A Special Request + Playground in French (and wild and free learning!)
Les Étrennes: This French new year's custom will have you digging in your pockets

Cloué au lit (Nailed to the bed): La grippe, les frissons

Moustiers Sainte-Marie Faience shop
Random photo of a Faïence/earthenware shop in Moustiers Sainte-Marie. The picture is off-topic, but it's a lot prettier than a photo of "la grippe". Also, there is a picture of Mom and me in our pajamas at the end of this post, so if you don't usually click over to the full version of this letter, you might try to today :-)

Today's Word: La Grippe

    : flu, influenza

Audio/Listening: Click the link below to hear Jean-Marc pronounce the example sentence + French words in the following story. Then scroll down to the vocabulary list to check your French comprehension.

Le mot "grippe" vient du bas-allemand "gripan" qui signifie "saisir avec des griffes." The word "grippe" comes from the lower-German "gripan" which means "to seize with claws."

Click here for the sound file

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse
"Nailed to the Bed"

Bonne Année! I missed you last week when I was clouée au lit (that's a colorful way of saying "laid up in bed"). I can't remember the last time I had the flu, but I won't soon forget this one, and all the uncomfortable symptoms (listed in order of arrival):

le mal de tête
la toux sèche
les frissons
les courbatures
les sueurs
les oreilles bouchées...

Struck down by the flu virus, I began to wonder if my son was right about his vitamin theory, because after two weeks of cramming supplements...je suis tombée malade!

"Did you get it from Dad?" Max asked, and that was the extent of his interest in my weeklong convalescence. Jean-Marc was a little more sympathetic, bringing me tisanes and asking each morning, ça va mieux? No matter how old I get I still feel guilty (like a kid ditching school) staying in bed. So by day three I did some laundry, made lunch for my family, and tidied the house. But my body whispered, Repose-toi, repose-toi! So I crawled back in bed for a couple more days--in time for the second round of fever (there's even a name for that in French: V grippal):

"La fièvre baisse vers le quatrième jour puis remonte entre le cinquième et le sixième jour : ce phénomène est décrit sous le nom de « V grippal » The fever drops around the fourth day and then rises again between the fifth and sixth day: this phenomenon is described under the name of "V flu".

Just when you think you might be getting better...la maladie grabs you again! (Interesting how the word "grippe" (from the German "gripan") means "to seize with claws").

Fervex (only available in France?) is my family's go-to for colds/flu. The powder comes in little packets. Mixed with water, it has a nice citrusy taste and chases symptoms away (giving a false sense of well-being, hence the feeling you can get up, cook, and clean...). And Doliprane  (paracetamol?) was vital in relieving the headaches and muscular pain in the beginning. But there's no pill for boredom, which crept in by the end of the week.

My Mom and Smokey visited several times, relieving some of the ennui, but this also brought with it some sadness: our 12-year-old golden is riddled with bumps or "masses", both hard and soft. (Two have grown quickly in the past month.) I just can't face what might be coming at some point in the future. But for now, Smokey is barking, dancing for his food, and taking his job of being Mom's best roommate ever very seriously.

I don't know what 2022 will bring but I don't want to fear it. Instead, it helps to remember that each day is a new beginning. So let's go it one day at a time, taking Smokey's valiant lead: to bark, to dance, and to be the best friend ever--and may it be a beautiful year ahead for all of us.



Clou nails in an old French door
After today's expression "cloué au lit", here's an old French door in Sospel, France, decorated with clous or nails. If you enjoy these posts, please share them with a friend and help others find my newsletter. Merci beaucoup!

bonne année = Happy New Year
cloué au lit = bed-ridden
le mal de tête = headache
la toux sèche = dry cough
les frissons = chills
les courbatures = aches and pains
les sueurs = sweats
les oreilles bouchées = clogged ears
ça va mieux? = is it better?
repose-toi bien= rest well

A few words that didn't make it into the sound file:
la maladie = sickness, illness
l'ennui (m)
= boredom
la tisane = herbal tea
amicalement = yours, best wishes, regards

Recently I began brainstorming on paper in preparation for these posts. It is a fun way to get a story going, without any pressure.

Jules and Kristi
When Mom gave me new pajamas for my birthday, I had no idea I'd be living in them for the next two weeks. Thankfully Mom didn't catch my flu. She's as healthy as a tiger (make that a leopard!)

A Message from KristiFor twenty years now, support from readers like you has been an encouragement and a means to carve out a career in writing. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider a donation. Your gift keeps me going! Thank you very much.

Ways to contribute:
1. Send a check
2. Paypal or credit card
3. 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