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mi-vitesse (me-vee-tess) adverb
A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse
I drove to Roquemaure for my mom. I did it because I got tired, fed up with feeling guilty. You need to get out, Mom had said. Park your car by the river and write in a different environment. Go and interview the baker...chat up the cheese-maker. Drive somewhere new each day....
As I said, I drove to Roquemaure because my conscience told me to. I pepped myself up for the journey using a little altruistic philosophy, "What good are we as homebodies, self-conserving casanières?" I thought about the Monsieur and Madame* back in Saint-Maurice-sur-Eygues... I would never have met them had I stayed at home, and they might never have smiled that way, the way they did at that certain hour, on that certain day.
And so I pulled on my boots, packed a pomme and some pain ... and headed out, direction Orange, to the Gard, au lointain.
I had driven through Roquemaure once before, last spring, with Mom—on the way to Max's basketball game. It shouldn't be that hard to retrace my "steps," I reasoned. By my calculations, Roquemaure was a 30-minute drive from our farm....
On the outskirts of Orange I passed a bustling marché paysan—red cabbage, carrots, and lettuce coloring up the stands beneath the gray of an ordinary winter day. Farther outside of town, I recognized the apricot trees! They were missing their delicate pink buds (how I had wanted to photograph them last time! but we were running late for basketball). Soon, I reached the Rhône river and stared at the massive metal bridge that would soon close the gap between an ordinary life—and the novelty awaiting me on the other side.
Driving cautiously over the pont, I sensed a tickle of excitement and noticed how the car picked up horsepower, as certain animals do. The next moments were lived at full speed, instead of the usual mi-vitesse.
I smiled knowing Mom would be proud of me, not to mention a few other adventurous ones—now looking down on this late bloomer, smiling at what they see.
Postnote: I soon made it to my destination in time to witness this stolen kiss... and to meet a few new friends. Perhaps I'll share them with you sometime. Yes?
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Question: if you were to steal a moment out of your busy week: where would you spend it? And with whom?
French Vocabulary and Audio File: Download Wav or MP3
A l'approche de la ville, le train avance à mi-vitesse. Approaching town, the train advanced at half-speed.
le casanier, la casanière = stay-at-home, homebody
une pomme (f) = apple
le pain (m) = bread
au lointain = in the distance
le marché paysan (m) = the farmers' market
le pont (m) = bridge
mi-vitesse = half-speed
Blogger Espinasse has taken a step backward in the evolution of media by converting selected contents of her Web log into a book. Beginning students of conversational French will profit from many of these brief entries, and supplemental tables of expressions go far to demystify French idioms for anyone wishing to speak and write more fluent French. —Booklist
A Taste of Garlic "Kristin Espinasse Interview" by Keith Eckstein
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