Monday, July 26, 2010

Visiting Our Roots

Back in the 70's, I believe, a made for TV series called "Roots" left an indelible mark on the American people. We were hooked with episode one and continued right on to the end watching the story of an African man named Kunta Kinte as he was brought to America and sold into slavery. The story continued through his life and those who came after him. It made those who watched begin to think about their own roots, and it was a great promotion for those family stories I'm always harping on. Write down those family stories is almost a mantra for me.

Ken's ancestry is 100% German. Both his maternal and paternal grandparents immigrated to this country, and so he had a desire to visit Germany. We've been fortunate in doing so three times. Twice on tours and once on our own. Three years ago, I was able to visit my Irish roots when we drove through a good deal of Ireland with friends. My mother's side of the family was all Irish, making me half Irish. It touched me to travel through the land where people whose stories I'd heard all my life had started from. And yes, I felt something special there that I haven't in other countries. I laid claim to it if even in a small way. I felt I belonged, wasn't just another tourist.

And now, I'm going to visit the other half of my ancestry--the French side. My father's family were all French. Those from way back lived in France, and then in later times, they were French Canadian. On Wednesday morning, Ken and I will fly to Nice, France where we join a tour group for an eleven day stay in France.

We'll have one night in a hotel on the beach in Nice, and the next day, we board a 46 passenger river cruiser where we will spend seven nights cruising up the Rhone River, ending in Paris. There we transfer to a hotel for three nights. The boat stops somewhere every day, and we can explore the immediate area, much of which is in the Burgundy and Provence sections.

We've seen several other European countries via a river cruise, which we both think is a wonderful way to travel. Because I have a connection to France, however minimal that may be, this is one I'm excited about.
I'm wondering if I'll have that same feeling of belonging as I had in Ireland.

I'll have a journal with me to capture my thoughts and keep track of all the places we visit, the foods we eat, and the wine we drink. Having heard about the foods and wines of France for so long, I'm eager to see if they will live up to my expectations.

Today is the Dreaded-Packing-Day, but it will get accomplished with the expert help of my husband, who is a packer-par-excellence. I'll be posting again tomorrow and will start again on August 10th when we are  home.

I'm trying to pull up phrases from my three years of high school French. All countries are pleased if you try to speak a little of their language. I have a little French, enough to get by in a restaurant. A little---un petit peu!

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