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“Got kitesurfing on the mind, mixed with some search & classification tech, and a dab of political ranting”

It’s good to be with family

Posted by direwolff on February 16, 2006

Now going back to the first day, upon Lil’ Pinot’s and my arrival into Vienna we were greeted by one of my favorite cousins, Phillippe, whom I hadn’t seen in 20 years. Now the father of two, he still had that spunky and mischievous look that I remember so well when he used to torture me for fun. Apparently he also still plays a mean game of tennis. He was over-the-top generous to us in that he not only picked us up at the airport, but after we dropped our stuff off at his sister’s apartment, he then drove us to Shonbrunn, the Austrian royal family’s summer residence turned museum, and picked us up after our tour. Now that’s going over and beyond the call of duty. We were totally grateful given our general lack of German language skills.

We all got together again later for dinner where we were joined by his nieces, my 2nd cousins Sophie & Nathalie, Sophie having championed our arrival by giving us the grand tour of her mother’s apartment where Lil’ Pinot and I were to spend the evening in her absence. Also with us was Phillippe’s wife Gabi and his youngest son Patrick. This was the first time I’d had the pleasure of meeting Patrick, though through my mom, I have been updated on his general progress. The best news to come from him was that he joined the dark side of snow sports…yes, he’s now a snowboarder. In a family where ’til this day I carried the snowboarding mantel versus all of the rest of them being skiiers, Patrick came to my rescue and is ready to pick up the rebel cause. Finally, we were also joined by Michelle, another wonderful cousin of mine that I hadn’t seen in probably the same 20 yrs that I had missed Phillippe. It was so good to be around them, our parents all being sibblings, sharing remembrances from our youth, slipping a word or two of creole between us that rushed fond memories of our family get-togethers. It’s funny how expressive and how much information was packed into the use of any single creole word.

Dinner was at a very traditional Austrian restaurant in Vienna. Complete with their own winery, and most traditional Vienese plates that you could imagine. Phillippe convinced me to go for the blood sausage which I didn’t regret one bit. Lots of laughs went around with every one getting their moment in the “hot seat” with the passing jokes to keep us all humbled. It was a wonderful time that I hope we can enjoy again sooner than 20 yrs from now.

The group picture above came as we left the restaurant, unfortunately, Nathalie had already left and Phillippe, always the hero, was the one taking the shot. Lil’ Pinot got a good dose of several folks who had a major impact on my life and the next generation of my family in Sophie, Nathalie, and Patrick. It was good.

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