After my two weeks in South Africa, I was back in London albeit briefly, as my flight from Johannesburg landed at 7am and later that day at 5pm I would be on another plane, this time to Portugal for the weekend with Raquel. It had the potential to be one those cringingly awkward weekends. Why you ask? I was going to meet Raquel’s parents (and siblings). For the days running up to the weekend I just had flashbacks of the movie Meet the Parents, hence the name of the post.
Don’t get me wrong, Raquel’s told me a lot about her family and they sounded like really nice folks, but there is always the dread that you just have one of the awful weekends when you burn down their house, murder their cat and their daughter breaks up with you… Okay, I might have been over dramatic. The flight was fine and normal, but I remember getting off the plane feeling slightly nervous… As we walked out of arrivals I spotted her dad, suddenly I became very conscious I was holding her hand and it’s that moment, the moment her dad walks towards us, that Raquel decided to give me a little kiss… I didn’t tell Raquel this but my blood went cold thinking that the dad would walk up to me and punch me!
I know you think I’m slightly dramatic again, but I have reason to be fearful. It’s not I’ve been introduce to fathers many times, but the few times I have, even only as friends, they don’t always seem to “like” me. I’m great with mothers, they love me, but dads… no. I always feel like the dads will give me in that “You’re taking away my little girl”-look, as that is exactly what I would be thinking if I had a daughter. That’s why I’m always apprehensive about meeting fathers. Another thing that keeps running through my mind when meeting fathers is this video below…
However, in this case, there were no punches, “I’ll kill you”-looks or “let’s scare the crap out of him”-routines. Her father is simply a nice guy and was nice from the get go. Later that evening I met her mother, sister and brothers and they were simply very nice. They welcomed into their home and always made me comfortable.
There was thing about me which her dad did like: My array of accents. I happened to do a Brazilian English accent while we driving to her town on Friday night and her dad could not get enough of it. Raquel then went on to tell him, I do various other accents, and well let’s say was ‘forced’ into an impromptu performance while in the car.
The weekend was really pleasant and calm. Saturday was mostly spent in the town where Raquel grew up. We had breakfast together but I do feel sorry for her family as I’m no oil painting in the morning(actually never), but a beardy bloke with hair in all directions devouring bread is not what anyone wants to see first thing in the morning. Breakfast was followed by running errands with Raquel, before returning home for lunch. The rest of the afternoon was spent in front a warm fire place just chilling out with Raquel and her family. Later that afternoon, I joined Raquel’s dad and other brother watching her another brother play football.
After assisting Raquel’s brother’s team demolishing their opponents by six goals, we returned home as we were heading to Lisbon for the night. Raquel and I were meeting some our mutual friends for a birthday dinner. Most of the bunch who we met were present in London over New Years so there was no awkward “This is my boyfriend” introductions. We spent the evening in a cheap but good restaurant, drinking and eating (I haven’t had that much beer in a while, but didn’t get drunk! Was so proud!). After dinner we went to Lisbon’s packed Baixa district for some more drinks and merriment.
Sunday morning we woke up to another breakfast (more scary beardy fella for her mom and sister). As it was Raquel’s mom’s birthday, we celebrated with a little lunch. After lunch. Lunch was followed by some gift giving and followed by the short walk to her grandparents house, as it was her granddad’s birthday, for some cake and coffee. I was told it would only be her grandparents and us… But no, there would a little surprise in store!
We arrived at her grandparents house and suddenly I was flung in front of and displayed to aunts, uncles and cousins (Yes slight exaggeration here, I was not put in a corner on display for people to poke) . It makes me laugh a bit because I think “Damn, talk about being thrown into the deep end!”. As if being introduced to all these new family member wasn’t enough, Raquel’s dad suddenly wanted me to do accents for her family. The pressure got me. I got stage fright. I froze, blushed and meekly said I can’t. I don’t mind doing accents but to so many new faces… yeah I need to be drunk to pull off that performance or spend more than 10 minutes with them. Don’t get me wrong, I was merely being slightly shy because once again everyone was really nice and it is really just a question of getting over some initial shyness.
Just aside to this: Raquel’s aunt made the most awesome nut tart. I could have eaten it all given the chance…
After the visit to her grandparents, we headed back to their place to pack up and go to the airport and back to London. It was a really nice weekend of chilling out and getting to know her family. Her parents and siblings were extremely nice and always made me feel comfortable, so all in all it was a good weekend.