l'ici et maintenant

Window in Serignan, Vaucluse (c) Kristin Espinasse

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l'ici et maintenant

    : the here and now, or le moment or l'instant présent

Audio File: (I'm afraid our super French word pronouncer (Chief Grape) is away... that means you're stuck with me and my recording. Listen at your own péril...): Download MP3 or Wav file

L'ici et maintenant. Dans l'ici-maintenant je ressents de la paix.
In the here and now I feel at peace.

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse

My husband is running a bath, this after two days without water. Our plumber was able to temporarily fix our reservoir, meaning that tonight our beloved Chief Grape will escape the dreaded bird bath—and youpi! for that, for it is no fun standing in a vintner's bucket, pouring cups of cold water over a tired body.

I am in the next room, folding clothes (in order to free-up the bed, so that we can eventually get some rest). As I fold, I listen to glorious sound of rushing water, along with the occasional squeaky shift of a man settling into his bath. 

Max strides into the bedroom and plops down onto the bed. "I'm going to rest here a bit," he says. 

I turn towards our son, amazed at his decision to spend time with his old lady. My étonnement increases, when our 16-year-old offers an apparent compliment: 

"You smell like pamplemousse," he remarks. 

I touch my cheek, remembering the moisturizer that I have just put on. It has a citrus scent? I hadn't noticed... in fact, I hardly remember putting on the lait hydratant

Inhaling another whiff of grapefruit, I am transported to the present moment, having stepped off the ruthless timeline of the past (in which I am regretful of those things I've left undone—anything from unanswered emails to the sinkful of dishes) and the future (in which I worry about our water problem and my upcoming surgery). But here, in the pamplemousse present, I awake to life around me, including the unchacteristic attention of our teenager.

"Tiens," Max says, handing me one of his earphones, which I stick into my oreille, following Max's example. I push the clothes out of the way and lie back on the pillow.

"Can you tell me what she is saying?" Max wants to know. It isn't the first time I've been asked to identify English lyrics, only, the music is usually not to my liking (i.e. it is rap, instead of rhapsody).

I recognise the song by Dido. Quelle coincidence! It was once a favorite of mine... I listen in, intent on clarifying the words for Max:

My tea's gone cold, I'm wonderin' why
I got out of bed alone
The morning rain clouds up my window
and I can't see at all...

As I communicate the lyrics to Max, he begins to sing along with me... 

and even if I could it'd all be grey
but your picture on my wall, it reminds me
that it's not so bad, it's not so bad...

As Max and I sing, I hear splashing now and again, as Jean-Marc relaxes into his bath. To him the noise coming from the bedroom must surely be an amusement, what with Max and me belting it out like a couple of tone-deaf dogs...

And I want to thank you for giving me
the best day of my life...
Oh, just to be with you,
is having the best day of my life.

I muse at how perfectly the lyrics fit this treasured moment of togetherness. Though I can't be sure that this is the best day of my life... I am quite certain, here in l'instant présent, that this is the best minute of my life.

As for the other worries and regrets, they just don't exist in the peaceful here and now, where a mother-and-son duo howl like a couple of hound dogs:

 And I want to thank you for giving me
the best day of my life...
Oh, just to be with you,
is having the best day of my life....

Le Coin Commentaires
I love to read your comments--and so does my mom! So please don't hesitate to leave a message. If you don't know what to say (personally, I get very nervous and tongue-tied when it comes to leaving comments on blogs!), simply say "bonjour" and be sure to let us know which town your are writing in from (this is my dad's favorite part). Click here to leave a comment.

Psst... Mom and Dad, if you are reading, check out the recent article in ASU News: Expat alum offers Francophiles a word a day! Mom, Dad, I know how worried you were when I came in close to last in my class--almost failing high school. But I've been working hard, ever since, to make up for that! Click here to find out how.

French Vocabulary

youpi! = yahoo!

un étonnement = surprise

le pamplemousse = grapefruit 

le lait hydratant = moisturizer

tiens! = here!

une oreille = ear

quelle coincidence! = what a coincidence!

l'instant présent = the present moment, the here and now


The vinter's buckets that I mentioned in today's story. Just imagine Chief Grape's bird bath dilemma!


Blossoming in Provence

 S'il vous plaît...

S.V.P.!: I need your help in getting out the word of my latest book! 

Thank you very much if you have already purchased a copy of Blossoming in Provence. Your purchase is one of the best ways to help me to continue publishing these educational "stories in a French life". 

If you enjoy this free newsletter, please consider supporting it by buying a copy of my book.

You might consider buying a copy for a friend of family member. Would someone at your office or at your school enjoy these short stories? Blossoming in Provence is a book for all ages. Both men and women enjoy the book, making it a perfect gift for a birthday or even for Valentine's Day.

Thank you very much for your support and for helping me to get the word out about Blossoming in Provence. When you click over to the page at Amazon, you will also notice the possibility to share the page via Twitter and Facebook and email (let your mouse hover over the "like" button, just beneath the books title.

Voilà. I've peddled my book for the month! I appreciate your patience and will now take off my sales hat and put back on my chef's toque (it is time to send out this post and to hurry and prepare lunch for the kids).


While editing my photo archives I discovered this picture, taken a few years after I wrote the story, above. Serendipitous, considering the pamplemousse scent that Max describes.

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