Last Night I had the chance of attending birthday celebrations at the father’s house of my host mom here. Notice how I said celebrations and not party because it wasn’t a celebration just for one person but yet all of the family members that were born within the last 6 months of the year. The family holds this get together twice a year and I thankfully was invited to meet the rest of the family members and also experience my first birthday party in France.
I was literally in shock; culture shock that is.
Initial thoughts were:
1. Where are the decorations!?
2. No cake?!
3. Okay,where is the bowl of chips and dip hiding!
4. hmmm, so what about the birthday song along with candles?
We started the “gouter” around 4pm with an assortment of appetizers but don’t think it was your typical veggies & dip, chips and pepperoni. There was a quiche, an onion and olive tart, baguette (obligatory), salmon slices and a bowl of tuna dip. Oh and don’t let me forget champagne and wine of course. We all took a little bit of everything and sat in a circle and chatted about random things in life which seemed to be similar to our parties at home. Typically we would than sing happy birthday and the cake would be brought out with candles but that was not the case here. Two tarts were brought out, that had already been cut into, along with a bowl of clementines. There was no singing, no candles, no wishes in sight but hey! there was dessert! All in all, I’m so glad that I experienced this celebration because that’s the main reason I came here to Paris was to be immersed in a unknown culture.
I have to admit that the tart was delicious but boy am I ever missing those storebought pound cakes with the rich icing on top! It’s not even that they are all that good but it resembles home and comfort which is lacking here that’s for sure.
Have you found any traditions abroad that are different than your own?