Dépaysement - one of Jean-Marc's favorite French words!
Invisible People (aka SDF, sans-abri, sans logement, va-nu-pieds)

Afin de + When, just like that, a cultural curiosity is demystified

Nador Morocco fisherman beach red cap

In order to express thanks and gratitude, in Arabic, the term "chukran" is used. (Hear this sentence in French, below.) Photo taken on the northeast coast of Morocco, at Tmadet Sidi El Bachir. 

Today's word: "afin de"

    : so as, in order to, 

AUDIO FILE: Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce the following sentence in French: 

Click here to hear the sound clip

Afin d'exprimer remerciements et gratitude, en arabe, c'est le terme « choukran » qui est prononcé. -- L'Arabe facile.fr


    by Kristin Espinasse

I told you recently about Jean-Marc surprising me with a trip to.... Nador. As soon as he revealed the destination, I quickly googled for more info only to learn that Nador is "a non-touristic town" on the northern border of Morocco--very near the Algerian border. 

"Non-touristic"? I felt uneasy about traveling to un tel endroit.  After all, the U.S. Passports and International Travel site warns "against travel to remote areas of Algeria due to the threat of terrorist attacks and kidnapping". Wasn't the border of Morocco/Algeria a bit remote?

As we waited at the airport for our passport verification, the line to our left (travelers going to Rome--where we were initially headed before the surprise switch-a-roo) were whisked forward--quickly passing the checkpoint. Looking around our own slow-moving queue, which zigzagged back 3 lines deep, I noticed my husband and I were the only non-Moroccans headed for Nador. I began to pick-up on something else, too... all the women in line wore headscarves (except the youngest girls and one other woman who resembled a Moroccan pop star (she wore bright red lipstick, stylishly painted eyebrows, and her long hair was as glossy and as straight as her stilletos which peeked out beneath tight leather pants. It was reassuring to see her at the other end of the Moroccan Dress Spectrum, and I now felt I fit in somewhere on that spectrum, hélas not too close to the other's red-lacquered freedom of expression. I am most comfortable blending in with the scenery (don't get me wrong. I don't want to be dull, rather, more like one more blossom on a Bird of Paradise plant). But blending in with the Nadorian scenery is something that would be impossible for the next 4 days (on our entire trip, besides an alarming amount of refugees, we saw only 4 other foreign-looking people in Nador--a couple who may have been French and two women, from Holland?)....

Seated on the airplane, now, next to a woman whose head was covered with a black scarf, I was surprised when my seatmate asked me if the headscarf which she had just readjusted looked OK. Est-ce que ça va comme ça? She innocently asked.

Was she talking to me? I can't even tie a French scarf!

Seizing the demystifying and honorable moment I gave my best assessment of the complex-to-me head-and-neck covering--and then showed a thumbs-up for extra reassurance.

As we deplaned I regretted the missed opportunity to have asked my seatmate for her opinion and knowledge as well. There were so many enigmas swirling in my head. Mainly, I needed to know how to say hello and thank you in Arabic, because you can go a long way in any culture with those two magic words.

Kristi vegetarian couscous
Jean-Marc loved the couscous that we were served, nightly, at our Riad Dar Nador. This beautiful bed and breakfast cost around 100 euros per night including breakfast and dinner. The staff (two women) were so kind, as was the owner.  When we returned to France, I tried to recreate those simple vegetarian couscous dinners that Jean-Marc looked forward to each evening.

Vegetarian couscous morocco pumkin zuccini grains raisins onion honey garlic tablecloth

Here is a quick recipe I jotted down on Facebook. I'm working on it, so do let me know what you think would be a good addition to it! It's already very good in this simple way:

You'll need a jar of "couscous spices" (link below). Next, boil in a medium saucepan, some pumpkin (I used butternut), zucchini, and raisins (add the couscous spices, to your liking), then pour the cooking water over the couscous grains (I used one cup grains, one cup liquid. Steam for 5 minutes. Transfer the couscous to the plates and arrange the boiled vegetables on top. Top with sauteed purple onion (cooked with garlic and honey). Update: I added chickpeas next time around! Will be making this regularly now. It will be a nice break from all the chili we've been eating!

You can help support this word journal by using these links when you shop at Amazon. Many thanks in advance!

COUSCOUS SPICES-Ingredients from over 30 different herbs and spices include: Grains of Paradise, Lavender, turmeric, ajawan seeds, kalajeera, ginger, galangal, oris root, rose buds, monk's pepper, cinnamon and more

TAGINE--beautiful Moroccan clay cooking pots, see a selection here

Travel Baggage--Onboard waterproof spinner suitcase

For those who know and love Cattier French beauty products, you can find them here on Amazon.


Subscribe to France Today or FrenchEntrée magazine and you'll also receive a copy of 'PARIS Cityscope' absolutely FREE! 272-pages of insightful advice on where to visit when in Paris, written by leading Paris-based author and blogger Adam Roberts. Click here for more info

Max and Jean-Marc at Vin Sobres
Meet Jean-Marc and our son Max in Texas and in Portland! 

Max and Jean-Marc will be pouring the very last US bottles of Mas des Brun and other delicious wines next December in TX and OR. If you live nearby, don't miss 
seeing them.

Houston,  TX : December 13th at 7 PM
- Winemaker Dinner at Bistro Provence13616 Memorial Drive. Tel : 713-827-8008. Reservation needed. 

Portland, OR: December 15th :
- Blackbird Wine Shop ~ Drop in tasting, 6-8 PM. 4323 NE Fremont Street
Portland OR  : December 16th :
- Pastaworks at City Market ~ Drop in Tasting, Noon - 2 PM. 735 NW 21st Avenue
- Providore Fine Foods ~ Drop in tasting, 2 30-4 30 PM. 2340 NE Sandy Blvd
The Harvest Wine Bar ~ Winemaker Dinner, 6 PM. 14559 Westlake Dr, Lake Oswego. Tel : 503-747-7263. Reservations needed


A Message from Kristi on this blog's 19th anniversary
Thank you for reading this language journal. In 2002 I left my job at a vineyard and became self-employed in France. "French Word-A-Day" has been my full-time occupation ever since. Ongoing support from readers like you helps keep this site ad-free and allows me to focus on writing. My wish is to continue creating posts that are educational, insightful, and heart-warming. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider supporting it via a blog donation.

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