malgré les circonstances

 Look closely and you will see the man in the reflection. I'm looking closely too.

malgré les circonstances (mal gray lay sir cohn stahns)

    : in spite of circumstances

(No sound file today)

A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse
La Vie en Prose

Looking back one day 
I will

malgré les circonstances
I wrote 

It shook outside
I shook inside
and yet

I typed

    or, malgré tout,

        ... I tried to.

Le Coin Commentaires
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 Stakes in the heart (of Provence). In other hearts... take a minute to read Newforest's poem in French, in response to the "respirer" story. Click here to view it.

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gail bingenheimer

César se fia à celui qui le trahirait.
Caesar trusted the man who was to (would) betray him.

Christine Dashper

To Kristin,
Please keep writing 'malgre les circonstances'! Keep following you passion...

To Newforest,
J'aime le poeme, merci :)



What a cool photo! And I love the poem!!

Jeanne of Maumee, OH

Sorry, but what are the circumstances? I must be thick this morning, but I don't get it. I do like the photo!

Karen W  (Towson, Maryland)

Wouldn't it be fun to do a series of photos like this?

Distraction is always best for the nerves. Your poem was wonderful and I'm sure by now all of the shaking has ceased and you are "breathing IN" that lovely warmth of Mexico!

Newforest,as always, your words are so very much appreciated.

Suzanne, Monroe Township, NJ

Newforest, Merci pour la poeme. It is lovely and touching. It is also a good way for those of us who are still learning French to practice.

Kristi, Love the photo.

Alaa Eldin Elemary

Je agree avec vous totalment: c'est tres important que chaque personne a essayer, c'est la loi de cette vie. C'est aussie le roman de ma vie.

Parfois, c'est pourtant absolument stupide a combattre les voleurs ou les criminelles sans objet ou effet. Quand vous connaissez quel fin; quand vous vivez quelles circonstances pendant 30 annees presques sans arret, on devien idiotisme a essayer sans objet, fin ou effet.

Moi, etant un Moslemen, veut dire que tout que nous en fin de compte devons etre concerner malgre tout est la vie ulterieure (the afterlife). Certainment,l'espoire est la lumierre dans nous vie, mais nous sommes tujours pret de perdre nos vis, cette vie, mais jamias la vie ulterieure.

Je pretendre, probablement en faute, que je fais plus tous que un personne ordinaire peut faire pour moi-memes et pleisure d'autres personnes.

Dans le moment, c'est la responsibilite de'autres personnes a faire pour moi quoi ils etais faire decennies passees.

Manintenat, j'essayer just a assurer aller a la paradise. L'autres choses, l'autres affaires ne m'interesse pas; l'autre choses c'est mes egal.

Bon Chance et merci beacoup d'autre soutien.

Lisa@ Tarte du Jour

I wish for you a lovely visit with your dear mother in Mexico. I hope you relax and feel peace and joy once you arrive, and that you live fully in the Present.

Newforest - Lovely poem.....thank you for sharing!

Suzanne Codi, Washington, DC

When you say it shook outside, did you have un tremblement de terre? Sounds better in French!
Good poem malgre tout!

Leslie in Massachusetts

Newforest, votre poème est très touchant et charmant. Sometimes Kristin uses a wonderful writing technique, which is to give her readers just a hint, and not reveal everything all at once. Personally, I love this, it intrigues me. As a reader, I trust that we are not supposed to understand everything all at once, but that it will be made clear in due time.


J'espere que tout va bien!


Bon voyage au Mexique ! J'espere que tu passes de tres bonnes vacances avec ta mere. Et j'adore la photo du chat hier. Les chats nous rappellent toujours de nous detendre ! :-)

Alastair Grant

I know how hard it is to find time to write, to be at your PC for hours and to manage the home. You are an inspiration Kristin. Bon voyage and enjoy the break.


The photo is great fun. I looked at it and first thought the clouds had a peculiar shape, but where was that man??? I could only see clouds in a very bright blue sky, rows of vine and a house / barn / cabanon in the foreground. Was the man hidden in the landscape?
I went round and round the picture and got one clue - I shouldn't say where the clue is. Anyway, that made me think about (Hmmm, won't say, otherwise the ones still looking will miss the fun) .... then, Eureka!

Of course, it's all so clear! I can see "son nez" (his nose), "ses lèvres" (his lips), "son menton" (his chin)... Now, looking again at the same photo, the trouble is the only thing I see is that reflection ... nothing else! What a good trick!


"malgré" (despite / in spite of) is such a useful word - so is the expression "malgré tout" used in the newsletter
= in spite of everything
= nevertheless

"malgré" reminded me of "gré"
- "au gré des circonstances" (= as circumstances dictate)
- "de plein gré" (= willingly)
- "à mon gré" = (= to / for my liking)
- "contre mon gré" = against my will
- "bon gré mal gré" = willy-nilly

Candy in SW KS

Bonjour Kristi and JULES!!! I know you are having a marvelous time together. Enjoy every moment - I know you will as you both seem so good at that! Hugs to you!

Candy in SW KS

OH, and to Newforest - Merci pour les mots de tendresses et de douceur - les mots qui touchent les coeurs de toutes les mamans.

lida martin

Bonjour Kristi,
I love what you are doing. I look forward to your e-mails.
J'aime le poeme, Merci.
Lida Martin
Scottsdale, Arizona

Gwyn Ganjeau

Leslie in Mass. -- I couldn't agree more! I think patience is a hard one for many of us mortals. But your last sentence is what I try to walk through the day with... "I trust that we are not supposed to understand everything all at once, but that it will be made clear in due time." Anticipation can be a pretty delicious thing!

Kristin, have a ball with Jules. Give her big hugs from all of her fans at FWAD.

Newforest: J'aime bien votre poeme. Merci!

Herm in Phoenix, AZ

Salut Kristin,

Here’s what I see in the picture; a man with his right arm extended and what appears to be a slightly tilted champagne glass in his hand. He appears to be seated in the passenger side of a car. The image of a vent window and a sun visor are just left of center in the upper part of the photo.

And, no, I haven’t been sipping wine!

À bientôt


to you, Kristin:

Do keep these fingers on the keyboard,
- whatever the 'outside circumstances'
- "quoi qu'il arrive dans le monde" (= whatever happens in the world),
- "quoi qu'il se passe autour de toi" (= whatever happens around you),
- " quel que soit le temps" (= whatever the weather),
- whenever you are "ébranlée par" (= shaken by) the beauty of nature, poetic scenes, people's generosity, crualty, kindness... or when you are in the middle of events full of joy, fun, humour, magic, smiles, or injustice, sadness, tears...
Don't forget, (if possible/permitted) to click the shutter button of your camera and, back home, do let your fingers jump and dance on your keyboard...

Do keep these fingers on the keyboard,
- whatever the 'inside circumstances'
- "quel que soit l'état de tes pensées et de ton coeur" (= whatever the state of your thoughts and of your soul / heart)
- when experiencing "l'émoi de tes émotions"
(l'émoi = turmoil, confusion, excitement, fierce anticipation)
- when you're are shaken by fear or tiredness, by shyness or doubt, by the wish for more strength, tenacity or more perseverance,
- when your imagination transports you here and there, whatever & wherever this leads you to,
... do let your talent with words deal with it and give a chance to your fingers to transfer all the 'palpitations' to your keyboard!


Wednesday being the day before your departure, we understand you'll be very busy with last minute arrangements. No finger on the keyboard? ... well, a couple of words will do.

I am one of those people who is unable to do any proper packing until the last day, the last hour -dreadful, I know- so, I admire the fact your suitcase was already zipped up yesterday! I guess your camera and laptop will be safely packed in your hand luggage (at the last minute...?)
I won't be near my laptop on Wed and Thurday, but will be back for the w/end, so, have a very safe journey!
Jules, I bet you are counting the hours!
Have a super time together!


Kristin, I remain in a constant state of awe that you manage to write for this website three times a week, plus raise your children, stay married (!), keep pets, and all the other "choses" that you do! And now you are posting away from home? Amazing! We just started a website a little more than a month ago and I have trouble posting once a week! You are more than amazing! My "chapeau" is off to you!

It's interesting that Herm, of Phoenix, AZ, sees the steering wheel with the rearview mirror beyond it as a champagne glass in the photo above. C'est la vie!

Herm in Phoenix, AZ


Thanks! Now I see what you see...So obvious, I don't know how I missed it!

june furey

Bonjour Kristin,
this morning I open your page to find "respire", and the photo accompanying
the word was a delightful picture of la chat in wonderful repose.
Here I was breathing deeply because I had been hurrying to answer telephone, without but no one there when I replied, too late.
When I returned to my room there was the family cat "Jacki", stretched out on my bed in the same repose as the one in Nyon.
I immediately put my mind and body into a
relaxed state by starting the deep breathing
exercises and within minutes breathing as peacefully as our dear old feline friend.
synchronosity? or just my tuning into my environment and creating a tranquil "me" mon ami


Good luck with your website. Yes, Kristin has certainly acquired a brilliant expertise during these last 8 years of blogging (8th anniversary was celebrated last October).
After Friday's newsletter, I thought Kristin was going to fly to her Mum in Mexico some time over the w/end (packing getting done...) and I imagined we might have a few words from her on Monday, sent from Puerta Vallarta...
Have a look at the very last post in "Le coin commentaires" (previous newsletter) and you will see that Kristin is still at home. Departure day is on ---> Thursday.

This photo is quite fun, isn't it? I couldn't find 'the man' straight away. Then a certain 'object in the middle (left) gave me a clue and I thought about the inside of a car. My eyes followed a diagonale line and reached part of a face, and then, the arch of an arm ... then a driving wheel. With [Ctrl+] I could more easily distinguish rows of vines and the line of trees in the distance - great fun to compare them, as seen in the reflection, with the actual landscape!
Why on earth didn't I see immediately the whole car scene and 'the man'?

Your comments about a glass of champagne puzzled me, and I thought I should have another look later on, which I did, but in vain... no glass of champagne, no glass of anything. This was when I read mhwebb's remark, which threw some light on your glorious -but dangerous- vision of champagne while driving.
Conclusion: Jean-Marc doesn't 'drink and drive'! Fine! He will very carefully drive Kristin to the airport on Thursday!

Champagne on your mind, herm? mmm... would it be some psychological sign of anticipation?
Think of some lovely fruit juice for Kristin on the 12th!

Kristin Espinasse

Dear French Word Family, as Stacy in Applegate (or was it another member here?) began calling us...

Yes, Dear French Word Family: thank you for all of your words of support! I've enjoyed ever one.

To Diane (and those who were wondering): No worries - I am fine here, ("here" is Sainte Cécile... I will leave on Thursday morning after sending out Wednesday's "word"). I will stop into PHX on the way to Mexico, but hope to send you an update sometime in between! I'll be reposting some stories as well. I hope not to fall behind on email... as I have just now caught up (and WHAT a feeling that is).

Leslie in Massachusetts: I wish I could say today's entry was a hint (... followed by a story to come) but it was more of a mood that I was in, due to trying to once again control all of the elements around me... so that I could write in perfect peace! But, of course, the more I try to control the environment... the more God sends me lessons in how to go with the flow (with, as Newforest guessed, all those EMOTIONS in tow)! Lesson learned today: SUBMIT! (Only Jules will get a laugh out of this last conclusion :-)

Newforest: I am going to copy down every word of your Encouragements To A Struggling Artist... and read it once each day! I can't thank you enough. (Update: just saw your recent post: so glad you saw those vine rows. And, re the meet-up, thanks for remembering my fruit juice :-)

Lida, thank you! And I noticed you are writing in from Scottsdale. I hope to see you when I am in town. I'll be posting more info soon... for a meetup on Feb 11th!

Alastair: so good to know you can sympathize! Tell us what you write ! :-)

And now, to any names not mentioned here,
remember, friends,
You are all so dear!

(as Jules would "say")

Kit Wilson

Best Bon Voyage ever, Kristi! Yes, we all tag along, as always, but lightly and so lovingly.

Jules Greer

I must say the poem upset me, Alastair lit a little match of understanding for me, and then of course NEWFOREST just blew me away with her wisdom (I used to joke to Kristi two years ago that Newforest was really an old wise owl living in a New Forest of her own design.) Newforests "Encouragements To A
Struggling Artist" should be made into a special post - her last paragraph mounted and framed to rest next to your computer, not just the last paragraph frame the entire is right on for you today and actually everyday. Newforest has your 'number' Honey - we are so lucky to have her in our lives.

Just got off a one hour phone call from Kristi---how she loves all of her friends here. You'll never know how much she receives from each one of you.



Sophie Day

Bonjour Kristin, Here is an article from today's New York Times' Science section about wine grapes and sex! :) I thought Jean-Marc might like to see it. Sophie

Janet Skeslien Charles

Hello, Kristin,
I love the poem (especially the title!) and the photo where we see the reflection of the driver! You are a fabulous writer and I love reading your posts.

Fred Caswell

Bon voyage Kristi!!!! COMME TOUJOURS...


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