Exciting News! An update from my Staycation
A Marriage Secret? + A Tribute to Mon Epoux

An update from Kristi + Bienvenue, Sourire, Faire La Gueule

Jackie party le vin sobre
Our daughter, Jackie (center, at her father's wine shop) reunited with her closest friends during her recent visit. 

to those who have just signed on to this French word journal. And a warm welcome back to longtime readers. Heureuse de vous retrouver! To get the most out of this language blog, be sure to read beyond the featured word--to the personal column about our life in France. Most of the useful vocabulary happens there!

A link to a delicious tomato tart recipe follows when you read to the end of this post. Speaking of French food, check out The Secret French Recipes of Sophie Valroux Samantha Vérant's delicious novel! Order it here.

Today's word: sourire

   : to smile

Click here to listen to the French Example Sentence

Sourire mobilise 15 muscles, mais faire la gueule en sollicite 40. Reposez-vous : souriez !
Smiling mobilizes 15 muscles, but frowning requires 40. Rest: smile!

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

Coucou! It's so good to be back after un petit congé sabbatique. I'm not quite sure it is over yet, this personal break, but I am cracking the whip this morning, trying to get back in the saddle of reporting to you weekly from France. Stick with me in the coming months and we are going to collect hundreds more words and phrases and so challenge our brains. Couldn't we all use a new challenge ces temps-ci ?

Tomorrow is my daughter's 23rd anniversaire and she will celebrate in Miami, Florida--having flown home yesterday, landing safely after flying near l'ouragan. Ouf! I am grateful for the 4 weeks we spent together, and I thank you, dear reader, for having patienté, having waited patiently for this blog to resume.

Jackie and I made the most of our time together and I'll soon share one of our memorable périples with you (hint: c'est un truc de ouf!). For now, I am easing back into a work schedule: writing once per week for this blog, twice a month for our wine life memoir, The Lost Gardens (the next chapter goes out tomorrow), and brainstorming most of the time. It is this last bit that wears me down--this think-think-thinking all the time. I now understand that an overactive mind is not a bad thing: not if you regularly do a vidange, an emptying. (Like emptying some of it on paper!)

Almost two decades ago I said adieu to a non-valorisant job at a vineyard and began working independently as a writer. To all who follow this journal, actively or passively, whether to learn French or to learn about life in France, thank you for reading and for le boulot you have given me these past 18 years. I appreciate it more than ever.



bienvenue = welcome
heureuse de vous retrouver = welcome back (happy to see you again)
coucou = hello
un congé sabbatique = a sabbatical
ces temps-ci = these days
un anniversaire = birthday
un ouragan = hurricane
ouf! = whew!
patienter = to wait patiently
un périple = journey, excursion
un truc de ouf = a crazy thing
le carnet = notebook
une vidange = an emptying, draining, an oil change
le boulot = job
amicalement = yours (see other ways to sign-off a letter or email)
Tomato in paris cavist
Strange to see tomatoes for sale at a Paris wine shop! Photo taken in 2015, when visiting Jackie in Paris, where she was an intern for an haute couture designer.

Tomato tart recipe
La tarte tomate. One request my daughter had while home in France was to enjoy my homemade tomato tart. I made several for her! She ate the last one at the airport in Amsterdam, packed with love for her long journey home to Miami. For the recipe, click here and scroll down the page.

Thank you for considering a contribution today!
Ongoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and improving this free language journal, for the past 18 years. If you enjoy this website and would like to keep it going, please know your donation towards this effort makes all the difference! No matter the weather, on good days or bad, I am committed to sharing a sunny, vocabulary-packed update with you, one you can look forward to. I hope it fuels your dreams of coming to France while expanding your French vocabulary. A contribution by check or via PayPal (or credit card, links below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!