Dévoiler: Jean-Marc's bilingual update
Regaler + Papilles + Coquilles?? The delight and downfall of our our tastebuds!

Assumptions, insults, and stings: you can't escape these (not even in France!)

Joyeux noel

A very short and (hopefully) funny story to ease you past the holiday rush. Enjoy. The regular edition will be back after Christmas. All best wishes to you however you may celebrate.

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

Yesterday in church I noticed a young man (35ish?) glancing at me. Tall, with longish, rich brown hair, he was a new face at Sunday service. After a few more of his glances, perceived from the corner of my eye, I looked back at the stranger whose regard met mine, with a smile. I quickly returned to the songbook in my hands, my eyes now glued to Amazing Grace.

Before long, and a couple of he-stares later, my mind began to interpret things in a most colorful manner.  Why did he keep looking over at me? Perhaps it was the new way in which I am wearing my hair, wavy and free? My thoughts continued along that (unusually confident) theme until I corraled them, in time to focus on the words of Grace Infinie.

Ô grâce infinie qui vint sauver
Un pêcheur tel que moi!
J'étais perdu, Il m'a trouvé,
J'étais aveugle, je vois.

Next we closed our hymnals, and I settled into my pew, to listen to the pastor read from John 6, and talk about the meaning behind the bread and grape juice we were about to consume. He spoke about how various churches interpreted the symbols differently (Ouf! I wasn't the only one interpreting things!).

Speaking of interpretations, Mr Glance, was at it again... This time, on seeing I was without my Bible, he handed me his own. Gosh, he was attentive and I did not know how to interpret this attention. But when after church the tall, dark gallant (can that be a noun?) walked up to me, I braced myself, preparing to flash my wedding ring! Instead, his words rang in my ears:

"Bonjour. I haven't seen you here before."

"Oh, yes. I'm new."

"What brings you to La Ciotat?" he smiled, but before I could answer he offered a guess: "...La retrait?"


(At this point in my story, I may as well type LA FIN, because it really was the end of any and all illusions. All those adoring looks, those attentive glances--were surely because I reminded him of his grand-mère!)

Mr Glance's question hung in the air and, not wanting to correct (and so embarrass him), I mumbled something about my husband bringing me to La Ciotat and hurried out of l'église. I was on my way to a special lunch to celebrate my birthday, which happened to be Le Jour J, or the very day!

(My 52nd and not my 65th--or whatever the age of retirement is here in France!!!) 

On a positive note, over lunch my husband offered another possibility as a consolation: "Maybe he thought you were a rich American who came here for an early retirement?"

I'm not sure that explanation soothes my busted ego. But it does get my imagination going once again, and suddenly I see a beach, a faux pina colada, and suitcases of dollar bills--seagulls flying overhead and a gentle breeze. There, there now. Just let those words float away.
*   *    *

Dear Reader, when is the last time you were stung by a comment? I'll never forget the time I wore an ill-fitting dress and someone asked me when was the baby due? Tell us about an aggravating remark you once received, in the comment below. I could use a good laugh! Couldn't we all?

Birthday 52
A little older. A little grayer. A little more thick-skinned. But no where near ready to retire! (Thanks, Mom, for the photo.)

Jean-marc and kristi
At least not until I have finished my story.

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