Even Cheese Puffs sound elegant in French: Gougères recipe and post by Ann Mah, author of The Lost Vintage
Move Mom into the wine cellar? + France wins!

When an expat's expat parent comes to live with daughter in France: After 25 years in Mexico, Mom is moving in!

Window and shutter in Mexico
Au revoir Mexique. Our Mom is about to begin a new chapter in France!

On ne s'ennuie jamais

    : never a dull moment

Click here to listen to on ne s'ennuie jamais

A blow to her wings, not to her spirit! 
by Kristi Espinasse

My mom has been an expat in Mexico for 25 years (the same amount of time I've been in France). Now, following a recent coup dans l'aile, or blow to her wings, Jules will be moving into our nest and we are going to take things au jour le jour (just as the birds do!)

Petit à petit l'oiseau (re)fait son nid.
Jean-Marc and I will be researching the administrative side of when an expat's expat parent comes to live with American daughter and French son-in-law in France. (Kicking myself for not applying for French nationality after all these years. It would come in handy about now!). Meantime there are some non-administrative pépins, like where to put Mom...now that our two kidults have moved back in for the summer. As the French say: On ne s'ennuie jamais.

I'll be back with you later for an update. D'ici là, meantime, please send Jules and my sister, Heidi, (who just arrived in Puerto Vallarta) bon courage. They'll need it. They have two days to turn the page on a colorful chapter in Mom's life. On to the next! 

Jules in st-cyr-sur mer at la madrague
We may need a second bagnole now. How about this Méhari? Perfect for a sunset drive here in La Ciotat...

un coup dans l'aile = a blow to the wings
au jour le jour = day by day
Petit à petit l'oiseau fait son nid = little by little the bird makes its nest
le pépin = glitch, hitch, snag
on ne s'ennuie jamais = life's never boring
d'ici là = meantime
bon courage = good luck
la bagnole = car 
la maman = mom, mother, mama...comme Mama Jules ♥ 

Heidi Kristi Mom Jules wedding day
Surrounded by my sister, Heidi, and our Mom, Jules at my 1994 Wedding in Marseilles.

A Message from KristiOngoing 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.

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


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Quelles belles femmes!

Betty A Gleason

Praying for a soft landing for you all.

Jan Hersh

I wish you and your family all the best at this turn of events in your lives. One day at a time is the way we live our lives. I love this mantra "All shall be well and all shall be well and all matter of things shall be well!"


Wonderful news and beautiful photo from your wedding day!

Elaine Livengood

Wishing an easy transition for everyone. Bonne santé à ta maman

Sheryl in Denver

Kristi - that is wonderful! I know your mom will slide right into French life, even if the initial move will bring some complications. And you and JM will be a French-American "sandwich" couple, with kidults and seniors. A Croque Monsieur with a side of fries and salsa. Smokey will be surrounded with love. <3


Un roulotte ! Jules has always wanted one... c’est parfait .

Sue Lennox

Whoa! What news! Wishing all of you the best


Congratulations - you will have a lot of love in that house. Not to say you didn't before!! I wish i had fewer "things" in my life so I could make a two day transition. Bravo ladies.


What a wonderful turn of events!!! From the standpoint of your readers, Jules is a gem. This should be a blessing to you all.

Brenda Prowse

This is exciting and scary and wonderful. Kind of like life! It will all work out well and joy shall abound. Bienvenue to Jules. Sending love and bisous.


You and your mother are not only beautiful, but radiate positive energy. You will make a joyful event of this coup dans l'aile - wish I were there too! But you make us all feel as though we were sharing the bit of France that is in our dreams.

Leslie NYC

I can tell Jules is someone who finds(and creates) magic and happiness wherever she lands. And she doesn't lose a second!
This will be a blessing for all of you, La Ciotat, and beyond.


She looks like a hoot!


I'm so happy that you both love each other so much and let each other be yourselves! Best of luck!! This taking a parent in as a child must be so very hard for everyone.

Abby Lazar

Turn the page and start on the next chapter...wishing you all a peaceful and joyful transition (once the dust settles.) You’re in my prayers...sending hugs and love.

Valerie Meluskey

Oh Wow! May you each and every one rise to this occasion with élan and grace. Communication with love in all languages...

Eileen Kelly

This is wonderful! All the best!


How wonderful is this!!! Many years of happiness for all.....


YOU married the year I left ITALY!
YOUR family is GORGEOUS!!!!!!
A LUCKY MAMA is what I SAY!!!!

Deborah Z

A new chapter! I hope their journey is uneventful, and speedy.

Looking forward to all the news!


My friend and her French husband brought her mom over here from California to live with them in the Aude. It went very well.

Helen Johnstone

How absolutely marvellous , as we get older we need our family around and appreciate them more I an so thrilled for you

Chris Allin

Dear Kristi,

Such exciting news!!! To everything turn, turn, turn. There is a season...and a time to every purpose 🎶. It will be all right ~

Marika Ujvari

I wish she would move to Colorado!!!


Maybe start working on your French Nationality. ..never too late. How nice to have your mom with you!

Joyce Mazalewski

Life will be different and exciting! I’m sure that you all will figure out how to combine lives and prosper! I can’t wait for more stories that include Jules (l feel like we are on a first name basis after all these years! 😄) Relax and enjoy!

Sierra Dante

What I wouldn’t give to spend just a few more days with my momma again. Enjoy the moments :-)


I'm so happy for you both! This is truly wonderful news. Blessings to you all!


Welcome Jules !

Elaine Wilson

Kristen, My Mom and I lived together for the last 5 years of her life. We both were given unexpected gifts of appreciation and love for each other and life as a result of her health needs. One Day At A Time...One Step At A Time. Sending you all love and healing.


A new chapter for all of you. Bonne chance!


Such wonderful news!! Hope for all the best! B

Diane Heinecke

Take a deep breath. It sounds overwhelming before it actually happens, but when everyone comes up with little solutions (sometimes thinking outside the box), it's amazing how well it works out. And I must say "God bless you, Kristi." You could have said "Je regrette. C'est impossible. J'espere qu'une amie peut t'aider."

Carol Johnson

Brilliant , l love your mums colourful life and clothes. God bless.

Judith Dunn

.......Ahhh....Kristin and family... you are so right as life is never boring! Your mother is an extraordinary woman and I believe she will round out your family in a positive way! I pray her transition will be smooth and when she is settled everything will find a way of working out. There are so many positives that she will bring into your daily lives.... just wait and see. You are fourtunate that she has such 'joie de vivre' and can still enjoy so much of life. This is an opportunity for everyone to be the best they can be..... let her be the help she will want to be. Bon courage a tous.... Judi.

Jeanette Meagher

Dear Kristi,
If you are looking for a short-term stay for your dear mother I encourage you to contact Minouche Manguin. She has a lovely home with an apartment she rents. I have known Minouche since I first stayed at her l'herbier B&B in Lacoste in 1991. Her grandfather was Henri Manguin, one of the Fauves. I'm not sure of your exact location in La Ciotat but you can't be too far from Minouche. As you approach the steps down to Les Figuerolles and the calanques, rather than going down the steps turn onto the driveway and walk up to her house. She will be most welcoming. If you email or message me on FB I will be glad to give you Minouche's phone number and send you a photo of her and her home. Best wishes to you and your family, Jeanette


Our dear Kristi,
What beautiful women you three are!! Both inside and out!
There is no doubt that you all will continue to keep drawing and deepening strength,courage,and love from each other throughout this continuing life's journey.Thrilled and happy for you all at such wonderful news!
Safe travels,dear Jules and Heidi.You will be welcomed with open arms!
Natalia XO

Karen Cafarella

Dear Kristi,

How very exciting to have Jules with you. Give her a great big HUG from me. I cannot wait for all the fun adventures you all will have. Sending love.

Eileen Carpenter

I will be anxious to hear it Jules gets ex-pat Health insurance.

This seems like the biggest obstacle?

Aka Madame Alone - Author of " I Became a Vagabond Traveler".

Roseann Milano

Kristi- What if Jules gets her own 2-3 bedroom place and uses the extra bedrooms as an AirBnB? I know I would visit and stay there. How exciting for all you readers to be able to have an automatic place to book, Jules would have an income and a little something to keep her busy. Something to think about I’d say. The kids could do the listing - it’s not hard I did mine and she’d be on her way.

Lynn McBride

Bienvenue, Jules! Interesting times ahead, I’m sure! Happy times to all.

Stacy - Sweet Life Farm

Life is full of surprises!
I'll be holding your dear mom and sister close at heart.
What an adventure!

Leslie in Oregon

I hope that your mother, and you all, have not been terribly traumatized by, and soon recover from, whatever happened to cause her to leave her life in Mexico. As your household rapidly expands from two to five family members from three generations, there will be cause to celebrate and, undoubtedly, some adjustment challenges. You and Jean Marc will set the tone with your resilience and insight, your big hearts and your creative spirits. When does your mother arrive? In the meantime, Happy 14 Juillet!

Cerelle Bolon

I am sorry she has had her 'wings clipped' but judging by your mom, she will find adventures of the mind and spirit wherever she is. This will take adjustments for all of you, but you have made other adjustments and I have no doubt that you will do as always..'make lemonade'...She can paint and explore and meet new people, all of which she does well...and we send you all much encouragement in this new phase of your lives!
Hugs and Vive la France!

Ron Cann

While I don't know the back story, it does appear that Jean Marc is a very supportive partner! Hat's off to him.


Wow , that is a surprise. Time for more changes. Hope the transition goes smoothly for all involved. Good luck!!


I am so happy for you all! It will be wonderful to have your Mom with you! I can only imagine the new adventures we will hear of !


Oh the stories you all will have. I think it’s wonderful! I’m sure it will take some adjusting but it will be so good to have your Mom under Your Wing!

Maureen McCormick

To Kristi, your family, and all lovers of this blog -
I just saw a film you will LOVE LOVE LOVE! The original French title is "Ce qui nous lie" and it's called "Back to Burgundy" in English. It was at the French Film Festival at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

It's about a family in Burgundy who owns a vineyard, and it includes great detailed sequences about the growing and harvesting of the grapes and the making of wine. Everything that Kristi has been describing to us over the years right there in front of your very eyes. C'était formidable !

Laurence S

Hi Kristi snd All,

Good luck and happy for you you’ll have your Mom around!

Hopefully things will work out for the best!

All the best to All

Patti Raffy

Wow, I LOVE this post!!! Best news ever!!!!

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristi,
Wishing Heidi and Jules safe travels and bon courage! I know you are so happy to have your mom with you soon!
Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers!

Audrey Wilson

Bon Voyage to them !! Good luck with French bureaucracy .I am stilll waiting ,after3 months, for a permit for disabled parking, despite doctors etc saying it was necessary.
I am sure you will love having Jules with you .Such a personality !

adeline richarson

Pas toujours facile de clore un chapitre n'est-ce pas? Mais il en reste plein plein d'autres à écrire!
Bon courage et plein de bonnes ondes positives pour accompagner ce changement!

Ilona Martin

Great to hear Jules is coming to France, maybe
She will give an art workshop.
Thank you for cheese puff recipe, made them last week
Added I/2 cup cheese, it had not said amount.
Thank you so very much for your posts!!

Suzanne Codi

Bon courage a vous tous, obviously small changes will have to be made, but I agree with all your readers that this will be a wonderful new adventure for all of you!! Bises to all of you!



Vance Anderson -Inks

Looking forward to Jules arrival. When we spoke this morning, she had slept with her shoes on. I sent her on her way with strength, hope, and a few prayers, and hope to see you all in France soon. I'm still trying to get out of Calif. Bon Voyage, Dear Jules.


congratulations on your Mom coming to live with you; what a joy! How delightful that your two young adults will be sharing some time with her! I think it's going to be a wonderful experience for all; a bit of rearranging will be in order, mais, jour par jour. Bon courage!


How exciting (in many ways)! Bon voyage, Jules!

Marti Hinman

Bon courage, buena suerte Mme Jules.
Tout ira bien. Vous avez une fille adorable et un beau-fils bien sympa.
Bendiciones en un nuevo capítulo de su vida.

Marti Hinman


Life's changes...wishing you all a successful, fulfilling journey. Hope to at last meet Jules! Much love. ♥️🏖️🇫🇷🌻

Cindy  L.

Cindy, what is a roulotte!

Phil Anderson

Enjoy your French blog and have read with interest in your mother's moving to live with you in France. What might be very interesting to many here in the . . uh . . confusing political shape we are in presently is how one is able to move from the U.S. to France, how long are they allowed to stay, does moving to 'family' have special clauses in the law and, especially, what will be possible for French medical for anyone making a hoped-for long term move? Is it hard to get? A lot of paper work? Necessary funds in the bank with the person becoming an ex-pat? Hoping for a good family reunion for all of you!

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