Tuesday, September 11, 2012
A kind of borie (there is a well inside) exists peacefully in the field above us, here in our new domain--where olive trees grow. Beyond, Jean-Marc will plant grapes, appellation Bandol. He'll tell you about that later. Today, read a letter from the new owners of Domaine Rouge-Bleu! The story column follows.
la fourmi (for-me)
More fourmi terms, expressions, and whatnots (add your own in the comments box):
l'Homme-Fourmi = Ant Man, a superhero
faire un travail de fourmis = to do a job meticulously well
la Cigale et la fourmis = The Cicada and the Ant (read the famous fable in French and in English)
avoir des fourmis dans les jambes = to be restless (antsy), wanting to move on; also, to have a prickling sensation in the legs or, dans les bras (in the arms)
to have ants in one's pants = ne pas tenir en place
Audio File: Listen to Jean-Marc read the following sentence, from Wikipedia: Download MP3 or Wav file
La fourmi d'Argentine(Linepithema humile),originaire d'Amérique du Sud, forme une supercolonie qui va des côtes italiennes aux côtes espagnoles en passant par la France. The Argentinian ant, originating from South America, makes up a supercolony that goes from the Italian coast to the Spanish coast, passing through France.
A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse
Aimless—now there might have been a good word of the day... but for the ants! And, anyway, instead of focusing on my current weakness (floundering), I'd do better to turn my eyes toward another's strength: that of the Argentinian fourmi.
La fourmi d'Argentine, with which we share our new environment, is anything but aimless. Watch them trail up my nightstand, about to circle the rim of my tea cup (is it the miel they're after?); see them scale the sack of croquettes de chien—to Smokey and Braise's dismay! Notice the tickling sensation as they march over your eyelids, at naptime. Gently reach up and brush them away. They're harmless enough (they don't bite).
Observe how they advance, nose-to-tail, neatly along the outdoor clothesline. I tried plucking them off one by one—tiny things!—only to give in by throwing the sheets, the shirts, the jeans and the socks right over them. (Sounds mean but I knew they'd bounce back.) Returning several hours later to collect the dried laundry, I see the invaders have lost no time re-establishing their queue along the tops of the flung sheets. I have to brush them off as I fold the laundry, there on a table beneath a wise old olivier. (Do olive trees snicker? or is that just the rustling of branches?) Invariably, a dozen or so ants hold on, no matter how wildly I shake the linens, and are so carried into the house to be transferred into our sock drawers and our armoires. For a time the ant-agonists will be dispersed and in the dark. This much we have in common.
This time last year I had no idea our little colony would be moving. The harvest ended, autumn, too, and at the start of the new year my husband admitted he wanted, needed rather, to move on. I was very unhappy, at the time, about this decision. But it happened fast as that, fast as my swooping up those ant-laden sheets and carrying them into the house with the dried socks, the jeans and things.
* * *
There in the tiroirs and the armoires, squashed between the newly-dried linens, the ants are disoriented—but quickly working themselves back into formation. Jean-Marc is too. He's got a new permit to grow vines, this time appellation Bandol, and he's quickly re-establishing his personal and professional contacts after leaving the area 17 years ago, when our son was not yet 6 months old.
I should be so industrious. Instead I avoid my computer station and wonder, instead, What I will do today? In which direction do I set out?
If I were to opt, this morning, to march along the clothesline... and you, dear reader, were to opt to throw a sheet over me, I might just lie peacefully beneath it--grateful for the empêchement, or obstacle. (I could teach this trick to the ants!)
Not to sound sad or even regretful--oh no! I am enjoying this new environment very much--how quickly it now feels like home! And I am relieved by this current break from the thrice-weekly newsletter, which, apart from the storm it takes to create it, takes up a lot of time to maintain.
This break is giving me more time with my family--especially my daughter, who is having a harder time than anticipated integrating into a new school. As for Max, the one who was supposed to be depressed by the move, he is doing fine. He's signed up for boxing in Bandol and he is eyeing the girls at school!
Tomorrow my Mom arrives, clad in Frida. That ought to shake things up. See you next week with the scoop. Meantime, here's another view of that cape--at the end of this post.
To leave a comment, please click here. Thanks for your positive letters and comments. We will try to answer many of your questions in the upcoming posts!
The day of the double-signing we gathered, afterward, at the new house. Almost everyone involved in the transactions was present: our buyers, Caroline and Thomas, our sellers, Maggie and Michael, our notaire, the Safer representatives, and our realtor. It was a unique moment!
We are so grateful to Maggie and Michael Moss, and to Maggie's brother, Ian, for allowing us to buy their home--after collecting memories there for nearly half a century.
Jean-Marc opened one of those big bottles of champagne...
Another view of that borie that we saw in the opening photo. Our home is just below, to the right. We might plant fruit trees in this spot. What to you think? They might mingle with the fig trees there.
One of the fun gifts that Maggie and Mike and Ian left was a well organized store room. I delight in returning everything to its place, each time I use something new. More photos to come.
The balcony off our bedroom looks over the oliveraie. The Mediterranean forest is alive, this morning, with hunters. I think I'll be driving Jackie to school, instead of taking the little path beside the forest. Yesterday, the sound of gunfire began when we were half-way to school, and I had to sing all the way home "je passe... je passe, la-la-la... JE PASSE!" I'm passing by, I'm passing by--la-la-la--I'M PASSING BY!
Jackie, swinging from the fig tree outside our home, is doing much better. The kids at her school are so warm and welcoming. And she loves her class, feels so fortunate! It's just that she really really misses her friends. The tears just won't stop flowing. "You are such a good friend!" I tell her. It cheers her and she is looking forward to showing her longtime friends around. Always look forward, sweet girl!
To comment on any item in this edition, or to correct something, please click here. Thanks. Do you know anyone who might enjoy these stories from France? Please forward this post, which includes this sign-up link.
* * *
An Update on Domaine Rouge-Bleu, which we sold last month to a wonderful Franco-Australian couple. Meet Caroline and Thomas, below, and be sure to subscribe to their Domaine Rouge-Bleu Facebook page (click here) to keep up with their first year on the vineyard--may many more follow!
Bonjour a tous! Hello all!
Merci to Kristi for posting this little message allowing us to say a warm hello and assure you all that Domaine Rouge Bleu shall continue with the same spirit that it was given by Jean-Marc and Kristi, Max and Jackie, Braise and Smokey, and by you all, whether you have been to visit, tasted a bottle, helped with les vendanges or followed the experiences here on French Word-A-Day.
We shall continue to host tastings underneath the mulberry tree, starting with Saturday 22nd September at 4.30pm (this will be in the middle of the harvest, so you can see the winery in action). Also, watch out for a re-vamped website (coming soon). Meanwhile, feel free to contact us via email for any more information:
[email protected], or [email protected]
Finally, bonne chance to la famille Espinasse for their exciting new life by the sea, and thank you for entrusting us with this wonderful place. We will miss you in Sainte Cecile!
Caroline & Thomas
Don't miss Caroline and Thomas's Domaine Rouge-Bleu Facebook page -- with photos and updates about their exciting vineyard adventure.
A Message from Kristi: Ongoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal week after week. If you find value in this website and would like to keep it going strong, I kindly ask for your support by making a donation today. Thank you very much for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.
Ways to contribute:
1. Paypal or credit card
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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety
I look forward to reading your bolg as your life in Bandol unfolds.
Posted by: Mindy (Manhattan Beach, CA) | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 01:11 PM
You are so lucky to have a new adventure at this time of your life! You and your husband have an opportunity to experience the flush of new love all over again, the joy of building a home, a new life. The kids will someday look back on this as the most wonderful home they could ask for, and if they don;t and eventually move on...well that is their journey. As parents you are teaching that dreams are alive, ever changing, ever growing...like love. God bless your new home!
Posted by: Patricia Taylor | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 01:19 PM
With time, I (all of us here) understand the background for your big decision a little bit better. I have even been on chat with your mother and Jean-Marc about it! :-) Now I look forward to Jean-Marc's explanation and in the meantime I'm relieved to read that he will start producing Bandol in three year's time.
Your house and its surroundings are wonderful - ants or no ants. If you can't beat them - eat them! (The way they do it here at the Noma restaurant in Copenhagen).
Wish your mother bonne vacance. I'm sure she's dying of excitement right now!
Posted by: Jens from Copenhagen | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 01:19 PM
This is one of my favorite blogs! Your writing style is so beatiful. I also write, so I appreciate a well-written story, a well-formed sentence and the perfect word in just the right place. Thank you for the pictures! When we were meandering through Provence, we saw a lot of bories, I loved their simple structure. I love the photo of Jackie!!!
Posted by: Marika Ujvari | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 01:25 PM
Wishing you and your family peace, wonder and fulfillment in your new home!
Posted by: Judy | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Having moved to several cities since 1980, my heart goes out to you as you make (yet again) a huge transition. All will be well, of that I have no doubt. I add my best wishes to you and your family, especially les enfants.
Posted by: Sue J. | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 02:02 PM
A visit from Mom/Gramma Jules sounds just like what is needed right now. I feel for Jackie and suspected that it would be she who felt the heartache the most. Even in this world of instant "reach-out-and-touch", being face to face (especially at that age) just can't be replaced. Remind her that she will have those friends forever. What's that song that says: "Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver, the other is gold."
I'm still anxious to hear how this move transpired - when you get the time for that retelling.
Enjoy your mom!! I look forward to hearing of the adventures you'll have!
Posted by: Karen Whitcome (Towson, "Fall is in the air", Md) | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 02:15 PM
OHHHH - and never wear green in that forest!!
Posted by: Karen Whitcome (Towson, "Fall is in the air", Md) | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 02:18 PM
I started following your blog right before my husband and I took a trip to France & Spain this past May (potential ex-pats in planning stages.)
Your blog helps with real-life application of the language, something lost in translation in previous classroom learning of the language. (Love this story about Bandol especially.) Do you have any other 'real life' suggestions for improving French skills? Thanks, and congrats.
Posted by: L.M. Archer | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 02:40 PM
.. Kristin... another adventure begins when Jules comes to visit! Some big hugs for Jackie from her will help a lot.. as the transition at her age is painful, but will pass. We moved our 16 year old daughter from Memphis to Hong Kong for 3 years and it was very difficult for her until she found her 'group of gals' to hang out with... that was 20 years ago and they are still 'kindred spirits and friends' to this day! Your new home will be haven of love for all who live and come to visit there! Do they have 'ant cups' in France, I cannot remember... Bravo to Jean-Marc for being brave enough to 'live his dream'! Cheers, Judi Dunn, tallahassee, Fl.
Posted by: judi dunn | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Love your posting today, Kristin, such a good analogy.....I love the way you take the ordinary, everyday, banal events and use them as metaphers for your life.....you are very wise.... and funny and quirky and adorable! Enjoy your new surroundings and how wonderful that Frida-Mom is coming!
Posted by: Maureen | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Do you know that the root of fourmi is the Latim word formica and that the original "formica" was made from a substance found in crushed ants?
That's how I remember that word.
Posted by: Marie LaSalle | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Good luck to you and your family in your new home. I look forward to hearing about why Jean Marc wanted to make the move or did I miss this message? I'm sure that you will all make a success of this new and exciting place!
Posted by: Nancy | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Also...if a romantic Frenchman gives you a bouquet you shouldn't shriek. "For me???"I or he may you think you are calling him an ant.
ok. Back to silence
Posted by: Marie LaSalle | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 03:17 PM
How nice to find your email this morning! Every morning the Midwest woods greet me out my bedroom window, but I would love to have that olive grove meet my eyes...it is so beautiful. And to Jackie, I taught in the high school of a militaray community where parents were moved every two or three years and their children followed along. It was hard, even for me, to see their friendships stressed. But years later, I love seeing how those friendships have survived and how close they are in spite of the physical distances. A good friend is a special thing and worth keeping!
Posted by: Cheryl in STL | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Yes, always look forward!
One of my daughter's best friends moved away in August and I know that she is looking forward to visiting her in the "bassin d'Arcachon" soon. More adventures to be had for all.
Enjoy the time with your mom!
Posted by: meredith | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Kristin, thank you for this morning's message( 8:30 here in Texas ). I wrote to you several years ago,mentioning the 2 1/2 years I lived in Provence. Your stories bring back some of the sights, sounds, and scents of that place. I imagined you always there...
Now that you have relocated, I understand it's not only the place, but your view of it I would have missed. I'm happy to know you'll continue to share.
The greatest adjustment in this move will be yours. For Jean-Marc, it's 'home', so for Max and Jackie continue the development of 'roots' as well as 'wings'.
I look forward to seeing another part of France through your eyes, as well as just 'life' as you see it. Like those purposeful ants, you may be temporarily dispersed, but never long in the dark!
Posted by: Donna Grieder | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Congratulations on your new home and many new adventures will blossom there too! Looking forward to hearing more and keep positive about Jackie, she is a beautiful young woman and she will make many, many new friends! Take it one day at a time.
Posted by: Pamela Harnois | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 03:43 PM
I too look forward to reading about your new life in Bandol, while at the same time still wondering why you moved. I guess not everyone likes the comfort of stability. It is such a grand and at times frightening thing to have done. I feel for Jackie in her transition. Bon courage! Sophie
Posted by: Sophie Day | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Much happiness to you and family (human and canine) in your new home. Moving is hard on teenagers, but kids are resilient, so Jackie will soon adjust. I seem to sense a hint of sadness in your post (or is it tiredness?). I know that moving is a chore, so just do what you can when you can.
Good luck and God bless!
Posted by: Verna | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 03:48 PM
It is so good to be going with you to your new home! It looks beautiful there! I wish I could hug Jackie and tell her about moving during high school and how wonderfully it all worked out, but I know she's going to find out for herself. God Bless you all on a new, exciting life together!
Posted by: Dawne | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Wine from the Bandol Region is wonderful. We have a distributor in Ft. Myers, Florida. We spend sometime in the area a couple of years ago - outstanding.
Posted by: George | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Best wishes to you and your family in your new home and for all your future endeavors.
Posted by: Shelley Chenonceau | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 04:05 PM
It is so nice to read you are enjoying your move now. Have a good visit with your mom, exploring your new environment with your mom. It sounds as though there is lots to explore. I am looking forward to reading about it. Don't worry about the website, you need the break to settle in at home. I am sure we will all be here, waiting for you and your wonderful word's.
Posted by: Buffy | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Just a fun poem I recalled when seeing the word "fourmi":
Une fourmi de dix-huit mètres
Avec un chapeau sur la tête
ça n'existe pas, ça n'existe pas.
Une fourmi traînant un char
Plein de pingouins et de canards,
ça n'existe pas, ça n'existe pas.
Une fourmi parlant français,
Parlant latin et javanais
ça n'existe pas, ça n'existe pas.
Eh ! Pourquoi pas ?
Robert Desnos - Chantefables et Chantefleurs - Editions Gründ
Best wishes in your adventures!
Posted by: Suzy, Madison, WI | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 04:08 PM
so cool to have your own boire. can't wait to hear more about your new adventures in Bandol. how many years before we will have wine to drink? will we be invovled in naming and labels like we were last time? so many adventures await us all
Posted by: gary | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 04:16 PM
No matter how beautiful, settling into a new home is a process. I teared up when I read your posting today; I've been there and have felt exactly as you do. One day soon, you'll wake to a different feeling and the scratch on the doorjamb or that slightly sticky cupboard door will feel like home and you will be energized once more. Kudos to you for being able to share your home so graciously with the ants. I will be in France next month and wish that I could be nearer to where you are. It is beautiful!
Posted by: Sheri Murphy, Bethlehem Pennsylvania | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Bonjour Kristin! Your new home looks beautiful! As a former military wife, there is an adjustment and you do get thru it. We lived 5 years in England, and 4 years in Germany. We loved it. My daughters always started school in the middle of the year --- but they had friends quickly. We don't have any regrets, and grew to love all of our homes. Home is what you make it ---it's not the 4 walls, it's the people you love and the home you make.
Have fun exploring with your mom. I love reading about your new home and adventures! Be well.
Posted by: Faye Stampe, Gleneden Beach, OR | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Looking forward to the stories of you settling in. I'm sure by the end of Jules' visit you will have met every last person within 5 sq km. And it looks like the former owners left you all you need to start a new garden. I vote for fruit trees next to the figs.
Posted by: Julie F in St. Louis, MO | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Excellent advice - always look forward to the next adventure that life brings us. Letting go! I am doing that now as I prepare for a move to - that is the question. So many alternatives. Hope that I am as fortunate as you in finding a beautiful place to live and paint. Creating a new home is so exciting, and look at how close you are to the sea!!! Wonderful! The fruit trees sound great. Life on the Med. Fabulous.
Posted by: nancy v | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 04:34 PM
all best wishes as you "make friends" with your new abode and surroundings. Soon you will have your favorite olive tree and fig tree and will welcome the landscape as it welcomes you. portez-vous bien!
Posted by: alicia brown | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 04:49 PM
I was just reading up on Bandol. I see it's known as a "ville tranquille" and that there have been vineyards there since 600BC. Sounds tres interessant!
I'm glad to hear that your lovely daughter is making new friends, moving and leaving old ones behind is always difficult.
Edie from Savannah
Posted by: edith schmidt | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 05:25 PM
My heart is with Jackie. Sweet girl. Moves are wonderful, but that first year is a tough one. Thinking of all of you. Mary
Posted by: mary | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Your new home and surroundings look beautiful and peaceful. Can't wait to hear what Jean-Marc is up too.
Moves can be hard when you leave those dear friends behind but the thought of new friends can be exciting as well.
Have fun with Mom, wishing you all happiness, love and laughter.
Posted by: Karen from Phoenix | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 05:36 PM
What a beautiful spot! Love your mom's cape.
Posted by: Bill in St. Paul | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 05:48 PM
I've been following your blog for a while. I've always found your writing so refreshing and inspiring.
Good luck on your new home! but just a sound of gunfire within earshot scares me.
Just wondering if your family has ever been back to the States.
Kimberly from California
Posted by: Kimberly | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 05:59 PM
your ants must have relatives in florida. they don't seem to like the a/c and have been living somewhere in my laptop. Tell jakie even though she misses her friends-all problems can be solved by shopping. And now that you are near more big cities and malls-perhaps a girls day out with a trip to St. Tropezlunch and the market. ps, you will take jules.
Posted by: hampton | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Obviously, whatever Jean-Marc wants, Jean-Marc gets. He seems to ignore the feelings of the rest of the family. (Reminds me of the time he left his son's party and barged into his wife and daughter's get-away and their bed.)
Posted by: Jim Anderson | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Bonne chance in your new home! Your post is a delight and has me tres sympathique on many levels. Les fourmis remind me of my little American 2 yr old pointing at ants and saying "ormigas", and what I thought was babbling was Spanish for ants - "hormigas". That is what she gets growing up in So. California surrounded by many cultures, including that of her beloved Guatemalan, Spanish-speaking babysitter. The photo of Jackie is lovely. As for les fourmis, we have the same genus here, and also a super-colony. I've found a busy trail coming under the bathroom window up into the cupboard to raid a cough syrup bottle (were they drunk, I wondered) and many more invasions. I keep peace with them by telling them the boundary is drawn at the door. Outside pet food goes on a little raised box that I draw around w/ chalk. They don't cross the chalk barrier. I draw chalk lines at the base of each door and any window from which an invasion is launched. We use a mix of borax and simple syrup when they invade inside. They voraciously devour it and take it back to the nest. We watch a horror movie for 12-24 hours as they stream in but then vanish. We have a product in the US called Terro that has these ingredients. It is not as harsh or chemical laden as other ant treatments. Also, I remember les Argentiniennes have pushed out native ants, so I don't feel as bad keeping them in check. I'm feeling itchy now and must go! xo,k
Posted by: Kate | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Aren't you actually in Ciotat? I guess that the ants have found a home just as you have. Maybe Smokey and Braise will get rid of them.
I have had white wine from Cassis but not a lot of wine from Bandol. Bon chance if you start a new vineyard.
It might take Jackie a while to get used to her new environs and school, but I'm sure that she will make many new friends.
Enjoy your new life and home.
Posted by: Kathleen from Connecticut | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 07:05 PM
Dear Kristin, you will be completely unaware of the fact but you have been my companion over the last six years as we planned our own uprooting from a beautiful corner of England to a completely new way of life in the South West of France. An escape, of course, but also new difficulties and challenges and, unremittingly with our own personalities tagging along (they could not be left behind!) We have worked so hard here and now restored two houses with another big move in between. We have been thrilled, relieved, challenged, almost flattened but would never ever go back! We have had to watch our children deal with their own challenges, moving through the school system and all the while trying to be convincing as we lead them on, ever upwards! Today I stood on a small provincial train platform waving my daughter off on her way to a new life in a big city and university - and it once again hit me what we have done. My heart goes out to you as you uproot and make a new life again but I was so touched by your advice to your daughter. There is always so much joy and potential in looking forward and I wish all of you every possible happiness, adventure, success and deep, lasting contentment together in your new home - and blessed vines and wine! As you have, unwittingly but ever generously accompanied me, I do hope that you feel accompanied by those who read your thoughts and words (whenever you can send them out), cheering you on from the shadowy sidelines. My love and best wishes to you. Joceline
Posted by: Jos Mawdsley | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Bid Mistral a fond Goodbye, and embrace the Olive Oil ... from harsh, brazen, and cold to full, soft, and smooth on the palate ... In the words of Austin Powers "Yeah, Baby"!
Posted by: Bill Facker | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 07:12 PM
I'm so glad to hear that it was just a change needed and not your health or problems with the vineyard. Thanks for sharing your real feelings about the move and new environment. My husband and I just settled into a new home for the third time in 5 years...the last being to be close to my children again which was worth it. Wish my mother could visit but she is gone from us but my two sisters will be here in two weeks for our yearly midwest visit. We miss you and look forward to more adventures. Lolly
Posted by: Lolly Golden | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 07:23 PM
I predict that Jacquie will have un beau by the first of December. You never forget your old friends, and one day the new ones will fall into the old catagory.
The new place looks delightful. Will there be snow in the winter? Not the heat of the summer for sure. Are there still lots of cicadas? or have the fourmi carted them away? Do you have an outside dining area yet? Can the dogs run on the beach and swim in the ocean? So much to see and learn in a new place. This will be good for all.
Posted by: joie in carmel,ca | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 08:21 PM
I don't care whether it's once a week or thrice-weekly, I'm just happy to receive your blog in my mailbox. My students are following along with Jackie's adventures. It has led to lively discussions in the classroom...en francais mais bien sur!
Posted by: Amy | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 09:18 PM
Jim Anderson, I don't know you and am certainly not disparaging your point of view .. but I do want to share that I know Jean-Marc Espinasse. He is a fine and admirable gentleman who absolutely adores his wife and children. I'm certain whatever decisions he takes in life are fully for their benefit. I hope one day you will have the opportunity to meet him personally .. I'm certain you will fully agree with my assessment. Aloha, Bill Facker
Posted by: Bill Facker | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 09:50 PM
I remember reading in "France" magazine in one of Carol Drinkwater's articles about pruning their olive trees that "a healthy, well-pruned olive tree is one a swallow can fly through without its wing tips brushing against a leaf". Apparently this is a truism for Provencal land laborers, so pass this along to Jean-Marc.
Of course you are in a funk. Look what all you've been through. Do not dismay - Jules is on the way. If anybody can orient you to a new life, it's your mama. Don't forget - God is always with you, wherever you live. And Jean-Marc probably will enjoy life a lot more with less stress from the vineyard,
Posted by: Diane Young | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 09:52 PM
You're brave to keep us informed, even while you are settling in--such a monumental task. Glad you're taking it slow.
I'm guessing that part of the reason for the move is that Jean-Marc is one of those people who likes to start new projects, but becomes bored with long-term ones. (I suffer from that myself). It may not be quite what you and Jackie would prefer, but putting a twig across that well-trod ant path once in a while makes the ants see new things.
Posted by: Vera Marie Badertscher | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 09:53 PM
Kristi: Congratulations on your new home! I wanted to tell you what our pest man said about Argentine ants. They all belong to one huge colony in whatever locality they are established (California here). No pesticide really works, so all you can do is reduce their numbers when necessary and work to keep them away from your house. About every 5 years we have to bite the bullet and get the exterminator. Why? Because they get in the bed and they DO bite, especially if you roll over on one! Protecting the perimeter of the house is the best approach. Good luck!
Posted by: Amanda Frost | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 10:15 PM
Regarding the ANTS. We had an invasion in our third floor apartment many years ago. While I was busy looking for some ant repellent, Isi got going with his cigarette lighter. He burnt a few and they retreated, never to return. Sounds cruel, but is very effective and you don't need to kill many! I think the retreating ants took the message back to the nest.
PS. When will you return to Sicily?
Posted by: Fred Lovett | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 10:30 PM
The more photos you post, the more beautiful your new home looks.
And all the land and trees surrounding it.
Hope it can be yours for half a century!
Posted by: Sarah LaBelle near Chicago | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 10:33 PM
Barbara and I are savoring our time here in Biot until 9/23 and wish you and your family well as you transition to your new abode.
We head to Aix for Thursday's market and will think of you by the sea as we wind our way west along the A8 with a stop on the way to the vineyards of Chateau Ste Croix.
Posted by: doug babkirk | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 11:02 PM
These tiny ants sound like the ones we have here that many people call sugar ants, but they will go anywhere else besides the sugar jar. I've seen them trail there way to a speck of toothpaste. Anyway, there is a poison sold in a small container not much larger than a fingernail polish bottle. When I have this problem, I place a small amount on a paper plate on top of my refrigerator. They form a trail of death. Sorry, but I don't mind killing an invasion of ants. I will be happy to send a small bottle to you if you do not find any in your area. It is on the grocery store shelf here. I will look for the exact name.
All the best,
Posted by: Debbie Ambrous - www.AFrenchOpportunity.com | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 11:14 PM
After reading all of the comments from your last two FWAD, it seems that we are all excited for you and wish you and your family much happiness in your beautiful new surroundings. It's almost as if we had made the move with you! At least that's how much I love to read your stories full of wonderful descriptions and perceptions.
When you have grown up by the sea, I think you always yearn to return. It's something deeper than just "sand between your toes". Your views must be breathtaking.
Best wishes for all, Cynthia
Posted by: Cynthia Lewis in Salisbury, Eastern Shore of Maryland | Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 11:57 PM
Saint-Cecile is not so far from Bandol, right? It might help the transition if Jackie could have her friends come visit - and she could go visit them. What lush photos - how much land do you have? What were the hunters hunting? And why are they allowed so close to the road? Tell us more, tell us more.
Posted by: EL | Wednesday, September 12, 2012 at 12:33 AM
Jim Anderson needs to get a life.
Peggy in Florida
Posted by: Peggy Welborn | Wednesday, September 12, 2012 at 12:40 AM
another fourmi ditty comes to mind...
Les papillons en l'air
Et les fourmis par terre
Chacun est à sa place
Il n'y a pas de mystère
Posted by: Jeff Cwiok | Wednesday, September 12, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Kristen, how lucky you were to have Saint Cecile and how exciting it is to start anew in Bandol..enjoy each moment
“The beautiful journey of today can only begin when we learn to let go of yesterday.”
― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
Posted by: [email protected] | Wednesday, September 12, 2012 at 01:26 AM
I had no idea ants were so much a part of literature-- you and Jean de la Fontaine
Posted by: Susan Kissel | Wednesday, September 12, 2012 at 02:27 AM
I just love to find french word a day in the mailbox. It just lifts my spirits . Now I hope that all or most of these comments will lift yours as well. It sounds so lovely , taking your sheets and clothes off the line-ants and all. I miss that. We all wish you so much joy in your new home. And we can hardly wait to hear all about it. The precious people, the sights, sounds and smells in this new area. I admire your God-given talent to write about it all so that we all share in the experience. What lovely people you bought from ,and sold to. You are blessed. Enjoy,-- and I just love what you told your daughter. She is a good friend! as are you. So many of us will never travel to France, other than sharing your experiences, and I thank you. You have blessed my life.
Posted by: Jean Creighton | Wednesday, September 12, 2012 at 02:47 AM
Hi dear Kristin,
Another wonderful post (and pictures!)--as always!
A bit of bittersweet mingled with hopeful joys in the future!
There seems to be something about your ages that give courage to follow one's heart and ,just, charge ahead!
Those of us to have then been in your shoes send a hug and BRAVO(!!) for also going
ahead as we did.
Each day is more fulfilled and in retrospect,gtatitude for being shown the path!
It just gets better!
As does your beautiful writing!!!!!!
Love, Natalia XO
Posted by: Natalia | Wednesday, September 12, 2012 at 06:53 AM
Surprise, early reading with great interest! I wish you all the very best. The most beautiful region with your heart, love, inspriation and joy that you bring to many of us, enjoy. Elizabeth living in the Landes.
Posted by: Elizabeth | Wednesday, September 12, 2012 at 09:07 AM
Enjoy! Hugs x
Posted by: Gretel | Wednesday, September 12, 2012 at 10:05 AM
Great post! Enjoyed les poemes fourmillants! Merci for the reminder... somewhere I have Fourmi de 18 metres en chanson...
Olive leaf galore.... could a new business venture be "brewing"? Pun intended, I pay a fortune for olive leaf tea in Queensland.
Spellcheck: weekness = weakness, invadors = invaders, armoirs = armoires.
Best wishes for a peaceful settling in to your new home (with most enviable views...sigh).
Jacqueline, currently in cold Landen (Belgium)
Posted by: JacqBrisbane | Wednesday, September 12, 2012 at 12:26 PM
I have found myself thinking of you often and wondering what has caused this dramatic change. I was so worried your skin cancer had turned to a worse form or that some other terrible thing was going on. I don't even know you but I almost feel like you are a friend. Even when a move is for a good reason and a better life, it is so stressful to uproot and start over. I truly wish you well in your new home.
Posted by: lana stephens | Wednesday, September 12, 2012 at 03:32 PM
It sounds like everybody is settling in and adjusting. I hope Jackie meets some good friends at her new school. It's really hard to move to a new school as a teenager. I love the view of the olive trees from the balcony. Enjoy your visit with your Mom. I always love when my Mom comes to visit.
Posted by: Eileen - Charlottesville, VA | Wednesday, September 12, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Moving can be tough in many ways that we aren't able to foresee. I have prayed for you and feel like it was a good move and that the Lord is right there helping you and your family. Be patient with yourself and with each other. Transition stress affects people in different ways.
Posted by: Dianne Vergos | Wednesday, September 12, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Ah Kristin, I so empathize. Moving the cheese. All of it. We're about to do it again. I try to remember that "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone". Love your tales. Ciao!
Posted by: Cynthia Crane | Thursday, September 13, 2012 at 01:55 AM
Bon courage, Jackie ! Tu as de la chance d'avoir de si bons amis a Ste-Cecile, et avec un coeur pareil, je suis sure que tu en feras bientot a Bandol. Nous te souhaitons le meilleur !
Kristin, thanks for posting as you are able. I love the way you find analogies and inspiration even in moments and things that most people would overlook or find either mundane or annoying. Enjoy settling in to your new place and spending time with your mom!
Posted by: Heidi | Thursday, September 13, 2012 at 02:56 AM
Oh my, I would have trouble adjusting to les fourmis :) but your lovely setting would make it easier! So enjoying your posts. Have a wonderful time with your mom. I loved the old pictures of her and her Frida cape. Your mom must be so fun!
Karene in So. Calif.
Posted by: Karene | Thursday, September 13, 2012 at 04:52 AM
I too have had a terrible time with ants invading my space! My wonderful granddaughter told me that cinnamon chases them away. I was doubtful, but willing to try - and she was right! Cinnamon sticks everywhere, and sprinkle the powdered cinnamon in cracks and crevices. They are gone! and the house smells good.
Bon courage to you Kristin!
Posted by: Dorothee Domingue | Thursday, September 13, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Thank you so much for every encouraging word you send. Each and every comment is so touching and appreciated. Merci beaucoup!!!
Posted by: Kristin Espinasse | Thursday, September 13, 2012 at 06:43 PM
Your Mom's gonna love your new place. Have fun with her and don't WORRY about French-Word-A-Day. We will be here when you are ready to write. XO
Posted by: Carmen Clarke | Friday, September 14, 2012 at 07:34 AM
Kristi, there by the sea will be a wonderful, inspiring place to write. I had a dream a few weeks ago, and I wish I had written it down immediately, because I've forgotten the details, but it was about you, and you were writing a novel. I saw the colorful book cover in my dream, but now all I can remember are colors, no other details.
Peace to you and your family, Jennifer
Posted by: Jennifer in OR | Saturday, September 15, 2012 at 06:17 AM
Kristin, I'm a new subscriber and I admire your gift for writing. You have such an optimistic outlook on life -- and even concerning those pesty ants! I did some research on Argentinian ants and found this video you may be interested in..just in case you want to place some limits on co-existing with them:)
Posted by: Pat N. | Sunday, September 16, 2012 at 07:37 PM
The link to a video about ants from Pat N.
Posted by: Pat N. | Sunday, September 16, 2012 at 07:39 PM
Ahhh! How exciting! And I am so jealous! Wish I could experience it all!
Posted by: Marcia Douglas | Monday, September 17, 2012 at 03:17 PM
I would like to comment on how I'm learning to speak French. We live in a mostly french speaking area south of Montreal in Quebec. My husband is bilingual. I could not find a job due to my lack of speaking French...so..we bought the village's Epicerie Fine, "La Rumeur Affamee". French immersion at it's best! I have a lot to learn but am happily speaking french daily selling cheese, charcuterie, pains et beaucoups d'autres choses. Merci bien.
Posted by: kelly | Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Looking forward to reading how your current adventure unfolds! So much new grist for the mill.
Posted by: Franca Bollo | Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 09:11 PM
I share you blog regularly through a board on Pinterest. I can only hope my followers love you and your family as much as I do!
Posted by: Betty Tuininga | Saturday, September 22, 2012 at 08:12 PM
Your new home looks beautiful. Only the very best to you all on this new path!
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