Today's Word: imperméable
: raincoat, mackintosh, mac
: weatherproof, impervious (adj)
Imperméable. Nous sommes très fiers de Jackie pour la réalisation de son imperméable.
Raincoat. We are very proud of Jackie for completing her raincoat.
(Hear the example sentence: MP3 file)
A French Christmas - French music for the season. Order here.
A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE, by Kristi Espinasse
"I don't know what to write about this morning," I said to Jean-Marc, who sat at the coffee table working on his computer. "Maybe YOU could write today's post and talk about the mood here in France at the moment...."
"Laisse-moi réfléchir," Let me think about it, Jean-Marc said, before answering, "Maybe it is time to tourner la page."
My husband was right. Each of us has shared, in his or her own way, a personal reaction to the Paris attack. November 13th, 2015 will forever be etched into our hearts. Now, the best we can do is to search for the unvanquished joy that still glimmers and sings all around us. And by singing, I'm referring to the toad that's taken up residence beneath our front porch. This week, as we quietly ate lunch beneath the still-shining sun, that bumbling, off-key crapaud piped up again and in so doing shook loose the sadness cloaking this countryside.
Just thinking about our loud-mouthed interloper makes me smile, and I can now summon a host of other hopeful images that have the same heart-strengthening effect. "Tu as raison," I said to Jean-Marc. "Maybe I could write about the trench coat that Jackie just made in design school! How do you say it in French? Le trench?"
"We don't say trench coat in French," Jean-Marc replied.
His simple response absolutely crushed me. But the emotion-packed overreaction was swiftly replaced by a new determination: "Please tell me how to say trench coat in French! Google it... or find the Wikipedia definition. Better yet, make a sound file, telling everyone how proud we are of our daughter for sewing a trench coat from scratch!" Having let go a barrage of orders, I waited for the answers, only to become doubtful that any of this would add up to a very meaningful offering in my French word journal.
Just then, Jean-Marc's first answer came: "Imperméable. On ne dit pas trenchcoat. On dit imperméable."
As my mind began to translate the word back into English --from trenchcoat to weatherproof--a new, symbolic meaning shined forth and, with it, the image of a protective shield. A further translation might be via the term our French president uttered, in trembling speech, the day of the Paris attacks. In it, he saluted citizens for their sang-froid, or ability to remain calm in the face of terror.
Examining every last detail of my daughter's "imperméable," I realize the sewing gene she inherited from my Mom skipped a generation (which explains the crooked hem I put in a throw pillow recently). I am extremely proud of Jackie and the trench coat she worked to complete this week despite her own inquiétude. While her compatriots proclaimed "on n'a pas peur!" Jackie was sewing those very same words.
laisse-moi réfléchir = let me think about it
tourner la page = to turn the page
le crapaud = toad
tu as raison = you are right
un imperméable = raincoat, mac
le sang-froid = self-control, composure
l'inquiétude = worry, anxiety, concern
on n'a pas peur! (Même pas peur!) = we are not afraid
Last fall, Jackie left behind her trench to begin a new path in the mountains of Colorado. She now works two jobs (server at a luxury hotel and salesgirl in a cozy ski shop). Living vicariously has taken on a new meaning as I check in daily with my daughter to find out as much as I possibly can about her new life.... a long way from France....
Jackie, when she was 2-years-old, in Brittany.
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