"Bisettes"- a favorite new word + photo essay with family updates
Feu! Fire! Scary mystery solved here at home

La Colocation: Jackie's house-share in Lyon is featured in the evening news!

Lyon Leon fish brasserie france
In the video at the end of today's column, see our daughter's cool house-share in Lyon--featured recently on the evening news!

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TODAY'S WORD: la colocation

    : house-share, apartment-share

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

Carapace + pattes = carapater

At the weekend farmers market, I learned the most adorable French word: carapater. To better understand and appreciate this clever portmanteau--this mot-valise--let's conjure up an image of a carapace. Next, in your mind's eye, of some little feet, or pattes. Now imagine a turtle hurrying off.

"Carapter. C'est sympa ce mot!" I said to the woman behind the vegetable stand, who'd just murmured it. "Attention," she'd said, eyeing the orange she'd just set on the table. "Elle est en train de carapater!" It's getting away!

I watched the orange roll a little farther before grabbing it and bagging it with the rest of the newly-purchased fruits and vegetables. "Merci! Au revoir!"

"...Et bonjour à ta maman!

"Ce sera fait! Merci!"

On my way home from the Saturday market, I began to imagine this week's post--excited to have a new and colorful word in which to weld it together with more bits and pieces of family life... which brings us to our first photo:

Souder = to weld. Just look at those golden sparks! On Monday, my sister-in-law came over to repair a few metal meubles chez nous: there was the broken brasero (ours is placed on a wine barrel--perfect height!) and several of our green metal garden chairs had come apart (where the lower back meets the seat). After, we had lunch and enjoyed the cream-filled Tarte Tropézienne Cécile brought over:

Cétait une tuerie = It was to die for! This two-piece brioche cake is filled with a thick layer of lemon and vanilla cream, and topped with pearl sugar.

Tarte tropezienne cream cake france

Une part = a slice. Jean-Marc had two slices and Cécile and I had  1.5 slices... Then we tried to walk them off... all the way to the port....

 Se sauver carapater wooden boat
carapater = to scramble off.  When exiting his little wooden boat, it is vital to hurry off the edge of the bow before it glides away from the dock. Jean-Marc has mastered this technique and, as far as I know, hasn't fallen in the water yet... (Do you think he would tell me if he has?)
 Still life
La pochette surprise = surprise bag.  Cécile returned home to Marseilles with this little surprise bag...later, she texted me this lovely still life, composed of plants in our garden: dried "soucis" petals (calendula), dried bay laurel, aloe vera, kumquat, a calendula flower and a postcard of local doves in flight. The note says "a few little surprises for my favorite belle-soeur (this last part is an inside joke, as we are each other's only sister-in-law :-)

Kristi gravier gravelGravier = gravel Here's a peak at the newly-poured pea gravel. We are thrilled with this new space, which brightens up the front yard. This reconstruction was "a good that came of a bad" un bien issu d'un mal as, sadly, we lost our two magnificent palm trees to a palm moth (the larva feeds in the palm trunks).

Palm tree
Les palmiers = palm trees. Here's a photo of the two palmiers, from the blog archives. That's Max, who was upset with us for losing those trees. The fact is, after losing the first palm tree (it was too late to save it) we looked into anti-moth treatments to the tune of 300 euros per year (!). We opted not to treat the remaining tree as there was no guarantee this would save it and I didn't want the chemicals falling over the rest of our garden.

After Jean-Marc took down the second palm tree (all on his own), he then split a 500-liter wine barrel and made two deep planters, setting one atop the palm tree stump which he had leveled near the ground. Now tomatoes and vegetables will grow in its place.

Doves in a wine barrel
Ouistiti! = Cheese! Meantime the barrel is a fun prop for a couple of photogenic doves, none other than Mama and Papa who are willing models. A few sunflower seeds and they're happy to say "cheese!" 

Tchin-tchin= cheers. Max, came over for dinner before leaving for ProWein in Dusseldorf. He will be at the German Wine Fair through Tuesday. He continues to thrive in the wine business, following in his dad's tracks. Here they are toasting a Gigondas from Jean-Marc's cellar.
La colocation = house-share, apartment-share. I leave you with a news report featuring Jackie's new house-share in Lyon! Our daughter was in school when the episode was filmed, but you will be able to see the inside of the house she shares with 12 other locataires, or renters. Click here to see the report (the house is shown after a brief commercial).



Click here to listen to the following list in French

la colocation = house-share, apartment-share
= to flee, to run off
le mot-valise
= portmanteau
attention = watch out
= thanks
au revoir
= goodbye
c'est sympa ce mot
= that's a nice word
= to weld
le meuble = furniture
le brasero = brazier, barbecue
la tarte tropézienne
= The St. Tropez pie
une part
= a slice
c'est une tuerie
= it's to die for
le soucis = marigold, calendula
la belle-soeur
= sister-in-law
le gravier = gravel
un bien issu d'un mal
= a good that comes of a bad
ouistiti = cheese ("say cheese!")
= cheers
la/le locataire
= renter
une bisette = small kiss
un fauteuil = armchair

Lili cat garden furniture
Jean-Marc, putting together new chairs for the garden, and Lili, trying one out. Jules offered Jean-Marc the fauteuils for his birthday, which is coming up.

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.

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety