TODAY'S WORD: EBLOUI (ay-bloo-ee)
Elena Rybakina, éblouie en voyant Roger Federer pour la première fois. Elena Rybakina a admis qu'elle était en état de choc lorsqu'elle a vu le grand Roger Federer pour la première fois en personne. Elena Rybakina, dazzled upon seeing Roger Federer for the first time. Elena Rybakina admitted that she was in a state of shock when she saw the great Roger Federer in person for the first time.
A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse
While my family's visit to France was the chance to spend time together, it was also a tender pèlerinage for my sister, Heidi, and her children, who lost their father a few years ago. My brother-in-law Doug was a larger-than-life character whose generosity, humor, and sharp wit still echo in our hearts to this day along with colorful memories from our time together on the Mediterranean.
The last time Doug was in France was in 2002. He was married to my sister, and they traveled across the French Riviera with baby Payne in tow. We stayed together in a rented villa perched in the hills of St. Maxime--perfect for venturing over to St. Tropez to the iconic Club 55 on Pampelonne beach. I barely remember that particular escapade, over 20 years ago (rosé wine and champagne are partly to blame), but today my head is clearer and on Sunday, with 8 members of our smala piled into two tiny economy cars, we made that pilgrimage back to St. Tropez for Father's Day.
After an hour on the sandy beach and a swim in the sea, we ambled up the wooden ramp to the outdoor resto de plage. The tables were dressed in white linen and there were thick cushions on the banquettes where we gathered for an ideal view of the well-heeled clientele. It was amusing to rub elbows with the elite or those who seemed to be…
Jean-Marc ordered a modest bottle of white, and I thanked God nobody suggested the champagne. In fact, every time anyone ordered something—fries, more ratatouille, or another bottle of sparkling water, my inner calculator sweated out a new total. (My sister and I were splitting this bill…)
But it was time to let go, lâcher prise and enjoy the experience and, from the look on their faces, this was a moment my family will recall forever. We raised our glasses of wine (sparkling water for me...) in hommage to Doug. The food was served and my sister was just finishing a discreet prayer when there was a sudden commotion. All eyes were now glued to the entrance. That is when my 21-year-old nephew, Payne, whispered, "It's Roger Federer!"
To say my tennis-crazed husband began to hyperventilate would be an exaggeration. But one thing was clear: Jean-Marc was genuinely star-struck--complètement ébloui! He grabbed his phone, excited to capture this incredible event: the appearance of his idol, the legendary tennis giant, Swiss-born Federer!
"Jean-Marc, you can't!" I began. "Put your phone away!" But when the rest of my family displayed a laisser-faire attitude, I took that as a reminder that some things--especially our live-life-to-the-fullest spouses--are out of our control.
To my surprise, Jean-Marc put down his phone but he couldn't help but gawk when Federer et compagnie sat just two tables away. The words QUELLE CHANCE were written all over my husband's face and, faster than you can say SAPERLIPOPETTE, Jean-Marc flew out of his chair and he was gone....
By the time we caught sight of him, it was too late, he was sneaking around the periphery of the restaurant. What in tarnation was he up to?!
"Is he going to see Federer?" my niece, Reagan, questioned.
Our table erupted in laughter (and, for some of us, gasps) as we watched Jean-Marc weave around the crowded restaurant only to disappear. "Maybe he is borrowing a staff uniform and he's going to pretend to be a waiter?" my son Max guessed.
"Or a sommelier?" I chuckled, finally letting go of any control. Let him be. After all, c'est La Fête des Pères!
When my husband returned from his mysterious périple, I did not ask him any questions. Instead, I looked around the table at all of my family, one by one, smile after smile, and relished this moment together. Turning to my husband, I shared this growing sourire. "This is your best Father's Day ever, n'est-ce pas?" His eyes twinkled it was.
I like to think some of that twinkling was reflecting down from the stars above, stars invisible to the daylight. Just because we cannot see things does not mean they are not there, lost loved ones included. To my brother-in-law, Doug, this one is for you--Payne, Reagan, and Heidi, too.
To leave a comment, click here. Extra credit if you tell me what town you are writing in from :-)
My family at Le Café Senequier in St. Tropez: Ana, Payne, Jackie, Heidi, Reagan, Max, me, and Jean-Marc
My 21-year-old nephew, Payne, in St. Tropez
My 19-year-old niece, Réré (Reagan), and daughter Jackie, now 25
le matelas = mattress
la paillote = beach hut
ébloui(e) = star struck, dazzled
le pèlerinage = pilgrimage
une escapade = adventure
la smala = family, brood
le resto (or restau) de plage = beach restaurant
la banquette = seat, booth seat
la ratatouille = ratatouille (listen to the difference, click on the soundfile)
lâcher prise = to give up, to let go
quelle chance = what luck!
saperlipopette! = good heavens!
la fête des pères = Father's Day
et compagnie = and friends
le périple = expedition, journey
le sourire = smile
Thanks, Susie, for asking about Jules. Our mom is fine and she says this photo is for you. Here's Jules with her grandchildren, Reagan and Payne.
To the following readers who this past week sent in a blog donation your contribution towards publishing this blog is the key to its longevity! I am sincerely grateful for your support. Merci beaucoup! --Kristi
”Thank you for starting my day with a smile!” —Michael P.
"I love your blog and appreciate the amount of time you put into it. Many thanks.” —Bonnie R
A Message from Kristi: Ongoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal week after week. If you find value in this website and would like to keep it going strong, I kindly ask for your support by making a donation today. Thank you very much for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.
Ways to contribute:
1. Paypal or credit card
2. Zelle®, an easy way to donate and there are no transaction fees.
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