casse-tete
brosse à dents

veste

cat in camaret (c) Kristin Espinasse
"A Cat in Camaret". I searched my photo archives for a picture of a veste, gave up and settled on this one instead. Note: The next word goes out on Monday. Bonne fin de semaine!

veste (vest) feminine

    : jacket, blazer

French Expression:
retourner sa veste = to change sides (in a debate, for example)
tomber la veste = to take off one's jacket
se prendre une veste = to get turned down (by a guy or a girl) 

Audio File: Listen to Jean-Marc: Download MP3 file or Wav file

Sa veste est tellement grande qu'il nage dedans.
His jacket is so big that he is swimming in it.

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse

I hear a soft knock at the door of my home office. The clock on the computer reads 7:10 a.m., which means the kids are about to head out to school.

"Entrez," I say, prepared to receive a goodbye kiss from either my son or my daughter, before their father takes one of them to the bus stop and the other to a ride-share.

Max struts in, dressed in his father's best suit—or one-half of it, for he is wearing only the jacket. (Instead of slacks, he has on jeans). Noticing the confusion on my face, Max explains: "It is for debate class. I'm speaking today!"

From the way his face is beaming, I can tell Max is very pleased with his appearance. His eyes shine brightly as he waits for my reaction. I have to admit, he looks quite charming, but, I am afraid, not for the reason he thinks....

In fact, the jacket Max is wearing is several sizes too big for him. Il nage dedans

Here follows a mother's dilemma: to coddle or to cut to the chase?

Do I break it to him, letting him know the veste is way too big (thus sparing him of being a target for his snorting, finger-pointing, cohorts)? Or do I mimic the enthusiasm that radiates from his entire person? I can only imagine what it must feel like to try on your father's best costume (or half of it)and to esteem yourself as big enough to fit into it! 

For a moment, I try to see my son through the lens in which he sees himself. Looking again at the boxy, over-sized jacket, I refocus...

No longer are the shoulder pads reaching out beyond his arms. No longer are his knuckles hidden beneath his sleeves. No longer do his legs look like toothpicks beneath the baggy jacket.

"Qu'est-ce que tu es beau!" I declare.

Max closes his eyes and smiles, revelling in the compliment. 

Still a little concerned about the size, I decide to test my son's current self-perception. "Do you think it might be a little too big?" I wonder aloud.

Max looks down, as if to consider size for the first time. "Peut-être. Mais ce n'est pas grave."

I think about his friendly tormentors and how they are about to receive today's bite on a silver platter. And will the teachers be able to conceal their amusement? After all, what is an adorable and endearing sight to a mother... might be a comic one to anyone else.

I will just have to leave it to my son to defend himself, with style and elegance—and what better place to do that than in debate class!

 

French Vocabulary

bonne fin de semaine = have a nice weekend
entrez = come in
le costume = three-piece suit
Il nage dedans!  = he is swimming inside!
la veste = suit jacket
Qu'est-ce que tu es beau! = just look at how handsome you are! 
Peut-être = maybe
mais ce n'est pas grave = but it's no big deal 

DSC_0028
Max, playing in the snow -- only two years ago!

Max-identity card
My. How they grow! Mr. Max, photo taken last week.

And a little French to round out this edition!

Un peu plus tard, elle m'a marié et nous a donné deux beaux enfants. Comme elle était souvent frustrée d'élever deux enfants dans une culture et une langue étrangères, elle a commencé à écrire à ses proches sur sa vie d'éxpatriée... avec ses joies et ses peines.

Read the rest of Jean-Marc's letter--along with the English translation--in my book Blossoming in Provence. Click here.

Thank you for keeping my book in mind for your gift-giving needs. Blossoming in Provence makes an entertaining and educational present. Good for birthdays and Valentine's Day, to name a few occasions!  Thank you for your support :-) Order it here.

Finally, if you can't pay for a copy now--no worries, you might try to win one. It may not be too late to win one over at The Provence Post. I've been enjoying reading the comments there, including this one by Laurel (thanks, Laurel!):

"love Kristin's french word a day...the books are even better"

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"Bonjour, Kristin, I have enjoyed your blog now for a great number of years, watching your children grow up, your moves from house to house, enjoying your stories and photos and your development as a writer. It's way past time for me to say MERCI with a donation to your blog...which I've done today. Bien amicalement!"--Gabrielle

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