le sapin


The red-as-lips walls of Alba, Italy.

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le baiser
(beh zay) noun masculine

Un baiser est un tour délicieux conçu par la nature pour couper la parole quand les mots deviennent superflus. A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous. --Ingrid Bergman

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No one speaks English in Alba, Italy. And why should they? Their mouths are busy speaking Italian (when not wrapped around truffles or trembling lips...).

Jean-Marc has pulled the car over three times to ask for directions. The Italians walk right up to the passenger window and, with their whole body engaged in a hula hoop motion, seem to indicate a roundabout, or road junction. With that, their hips settle before a chop chop chop of the right arm. That means "straight on!" I say to Jean-Marc. Grazie!* we say. Prego!* they smile.

Two roundabouts later, Jean-Marc parks next to a bustling outdoor market, red brick buildings all around, and we make our way into the ancient quarter of town. A grandmother with an American accent is chatting to a baby in a poussette.* I have the urge to say something but I'm not sure what. The last time I said "Hi, I speak English too!" (at my local market) the English couple looked at me as if my pants zipper was undone.

With a sigh, I pass the American and hold on to my husband's hand and that's when we run into the kissers. Jean-Marc's eyebrows shoot up and down, up and down as he draws my attention to the steamy scene. I look over to find a couple of Italians standing in the middle of a high traffic pedestrian lane. Apparently handholding isn't original enough and so they're linked at the head.

"Remember when we used to kiss like that?" I say to Jean-Marc, only kidding him because we never used to kiss like THAT.

I'm still staring at the couple, staring as only a traveler can when she's an ocean away from home and when cultural rights and wrongs are still blurry enough that one might stare until the Italian cows come home. Jean-Marc doesn't seem to mind my staring, in fact did he even hear my comment? I clear my throat: "Remember when we used to kiwmmmmmmmmmmmmmhhhmmmm--"

I feel a tightening around my waist and notice my feet have left the ground. The buildings are spinning around me as I twirl along with my husband who seems to feel that handholding is no longer original enough.

References: Grazie! (Italian) = Thanks!; Prego! = (talian) Please! (You're welcome); la poussette (f) = stroller

Hear French: Listen to my daughter, Jackie, recite today's quote: Download baiser.wav
Un baiser est un tour délicieux conçu par la nature pour couper la parole quand les mots deviennent superflus.

In Gifts:
DoisneaubaiserThe famous kiss by Robert Doisneau: Le Baiser de l'Hotel de Ville

OccitanetravelL'Occitane Shea Travel Treasures Set

CaferougecalenderThe Cafe Rouge Calendar

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