Aero: Emma (Reno) Bondi – France 2015 – Family Life


Aero: Emma (Reno) Bondi – France 2015 – Family Life
Creative Commons Image via The LEAF Project

Aero: Emma (Reno) Bondi – France 2015 – Family Life


Reno Bondi

My daily routine was as follows, and denoted in the twenty-four hour system. For weekends, take away class time and replace it with an excursion. Though I honestly could have gone to bed any time I wanted (it’s not like host mom gave me a bed time), I was nearly exhausted most days of the week, especially for getting up early for school and endless amounts of walking. You really come to appreciate how little movement we’re forced to do at home when you’re succumbed to it relentlessly on a day-to-day basis.

Breakfast: 0700 – 0755

Depart for school: 0800

Class: 0820 – 1230

Lunch: 1230 – 1330

Class / Excursion

Dinner: 2000

Bed: 2200

Both parents worked, though neither Elisa nor her sister had part-time jobs, as many teenagers here do. The parents probably worked until perhaps five or six in the evening, because they picked up the kids from school, and dinner was always ready on time. The parents went to work after dropping the kids off to school in the morning; from what I believe, they’re business owners, so they can make their own hours. Rather handy when you have three kids.

The mother was the matriarch of the family. While she did all the typical feminine roles one would expect (cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc), this did not deter her from having total control of everything and everyone around her. The children were startlingly well behaved, considering the dynamics; seventeen and sixteen-year-old girls and a twelve-year-old boy. True, they had a guest in their house, but I didn’t expect them to be perfect all the time. But they were. Quiet, kept to themselves, only hushed scuffles if any. The French have some secret to child rearing, and I want it.


ML@FLCC France 2015 Flickr Photo Gallery

Food is one of the main life forces of French culture. It’s not a greasy slime pit of what Americans are used to consuming on a daily basis. There was a reverence to their meals, a higher calling. Yes, I’m still talking about food. But it made coming back home all that more difficult because I knew that the quality of my nourishment could not be compared. And it does indeed irritate me. You would expect that as a full time working parent wouldn’t have time to cook an intricate dinner for the entire family, right? Wrong my friend, so wrong. Dinner not only looked like it came from a restaurant, it was healthy and fresh too. In the trifecta of food, we realistically try for two of the three; looks good, tastes good, and is good for you. The French say “screw you” to the trifecta, and go on to flawlessly execute the unachievable. They have set the standard so high my fellows Americans, so high. I cannot say if we will ever be able to achieve such a degree of higher eating.

During the school week, breakfast would start around seven am, and I would try to eat around seven twenty and be done by seven forty or so, so that I had some extra time to finish getting ready if I needed to. Lunch on the weekends usually began around one pm, give or take twenty minutes. One pm was also the official signifier that acceptable drinking could begin, and one may enjoy a glass or two of wine. Dinner is never as early as it is here in the states. On most days, dinner was served at eight pm, exactly.

I would also like to point out my earlier hypothesis about cellphone technology, and to say I was very much correct in my conjecture. The entire family had iPhones (except for the boy, because he was literally twelve years old). They were also rather well off, so that may have something to do with it.

Emma (Reno) Bondi
LEAF Contributor