éveiller (ay-veh-yay) verb
: to wake up, to excite... "to pull from sleep" (tirer du sommeil)
A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse
"Présent!" It is what my son replies when his teacher reads aloud his name for roll call. Every French child answers the same life-affirming way: "Présent!"*
The affirmative "Présent!" is so much more lively than bland ol' "Here!," don't you think? And did you ever notice the word's dual meaning: present/present which, whether in French or English, hints that when we are "here," present in the moment, we receive the "gift" of clarity -- where even the mundane takes on magnificence.
I would like to shout "Présente!" to somebody each day or, better yet, each hour!--if only to remind myself that I am truly awake. An hourly roll call might pull me out of this mental slumber. Lately, fueled by caffeine and routine, I manage to get by on automatic. The not-so-sensational sensation could be compared to sleepwalking through sauerkraut, though my mother-in-law would call it "pedaling through choucroute."* The vivid imagery that her words call forth is enough to wake my senses--if only that of sight, and if only in the mind's eye--otherwise, it's the same old grind, day after day, though it be a Gallic one and who am I to complain?
Recently, I decided to throw that old foe "Predicable Routine" for a loop. I began by tying my shoes... Next, I headed for the door instead of the coffee pot... and so marched, one foot after the other, out of the house and into the countryside's "classroom".
"Présente! Présente! Présente!" I affirmed, to the whispering reeds and leaf-chattering trees that agreed, enthusiastically, to take roll call for sluggish ol' me.
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French Vocabulary & Audio File Hear my daughter pronounce today's word and quote:
On ne force pas une curiosité, on l'éveille. We don't force curiosity, we awaken it. --Daniel Pennac
présent(e) = here; la choucroute = sauerkraut
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