bonne rentree (et bon courage!)
Wednesday, September 03, 2014
Smokey wishes you all une bonne rentrée. And, naner naner!, after enjoying his breakfast baguette, Smo-smo gets to linger beneath the lazy sunflower whilst Jackie hurries for the bus. How to say "to rub it in" in French?
bonne rentrée (f) (boehn-rahn-tray)
: happy back-to-school
Audio File & Example Sentence: Download MP3 or Wave file
Saw the following greeting on my friend Zahia's Facebook page. She's been busy wishing her nieces, Meissa and Inès, Bonne rentrée or "Welcome back (to school)."
Coucou! Toutes les bonnes choses ont une fin, hélas, je te souhaite de passer une trés bonne rentrée! Hi there! All good things have an end, alas, I wish you happy back-to-school!
A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse
This morning, and for the first time since summer began, I woke up in a pitch dark room. Gone was the comforting view of the forest and with it the daily wake-up ritual of searching for my favorite tree (the old parasol pine at the top of the hill. When I focus on the curve of that arbre I see the outline of a giant heart. Any anxieties that woke up with me disappear beneath the promise of that tree).
This morning no light, no forest, no heart. The buzz of Jean-Marc's réveil jolted our family into a new reality: la rentrée! Back-to-school for our daughter (the remaining fledgling in our nest) means a new schedule for everyone. No more sleeping in 'till seven. No more pep talks with Mr. Pin Parasol. Funny how each day feels like the first day of class and, waking to the uncertainty of the next 24 hours, we are like small children approaching the giant gates of the school yard. Shaking in our boots our socks fall to our ankles as we stumble forth, into the unknown. Another day.
Recently even a big-hearted pine tree could not coax me out of bed. You know the old ditty: Mama said there'd be days like this, there'd be days like this my mama said....
Yes, but just what did mama say to do on days like this? To find out the answer I called my Mama and here is what she said:
"Focus on others, not yourself!" The message was delivered firmly but with love.
Facing a new work day, I sucked up and wrote about another's pain, sharing my mother-in-law's situation instead of my own. Next, my thoughts traveled over to you, dear reader, and how you are surely experiencing "days like this." I wondered, Did you, too, dial up my Mom, who gave you the same answer: "Focus on another!" Because that would explain the outpouring of support following the previous post. I did not expect so much sympathy over a seemingly unsentimental subject: email. You must have read between the lines of the story -- when suddenly a heart came into focus!
I'm looking out my bedroom window now and the big-hearted tree is finally coming into view. Ouf! It's back! And with it a new day. But I didn't want this day to end before sending you a sincere remerciement. Thank you so much for looking past your own pain and focusing on another's. Your empathy is deeply touching!
This post was supposed to be about back-to-school and the French penchant for wishing everyone bonne rentrée. But we haven't gone too far off theme: "Happy return," after all, is the universal topic, the bonne rentrée everyone's talking about. Yes, many happy returns! May each day be a new day--with new hope and new courage for all. Whatever is hurting you, let it gently blend into this friendly forest and reappear as the giant heart of compassion: the balm to heal all wounds. Bon courage.
un arbre = tree
le réveil = alarm clock
ouf! = phew!
un remerciement = thanks
amicalement = yours, best wishes
Things that make me happy? Decorating my potting stand with vineyard gloves and clothespins. Just looking at this scene brings a smile. Any you? What makes you happy?
To comment on this post, click here.
Smokey's mom napping beneath the pomegranate tree... this makes me happy.
The following stories will build your French vocabulary. Need help deciding which story to read? Check out reader comments below.
Ceder le passage
Phew! I had my passenger's foot firmly pressed on the imaginary brake pedal through this whole post. I don't remember being this way as a new driver. - Karen
Le vigneron and le paysan of a previous post are excellent stories and great testimonials of life in the senior years. At 81, I can relate to André and his active life. - Herm
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
2. A bank transfer via Zelle, a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.
Or purchase my book for a friend, and so help spread the French word.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety
Smokey wishes you all une bonne rentrée. And, naner naner!
Que veut dire "naner, naner"?
PS Think a ditty is what you meant and not diddy.....
Posted by: Claudette | Wednesday, September 03, 2014 at 01:21 PM
Good morning to all,
Today I can say this with a happy heart because in-spite of my troubles I am able to share something that has been of value to me for many years. I have SAD and I also suffered from clinical depression for many years after my last child was born. During those dark days where just waking up was a chore I sought answers from doctors, some were sympathetic, but most weren't. Then I talked with my grandmother, who it turned out also suffered from depression, and she told me (much like your mother), to keep my hands busy and to not think about what was bothering me. I took this to heart and to this day it helps when the SAD starts to take over. (I also use a light box which works wonders and a doctor finally prescribed a medicine that helped)
Posted by: Sharon Auckerman | Wednesday, September 03, 2014 at 02:25 PM
Sharon, just commented before I saw your note, above (when I answer comments via email, they often appear later than the other comments). So I will try responding directly. Just to say thank you for sharing your story, which is helpful and encouraging to so many.
Thanks to all who respond to these posts, whether with edits, stories, links and information. It is all much appreciated!
Posted by: Kristin Espinase | Wednesday, September 03, 2014 at 02:44 PM
Fall is coming here also. In Phoenix, the daily high will be less than 100 degrees by weekend according to forecasts.
I remember one of YOUR mother’s sayings . . . . . . “Thank you God for moments like this”
Posted by: Herm in Phoenix, AZ | Wednesday, September 03, 2014 at 03:55 PM
Buddhists say if you want to be happier, think of others. If you want to be less happy, dwell on yourself. I find a lot of truth in that.
Posted by: Leslie NYC | Wednesday, September 03, 2014 at 04:04 PM
Change always comes with sadness..even when going into a better place, time, home, work, season. We see ourselves, and all around us aging..and in fall the leaves turning and falling off, the daylight retreating..somehow we must transform these thoughts into anticipation and excitement for life's next phage, adventure.
Posted by: Catharine Ewart-Touzot | Wednesday, September 03, 2014 at 04:17 PM
Sometimes it is difficult to get up in the morning. In 2013, we lost my mother, and two months later, we lost our son. It's been over a year, but I'm still dealing with the loss. I'm sure I always will, but we have two other sons and their families for whom I'm very grateful. What makes me happy is spending time with my granddaughters :-) They're so full of life! I can completely forget about my own thoughts and feelings for a while and focus on them.
Posted by: sandy | Wednesday, September 03, 2014 at 04:19 PM
Sandy, my heart goes out to you. Loved reading about the joy your granddaughters bring you!
Catharine, poetic and encouraging. Thanks. Enjoying everyone's thoughts. Mille mercis.
Posted by: Kristin Espinasse | Wednesday, September 03, 2014 at 04:36 PM
"Whatever is hurting you, let it gently blend into this friendly forest and reappear as the giant heart of compassion: the balm to heal all wounds. Bon courage."
Thank you, Kristin, for these words of encouragement; I needed them today. And thank you for being brave enough to share your stories even on the days they are not light and carefree.
Thank you, thank you. Your blog shines a little light when some days we are navigating in the dark.
Posted by: Trina, St. Petersburg, Florida, USA | Wednesday, September 03, 2014 at 05:33 PM
Bonne rentree a vous!
I am reading a excellent French novel (translated into English) called "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" by Muriel Barbery. Have you read it? I think you would appreciate it and it would speak to you.
Edie from Savannah
Posted by: edie schmidt | Wednesday, September 03, 2014 at 05:40 PM
Such a moving post with bittersweet comments. I love the buddhist saying: I even wrote it down and put it on the fridge. Everyone can benefit from it.
I love the photos -- please consider a French Word-A-Day 2015 calendar ---- with your beautiful photos of your pups, France, your garden, and your wonderful life! It would be unique & classy.
Posted by: Faye Stampe, Gleneden Beach, OR | Wednesday, September 03, 2014 at 05:50 PM
Trina just quoted what must be some of the most beautiful words you have written... bringing to us a such hope and inspiration. It speaks to me of faith... in ourselves, in each other and in a power far greater than any of us. I, too, draw strength from a tree outside my bedroom window.... a cherry
(cheery!) tree. I will now think of your closing words of today and Bon Courage as I gaze upon our cherry tree each morning. Your thoughts, so beautifully expressed, are a gift that never stops giving. Thank you~
Posted by: Chris Allin | Wednesday, September 03, 2014 at 06:09 PM
My husband the cowboy, had two sayings that he lived by. The first get up "Your burnin daylight" and the other " what are you waiting for "You can rest when your dead". He lived a full and very rich life. In fact he didn't stop reading and studying until two days before he passed. I am hopeful that he will finish his last project in heaven.
Posted by: Suzy | Wednesday, September 03, 2014 at 06:18 PM
Your posts always teach/remind me of something nurturing. Focus on others - excellent advice. I manage depression in my life with time spent outdoors gardening, walking, etc. Running out of battery.
Posted by: Nancy | Wednesday, September 03, 2014 at 06:55 PM
Kristi, I realized I never did leave a comment following your previous post re: courriel. In the busy world of online work, I think it's easy to think of email as an 'aside' to actual work. And yet, email and social networking takes up so much of our precious time! You lead by example and we can all borrow from your lessons. I know it's certainly true for me. Thank you so much for the reminder to focus on others in times of uncertainty and when events get challenging. It's very timely for me, as my older son nervously goes back to school and my littlest is about to start nursery school, separating from me for the first time to be with people he has never met before. I know that this transition probably seems minuscule, compared to your grown-up children's transitions, but each of us perceives our own challenges as very dramatic. There it is again, a good spot to insert the advice to "Focus on another." I will continue to return to it many times in the coming weeks. Lastly, I will say that I will continue to keep you and your family, as well as your belle mere, in my thoughts.
Posted by: Katia | Wednesday, September 03, 2014 at 07:17 PM
Today, your story made me happy, though I barely have time to read it as I am out the door for appointments. Your line, “Whatever is hurting you….” lit a light within me for that is the path for me, the gentle blending of pain into the forest and appearing later as a winged creature of compassion and trust.
There’s much more to say, but must be on my way. Thank you for inspiring me today. May you have a lovely day my friend!
Posted by: Stacy ~ Sweet Life Farm | Wednesday, September 03, 2014 at 08:50 PM
happiness is: family,friends, food, laughter...but best said in a Chinese cookie..."to be able to look back upon ones' past life with satisfaction is to live twice."
Posted by: Teresa R. Schirmer | Wednesday, September 03, 2014 at 09:49 PM
Our dear Kristi,
Today's post just wound itself around our hearts.So beautifully written,so touching,and such an inspiration when your appreciative readers are also going through a down,as we all sometimes do throughout our lives.
The book which accompanies my daily Bible studies tells me that even on the grayest of days we MUST praise God.Find something of beauty for your soul (doesn't matter what, a flower, a cloud,SOMETHING)and
open your spirit and mind in praise to Him for this gift.Each time I do this,whatever burden is upon me is lifted.
I hope it will do the same for you.
We keep you and your beautiful family in our prayers always.
Each day you wrap us in hugs and we send them back to you!
Posted by: Natalia | Thursday, September 04, 2014 at 12:48 AM
A teacher from my youth said this:
If you are blue little girl, if you're blue,
Do something for somebody-quick.
It really annoyed me then-I get the point now.
Posted by: joan | Thursday, September 04, 2014 at 05:32 AM
Thanks, Claudette. And naner naner means that I have something you do not have, so naner naner. But I could be mixing up expressions or misspelling things :-)
Posted by: Kristin Espinasse | Thursday, September 04, 2014 at 06:01 AM
It's comforting to know I'm not alone - none of us are, it just feels like it sometimes. It's good to have a community of loving people with wonderful advice. I think the best 'be happy' advice is to 'get busy and think of others instead of just dwelling on whatever is going on with yourself.' That's not always easy to do when in the midst of the 'low biorhythms' as my husband calls it. But, it can be well worth the effort, once the light of day starts shining through. Bon chance to one and all!
P.S. I love the photos of the pups and the garden cart with all the gloves!
Posted by: Judi | Thursday, September 04, 2014 at 06:10 AM
You make me happy, Kristin.
Along with cooking beautiful things.
And growing beautiful things.
And your mother's advice makes me happy.
Please give her my love at a distance. I'm not sure what's happening with her right now, but I'm sending her golden light that goes with her heart and and spirit.
And yes, the rentrer, c'est difficile pour les parents...
Posted by: Suzanne Dunaway | Thursday, September 04, 2014 at 06:41 PM
Thank you for this sweet post.
Does bonne rentree mean the same as bon retour?
Posted by: EL | Thursday, September 04, 2014 at 08:28 PM