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gerer

Mas-perdrix-2015

 MAS DE LA PERDRIX. Lovely months to rent this home France: July, for fields of sunflowers & lavender. September, for the grape harvest! October: fall leaves. The exchange rate is great. It's a wonderful time to rent this dreamhouse.


GERER (zher-ay)

    : to manage, to handle things

EXAMPLE SENTENCE 
Maman, ne t'inquiète pas, je suis assez capable de me gérer moi-même.
Mom, don't worry. I am capable enough to manage things on my own.


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

Un petit coucou de Paris.  A little hello from Paris, where my 17-year-old is settling in for her three week stage, or internship. We are staying in a shoebox on the 6th floor of an historic Haussmanian building. The room is slightly bigger than the double bed where we will bunk for the next week, until I am certain Jackie feels confident to live on here own.

But from the looks of things, she is every bit capable of taking care of herself and those around her. I am touched at how she has looked after me, since leaving home together yesterday. It all began at our train station in St Cyr / Les Lecques. The sun was shining down brightly as we stood on the platform waiting for our train. "I'm going to stand in the shade," I said....

"Maman, you have your hat on. You are OK."

I realized she was right, and relaxed as the train pulled up. But when we stepped abord, there were no empty seats. Struggling with my luggage, I began to panick. "Maman, stay there", Jackie said, quickly scouting for a seat. Next she directed me to a side chair where I could sit with my bags bundled beside me in the passage way. What luck to have a place to rest on a crowded train.

Arriving in Paris, Jackie shepherded me out of the train station and reminded me to call UBER. We would not be using the metro when we had heavy bags to lug. We ended up taking the first cab we saw, and when I asked the cabby to stop at an ATM so I could get cash to pay the ride, Jackie said, "I think I can cover it." She handed the cab driver 10 euros and presto! there we stood in front of our apartment.

Today at lunch I ordered a little flan de courgette for lunch. "Maman, have a cup of soup, too," Jackie suggested.

"No. This is all I want," I said, only to realize how hungry I was later. Jackie hailed the waiter, "On voudrais commander une deuxième soupe, s'il vous plaît," and just like that, everything was taken care of. 

At this point in my story, you may be wondering why a 17-year-old girl is making such snappy decisions, when her mom should be calling the shots.  Briefly, I have not been myself lately. It is a combination of things and it will surely pass. Meantime, seeing my daughter spread her delicate wings and fly--taking me along with her--is the best Mothers Day present any one could ask for.

I'm going to be taking a little time off from the blog, but I will be back for a weekly check-in, whether with a story or with a photo. Meantime, I am posting pictures from Paris on my Instagram gallery and at Facebook. I hope you will stop by and enjoy them, and click the follow button to see tomorrow's photos, too!

Warmest wishes from Paris,

Kristi
P.S. Very sorry about the lack of photos in this edition. Having technical difficulties. Please click on the Instagram or Facebook highlighted links above for today's pictures, including the magnifique bouquet Jackie just presented me with, here in our cozy boîte à chaussures in Paris.

COMMENTS
To leave a comments or to read the comments, click here. 


SABLET HOME for high quality vacation rentals in the heart of Provence. Particularly suited to groups of up to four discerning travelers.

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and sharing these educational posts from France. Your contribution is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
♥ Send $10    
♥ Send $25    
♥Send the amount of your choice


"Bonjour Kristi, I've been a reader for years and thought it time to support your blog. Thanks for your frank and genuine stories that have opened a door into real French life."
--Jed

NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP: Has a friend forwarded you this post? Receive your own free subscription to French Word-A-Day. Click here

 

French antique giveaway or "key" to the French language with FluentU

Keys-jackie
Over the years, you have seen these treasured keys in various scenes at our old vineyard and here, in the window seat at Mas des Brun. Today, I am giving away a precious third key! Reader Gus Ellison won the first in 2012, and shared these touching photos. It's time to share one more cherished antique French key... in today's post. (Notice Jackie in the photo. She leaves tomorrow for her couture internship in Paris...)

TODAY'S WORD
la clé (klay)


    : key

PRENDRE LA CLE DES CHAMPS = To make off with the goods.

AUDIO FILE: Who will run off with today's treasured antique? Follow these instructions and enter to win (you may listen to the instructions here in French, if you wish)

Une clé. Si vous souhaitez gagner une clé issue de ma collection antique, veuillez, s'il vous plaît, cliquez sur le lien suivant et visitez mon nouveau sponsor. Merci, également, de laisser un commentaire pour le tirage au sort.

A key. If you wish to win a key from my antique collection, please click on the following link and visit my new sponsor. Thanks also to leave a comment to enter the drawing.

470-152
 

COMMENTS
To enter today's drawing, click on the banner, above, and tell us what you saw at the FluentU website that appealed to the French learner inside of you! Click here to comment and bon chance!

A MORE NATURAL WAY TO LEARN A LANGUAGE

FluentU is a great new way to learn languages with music videos, movie trailers, news, and more. It's the perfect way to learn French with video context and cultural immersion. They have a terrific website (click here) and just launched their iPhone app today. Check it out!

 

DSC_0039

Smokey says: Step right up! One of these antique French keys may soon be yours! 

Simply click on my sponsor link, here, then come back and leave a message in this comments box telling us what you like about FluentU's approach to learning the French language.

Smokey will toss lucky stardust on your comment when you forward this post to a friend. Lucky star dust just might make the difference in winning today's very personal gift: an antique key to the French language. I promise to choose a wonderful key for you and to announce the winner in the next week... from Paris! Your key will then be posted, before June 20th, from The City of Light (La Ville de Lumière).

DSC_0044
These treasured keys were spotted in a brocant in 2008 and are a real trouvaille! Read the story here.

Thank you so much for participating in this very special giveaway, made possible by FluentU. When you visit the FluentU site, you sprinkle Lucky Star dust on Kristi's French Language journal, still trucking in its 14th year online, and sharing the goal of FluentU: to make online language learning accessible to all who wish to speak a foreign language.

Click here to say something about FluentU's language approach and to be automatically entered in the drawing.

LEARN MORE THAN FRENCH!
FluentU is currently available for Chinese, Spanish, French, English, German and Japanese. Check it out.

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and sharing these educational posts from France. Your contribution is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
♥ Send $10    
♥ Send $25    
♥Send the amount of your choice


"Bonjour Kristi, I've been a reader for years and thought it time to support your blog. Thanks for your frank and genuine stories that have opened a door into real French life."
--Jed

NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP: Has a friend forwarded you this post? Receive your own free subscription to French Word-A-Day. Click here

 

Le Memorial Day: We will never forget

Memorial Day Omaha beach France

I will never forget watching this American speak to the lost soldiers on the beaches of Normandy. Today we honor those who lost their lives, au champs d'honneur.

Memorial Day

    : jour des soldats morts au champ d'honneur
     (day of commemoration of soldiers who were killed in action)

Audio File: Listen to Jean-Marc read the French definitions, recording today's sound file from his field of vines where he's paused to remember soldiers: Download MP3 or Wav file

Le Memorial Day est un jour de congé officiel aux États-Unis, célébré chaque année lors du dernier lundi du mois de mai. Historiquement, il était nommé Decoration Day, en l'honneur des femmes et hommes qui perdirent leur vie durant la guerre de Sécession. (Wikipedia)

Memorial Day is an official holiday in the United States, observed each year on the last Monday of May. Historically, it was called Decoration Day, in honor of women and men who lost their lives during the American Civil war.

Paris Monaco Rentals

France and Monaco Rentals: short-term holiday rental properties throughout France. Click here for pictures.



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

(Story written one year ago)

On La Fête des Mères, yesterday, we were gathered round the picnic table, eating barbequed moules, salmon, and aubergines, when the irony of it all hit me. Mothers Day in France is the day before Memorial Day in the States.

I looked over at my 19-year-old son, amazed. Thank God we've never known the draft

Mothers Day was never more meaningful--celebrated the day before remembrance day. So much to be grateful for: my son, freedom, and most of all those who fought for it. 

On this day we often hear the free citoyens promise: "We will never forget." Let's remember, now, by honoring those who lost their lives, les soldats morts au 'champ d'honneur.' 


COMMENTS

To read the comments or to leave one, click here.


Omaha beach barbed wire
Do you ever take your freedom for granted? (Photo taken from inside a bunker on Omaha Beach.)

July ceremony

Thankful for his freedom. Our then 16-year-old son, Max, during his French recensement militaire, or military duty.


Omaha beach memorial
Sacrifice. Courage. A soldier remembers: 

"I started out to cross the beach with 35 men and only six got to the top, that's all." --2nd LT Bob Edlin

J'ai commencé la traversée de la plage avec trente-six hommes, six seulement sont arrivés en haut des falaises.

American Cemetery Normandy
The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial is one of many American cemeteries in France. To leave a comment in today's post, click here

SABLET HOME for high quality vacation rentals in the heart of Provence. Particularly suited to groups of up to four discerning travelers.

  P1010659
Some people wear poppies on Memorial Day. Find out why in Jean Pariseau's French poem Au Champ d'Honneur. Click here.

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and sharing these educational posts from France. Your contribution is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
♥ Send $10    
♥ Send $25    
♥Send the amount of your choice


"Bonjour Kristi, I've been a reader for years and thought it time to support your blog. Thanks for your frank and genuine stories that have opened a door into real French life."
--Jed

NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP: Has a friend forwarded you this post? Receive your own free subscription to French Word-A-Day. Click here

 

eveiller

Butterfly - Papillon (c) Kristin Espinasse
Smell the roses, see the butterfly's wings... slow to a snail's pace but not so slow as to sleepwalk through the day.

Paris Monaco Rentals

France and Monaco Rentals: short-term holiday rental properties throughout France. Click here for pictures.


éveiller
(ay-veh-yay) verb
 

       : to wake up, to excite... "to pull from sleep" (tirer du sommeil)

French Vocabulary & Audio File Hear my daughter pronounce today's word and quote (Note: Don't recognize the little voice? This sound file was recorded 7 years ago, when Jackie was 11-year-old... Ah, nostalgie!):  Download mp3 or WAV

 On ne force pas une curiosité, on l'éveille.  We don't force curiosity, we awaken it.  --Daniel Pennac

    

Mas-perdrix-2015MAS DE LA PERDRIX. Lovely months to rent this home France: July, for fields of sunflowers & lavender. September, for the grape harvest! October: fall leaves. The exchange rate is great. It's a wonderful time to rent this dreamhouse

 

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

(The following story was written in 2008)

"Présent!" It is what my son replies when his teacher reads aloud his name for roll call. Every French child answers the same life-affirming way: "Présent!"

The affirmative "Présent!" is so much more lively than bland ol' "Here!," don't you think? And did you ever notice the word's dual meaning: present/present which, whether in French or English, hints that when we are "here," present in the moment, we receive the "gift" of clarity -- where even the mundane takes on magnificence.

I would like to shout "Présente!" to somebody each day or, better yet, each hour!--if only to remind myself that I am truly awake. An hourly roll call might pull me out of this mental slumber. Lately, fueled by caffeine and routine, I manage to get by on automatic. The not-so-sensational sensation could be compared to sleepwalking through sauerkraut, though my mother-in-law would call it "pedaling through choucroute." The vivid imagery that her words call forth is enough to wake my senses--if only that of sight, and if only in the mind's eye--otherwise, it's the same old grind, day after day, though it be a Gallic one and who am I to complain?

Recently, I decided to throw that old foe "Predicable Routine" for a loop. I began by tying my shoes... Next, I headed for the door instead of the coffee pot... and so marched, one foot after the other, out of the house and into the countryside's "classroom".

"Présente! Présente! Présente!" I affirmed, to the whispering reeds and leaf-chattering trees that agreed, enthusiastically, to take roll call for sluggish ol' me.
 

COMMENTS
To leave a comment or to read one, click here

Provence Dreamin'? Maison des Pelerins, Sablet. A Vacation Rental Dream in the heart of the Côte du Rhone. Click here for photos.

Mom-on-moto

My mom, in La Ciotat this morning. She cannot simply walk by a motorcycle.... 

Five more days until Mom leaves. We've had the best visit! I hope to remember as many details as possible, and to share some of them with you. Thank you for reading.

WINNER!!
Félicitations to AMY JO, who has won the book giveaway and will receive the charmingly illustrated and written book Hudson in Provence or  Paris-Chien by Jackie Clark Mancuso. Amy, the author will contact you soon! P.S. happy you won the book. Best wishes and bonne continuation with your own writing!

SHARE / FORWARD
If you enjoyed today's post, please forward it to a friend who might enjoy receiving this French word journal. Merci encore and have a wonderful weekend!

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and sharing these educational posts from France. Your contribution is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
♥ Send $10    
♥ Send $25    
♥Send the amount of your choice


"Bonjour Kristi, I've been a reader for years and thought it time to support your blog. Thanks for your frank and genuine stories that have opened a door into real French life."
--Jed

NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP: Has a friend forwarded you this post? Receive your own free subscription to French Word-A-Day. Click here

 

fils + book giveaway + your own personal talent

Max-watering-vines

Happy Birthday Max. We watered you. You watered the vines. And everything just grew.

Mas-perdrix-2015

 MAS DE LA PERDRIX. Lovely months to rent this home France: July, for fields of sunflowers & lavender. September, for the grape harvest! October: fall leaves. The exchange rate is great. It's a wonderful time to rent this dreamhouse.

 

TODAY'S WORD:
fils (feece) noun, masculine

    : son

C'est bien le fils de son père = he is very much his father's son
être le fils de ses oeuvres = to be a self-made man
le Fils de l'homme/de Dieu = the Son of man/of God
le fils âiné, cadet = the older/younger brother
tel père, tel fils = like father, like son

AUDIO FILE: in today's sound file, we hear a 10-year-old Max read a moving poem in French. Listen to it here Download MP3  and then check the words here, in this post.



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

Carry a child and one day he'll carry you

In the geography of child-rearing, there are sacred endroits, or turning points, before which a parent stops, shakes her head, and wipes her teary mirettes. Much as a cartographer does, she will, there on the map of her rugged heart, carefully pencil in these notable landmarks. 

Before our first child was born, I was given one of those "baby memory books". It was sealed with a ribbon and, inside, apart from the journal lines, it had a place in which one could paste the baby photos. Though I had the best intentions, I have always felt terribly guilty for not keeping up with the record books, by noting down every "first" in the life of my children. 

Çela dit, I did have the time to note a few pre-birth impressions, before all that "journaling momentum" that I'd built up flew out the door the moment our fils was born. After that earth-stopping event, it was all I could do to keep track of feedings, diaper changings, and hormones raging (my own; baby blues?).

But a recent "first step" of our son's is something I hope never to forget. Unlike a first tooth, the experience has been a near mystical moment. Indulge me now, will you, as I take up space in this public journal to sketch in an uplifting instant.

June 26, 2011 :  Max, 16 years and 41 days old. On this otherwise ordinary summer evening... our son reached down, picked up his mother and carried her off!

As go mystical moments, everything around the event is either dulled (in comparison) and forgotten, or--quite the opposite--everything around the event is crystal clear! My experience was twofold:

Forgotten were all those "unimportants". I remember walking into Max's room that night. In robot mode, I had been going down my bedtime list: "Max, don't forget to pick up these clothes off the floor. Open your window for some fresh air! Remember to take your asthma and allergy meds. And I know school's out - but don't stay up too late!" With that, I set down my laundry basket, threw out my arms and waited for my favorite moment: le câlin, or hug. It was the only natural, non-automated part of the "tuck-in" schedule.

I still don't know what bit him, but I noticed a magical smile on my son's face as he turned away from his computer. Max's sourire grew and grew until he seemed possessed...  possessed by happiness! In his holey socks, he slid across the wooden floor, over to the door, pulled me into the room.... and swept me off the floor!

Crystal clear now, were the events I'd mourned (having never noted them down): first tooth, first step, first chagrin! The first time he ran away... his first girlfriend!

There stood my son and, with one strong arm beneath my back and the other beneath my dangling legs, I was suspended in midair, held secure in the arms of my firstborn. 

I shrieked as Max began to turn... and spin with me! We twirled round and round, stopping to gasp for air after so much laughter. I could not believe my own son could now carry me! As if sensing my doubt, Max tightened his hold, swooping me up higher and higher! How to describe the experience of that moment when the one you once held up... is now holding you! I felt like a child in my own son's arms, there was that warmth and security, there was that sacred glimpse of eternity!

As we spun round the room, breathless and laughing, all those moments I had failed to record in the baby memory book came back to me. Our son's first swim... his first solo bike ride... his first time behind the wheel, as driver! The privilege was now mine--to review these events, in my son's arms, whirling, literally, with the moment! 

I know it was indulgent, this sudden role reversal, but I enjoyed every second. And, looking up into my boy's starry eyes, more than his weary mother, I was a newborn, cherished and adored. Witnessing the reflection in my son's dazzling eyes, I might have even been his prize.


COMMENTS
To leave a comment or to read the comments, click here

French Vocabulary

un endroit = place

les mirettes (f,pl) = eyes, peepers

Çela dit = that being said

le fils = son

le câlin = cuddle, hug

le sourire = smile

  Max-watering-vines

That photo again, because...

Max-watering-vines-grown
The photo above this one was taken when Max was 12 years old. He turned 20 yesterday, and helped plant this vineyard a few weeks ago.

SABLET HOME for high quality vacation rentals in the heart of Provence. Particularly suited to groups of up to four discerning travelers.

Jackie-mancuso-books

 Smokey's favorite reads

Enter to win a copy of Jackie Mancuso's latest books, Paris-Chien and her newly-released Hudson in Provence, in which this lovable pooch quits trying to imitate the other dogs around him, in time to discover what his own talent is.

To enter today's drawing simply tell us what your talent is.  Did you ever try to imitate somebody, only to discover your own knack for something? What is that something? Click here to comment. 

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and sharing these educational posts from France. Your contribution is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
♥ Send $10    
♥ Send $25    
♥Send the amount of your choice


"Bonjour Kristi, I've been a reader for years and thought it time to support your blog. Thanks for your frank and genuine stories that have opened a door into real French life."
--Jed

NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP: Has a friend forwarded you this post? Receive your own free subscription to French Word-A-Day. Click here

 

6 Little-known tips to successfully learn French

Jules-and-poppies
Field of poppies in Bandol.  See the recent photos of Mom's first days in Provence, here at Instagram or on my Facebook.


This is a guest post from Benjamin Houy, author of How to Learn French in a Year and founder of French Together, a website where he makes learning French easy. You love France, you may already live there or plan to live in this beautiful country in the future. There is only one problem, you don't speak French, not as well as you would like at least. You may think you are not good at languages, you may think you are too old too learn French. After helping thousands of people learn French at French Together, I can tell you one thing with absolute certainty, anyone, at any age can learn French and reach fluency. Here are 6 tips to succeed.

1. Learn sentences, not words

On May 7, Kristin taught you the word "mésaventure" (mishap). You could learn this word alone and repeat mishap = mésaventure until it sticks in your memory. But you would be missing on lots of benefits that come with learning sentences instead of words. That's why Kristin often includes sentences when she teaches you a new word. When you learn sentences rather than words, you:

  • Know how to use the word when you need it
  • Memorize the word more easily, because you can imagine it being used
  • Learn grammar naturally by noticing how the sentence is constructed and the verb conjugated

Let's take the following sentence as an example: Grandma Jules a eu une petite mésaventure à l'aéroport. Grandma Jules had a little mishap at the airport. Because you learn the word in context, you also learn that:

  • "Mésaventure" is a feminine word
  • A sentence usually starts with the subject, followed by the verb then the complement
  • "à l'aéroport" means "at the airport"

As a result, you improve your French and don't simply learn a word, but a sentence you can use in the future.

2. Use a Spaced Repetition Software

If you are like most people, you either write the words you discover in a notebook or keep them in your memory and hope you will remember them. This is fine of course, but there is a much more effective way to memorize vocabulary, Spaced Repetition Softwares Spaced Repetition Softwares work like flashcards. You enter a word or a sentence on one side, and its translation on the other side. The software then asks you what the answer is, and how easy it was for you to give the answer. If the answer came immediately, you know the word well and you won't have to study it for a few days (or months). If you struggled to give the answer or couldn't answer, you may have to study the word again 10 minutes later or the next day. SRS softwares are based on Hermann Ebbignhaus research on memory and allow you to easily learn lots of vocabulary in only a few minutes per day. Instead of randomly reviewing words, all you have to do is open your SRS software and review words before you forget them. Here are a few great (and free) SRS softwares you can use:

  • Anki
  • Memrise

3. Study regularly

You probably can't spend two hours studying French everyday and that's okay. But it's important to at least study regularly. It's better to spend 10 minutes everyday studying French than two hours only once a week. When you study everyday, you make learning French a habit, so you are less likely to give up. Not only that, but regularly reviewing what you learned makes it much easier to memorize in the long term (that's why SRS softwares exist). The main problem is that you don't necessarily feel like studying French after a hard day of work. In this case, you can simply do one of the following activities:

  • Watch a movie or a TV series in French
  • Read a book in French
  • Open HelloTalk, Italki, Interpals or Speaky and exchange a few messages with your French pen pal
  • Write about your day in French and post what you wrote on Lang-8 to get free corrections from native speakers
  • Listen to a French podcast while you wash dishes or commute to work

These are all activities that will help you become a better French speaker, but they are mostly fun and you can easily find some time in your day for them.

4.  Speak from day one

There is a French proverb that says that "forging makes the blacksmith" (c'est en forgeant que l'on devient forgeron). The same is true for French. It's by speaking French that one becomes a good French speaker. Speaking French is as essential as it is terrifying. If you don't speak French as soon as possible (that is as soon as you can create a sentence), you will make the learning process considerably slower and miss on one of the most powerful learning tool available, human interaction. So many great things happen when you speak. Your brain recalls the vocabulary you know, you use grammar, you practice pronunciation, you gain confidence and you get the chance to get feedback. Not to mention that since you also listen to someone, you improve your listening skills. Here are several ways to find a conversation partner

How to find a conversation partner near you

If you live in a big city, chances are you can find someone willing to learn your native language and help you with French in exchange. Here are a few places to check out:

How to find a conversation partner online

Can't find anyone who speaks French near you? Don't worry! There are plenty of opportunities to practice French online. Here are my favorites:

5. Don't focus too much on grammar

One of the most common mistakes French learners make is to focus too much on grammar. It's great to know how to conjugate French verbs or how to use "le" versus "de", but how useful will it be if you don't know enough French to create a sentence? Instead of starting by learning grammar, I recommend you to learn sentences, and then look at specific grammar aspects you don't understand in the sentence. This way, the grammar you learn is adapted to your level and immediately usable. It's also much easier to understand and remember a grammar concept when you see it directly in action.

6. Live French

Can you guess what all of the most successful French learners have in common? Immersion. And by immersion, I don't mean that you need to live in France to learn French, you can perfectly become fluent in French without ever going to France. By immersion, I mean that you should live French and do as many of your daily activities in French as possible. Read news in French, read books in French, watch movies in French, listen to the radio in French...and speak French. By doing this, you get used to the French language, and at some point you will realize you now think in French.

Over to you

Learning French is a long process, it may take years before you reach fluently, but if you follow the tips given in this article and work hard, you will succeed. Do you want to get started right away? Download the French Together Toolbox! It's free and contains several ebooks I created to make learning French easier for you.

*    *    *  Benjamin-Houy
Thank you so much, Benjamin, for this excellent post! Here is a picture of Benjamin and his girlfriend Aysa in the smoothie bar Juicy Jones in Barcelona... which reminds me, all of Benjamin's tips are perfect for learning Spanish and any additional language you which to acquire.






Benjamin-and-Aysa
 

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and sharing these educational posts from France. Your contribution is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
♥ Send $10    
♥ Send $25    
♥Send the amount of your choice


"Bonjour Kristi, I've been a reader for years and thought it time to support your blog. Thanks for your frank and genuine stories that have opened a door into real French life."
--Jed

NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP: Has a friend forwarded you this post? Receive your own free subscription to French Word-A-Day. Click here

 

mesaventure: Mom's mishap, Smokey's in limbo, and I choked on a pill

Ironmutt

In limbo. Both Smokey and my Mom were in limbo this week: the one is still waiting for his tumor  test results, while the other is about to land in Madrid, si Dieu le veut (God willing!) Here is a picture of Smokey to make us all smile in the meantime. The title "Ironmutt" is in reference to the medal he is wearing, swiped from Jean-Marc who is a recent finisher of the race which took place in Aix-en-Provence. Bravo Jean-Marc! And Bravo for helping my Mom when she was stranded in Mexico City at the airport.... More in today's story.

Meantime... Is it possible to choke to death on a vitamin? Yes, it is! Stay tuned and I may share my story of this morning's ambulance ride to ER in the next edition when I share a life-saving verb with you! (No, on second thought, you should not have to wait for this tip. Here it it is now, in English: CRUSH your vitamin pills if they are too big! Never, ever cut them in half, where a square or jagged end could lodge itself in place. And never ever try to flush a giant stuck tablet with water. )

 UNE MESAVENTURE

    : mishap

 AUDIO FILE: Listen to Jackie talk about her grand-mère:
Download MP3 or WAV

Grandma Jules a eu une petite mésaventure à l'aéroport.
Grandma Jules had a little mishap at the airport.

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


Mom's mésaventure in Mexico City

Yesterday morning I woke up to some alarming news: instead of being in flight and about to land... my mom was turned away at the boarding gate and could not make her connecting flight to France! She was now in limbo midway through her voyage, stuck in a Mexican airport far from home, without a valid ticket or a credit card!

And yet, the ticketing agents let her onto her first flight back in her home town of Puerto Vallarta! The airline employes did not notice, at that crucial moment, that her ticket was not paid for!

"Log onto your bank account and see if they debited your card!" Jean-Marc ordered, upset at finding out the news upon waking at 5 a.m. 

Groggy, I hurried out of bed and fired up my computer to learn my card was not debited, months ago after we made mom's reservation. Despite this, we received a confirmation email for all three flights! (And all three flight were "paid for" on the same credit card.)

So how did Mom manage to get on that first flight?

"I did ask, at check-in, for all my boarding passes," Mom explained, speaking to us now from the Camino Real aiport hotel. "But the flight attendants were dealing with a technical issue, an could only provide my first boarding pass. They assured me my baggage claim voucher, which mentioned my final destination, would suffice."

Mom relaxed, had a beer near the gate, and, as usual, proceeded to dole out much of her cash to the "sweet ladies who clean the restrooms." 

But when she arrived in Mexico City only to be refused entry on her flight to Madrid, she was now in limbo, and with little cash and no credit card! "They told me at gate check-in that my ticket was not valid.

In addition to being in limbo, Mom's  limbs were aching as well (after having a steel plate removed from her hip several years ago, and a double mastectomy, she just doesn't have the energy she used to. For this, Jean-Marc arranged a wheelchair, but the moment she was found to have been traveling on an unpaid ticket, and having gifted her pocket change to the restroom angels, she lost her wheelchair advantages!

I don't know how she made it back to the Camino Real hotel, or how she kept her chipper and thankful attitude which sung as we spoke on the phone.

"Honey, I'm just worried about those people who did make it onto the plane!" Mom explained, wondering if all the roadblocks she just experienced were somehow shielding her from misfortune....

***

Post note: I checked the original flight throughout the day and night, relieved when it touched down safe in Madrid. All I ask now, is that Mom's alternative flight will land safely! I'm off to check "Madrid arrivals", now on the internet. Mom should be resting in the airport since her 14:20 landing. She is probably visiting the powder room, looking for some more cleaning angels in which to share the euros she saved from her previous trip! (Mom, if you are reading, save a few euros as you have one more flight to go before you land in Marseilles!)

Thanks for your positive thoughts and "see you" next week (or this afternoon, on Instagram and Facebook, if you are reading updates over there!)
 

 

Borage-bee

Here is the photo and message I posted on Instagram and Facebook, just before Mom took that first flight! Blue borage flowers and the early evening sky. My mom will be boarding a plane soon, and asked me to pray she gets three seats to lie down on for her Mexico-Madrid flight. It is a long journey, so please think good thoughts for her. Thanks.

For more stories, and to help support this free language journal, check out my books on Amazon.

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and sharing these educational posts from France. Your contribution is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
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"Bonjour Kristi, I've been a reader for years and thought it time to support your blog. Thanks for your frank and genuine stories that have opened a door into real French life."
--Jed

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Delightful words and company: ravigoter

David-door
I love this picture of my friend, David, at his farmhouse in Lorgues. Notice the garden boot about to fade into the wall beside him. It belongs to his lovely wife, artist (and gardener) Tessa Baker. If you have the chance to attend Tessa's "Painting in Provence" course, this beautiful mas and its relaxing garden will be your inspiring retreat, and these cherished friends will be your hosts.

ravigoter (verb)

    : to perk up; to buck up

AUDIO FILE: Listen to Jean-Marc: Download MP3 or Wav

Cette journée avec mes amies ainsi que la conversation avec Tessa et Alison m'ont ravigoté.
The day with my friends, as well as the conversation with Tessa and Alison, perked me up.

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

Not ten minutes after I took this photo of our 9-year-old golden, Breizh, she vanished. What was supposed to be a day of rest turned into a moment of unrest. Moment being the key word. When I can remember to stay in the now instead of pole-vaulting to a doomsday future, I can s'en sortir, or make it through just about any crisis.

And so it was that after checking the wine cellar, the garage, the TV room... circling the neighborhood in my car and calling the neighbors, Breizh stumbled back into the front yard, comme si de rien n'était.

La chipie!

I happened to be dialing my friend Tess, hoping she would help me sort out my panicked thoughts. I  was also about to cancel the plans we had to spend the day together.

Breizh-and-daisies
   More photos on my Instagram page.

That's when You-Know-Who arrived, like a groggy grandmother. Given how slowly she was walking, there was no way she would have wandered off the property. And now I understood the situation: she'd gone for a nap in the backyard, fallen into a bed of blossoms where she was hidden from sight!

"I will see you in an hour," I chirped, hanging up the phone with Tess. Completely invigorated now, perked up or ravigoté, as the French say, I was ready to head out to Lorgues, to Tessa and David's former flower farm. Passing through Bandol, I pulled off the side of the road to buy several baskets of strawberries for our lunch, to go with la tarte aux pignons from the boulangerie.

Lunch-at-tessas

And oh what a déjeuner! Nick (in black) brought a quiche lorraine, Martin (in red) offered a rotisserie chicken, Alison (in blue) and Tess (in white) added roasted asparagus, a cheese plate and salads to the table (the quinoa with pinenuts, truffle oil, and cilantro was the best! Tomas (below, center), whose leash was accidentally wrapped around my ankles as I sat in that chair, kept me from diving into the quinoa salad for the third time!)

Alison-and-kristi

 I had heard so much about Alison. She is a long-time friend of Tessa's, and she offers mindfulness retreats here in the South of France. My friend Michele had the chance to go to one, and spoke enthusiastically about her experience.

As eloquent and expressive as creative types can be, it is something else getting them to talk about their work, so I pinned Alison down for more information about her mindfulness retreats, challenging her to a two-line presentation. Voilà, here it now:

Alison Prideaux offers mindfulness weekend retreats with hiking and healthy juicing in the beautiful Gorges du Loup. A wonderful opportunity to refresh and relax by the crystal clear waters of the River Loup.
 
Thank you, Alison!

Tess-and-tomas

 After lunch Tess and Tomas drove us to Tessa's favorite spot. She calls it Paradise....

Tessas-paradise

Some of the angels we saw in Paradise. Missing from the photo  is a picture of the shepherdess: an elderly woman who held both a staff and a pick for digging up wild plants. Her face was made up of a hundred wrinkles, deep as the river beside which we walked, and she wore layers of rags. I wanted her photo desperately, for the beauty of her character. But I did not dare ask for her picture and risk her wondering "Why?" Did she see herself as beautifully as we did? Or would she feel threatened and exposed? Would a photograph published in this journal exploit her?

When I get over all these complicated thoughts, perhaps I will venture back and ask to spend time with the shepherdess. 

Dog-berger

One of the shepherdess's dogs.

Alison-and-Kristi2

Tess took this photo of Alison and me. It is a favorite, as it reminds me of what I love: taking pictures! Many more pictures from this lovely day, on my Facebook page.

Pastoral

On the one-hour drive home from Tessa's, the images from the afternoon trotted through my mind. How much more relaxing to think of sheep and rivers and fields of wildflowers, than to conjure up chaos.  So the next time you find your thoughts racing, head out to pasture: peace is as close as a park or a friend's back yard. 

Wishing you une bonne journée...

Valerian-snail

Meantime in our garden, a snail has found a custom-fit bed on the leaf of this white valerian plant. Help keep these photos and stories going out: purchase a copy of First French 'Essais'. Thank you for your support!

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and sharing these educational posts from France. Your contribution is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
♥ Send $10    
♥ Send $25    
♥Send the amount of your choice


"Bonjour Kristi, I've been a reader for years and thought it time to support your blog. Thanks for your frank and genuine stories that have opened a door into real French life."
--Jed

NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP: Has a friend forwarded you this post? Receive your own free subscription to French Word-A-Day. Click here