Braise the dog update + how to say "different strokes for different folks" in French
kif-kif! + list of Arabic words you will hear when in France

Send a Texto or SMS message in French - short dictionary of text abbreviations....

Foutas and Snorkeling (c) Kristin Espinasse
Those colorful tasseled linens on the ladder are called foutas (available here). You see them on the beach, beneath the very chic! The French adore them though they're not made in France (some come from Tunisia). They don't cost an arm and a leg--and for added value you can use them as a tablecloth or a bed runner or a body wrap. ORDER A TOWEL HERE


    by Kristin Espinasse

This morning when my son walks up to the breakfast table I promise not to fire off 24 giddy questions like the last time. "There's a bag of sliced bread here and some Nutella over there," I say simply, smiling peacefully when he says he prefers baguettes (we're out.) 

It is so rare these days to share a meal with Max that I don't want to ruin this opportunity. Especially, I don't want to scare him away--after all, he has two more options: he could eat in the dining room or he could eat outside on the patio. The weather's still nice, so this last possibility would be tempting.

"Look at the jellyfish stings I got! " I try distracting my 18-year-old before he even considers his options. Quickly, I offer my hand for Max's inspection. Pointing to my ankle, I show off a second prickly red patch. "Que ça gratte!"

While away with Jean-Marc this weekend, on a 3-day escapade amoureux, I tried to keep up with my adventurous husband. But I was reluctant to swim in the sea with him after I noticed all the jellyfish. Finally on day three I made up my mind to brave the salty waters (which had cleared, some, of the stinging monsters). I mimicked my husband, spitting several times in my face mask, using my thumbs to "shine" the goggles with the help of my salive. Next, I yanked on the mask and dove in before chickening out. Seconds later I was stunned back to my good senses. Zapped twice by jellyfish!

How ironic to have been so cautious only to double the odds! Or, as Jean-Marc said when later we laughed about my accidental run-in with the méduses: "Il fallait le faire express! You would have had to do that on purpose!" He's right--and fear is like a magnet... it seems to attract the very thing it hopes to avoid!

 Max laughed hearing my story. "Maman," he said, dismissing my superstition, "t'es une catastrophe!" You are just clumsy.

"Oh, by the way," I said to Max, "When I tried to text you last night with my mobile phone, I got confused by your response, which didn't make any sense--until I realized I was reading a response you had sent me last month!"

Max smiled and shook his head in appreciation of another of his mom's ineptitudes.

"...So I decided to have your sister text you for me! Only, when I texted Jackie for an update, I received another strange response. It read 'C ki?' I quickly figured out that 'c ki' was a keyboard shortcut for "c'est qui?"

Having decripted the French SMS, or text, I still found the message strange. Perhaps Jackie couldn't see my name in the text box thing? So I texted right back with "c maman". (Though I struggled with the tiny keys on my non-smart phone, I felt smug using the SMS code I'd just learned, such as the "c" for "c'est". But any pride quickly dissipated when I couldn't figure out how to abbreviate "maman"... mmn? mn? ma? meh...

"Next I received this message: 'dsl vs fait erreur'." After unscrambling the second message ("dsl = désolé; vs = vous...) I realized I had just texted a complete stranger, one who was polite enough to inform me: "sorry you've made a mistake"!

I debated several minutes on whether or not to reply to the inconnu, deciding it was only right to acknowledge the error: "dsl je me suis trompe de no". So much for the brief foray into French texting (and what a relief it was when the stranger didn't write back. Ouf!)

Max, having heard me out, came back to his first conclusion: "T'es une catastrophe!" he snickered.

Well, Max may be clever, but can he say "clumsy" in textese? MDR! Meantime, to help you with your own speed-texting, I leave you with a list of French SMS lingo--compiled by our daughter and SMS specialist Jackie (she also recorded an audio file for you... just below). Please share this blog with a friend--or a class, if you are teaching French :-)


Audio File: You can listen to the following list, here: Download MP3 or Wav file

Mdr = Mort de rire (lol).
Pk = Pourquoi (why)
Je c = Je sais (I know)
Stp = S'il te plait (please) 
Tg = Ta gueule! (shut up! [written teasingly])
Tmtc = Toi même tu sais (and you know it)
Jtm = Je t'aime (I love you)
Slt = Salut (hi)
Cc = Coucou (hi)
Bjr = Bonjour (hi)
Bsr = Bonsoir (goodnight)
Dsl = Désolé (sorry)

Have some French SMS shorthand you'd like to add to this list? Click here to go to the comments box

French Vocabulary

que ça gratte! = it itches so bad!

une escapade amoureuse = lovers' getaway

la salive = saliva

une méduse = jellyfish

la maman = mom

l'inconnu = stranger

ouf! = phew!

Please help answer Patty's adoption question:


Thank you for your wonderful newsletter.. It inspires me…. Although, I do not read it as much as I would like to….it always amazes me…and brings me to my roots… You may have the information I am looking for…. What is the name of the French TV program that looks for relatives of adopted children…. I understand they are quite successful at finding families..

I was adopted at birth in Bordeaux by an American Military couple back in the 50’s and have tried to look, but I haven’t much info…. I was told about the show and that that might be a possibility…. Any information you might have would be great…. 



If you know the answer to Patty's question, or would like to comment on some item in this post please click here for the comments box. Many thanks!

St. Antoine (c) Kristin Espinasse
During our 3-day getaway, we visited a little island church. I noticed this statue of St. Antoine. Beneath it there was a prayer book where you could leave a request. I mispelled the first word of mine...

Prayer book (c) Kristin Espinasse
....Good thing you don't have to conjugate to get your point across to God.

A Message from KristiFor twenty years now, support from readers like you has been an encouragement and a means to carve out a career in writing. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider a donation. Your gift keeps me going! Thank you very much.

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety