Congé: A word for when you take a break from work/business
Calin: A Hug in French, Family Reunions and My Break in the States

Pompette: French for “tipsy” or “mildly drunk”

While this weekly chronique is on break, I’m celebrating a meaningful anniversary. More in this story published recently in France Today magazine.

"Pompette" is a colloquial French term that refers to a state of mild intoxication or tipsiness, rather than being fully drunk. It's often used to describe someone who has consumed alcohol and is slightly under the influence.

THE DANCE OF LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

On the terrace of a stately mas outside St-Rémy-de-Provence, amidst fields of lavender, I was sipping sparkling water and chatting with another wedding guest when the band came on. Suddenly, my high-heeled, gold-sequined-wearing interlocutrice set down her second glass of bubbly and shimmied over to the dance floor. “Allez! On danse!” She called, over a bare shoulder.

Oh to have such confidence in my own dancing shoes! But this was no time for wishful thinking. An invitation was dangling in the lavender-scented air and it would be impolite not to respond. Worse, it would dishonor les mariés who, by tradition, were the first on the dance floor and were presently waiting for the wedding party to join in. I watched as les invités set down their champagne glasses and let their bodies catch the rhythm of the beat. Easy for them after a few glasses of champers, but for me, having recently celebrated 20 years of sobriety, I couldn’t be swayed by inebriation. Stone sober, I entered the dance floor, hoping my awkward arm-swinging “deux pas'' went unnoticed.

The problem with the French, or any terpsikhore (there is actually a name for one who loves to dance), is they don’t wait around for weddings to shake their booties. Soccer stadiums, parking lots, and restaurants are all potential dance floors. This reminds me of a hip-shaking night out with friends in St. Tropez years ago. As we perused the menu, one of the women began humming along with the background music, got the urge to Get Down On It, and soon our dinner party of 8 was dancing beside our dinner plates.

While my mind is usually convinced that everyone on la piste de danse is a disco king or queen except me, in reality there are some disco dorks on every dance floor, and it is thanks to those Missing-the-Beat-but-Feelin’-Dynamite types that I am learning to let go. Twirling across the room, my husband is often there to catch me, and my clumsy deux pas is now a near-synchronous pas de deux.

When I stop to think of it, I owe my life in France to dance. For it was here, dans une boîte de nuit in Aix-en-Provence, that I spied my future partner. And by no cosmic coincidence, it was the first time I ever partied sober in a nightclub. As daunting as those first steps to sobriety were, I ventured out onto the dance floor and, this many years later, feel eternally blessed for that mighty move…and the series of steps I continue to perfect “one day at a time.”

pompette = tipsy 
un interlocuteur, une interlocutrice = conversation partner 
Allez, on danse! = come on! Let’s dance! 
les mariés = the newlyweds les invités = guests 
deux pas = two step 
la piste de danse = dance floor 
pas de deux = “step of two”, a dance duet
une boîte de nuit = night club 


Heartfelt thanks to readers sending in a donation to my French word journal. 

Dick F.
Kerry L.
Alice W.
Laurie F.
Renee H.
Rosalie I.
C-Marie P.
Cynthia K.
Marie-Louise L.

I have so enjoyed your books and look forward to your weekly stories and pictures. I have been reading for a couple years now and thought I better send you a little something. God Bless, Renee

IMG_1271Outside the nightclub where we met 33 years ago.

To leave a comment click here.

A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal each week. If you find joy or value in these stories and would like to keep this site going, donating today will help so much. Thank you for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

Ways to contribute:
1.Zelle®, The best way to donate and there are no transaction fees. Zelle to [email protected]

2.Paypal or credit card
Or purchase my book for a friend and so help them discover this free weekly journal.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Our dear Kristi,
What an inspiration you are!!! And! THE best example of by one day at a time, worthwhile goals ARE achieved!!
So proud of you for this anniversary-- and so proud of you too for all of your other MANY accomplishments!!
What an adorable picture of you and Jean Marc!!! Your love truly is here to stay!!
And please know we not only salute you but are celebrating ( though in my case,definitely without dancing!) Right along with you!!
Another wonderful post(as always!) Thank you for again just making our day!!
Arms tight around you.
Natalia. Xo

Jim Armstrong it an adjective or a noun or both?

Geraldine Ventura

Congratulations, Kristi! Some of those years must have been difficult but you overcame and I am sure your family and fiends are so proud of you, Thanks for the usual great episode of your life!


Hi Kristi,
Congrats and love the photo of you and JM!
My husband and I have found a fun night out here in Charlottesville. It's called "Silent Disco" and it's a blast. I had to drag him to the first one but now he's up for it! Everyone wears earphones and they light up a different color for the music channel you are listening to. Green could be 70's disco, Blue could be 90's, Red could be country. There is a DJ and the music changes up all night. It's fun to look around and see what channel others are listening and dancing to. It makes it easy to talk at a table because the music is not blasting because everyone is listening with headphones!


Burn joué.💕

Bruce Harry

Hi, Kristi!

That is such a wonderful photo of you and JM in front of where you first danced! I hope that each of you keep dancing over and over again,



Hi Kristi, Thank you so much for this article. Many will be encouraged, for if Kristi can take the road of sobriety and continue on, so will many take hold of their lives again. All thanks be to God for all of His helps to each of us in the many different ways that we Need Him.

Lovely pictures of you two, too!!

God bless, C-Marie

Sue Payne

I know the feeling! Congratulations Kristi…lovely post😊❤️

Chris Allin

Dear Kristi,
Dancing through life must account for a lot of smiles and laughter. Such strength and determination you have. So beautifully positive…
Congratulations on all your years together!

Susan Barnabe

Bien joue, Kristi et bonne continuation! Pour moi, je viens juste hier de celebrer quinze ans. Je danse dans mon cuisine! Susan a Ottawa, Canada.

Susan Barnabe

dans ma cuisine!!

Jeanne Engelkemeir

Wow. Such a belle histoire. Really moving story -- I think my favorite of yours that I've read! Merci et courage!!! You two are so adorable together. (So many American women's dream -- trouver un mari français!!!) :)


How romantic to meet your soul mate on the dance floor!
Wishing you many more pas de deux romantique!

Suzanne in Monroe, NJ

What a wonderful story. And so nice to hear about Terpsichore the muse of dance. Not many know about her but I learned about the muses in my undergraduate classics course. And thank you for pompette. I have colleagues in our dog traning club with a Pomerianian name Tipsy. If they ever get another one, I will recommend Pompette as the name.


Lots of life messages there for everyone. Great post!

Leslie in Hawaii for now

I was just musing that I have dancing in my heart but never swing out into some moves.
Then you inspire me with your post.
Congratulations on your sobriety as well!
Brava x 2!

Jackie Crane

Happy Anniversary to you both! You truly look like you belong together!! Keep on dancing through life! Match made in heaven, je pense.
Bisous, Jackie Crane, California

Diane Heinecke

Félicitations! Votre décision doit être difficile mais enfin, très sage. Bravo! Je suis fière de vous.

Cerelle Bolon

Brava, Sweet Friend! This is such a significant story and you are a role model to those taking this plunge. It was the right decision for you and it shows how wonderful life is for you both now.
Wishing you many more wonderful adventures in living together.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)