It's good to be back! How to say "go with the flow" in French + La Ciotat recommendations

Kristi and Dad at Le Vieux Port in La Ciotat
Me and my Dad at the old port in La Ciotat

Today's phrase: prendre les choses comme elles viennent

    : to go with the flow

Audio file: 

Click here to listen to "go with the flow" in French


 
A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE
   
"Call Me Flo"

  by Kristi Espinasse

At 3:30 this morning, au milieu de la nuit, we sat around the coffee table eating chouquettes and drinking coffee. Dad and Marsha were dressed for their flight home to Sun Valley, Idaho. We had spent the last two and a half weeks together, and yet we had not shown our American family all of La Ciotat. 

We didn't go to Figuerolles and we never took La Voie Douce--the former railroad track which was now converted into a beautiful nature path for walking, cycling, and running... Ah well, there's always next time, la prochaine fois! Meantime, we ate, we swam, and we saw.... Here is a little of ce qu'on a vu.....

Pointus fishing boats
The charming "pointus" or wooden fishing boats at Port des Capucins, which we often passed on our way to the old port. This time of year the fishermen were painting and repairing the colorful vessels, a task that summed up my Dad and Marsha's view of La Ciotat in general: a clean, well-cared for city! My family was so impressed by the city's organization, by the clean streets, the urban renewal going on here at the moment, and by the kindness of the locals, including Sam who invited us over for un vrai festin (we thought we were coming for an apéro (drinks and cacahuètes), but this Algerian-born, former soldier in the Israeli army--who went on to become a bodyguard for a member of The Jackson Five--served us a rainbow of local specialties including pissaladière, anchoïade, and pastis. Sam represents just one in a colorful soup of characters who call La Ciotat home...imagine the myriad of stories that remain to be told by the rest of La Ciotadins!
 
Restaurant la crique
Speaking of characters, the waitresses at Restaurant La Crique (what a find) have 'tude! They remind me of the take-no-bs servers from my American childhood (well, at least those on TV. Does anyone remember Flo, of "Mel's Diner"? While I'm here, I'll sidetrack to a nickname I've recently acquired, "Flo". It's short for "Go With the Flo" which is exactly why I did not keep up this French word journal while my Dad was here. I needed to put aside my rigid publishing schedule of the past 16 years--and chill!

Mirabelle plums
It is important to point out these mirabelle plums, after we discovered two of these trees in our small garden (we suspected something was growing here, after seeing sticky prints on the ground when we moved here last August! The fruit has a delicious tartness which, when matured, is very sweet. We ate them like candy in between our aller-retours to town and to the beach...

Municipal park in la ciotat

In addition to the breathtaking Parc du Mugel, La Ciotat has an impressive municipal garden, somewhere near (over?) the underground parking lot. You can relax on a public bench and eat your sandwich... if you don't mind strangers wishing you "bon appétit". Swallow quickly and say "merci!"

Dad at Plage du Mugel
Asked what was the highlight of their trip, and Dad and Marsha enthusiastically replied Plage du Mugel!...but at that point they had not seen another secret hideaway, farther up the coast. I'll tell you about that in the next post. It is time now to take a vacation from my family's vacation :-) I'm off to begin a new chapter in Ann Mah's lastest book, THE LOST VINTAGE, which just came out today. Please read along with me, order your copy here.

The lost vintage

FRENCH VOCABULARY
au milieu de la nuit = in the middle of the night
les chouquettes = little round puff pastries with large sugar sprinkles
la voie douce = the gentle path
la prochaine fois = the next time
ce qu'on a vu = what we saw
le festin = feast (read this entry from the archives)
un pointu = old wooden fishing boat, read more here
la pissaladière = a kind of pizza without tomato sauce (only carmelized onion, anchovy and olive)

Max jackie jean-marc marsha dad and kristi
Relaxing with our grown-up kids and our adventurous guests, who have landed in Amsterdam, by now, and are getting ready to board their flight to Salt Lake City. Bon voyage, Marsha and Kip! 

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
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"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


Relâcher: A day to fly a kite (or fly like a kite!)

Poppies and bees
A vocabulary-packed Sunday letter for you today. The regular edition will return in a fortnight or less.

Bonjour,

For the second time in four weeks, I'm breaking my "no working on Sunday" rule. My Dad and Marsha arrive Tuesday and I'm in a flurry of last-minute To-Do's--including keeping up this blog--which is silly because, really, a year from now who will even remember whether or not a post went out "twice-weekly" in June of 2018? I should relax and just enjoy this day. Tomorrow will come and go. A chaque jour suffit sa peine....

But it is no trouble, or peine, when my Dad and belle-mère visit. Any "flurry" goes back to my perfectionistic strivings (and these are only strivings, for if you took a shower in our guest bathroom--which I did just by chance this morning--and thank God for that!--you'd see spider webs on the ceiling and when you reached for the savon... il y aura que dalle (there wouldn't be any)...because I don't buy shower soap! No, I'm too practical for that (I use a tout-en-un-- an all-in-one shampoo. I can even wash my bathing suit with it!)

Even so, I'm adding "toile d'araignée" to my to-do list--as well as savon, and après-shampooing (I don't have cream rinse in my guest bathroom either. Je suis trop pratique : when the kids come home I give them my cream rinse--then I rouspète (rouspéter, to grumble) when I go to condition my hair, having forgotten the bottle's downstairs! 

Back to last-minute to-dos... this morning I'm all over the place, and a little bit rouspéteuse that my husband is away kitesurfing for the weekend. But I 'm not really mad at Mr High-in-the-Sky. Deep down I admire Jean-Marc for "living each day"--especially le dimanche. Sunday is the perfect day to dream and to play (unless you work at the mall or in a restaurant or at a vineyard, which I did. In that case you need to designate another day in which to relâcher, or let go).

Smokey golden retriever epuisette
Smokey's doing yoga while I'm getting ready to collect pond scum for my permaculture garden!

So off I go, back to my favorite morning activity: using my new, chouette, épuisette -- a Mothers Day gift from Jean-Marc. The net-on-a-pole allows me to go fishing in my pond...for mulch! As the pepper tree loses its tiny leaves, they collect on the pond's surface....

As the leaves swell with nutritive water (so as not to say fish poop) I see it all through a Willy Wonkian lense: only, my garden is my chocolate factory. Zipping back-n-forth from the fountain-pond to the vegetable beds, in a world of my own, I am, finally, in my element. Oompa oompa ooompa-dee-doo...let those cobwebs collect in the bathroom--I'll figure out how to make them garden fodder, too!)

Enjoy your week while I catch up with mon père. A bientôt, chers lecteurs!

Amicalement,
Kristi


FRENCH VOCABULARY
à chaque jour suffit ça peine = each day is enough trouble of its own
la belle-mère = mother-in-law (also can mean "stepmother")
le savon = soap
après-shampooing = conditioner
que dalle = nada, nothing
toile d'araigner = spider web
tout-en-un = all-in-one
rouspeteuse = complainer
dimanche = Sunday
chouette = cool
epuisette = shrimp net

Sauterelle grasshopper anis dill plant flowering
Look closely at the flowering dill...see an Oompa Loompa or a sauterelle?

The less creators have to worry about their funding platform, the more they can focus on what everyone wants them to do: create. --Ethan Siegel, Forbes Magazine

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


Escalader: the story of Mamoudou Gassama, "The Spiderman of the 18th"

French president Macron and Mamoudou Gassama
"The Spiderman of the 18th" speaks with the President. Mamoudou Gassama's selfless act awarded him more than citizenship, a job, and a bravo from the President, it has given him--and all of us--l'éspoir in humankind. Let's hope that after the media invasion, this former refugee will be left in peace--to grow and to find happiness, and, finally, a bit of rest, in France. Read about this man's bravery.

Today's word: escalader

    : to scale, to climb

Listen to Jean-Marc read the sentence below, and today's word, in French: 

Click here to listen

Filmé par des passants, l’acte spontané de Mamoudou Gassama samedi à Paris a été vu des millions de fois sur les réseaux sociaux : on le voit escalader, à mains nues et en moins de trente secondes, la façade d’un immeuble parisien pour sauver un enfant de 4 ans suspendu à un balcon au 4e étage. --www.ladepeche.fr

Filmed by passersby, the spontaneous act of Mamoudou Gassama Saturday in Paris has been seen millions of times on social networks: we see him climb, with bare hands and in less than thirty seconds, the facade of a Parisian building to save a 4-year-old child hanging on a balcony on the 4th floor.

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

    by Kristi Espinasse

By Monday morning, the heroic act of Mamoudou Gassama was all over the media. In awe along with the rest of France, I sat with my coffee, in bed, reading about the 22-year-old Malian refugee who had acted on instinct to save a 4-year-old child from imminent death. In his parents' absence (the father had stepped out for a few courses, or items at the store), the petit bonhomme wandered out onto the terrace of a 5th-floor apartment...and ended up dangling from the balcony.

Mamoudou, scaling to the 5th floor...

In the 18th Arrondissement of Paris...
As a crowd gathered below, screaming in horror, the young Malian man, who had been walking past, quickly assessed the situation before springing--quite literally!--to action. Within 30 seconds he had scaled the side of the building, going from balcony to balcony--at times jumping to reach the next level. Thank God he did not miss the bar! 

Reaching the 5th floor he landed on the balcony, having swooped up the crying child. The two safe inside the apartment, Mamadou had to sit down, his legs were trembling so badly. One can imagine his emotions were every bit as shaken. He had just taken a selfless risk, and could have easily slipped to his own death. 

Mamoudou recounted the incident to journalists:

"J'ai eu peur quand j'ai sauvé l'enfant et puis on est allés dans le salon, je me suis mis à trembler, je n'arrivais plus à tenir sur mes pieds, j'ai du m'asseoir" I was afraid when I was saving the child, and then we went into the living room and I began to tremble. I could no longer stand up with my feet. I had to sit down.

Dubbed "The Spiderman of the 18th"
In a second act of bravery, this Malian refugee faced an onslaught of reporters outside the hospital, where the firefighters had taken him and the child.  

Watching the news again Monday night, I was struck by this young man's composure and ability to speak a foreign language under a barrage of questions and the blaring, flashing camera lights. 

When he woke up, Saturday morning, the man who had escaped to France only last September, could never have dreamed the start of a new week would include a visit to the guilded salon of L'Elysee, a personal bravo and a job offer by French President Macron, and the gift of French citizenship; a cadeau even more precious to a young man who had travelled from from Mali to Burkina Faso, to Nigeria, and to Libya, where he was beaten before managing to get on a boat and cross the sea to Italy. His hope was to reach somebody who could help him, he who had been displaced from a very young age. On his way, he ended up helping a child--every bit as displaced as Mamadou had been.

We wish Mamoudou bon courage and bonne continuation, especially as he faces all the attention--the good and the bad (the jealousy, the questioning, the prying)-- that comes with being thrown into the spotlight.

As for the job? If he accepts, Mamoudou will soon be working as a fireman in Paris. I think you would agree, dear reader, that he more than passes the physical fitness test! More than that, he is an example to all of us to not hold back, to protect the innocent, and to be as graceful and recongizant as he, before a media flurry--or simply life's flurry.

Mamoudou Gassama interview on RMC
"Dieu merci, je l'ai sauvé." Thank God, I saved him. "Je l’ai fait parce que c’est un enfant. J’aime beaucoup les enfants. Je n’ai pas pensé aux étages. Je n’ai pas pensé au risque." I did it because it was a child. I love children. I didn't think about all the floors. I didn't think about the risk.

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa