Grrr! Grumpy and grouchy and broody in French! (Plus a fiery recipe...)
Caviar d'Aubergine: An easy, delicious family recipe for you

A Bundle of Joy: Celebrating The 17th year of this journal!

Bundle of oy

The anniversary of this French word journal passed quietly by last month, unbeknownst even to me. But now that I've put two-and-two together, I'm not letting this milestone go unfêted (another lapse into franglais?). In keeping this brief, I will share the one thing that comes to mind when I think about writing this newsletter to you, and that is "Bundle of joy."

Now here's the part that is étonnante: the act of writing does not = "bundle of joy" to me--nonpas du tout! (For a very long time that fact alone made me believe I was a writing imposter and not un écrivain...) Neither does putting together these blog posts--does HTML rhyme with "joie" in your universe? Heavens no!--unless you're a hacker or "pirate informatique" and btw don't you love French?! 

No, this "bundle of joy" of which I speak comes after delivery (just like a baby!)--after the uncertainty, after the effort, after the still-to-this-day doubt that maybe I've made a mistake in my delivery?

I read somewhere early on--or was it a friend who warned me...: Once the story is out there it is no longer your own. It belongs to the reader who will interpret it as only he or she can--based on each and every experience, good or bad, he or she has ever had.

That might have put me off writing then and there, except it didn't and now I look up from my computer screen and here I am in my 17th year of sending you these missives (I learned that word--along with a host of others and lots of grammar and geography too--from you. Your readership has been an education to me!).

As I pause today to mark this milepost in under 370 words, je tiens à vous dire, I have to tell you how deeply grateful I am for your "just show up and we've got your back" audience attitude. It reminds me we are on this creative journey together and this is why I write: for the connection and for the joy it brings.



Stone building with autumn leaves in france

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.

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


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Marika Ujvari

Dear Kristi,
I loved reading your stories over the years. But meeting you in person last month in Colorado was one of the greatest event in my life.
Love and hugs!!!

Anne Jewett

Happy Anniversary and thank you for your blog!


Bonjour chère Kristi,
I have been following for a good long time and cannot really say when I plugged into your stories and learning. Pour moi le début étais sutout pour touver une resource de langues française pour mes co-équipiers anglophone. I have been a fan as soon as I started reading.

Your brave sharing, yes can be interpreted in many fashions as you have many followers with varied personal experiences. This being said I and I am sure many do "feel" the sincerity, love, angst, trials and successes along the way.

Merci beaucoup pour le partage, instructions et surtout votre esprit lu avec et entre les mots.
Joyeuse anniversaire!

Maggie Grace


I can't remember when I started reading your blog, I think maybe around 2007. I still get a little giddy when I see that you have a post for us to read. I also follow your Instagram and enjoy your photos. I was on Facebook for quite a long time, but it isn't fun anymore so I don't check in there. You're a bright spot in the universe. Thank you for blessing us with your journey! Happy Anniversary to you!

Donna Carpentier

BRAVO!!!! i've been following and reading you from the very start; I couldn't be more pleased for you!


Joyeuse Anniversaire!! You might enjoy Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert


PS - Your missives often start my day out with a smile and a chuckle. thank you!

Kathi Koegle

I have been reading your missives for at least 10 years, dear Kristi. I can say wholeheartedly that your insights & perspectives on French life and culture have deepened my own appreciation & they have enhanced each of my travel experiences in Burgundy & Provence. Above and beyond all of that, your honesty, courage & kindness are a model for me.

Happy anniversary & mille mercis!!


Thank you for your time and effort with wonderful stories and photos. I have read you from the beginning. Have learned many new French words.

Norma Plowman

Keep up the great posts. You have loyal followers!


I love seeing your email and knowing you’re going to be sharing not only some new French words or phrases but also yourself. All of it beautiful. I’m so glad we were able to meet at that little tea shop in the passageway St Andre des Arts the wonderful month Chris and I spent in Paris. Your writing touches so many and it is very special to me, as are you! Congratulations on another “blog/writing” year!! Amicalement, Judi


I enjoy your writing, and hope that you will continue. I have to agree with the reader above. Check out Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. It's great therapy for any creative person, and will help to keep you writing, (or painting, or composing etc...)


I'm sending love and appreciation to you for the wonderful pieces I have been reading here over the years. Keep up the great work, Kristi!

Audrey Wilson

Keep that keyboard going ,Kristin I love all your stories & the interspersions of french vocabulary in context is so useful to an expat like me !
I also feel something of a connection via family in the US,daughter & family in Phoenix,Arizona,son& family in SanFrancisco

Marianne Rankin

I've been reading FWAD ever since I first learned of it, circa 2006. It has not only improved my French, especially the colloquial language, and given me enjoyment looking at lovely pictures, I've been pleased to learn about your family, Kristin, and your interesting views on so much.

Whenever you feel like writing, your fans will be grateful readers!


Congratulations on your anniversary! Jay and I so much enjoy your posts and the window you provide into "the French way". There is always a nugget in there for us. As we formulate our game plan on our fast-approaching acte d'authentique de vente, we think of you and Jean-Marc often.

Christine Webb-Curtis


You are a testament to tenacity. And it has been to the benefit of your readers. Congratulations on achieving 17 years of writing.



Happy Ecrivainisaire! How's that for a horrible franglais phrase! Merci, Kristin, for your willingness to share with all of us. You not only have a gift, but you are a gift. Xxxooo


My world would be so much the poorer without you, Kristi. I've known that since March 2009. Thank you, or as we say in South Africa "Baaie dankie".


Brenda Prowse

Félicitations Kristi on 17 years of French Word A Day! I first started Following you in 2012 before I moved to Paris full time in 2013! Yours is the best blog I receive and I read many. I had the pleasure of meeting you at one of Adrian Leed’s Après Midi monthly gatherings in the Marais-I believe that was 2013. Your lovely daughter accompanied you. I love reading about your family and all of the “aha” moments in your lives. Thank you for the time and energy and love you pack into every post. And Happy Thanksgiving-coming up soon.

Martha Venter

Not only do you have many followers who look forward to your posts, but more importantly you have admirers. Your courage, joie de vivre, honesty- all inspire and enrich. Merci mille fois!


Bonne anniversaire, Kristi, and here's to many more.


When one gives, one will receive. Thank you.

Natalia Radula

Our dear Kristi,
From the very start(which is how long I have been privileged to be your reader) you have shared your talent,your words, your honesty and inspiration as you look at life and live it.
What a gift!!
Through these many years your posts never fail to give us something to look forward to,wrapping us always in hugs and smiles.
You make us happy to be traveling this same road together as friends.
Not always easy but with God's grace,do-able.
Congratulations!! Noone deserves it more than you do!
Please know we are applauding you!!!!!!
Natalia XO

G S Kumar

Thank you. Beautiful photographs and excellent writing. Needs a lot of motivation to accomplish this for 17 years


Bon anniversaire dearest Kristi. Mille mercis for enriching all of our lives, lifting our spirits and lightening our hearts through your inspiring posts.
What a joy to have met you and Jean Marc and to have shared your journey, through your lovely descriptive words,beautiful photos and courageous sharing. Bravo et bon continuation.
Such an accomplishment.How will you celebrate?🍁💛


And is there a French equivalent of "bundle of joy"?

Valerie Porter

Thank you for writing this blog. It is a bundle of joy to read. I really appreciate it, and often share the stories with my husband and children. And, I learned how to cook bananas flambe!


Felicitations sur les 17 ans! I have two desktop files ("Fun French words" and "More fun French words"), which are lists of words and expressions that I didn't know or that I hadn't remembered from my year as a student in France (1971-72), or that are current. I have also developed several lessons from your stories. An especially practical lesson is on reflexive verbs, based on a posting by Jacquie on "Pourquoi est-ce que mes parents ne me laissent pas porter le maquillage?" It's so much better than a dialogue from a textbook...
Merci pour tout!

Christine Kelly

Love reading your journal and your generous sharing of your struggles. We are all in this together (well, most of us are together.)

Bonne chance and bonne continuance.

Kitty Wilson-Pote

Kristi, it's simple: my world -- around and within me -- would lack significant light and love without your richly-personal writings. They're unfailingly radiant with life's best brand of authenticity, expressed as only you can. Unique, distinctive, deeply perceptive, enriching ... we love this, and we love You. 'For reals.'

I'm 77 years old and live in Tucson so I feel we have an Arizona connection. I started studying French for the first time only 4 or so years ago and I'm still learning. Love reading your column, your books, and picking up some new vocabulary along the way. Thank you!.


Bonne anniversaire.
I love your blog. Keep it up please!

Kathleen from Connecticut


Bonne anniversaire, I think that I have been readin FWD since its beginning, plus I have several of your books. Having you join us for dinner when we have been in the area is always a pleasure.
I wish that I was still in La Ciotat with the sea, sun, cheese and wine. Here it is a dreary day.


suburban gal

Congratulations--with gratitude and admiration for one of the few emails I look forward to each week. You bring kindness, thoughtfulness, and insight. Looking forward to using what I have learned while working in Normandy this winter,


Edna Ferber said: "I hate writing, I adore having written. ..." Many others have expressed it similarly. We are grateful each time you do the hard work for us to enjoy and learn from.

Karen Cafarella

Thank you for sharing your writing with us. And your friendship.


Cheryl in STL

Congratulations! I've read your writing almost from the beginning. I remember using your stories in my French classes and I'm sure that you got some new followers from that! You've shared your life and sometimes bared your soul. You have established trust between your readers and yourself. And then one night at Shakespeare and Company, I sat knee to knee with Ann Mah and listen to you speak and read! Thank you for starting and continuing this journey!

Cynthia Lewis

Dear Kristi,

I could fill this entire "page" with my thanks for FWAD. If everyone who is a loyal and appreciative reader were to write a comment today, it would be like the night the local hospital sent our office all of the lab work results for the entire hospital ... the reception room was ankle deep with reams of paper! My sincere congratulations and best wishes.

Jan Greene

You have inspired and blessed us with your grace and vulnerability. You feel like part of the family! Keep going, we’ve got your back!

Jan Hersh

Merci pour tout.
Your fan,

gordon lyman

Kristi, you are an honest light and a delight. Arizona is beautiful this slow, wet, calm fall. Wish I knew how to send you some photos..
Thanks for many years of FWAD.


Chris Allin

Dear Kristi,
Your journal is a gift which you offer with candor, kindness and grace. You have enriched our world, reconnecting us to the France of our youth. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, your family and all the facets of your life. May you continue to be inspired...

Catherine Berry (But you are in France, Madame)

Wow. What an achievement. Good on you, Kristi.


Thank you, Kristi, for your stories and the French words used to write about French life and culture!

Congratulations for 17 years devoted to telling stories that often make me laugh or think a bit more deeply as well as bring joy and serendipity into my life!

Always best wishes, Georgia

Suzanne Dunaway

My father in law called them 'missiles' and we laughed every time. If some of your missives are misses...SO BE IT!!!! You go, girl. Let's have 17 more years of you.

Suzanne Dunaway

SORRY, Kristin, TYPO. Some of your missives are MISSILES!!! NOT MISSES. They NEVER miss, that's for sure.

Sue J.

No small thing! Congratulations to you -- I may not comment very often, but I love to read your posts. Felicitations!


JOYEUSE ANNIVERSAIRE Kristin. I have not always responded but Truly enjoyed Pictures AND Writings-They brought/bring some Rays of smiles, sunshine into my life. Do not give up/give in. I do wish to meet you WHERE-EVER you and your family are. You >RADIANT>Good Vibes through your words AND pictures!!! Do Not Stop doing so.. Love AND Blessings to y'all. Mollie


Forgot to mention(HOW could I??) that Smokey looks so WONDERFUL Amongst the green leaves of the Tree.. Love him!


Happy 17th and hopefully 17 more to come! I've been following you for a lot of those years and want to thank you for letting me look over your shoulder and into your always exciting, never-a-dull-moment, sweet, charming, family-oriented, dog-loving, laughter-filled and most of all courageous and faithful French life. You have brought a ray of sunshine into my own sometimes when it was most needed. So looking forward to your retirement!

Ellen A.

Brave. Kind-hearted. Loving and loved. Beautiful at every age and made more beautiful with each tiny scar. We admire you very much.
Please continue to write, for yourself and for us. Congratulations on being one of the pioneers in blogging!

Barb Michels

Joyeuse Anniversaire!! Merci to you and all of your family and dear loved ones lost. It makes my day to follow all your adventures, trials and tribulations from across the world..Bless you.


Keep it up! YOU are a dynamo, for sure! I do admire your honesty and you trying to understand all there is to even raise children in La Belle France! YOU have a STAR!


Everything I could say to/for/about you has already been said, and eloquently so. I hope you print these affirmations and paper your office with them so that on those days when you wonder “why” you will remember just how much you mean to people around the world. Your genuineness shines through everything you write. Joyeux Anniversaire, dear Kristi.

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, chère Jeanne. That is a wonderful idea! I am deeply touched by each and every word here. Mille mercis, les ami(e)s! 

These loving notes give me so much  motivation to continue. Papering the room with them is a brilliant idea! Now to figure out which room to decorate...after going mobile with my computer last year (in an effort to be more flexible about where and when to write!). Perhaps creating a magical umbrella with everyones lovely notes...this would surely shield from a rainy day writing. 💛🌞

Adeline Richarson (ile de La Réunion)

Joyeux Anniversaire! I've been enjoying your blog for years now. I do thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your posts are always "une gourmandise" to me!

I am French and in deeply love with the English language! Thank you for teaching me so many new words or expressions.

For example and as Dana yvey asked above "is there a French equivalent of "bundle of joy"?
What would be the English word for "une gourmandise" in this context?

I also learn a lot from your readers'comments! Thank you to all of them too!

Thank you very very much for your posts, we all love them!


Kristi, Have you seen this?

Patricia Sands

Félicitations, Kristi! How that time has flown by! You have created a wonderful caring community on these pages with your thoughtful, candid sharing of life. The bonus is our immersion through you of what it is like to live in France PLUS an ever-increasing vocabulary. Thank you for your friendship and, most of all, for being the gift that keeps on giving!
Je t'embrasse!

Christine Graham


Love your stories and pictures!

Have been to the South of France twice and loved its beauty and its people!


Kristin Espinasse

Really enjoyed the article. Thanks, Mara!

Jan Hersh

Vous êtes et tu sera toujours mon amie Américaine de la plume
My American writer en France qui est toujours en bloom!

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