Feuille, or leaf, ranked as one of the hardest French words to say in our recent "Most Difficult Words to Pronounce" poll--which, incidently, revealed a lot of enunciation angst among readers. Today, let's take a lesson from this cat... and relax :-)
TODAY's WORD: écureuil
Ecureuil. Savez-vous pronuncer les mots suivants? écureuil, Limeuil, feuille, mille-feuille, sombreuil, fauteuil... Do you know how to pronounce these words: écureuil, Limeuil, feuille, mille-feuille, sombreuil, fauteuil
un écureuil volant = flying squirrel
la cage à ecureuil = jungle jim or climbing frame for kids
A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse
I love waking up and learning something new, especially after struggling to find my way. Today was no different than any day, and I opened my sleepy eyes and wondered: what is the best use of my time? Where to devote my energy? And, especially, "WHAT MATTERS MOST?"
A nagging inside told me to sit down and concentrate on story-writing ("Thelma, Louise, and The Dashing French Samaritan" is one I've mean meaning to tell you. But I can update you on my kids exploits later). Just when doubts threatened to shake me off my path, a soft voice whispered:
"Let the day unfold..."
Pushing back the bed covers, I fought back the shoulds, woulds, all the while washing my hair, feeding the dogs, and dusting the end tables (it's "Welcome Room Wednesday," part of a new cleaning regimen I've put myself on (focus on one room a day, i.e. "My Room Monday" ... "TV room Tuesday".... I have no idea how to make "kitchen" rhyme with Thursday, but tomorrow is another day. Or I could move the kitchen to Friday, for "Frigo Friday"?)
Frigo, by the way, is the French word for refrigerator which brings me back to why I'm here, typing this note to you: What matters most is not what I can create (stories) or what I should be doing (I never did get those papers put away in the "welcome", or living, room). What matters is sharing what we know with those who are hungry to learn. And one thing I know is this very lively and colorful French expression, one that is bound to make you smile:
"Mettre les écureuils à pieds" = "to fell a tree"
It literally means "to bring the squirrels to their feet." Now there is something we can all chew on today! And I shall chew on it again tomorrow morning, when my mind is amuk with little furry shoulds, woulds, and coulds!
I would have never found this expression if it weren't for you. Maybe you were checking your inbox, wondering "when's Kristi going to send the next word?"
Believe me, I've been wondering the same thing. And it makes me realize what a combined effort this journal is, afterall. And if I have not told you lately, thank you very much for showing up here, whenever you can, to see what it is I have to share with you on any given day. Your attendance has put direction into my day and I ended up writing and researching for this post, which led me to an unexpected aha moment. One of those moments where you realize that something has been staring you in the face for years and yet you never saw it in all its simplicity.
Little does it matter the significance of the thing (in this case the image at the end of this post). What matters is you got out of bed today and let yourself be guided by that still small voice inside. The one that leads to creativity, to learning, and to that aha moment that even the French translate as BING!
(... or is it "bingo" we say? And they say bing? Ah well. That doesn't matter so much :-)
Have a great day and chase those squirrels away.
If you are new to this journal, Bienvenue. I'm so happy to have you with us! You can read my story here.
Photo taken Saturday in Cassis, after my daughter, Thelma--I mean, Jackie--drove us back from Marseilles. I need to update you on all this in a post titled "La Conduite Accompagnée" (assisted driving), which sounds much better and more respectful than "Thelma and Louise". I'm just glad our car stopped short of the drop off the other day....
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L'Ecureuil is also the nickname for the French bank La Caisse d'Epargne. Aha! I see it now... after years and years of passively viewing the logo, the "squirrel" never came into focus for me! And you? Do you see it now?
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Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. 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