Paulo and I spent the 4th of July weekend together, and oh, what a wonderful time it was. First on the schedule was a trip to the local islands where his Northwest adopted "family" owns a beach house. I'd met many of the people attending at previous shin-digs, but this was a chance for me to prove my mettle in a large party situation where Paulo wouldn't be right by my side the whole time. As we dove in to our cups of wine between 10:30 am and 12:30 am (the next day, of course) I can quite honestly say that I think I took home the brass ring for being the coolest girlfriend ever. I chatted, I helped with food, I laughed, I rubbed someone's injured foot (they were clean!) and I imbibed a respectable amount of wine without losing my dignity.
Then it was off to another island for a wine tasting, lunch, and viztin' with my friend Bonnie and her family. We toodled around country roads and had a tasty pizza lunch before sampling some local wine. Dinner with Bonnie and family was lovely, we met their family friends from England and had fun trading semantic oddities. We rounded out the evening with a drive North to our loding destination for the evening - a lodge! Nestled out in the country, our mountain lodge was warm and inviting. The inn-keeper was very mellow and told us all about the llamas in the adjacent field. We watched a VHS (and felt soooo retro) copy of "Meet the Parents" and turned in for the evening in our airy tree-top retreat (i.e. the suite on the top floor of the lodge).
The next morning we had a tasty breakfast at the lodge and began our search for organic, local strawberries. After cruising down a seaside drive we found a famous local berry stand where we lucked out and picked up some scrumptious local berries, along with traditional shortbread cakes dusted with raw sugar...mmmmmmm. A quick run to the market for fresh cream and some flowers for my mother, and Paulo and I were set to go and meet my parents.
Everything went swimmingly, of course. Paulo and my dad swapped home remodeling stories and worked on grilling our dinner together, mom and grandma thought he was very polite, my grandpa thought he seemed really smart, and my sister-in-law had a nice conversation about title insurance with him. My brother was being his normally anti-social self, but Paulo did try to engage him a few times with mediocre success, which is saying something.
I feel totally ready to head back East next month and meet Paulo's brother, sister-in-law, and mom. Life is good.
Three good things:
1. Paulo and I have proven, once again, that we're good travel companions.
2. I got to show Paulo around my stomping grounds.
3. I managed not to over-indulge on food or wine all weekend (sounds random, but it's important!)