Thursday, January 3, 2013

Foreign Flavor


It is a bit amazing, but ever since that morning where Nadrien cooked us a surprise breakfast I have taken an increased interest in the art of food preparation. Her enthusiasm has rubbed off on me. When she found out I had become just as desiring to know more, she grabbed me by the arm and took me to the bookstore. We were there for hours looking at all of the recipe books. I think I let Nadrien get me too carried away for we bought every single one we touched. At least my children will never again complain that I make the same things over and over again.

I also checked the area where the books I have written would be placed. There was only two copies and a couple empty spaces next to them. I will never known if those empty spaces belonged to my books or the books next to them, but I will be optimistic and think the first is true. According to the company my works have been published through, everything I have written has sold well. Unfortunately, I haven't really started on a new story just yet. Our money situation is comfortable, so there hasn't been a pressing need for me to write. I know I should start it up again just in case something undesirable were to happen.

Anyway, back to Nadrien and mine's cooking. The money for the books was well spent since we've prepared many new dishes. Some of them turned out great, and some are not so great. We've all learned more about the things we like to eat, but also about what we can't stand. It's a common agreement from all of us that we are not fond of the spicy recipes. Eloril and I were raised on vegetables, fruits, and small bits of meat. That's mostly what I've been feeding my children. The meals aren't bland, but mild in taste I suppose. To suddenly put such hot food in our mouths caused quite the unpleasant situation. Thankfully, Eloril, Threlad, and Anondil have been troupers and continue to try each strange new meal Nadrien and I toss their way.

I really had no idea how varied human cooking was though. We elves might be separated into four lands, but we share almost an identical culture and cuisine. Only the coast of the western land differs with their considerably heavier consumption of sea life. On the other hand, humans in each country have a completely different cooking style. I never really considered staying on the human side of the wall longer than was necessary, but now I wouldn't mind visiting other countries. Eloril shares the same desire. Maybe once the task is over, we can do a bit of traveling before we return home.


I really don't understand how it happened, but one day I came out of my room to find a stray dog running about. Nadrien, Threlad, and Anondil were at school so I knew it couldn't have been them that let him in. I would have blamed Eloril if he had not been in the shower upstairs. While I haven't had much interaction with dogs before, I feel safe to say that this one that somehow worked its way inside was very friendly. Eloril absolutely adored the dog when he saw him. He quickly suggested that we should keep it. The weather outside is quickly getting colder and we couldn't be so cruel to leave it homeless, he said.

My brother was doing a fair job of persuading me. However, I remembered then how much time and effort it took to look after Kosa. That made me put my foot down and refuse to take the dog in. Eloril tried to pout a bit more, but eventually he agreed. Obviously, he was disappointed despite his concurrence. I did tell him that we wouldn't just abandon it though. After making a couple calls, it was decided that the dog would move in with Elerith.


Cadrie had her birthday recently. When we had some free time, the two of us went to visit Lothirien and Kristopher. Lothi's second daughter, Mackenzie, just had her birthday as well. She looks just like Kristopher with her brown hair and eyes. I have not had the time nor opportunity to tell you everything, but Mackenzie is actually my tenth grandchild. Besides Forrest, Amelia, and Ashleigh, Ureliel has a fourth child named Johnathon. Elaril has three sons of his own- Sammy, Evan, and Jerad. Arluwen has a daughter named Alice. Mackenzie's older sister is Joan, and I have found out within that past couple weeks that both Lothirien and Elerith are pregnant.

It is a bit overwhelming at how quickly it feels these grandchildren of mine are being born. It certainly is hard to find time to spend with them all considering I'm still having my own children. I do my best to be a part of all their lives though.

I'm really also doing my best on not holding back in participating in events around me too. Spooky Day is coming up once again, and with some help from my children, I carved my own pumpkin successfully.


Threlad and I had just finished placing the carved pumpkins outside when we noticed a woman wearing a repair worker's uniform heading towards the house. As far as I was aware, nothing had broken and no one had called for a repair woman. When she introduced herself as Rocio Riffin, I understood instantly who she was. I had heard her name once before. She was the adult daughter who had found Calvin's body. The fact that Nadrien had an older sister by her father was somehow a detail that had gone right over my head.

The three of us went inside, and Miss Riffin explained why she so suddenly showed up. Apparently Elerith hadn't forgotten that Nadrien had another sister. Elerith contacted Miss Riffin and asked her to meet Nadrien. That way Nadrien could learn more about her father and have explanations to the questions that I could never answer. This was all so unexpected, but that's Elerith for you. She's always been taking the extra step to look after her baby sister.

Nadrien was absolutely thrilled to meet Miss Riffin. She was finally going to get the information she so desperately wanted.


The timing of their meeting was perfect as well. Nadrien's birthday was right around the corner. Eloril wasn't quite so irritating with his questioning if Nadrien was really going to get older this time. We invited Miss Riffin over for the celebration. The time has been short, yet she and Nadrien have bonded quite a lot. They still want to get to know each other more though. That's why they decided that Nadrien would move in with Miss Riffin. Nadrien admitted she really doesn't know what she wants to do for a career, but she knows she wants it to be intellectually stimulating. I was curious as to why she didn't want to be a chef. Nadrien explained that while she loves cooking it is merely a hobby, not something she wants to be a job. It would ruin it for her. That is understandable. I wouldn't like cooking so much if I was forced to do it for a living.

When it came time for Nadrien to leave, I actually felt happy instead of sad to see her go. I know the hole in her heart has been filled a little more, and the pain that was caused by my decision is fading away.


This year the children were able to go trick-or-treating properly. Threlad was a rock star, Anondil a soldier from distant human history, and Cadriethiel a pirate. Anondil and Cadrie begged me to join them, but this was one thing I chose to sit out of. While I would love to spend time with them, asking for candy from strangers does not sound like a fun time for me. If Threlad hadn't decided to participate, I probably would have had to go with them though. I would have been too worried about them otherwise.


After they left, I noticed Eloril beginning to act strangely. Actually, he has been acting strange for the past two weeks. Tonight has been the worst though. Every time we talk, he sounds sneaky and suspicious as if he is avoiding something. Normally I wouldn't pry. Eloril is a grown man, and can handle his problems well enough on his own. I'll help him or be there to talk if he needs me, of course, but with this kind of situation I wasn't sure what to do.  However with the increased strangeness I could stay quiet no longer, and so I asked Eloril what was going on.

Without a word, and having a smile on his face, Eloril handed me a wrapped present. He wouldn't answer any question I had regarding this sudden gesture. I had no choice but to open what I had been given. Inside was five tickets and papers for a trip to the country of France. In my stunned silence Eloril explained that he had been talking to the rest of my children about my desire to visit other countries. They decided to pool their extra money together to allow himself, Threlad, Anondil, Cadrie, and I to go on this trip.

Eloril had received the tickets two weeks ago. It was why he had been acting so strange. The excitement and anticipation of giving me this was too much for him to hide completely. Being gifted such a marvelous present shows me that Eloril hadn't been so irresponsible as I assumed about coming to the human side. He had indeed gotten proper permission to be here, and somehow even has the knowledge that allowed us to get permission to travel overseas. I suppose that he has the knowledge shouldn't be surprising. Dealing with paperwork was mostly what his duties consisted of back home.


Since the children had a day off of school for the holiday before the weekend, we would have three days to spend in Champs Les Sims, France. Apparently, even Threlad, Anondil, and Cadrie knew about the trip. They returned home from trick-or-treating to show me that they were already packed. While I appreciate the generosity of all of this, I do wish the surprise had been revealed a bit earlier. I had to pack quickly for we actually had to get on a plane that evening. The journey was long, but I much preferred it to the trek in the car that brought me here. Even in my youth I heard tales of human-made machines that allowed one to soar through the air at great speeds. Back then, it was the one thing that ever could have convinced me to leave the elvish lands. Thanks to this task, one more of my dreams has been fulfilled.

It was daytime already when we arrived at the large building meant to temporarily house travelers like ourselves. Since we slept on the plane, the five of us hurriedly placed our things in our rooms so we could go exploring.


Eloril did his research about this place, so he suggested that we visit the famous winery first. As soon as we got there he purchased the finest wines they had. I don't doubt that Eloril intended this trip to be for my benefit, but now I realize he had his own agenda.

There is little wine available in Appaloosa Plains, and what is there is not of the greatest quality. Eloril loves wine, and craves it often. He's probably been having a hard time only having the worst of wines to tempt him. Now I think back to the times of our childhood. Eloril was obsessed with it even back then. Not a week would go by where he didn't get in trouble with ada and naneth for sneaking into the stores to swipe some for himself. Ada and naneth did everything they could to keep the stores tightly locked, but Eloril had been trained too well. He always had tricks up his sleeve that allowed him to break past any lock or barrier placed in his way.

Eloril gave me some of his stolen stash when I was very young. I was so young that I couldn't fully comprehend what the drink was or what it would do to me. Of course, at that age my brother didn't realize the amount of wine he gave me would so strongly influence my tiny body. I said once before and long ago that I have never been drunk before. I have to correct that statement, and say that there has never been a time where I remember being drunk.

When ada and naneth found out what Eloril had done, he got in the worst trouble he had ever been in. He couldn't sit comfortably for days. Although there was no way I could be punished since I couldn't understand the situation, the fear is still inside me that drinking too much wine will get one in trouble. That is why I don't have it too often.


After we had been in the winery for a little while, Eloril began to give Threlad, Anondil, and Cadrie a lesson right there about how wine was made and other such details. Having heard these words from Eloril too many times before, I browsed quietly on my own. Then a man came up to my and introduced him as Yves Bernard. Somehow he was able to correctly guess that Eloril was my brother. Mr. Bernard loves wine as well, and said that he appreciates Eloril's enthusiasm.

We talked about wine briefly, but our conversation quickly turned to other matters. Before too long, Mr. Bernard was inviting me over to his house. I realized that there was something about him that was incredibly appealing to me. Maybe it was his accent, maybe it was the subtle differences in the way he moved and acted from the men back home, but I was pulled towards him in a way that I have not been before. Perhaps my words are too strong, but I do not know any other way of saying it- this man was completely exotic and desirable to me.


Even the slightest touch of his was pleasurable. I have not felt this strongly in any of my encounters before, but I suppose I am also becoming less reserved about keeping such feelings at bay. It did not take long for us to find our way to his bedroom. It is the first time I can admit that our time together was wholly enjoyable. While Yves did not produce stirrings of love in my heart, he moved it all the same.

I was loathe to leave, but I couldn't stay away from Eloril and the others for too long. I know Eloril will become upset if he finds out I went off with a man within hours of arriving on a trip that is supposed to be about us spending time together and learning more about a different culture. I returned to the winery just in time for my presence had just been missed. Eloril was suspicious, and barely accepted my excuse that I had gone outside to study the winery's grapevines.

Although he let the matter drop, he became more sullen. Eloril's mood improved though when he went to a local cafe for dinner. As long as he sees nothing, then he is able to pretend that nothing is exactly what is going on. Accepting a lie is easier than thinking of the truth. While it may not be the easiest to go about the task quietly, I shall do it to keep him from becoming upset and to make my days here peaceful. In the end, it's what will be better for the both of us.....

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