my host family had them over for dinner too! That was a great dinner, my family really rolled out the red carpet with an aperatif in the living room (a room only my host mom is allowed in, for the most part) and cheese on a cheese plate and everything really well set up. I was worried that night too, because my parents made a valiant effort at learning French but only in the past few months, and my host family doesn't speak much English. Actually most of my host family has a working knowledge of Spanish, and my host father is quite good at English. It was a great night with lots of languages and lots of laughter all around.
That is an incredibly brief version of a really fantastic week in Toulouse, but those are some of the highlights! I loved having my family here, showing off my town and my host family. They seemed to enjoy France and the bread and the people, although Gabe wanted nothing more than a "real" breakfast by the time he left :) I am really lucky that they got to come visit me, and I can safely say we all had a great time!