Amicalement + Farewell & How To Say Goodbye in French
Poem + The French word that looks like Hate, but has a totally different meaning

Back in France and a Writing Tip

My darling niece and nephew, in Puerto Vallarta.

If I were to give one tip to an aspiring writer, it might be this: keep it simple! I will try to exercise this astuce now, having returned from Mexico to share about the rich and multifaceted visit with my family!


    : keep it simple

Improve your spoken French with Exercises in French Phonetics
Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce today's word & example sentence:
Download MP3 or Wav file

Rester simple, c'est une des règles de vie que mon beau père m'a transmis.
Keep it simple, it's one of the life rules that my stepfather gave to me.

Mas-de-perdrix-rental-provence-franceMAS DE LA PERDRIX
The perfect home to rent in France. Celebrate special occasions with family, friends. Click here.


    by Kristi Espinasse

"Home, now, from Mexico"

If I tossed and turned in my bed last night, it was owing to something I had forgotten to do--something our Mom used to do for us as children: nous border dans notre lit or tuck us into bed.

Without my sheets and blankets pinned down, I was loosed, last night, in a stormy sea of sheets, hit, now and again, by a chilling draft coming in from the bottom and the sides of the bed. Adding to the commotion was a looming confusion: Mexico, France, Mexico...France.... And who is that holding me?

No, I am in France! I realized, waking this morning to my husband's embrace, and to shuttered windows,  rays of light streaming in across the red floor tiles. They might have been my mom's shiny terracotta, across which I rolled my valise, now filled only with memories. Some of my favorites were these:

The scene you see at the opening of this post
That's my niece, Reagan, and my nephew, Payne, bounding into the ocean. Their enthusiasm is a gift I have taken home with me!

The Welcome Crew at the Airport
Otherwise known as "Mom, John, and Breezy" (their 9-year-old bichon frise). After 24 hours of travel (Marseille-Madrid-Mexico City-Puerto Vallarta), these familiar, smiling faces were embracing! 

John. My sister, Heidi, took this photo of our beau-père.

           Mom at the bookstore "A Page in the Sun"

The Last Lion
Whether hiking up and down the cobblestone streets of Puerto Vallarta (stopping to shake her bootie during a live outdoor Zumba class), or rushing to the golf course, where we might "borrow" one of the golf carts and freewheel across the field.... my Mom was her usual spirited self. She rested for a day, in between each of these escapades. Please pray for her as she may need a few surgeries in the coming months, including a hip replacement. You sure wouldn't know it, would you! 

My Sister Heidi
Who shared everything in her trousse de toilette with me and always had ideas about where to go and what to see! But I am not as adventurous...and when she mentioned ziplining (scaling the Mexican treetops via a cord) I backed out! More about Heidi, here.


Meeting So Many Endearing Characters
Including the piano man, above, and Kim, Hilda, Adriana, Lourdes, Sahil, Sam, Chuck, and the stranger in the airport bathroom (a 6ft tall black goddess in full lycra with waist-length hair and Kim Kardishan's derriere) who, seeing me struggle to squeeze dried toothpaste onto my toothbrush, offered me her dentifrice. Just when you feel invisible in a sea of strangers, a solid manifestation of kindness smacks you in the face, like a peppermint kiss.

With that I will end this little photo essay - keeping my writing vow to rester simple. Wishing you all a lovely rest-of-the week. And many thanks for reading.




                              Heidi, Reagan, Payne, and me

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Touching down in Marseilles last night. More photos from my trip, click here.

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