Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes Pyrénées. My husband with his two favorite things: grapevines and a stubborn side-kick. More about her in today's story.

têtu(e) (tay-tew) adjective
    : obstinate, headstrong, stubborn

Listen to the French word têtu, and hear this expression "têtu comme un mulet" (thank you, Bastien--my son Max's friend--for today's recording!): Download tetu.wav Download tetu.mp3

Terms & Expressions
  têtu comme un mulet =  stubborn as a mule
  les faits sont têtus = the facts are stubborn ("no getting around the facts")


How to Know Whose is Whose

Sometimes I bring my husband his first cup of coffee in the morning: a thoughtful gesture that I learned from him. He likes his java--or *kawa*--with a little more milk in it than I do, and he likes it a bit cooler. I no longer have to drop two sugar cubes into his cup, not since he listened to Reason when she whispered to him that coffee is just as good without it, once you get used to the taste. Besides, two fewer cubes to stir saves time in the morning.

Once I have micro-waved the milk and filled each tasse* with coffee, it is time to remember whose is whose, that is, which cup of coffee is his (more milk, less hot) and which is mine (the strong stuff), before heading upstairs with the hot drinks.

The cups look alike, so in order to not confuse the two I "mark" them with a hand. "His is Left. Mine's Right," I say of my hands and of our coffees. Sometimes I fret that, by the time I make it up the stairs, I'll forget whose is whose and end up with the tepid milky coffee (his)... but, in fact, it isn't
that hard for me to remember. "Mine," I affirm, "is right". I sometimes repeat the affirmation: "Right. I'm right. Always right!" I'll remind myself, as I head upstairs with our coffees.

This system works well for me, especially when I am the least bit "conflicted" with my husband. "He is GAUCHE.* I am RIGHT," I'll mumble, as I bring him his coffee along with a forced smile and a "Goodmorning dear!" (I learned that one from him, too: "Begin the day with 'Bonjour, Cherie'!").

But when things are smooth and sailing in our everyday life, I am sometimes the coffee in my left hand, and he gets to be the right one. He just doesn't know it, but then he doesn't pay attention to Whose is Whose. Maybe I should pay less attention, too?, learn to share a bit... be less particular about things. Then one day I'll say "he taught me that, too."

How do you like your coffee? Do you know the word for "stubborn" (têtu) in another language? What's the latest life lesson you've learned? Thank you for your "partage" or "sharing" in the comments box.

More stuff I've learned, here in these "Lessons in Life and Language from the South of France"

une tasse (à café) = coffee cup; gauche = left (also: awkward, warped, skew)

Learn French in Your Car while driving to school or work:

Songs in French for Children

Coffee - French Press by Bodum: When Bodum took over a small clarinet factory in Normandy in 1982, it was not because of the fine orchestra clarinets they were producing. In addition to musical instruments, the factory also produced the coffee of a relatively unknown brewer called "The Chambord." Read on, and check out the French press.

French sugar cubes for your coffee -- for those who like it sweet!

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