Today's story is part wedding anniversary, part birthdays, part peanuts, and part people. You have already read a little about Max's girlfriend, and today you'll learn more about Ana (and why we love her).
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TODAY'S WORD: “Qui réchauffe le cœur”
: heartwarming, that which warms the heart
A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse
This week marks 29 years since Jean-Marc and I walked the matrimonial carpet at La Paroisse Saint Antoine de Padoue in Marseilles, inching our way down the cathedral's central passage toward a no-going-back "Oui" or I do!
It is hard to believe almost three decades have passed since tying the knot here in France. I had to laugh, recently, overhearing my husband make a dermatological appointment for each of us, proof we are barreling toward retirement ensemble.
"Chérie," my husband says, putting his hand over the phone. "C'est pour un contrôle, oui?"
"Oui," I nod. Yes, just a checkup.
After making the dreaded yearly appointment, we rejoined our grown kids, including Ana (Max's petite amie whom we've adopted along with her two dogs) on the front porch, for a celebratory lunch. I've got my sunhat on, for prevention and to keep my rosacea at bay, and Jean-Marc has cranked out a fabric awning over our terrasse. These days even he can't tolerate le soleil.
As I'm setting the table, Max calls out, "Maman, il y a des vers dans les cacahuètes!"
Worms in the peanuts? Mon Dieu! I beeline over to where the kids were enjoying an apéro, to find the jar of nuts slithering. I'm so embarrassed for Ana to see this! As for my kids, it wouldn't be the first time they've found expired food chez nous. And my son is quick to point it out! Honestly, now that it's just Jean-Marc and me at home, the food doesn't circulate as often. (I can't speak for my own Mom, who lives in a studio around the side of our house, with her own pantry and fridge.)
"Max, please toss those peanuts into the compost!" I urged, before escaping to the kitchen to recompose myself. But it was too late, all my sloppy and negligent parts had spilled out into the light of day. Gone was the cool urban housewife-writer I may have been trying to impersonate; in her place, a negligent nut (that is to say I should've been seated outside with my family, instead the lively nuts took center stage).
Returning to the front patio, still red in the face (not from rosacea this time...) I found Max, Jackie, and Ana on the ground, beside a few small piles of peanut shells. Nearby, dans les parages, a flock of familiar doves paced back and forth in anticipation.
"What are you guys doing?"
"We are preparing the peanuts for the birds," Ana explained, heading The Stale Peanut Initiative.
"But you don't have to bother with that..."
"Ce n'est rien," Ana assured me.
"But the worms..."
"The birds love them!" Ana pointed out. Beside her, Max sat on the gravel, using the kitchen scissors to cut up the rubbery cacahuètes--and Ana and Jackie were using their fingers to break up the peanuts. As for the slithering vermin? Même pas peur! The industrious trio was too busy feeding the hungry to worry about a few unsavory visitors.
Click here to listen to Jean-Marc and me pronounce these words:
Qui réchauffe le coeur = heartwarming
Ensemble = together
Chérie, Cheri = dear
pour un contrôle = for a checkup
La petite amie = girlfriend
la terrasse = patio
le soleil = sun
Maman, il y a des vers dans les cacahuètes! = Mom there are worms in the peanuts!
l’apéro = before dinner drinks and munchies
chez nous = at our place
ce n’est rien la cacahuète même pas peur
Sincere thanks to readers who recently sent in a blog donation, jumpstarting the fall season of future stories and vocabulary. I appreciate your help in publishing this journal week after week. Ça réchauffe le cœur! --Kristi
"Thanks for the time you take to write your blog and share your stories." Marcy W.
"Thanks Kristi for always making France come alive and transporting me there." Ellen H.
Here’s to our anniversary! I loved my Mom’s comment after she realized how long Jean-Marc and I have been married:
“29 years? That’s a record, Honey. Most people have married 3 or 4 times by then!” Sacré Mama Jules. (Jules, you are one of a kind, xoxo)
Click on the book cover, above, to discover a new, French-themed read for the week.
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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety