surclasser un passager
cheveux blancs

zone de confort

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Never miss a word of photo: get French Word-A-Day delivered by email, here. Pictured: our daughter, Jackie, at the écurie, where today's story takes place... By the way, is anybody else as terrified by horses as I am?


zone de confort (zown deuh kohn fohr)

    : comfort zone
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Audio File: Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce the following French words:
Download MP3 or Wav file

sortir de votre zone de confort = move out of your comfort zone
oser quitter votre zone de confort = dare to leave your comfort zone


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The classic Bescherelle, the complete guide to French verb conjugation. Read the 5 star reviews, and order, here.
. 

A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

Out of One's Comfort Zone

At the horse stables where my daughter has her riding lesson, Jules and I are sitting on the freshly-mowed pelouse. Mom is wearing her bubblegum-blue poncho and her panama hat with the red silk roses. She has spread out her Mexican tapis, the bright blue one with all the giant red fish, making our trespass even more conspicuous.

I try to hold my tongue, after all, I have recited enough rules for the day (earlier, in the village of Tulette, I noticed Mom making a beeline toward the café, where two Moroccan men sat smoking. "Let's not talk to anyone!" I suggested, not wanting to get involved in another names-and-telephone-numbers exchange.  Mom indicated she wouldn't, but eventually, mon adorable chipie de maman, left me at the table in order to chat with the shopkeepers, making friends and appointments as she went...)

Back on the grass at the stables, I spoke: "This isn't such a good idea," I said, of the blanket and the feather oreillers that Mom had dragged out to the lawn beside the horse arena. "In France people don't lie on the grass!" 

Mom's response was to rap on the feather pillow, ordering me to take a seat! Next, like a starfish, she threw out her arms and legs, fell back on the pillow, and sky-gazed. "AHHHHHH!"

My back toward the barn and to the riders who were surely reporting us, I sat there, crookedly, unwilling to relax into the comfortable pillow beside me. Leaning sharply on my elbow, my eyes scanned the horse park, where I began questioning the quality of grass....

Perhaps different grass has different rules? I wondered. This grass here, with its wheat tones and dry patches... was different, wasn't it?, from Paris Luxembourg Gardens grass. There, you wouldn't dare relax (...or have the pelouse police on your back!).

My elbow grew sore and my back, at such a crooked angle, tired... along with my rules and resolutions. "Go ahead. Lie back!" Mom suggested, eager to share the world from her eyes-to-the-sky perspective.

When my head hit the pillow the first thing I noticed were the leaves in the tree above me. SUCH GREEN LEAVES! With the sun shining down through them, the tips were saturated with color.

The feuilles, shaped like giant outstretched hands, waved in the breeze, capturing all of my attention so that when the stable-owner marched up and towered over me, I could not see her for the tree leaves!

I scrambled to a seated position in time to be read my rights. Surely we were in trouble for suffocating the grass!

But, instead of a reprimand, all I heard were these inviting words: Profitez, mesdames, de cette magnifique journée. With that, the stable owner slipped by, a smile and kindness still sparkling in her eyes.

 ***

Le Coin Commentaires
Corrections, feedback, and stories of your own are most welcome here, in the comments box.  

Let's create a fun list together....

100 (or so) Ways to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone!

I'll begin - with a few goals of my own:

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1.  Ask the baker whether you might take her picture!

2. Go on a solo road trip

3. Give a talk at a library (or a school), sharing an idea or a hobby

4. Plant bird-of-paradise next to your mailbox

5. Stop the car next time something catches your eye (like the lady who sat out in front of her home, knitting)

6. Paint happy stars on a door, chez vous!

7. Tuck wildflowers into your hatband

8. Write a 40-page novel... for your eyes only and just for fun!

9... (Your turn to leave some tips here in the comments box!)

 

French Vocabulary

une écurie = horse stable

la pelouse (also le gazon) = grass

le tapis = rug

la chipie (pronounced "she-pee") = rascal, little devil

mon adorable chipie de maman =  my lively, mischievious, light-hearted and charming Mom

un oreiller = pillow

la feuille = leaf

Profitez, mesdames, de cette magnifique journée = Seize and enjoy this magnificent day!

 

IMG_5147
On a recent walk near the river, Mom gathered wildflowers (chèvrefeuille, or honeysuckle, and genêt, or broom) for her hatband, or ruban de chapeau.

When you purchase any item from Amazon, using the following links to enter the store, your purchase helps to support this free language journal. Merci d'avance!

French Demystified: A Self-Teaching Guide 

I'll Never Be French (no matter what I do): Living in a Small Village in Brittany. Read review for this memoir

  Capture plein écran 16052011 090119
Wicker basket. For the farmer's market, for the beach, for a carry-on, for a picnic... (that's my mom, Jules's basket, pictured below!) Buy this multipurpose "panier" here.

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Comments

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William Stein

Bon anniversaire, Maxime.

Karen Whitcome

Way to shake free of those mental shackles!

For me, there would be 2 lists.

One list of things I wish I could do that I've never done. On that list would be to take a walk down my street with a glass of wine. I always walk after dinner but hate to leave the wine behind.

List number two is for things I used to do as a kid but am "too grown up" to do now. One thing on that list might be to hang my bare feet out of the car window (from the passenger seat, of course).

Funny how these are the simplest of things.

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks, William, for remembering Max. The "jour j", or big day, is tomorrow and he'll be blowing out 16 candles :-)


Karen, sounds relaxing (the feet-out-the-car-door) but watch out for any fly-by objects!!! I'd stick to wine-strolling.

Amber, Peoria IL

When I read your stories, I FEEL your Mother's sense of whimsy! Your writing is a wonderful "travail" of expression.

Ma from Brasil

Salut!Merci beaucoup,Kristin!
I always start my day smiling when reading your posts...nice photos, nice words...thank you so much for all you share! =)
Have a great week!

Anne

Kids grow so quickly!! Turn around and they're tiny---Turn around and they're grown(Hope you know the song) And YES---I also have a riduculous unfounded fear of horses!!
That would be one of my biggest challenges!!

Heidi

Fun post! It's wonderful to know that the stable owner had a kindred soul. :-)

I've never seen ear covers on a horse before. Are they decorative? Functional?

Have another wonderful day with your mom!

Maxine Tomashefsky

Here are a few things that I would like to do that would take me out of my comfort zone:

Take the time to finally write my book.

Write my bucket list. It is different from a goal list or a daily to do list. It's things that I really want to do,to experience, places I want to visit, people I want to meet in this lifetime.

Thank you for asking and allowing me to share this with others :-)

Sharon - Montague, Michigan

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

Marianne Rankin

This wouldn't be OUT of my comfort zone, but within it, if it could ever come to pass: I'd love to swim with dolphins. I mentioned that to a friend who said she wasn't sure if that was good for dolphins. But if I could keep up with them, since I love swimming anyway, I'd really enjoy that. No dolphins nearby, though. I'll have to give some thought to what I could do to leave my comfort zone, which I hadn't really considered before now. (And no, I'm not afraid of horses, though would never want to own one; too much maintenance.)

Eileen deCamp

Bonjour Kristin and Jules!
I love your "chipie" mom Kristin! This is such a fun story!
If I can garner the courage I will be skydiving with my daughter in July! That will definitely be out of my zone de confort!

mary

I think that Jules knows the secret of life--bending to the moment and connecting. Have a wonderful visit. Mary

Maary-Anne Helms

I have one of those straw paniers that I bought in the market at "L'isle-sure-SOrgue" 4 years ago! Love it and use it at the Farmers' Markets here and to go to the PO with small packages and lots of other uses. ALways get lots of compliments on it.
And your Mother does contain the secret of good living!!! Happy Birthday to Maxime!!
Love his wine!!!

Mim

My mom talked to strangers! When we were little she'd tell us not to do that, then she would and we'd say "Mom, do you know her?" And now, all of my sisters and I, we talk to strangers and exchange e-mail addresses, and blogs, and what a big world we have. Hugs for you and Jules.

Suzanne, Monroe Twp., NJ

Happy 16th, Max! J'espere que vous profitez cette magnifique journee et votre anniversaire! Et, pardonnez moi ma francaise.

Jeanne of Maumee, OH

I want one of those straw paniers! I would wear a fresh flower everyday. Alas, in Ohio they are not available from my garden 365 days a year. I don't like florist flowers and we have no wonderful french markets where the flowers pour out at you.
And yes, I too am afraid of horses!!

mary beth splaine

my zone de confort has been stretched in the last few years by living in a small French village for the winter. I wish I could have borrowed your mom to help make connections. Have loved every moment of it and look forward to next year.

Julie Schorr

Hi Kristin,
Yes, I am afraid of horses too! I was thrown off a Shetland pony as a kid. I was also on a run-away horse in Belgium when I was living there. I needed lessons, but did not think I did! Your comment about spreading the blanket on the grass reminded me about times I got into trouble in France for a few things:
1. Never walk on the grass (or policemen will chase after you with a whistle)
2. On hot days in Paris, it is not o.k. to take off your shoes and soak your feet in a public fountain with your kids. (we do this at Balboa park in San Diego all the time)
3. If you are tired and in need of a bench to rest in a museum, make sure the bench you choose is not a museum piece from the 19th century!! (I really thought it looked like an ordinary park bench between exhibit rooms)

jeanne

paint with my right hand...I'm left handed.

Candy in SW KS

Go to a place/city where you've never been before and purposefully (or not, as usually happens with me!) GET LOST!! When you don't have a map or directions to rely on you have to depend on your senses and I have found it's always a more memorable time! Let your sight, smell, hearing, touch, taste give you a tour. Seems like your chere maman has mastered that kind of journey, chipie though she may be! :) Hugs to you both! And Bon Anniversaire a Max! (And how is J-M? and Jacque's venture with make-up?)

And this is for JULES: so glad you arrived safely! I was praying that you would. Are you still planning a road trip? If so, I'd love for you to come through Colorado Springs! I'll be moving back there (with my chere maman) in September so please come for a visit!

Vicki

Give a lecture.
The thought of formal public speaking makes me quake, and yet I have no trouble speaking to people informally. Bizarre, non?
Kristin, I am sure you agree, you are blessed to have a mother who encourages you to take time to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. I am reminded to do the same with my daughter. Thank you

Jan in Colorado

Hey Jules! I read Candy's comment about Colorado Springs. Guess who also lives near there? Come visit when Puerto Vallarta is hot and humid. Just don't come here in April or May--our worst weather of the year. It's foggy and 33 degrees right now. We had a freeze warning last night! Just when you think it's springtime, you get slammed. BTW, how did you get all that paraphernalia in carry-on??? Really, a Mexican tapis? Maybe you had already sent it over ahead of time. Getting out of my comfort zone would be attempting to speak French to anyone after 40 years away from it!

Judy F

Kristin, I love hearing about your mother, She makes us all want to step out of our box. Public speaking would take me way out there, but for now, I'll stick to painting!
Judy F.

Valerie

3rd Colorado Springs girl chiming in here! Hi Candy & Jan! (And you're right - I saw snow flurries twice this week already, which is normal) I believe a lovely luncheon with Jules would be SO much fun!

I actually wrote a short story (still in my travel journal) about stepping outside what I THOUGHT was my comfort zone by going solo to a wine event where I thought surely I'd be underdressed, outclassed, and out-knowledged. Not to mention my Italian, although not as abysmal as my French (recently revived after 30 years), is only barely at conversational level.

Highlights - Three hours by train & taxi out into the Perugian countryside. I got to the event to see "my" table - for a party of 1. I think a former version of Val would have been heart-fallen. I proceeded to make a joke to the Direttore Della Sala that everyone around me would think I was pazza (crazy) because I'd have to talk to myself through 6 wines! I promptly introduced myself to the wine magazine's editor who was hosting the event, and was immediately invited to sit at his table with the wine maker. I assured them they did not need to use English - and that I spoke fluent "wine-ese." I was floored, being "nobody" in the wine world - just a retired lady who finds lectures on viticulture & terroir fascinating.

Not only did I have a great night, I had the 'wine geek' conversations I would not have had had any of my friends been able to make the trip with me. Yes, I was the only American in the room, but was extremely comfortable afterall! Not only a testament to traveling solo, but the possibilities that can open up to you when you don't let your comfort zone box you in - especially if you're stubborn enough to go after what you love.

judith dunn

Kristin... On doit avoir un ' liste de seau'! Pour la mienne, J'ai ces chose:
Voir Venice
Fini ma livre des photographs
Comence´une autre.....
Continue ma poesie......

Julie Schorr

Joyeux anniversaire, Max!!

joie in Carmel,CA

You need that "free spirited" mother of yours to visit more often. I think she brings out a side of you that you want to come out, but a bit timid about it. Perhaps because you are living in a foreign country and afraid you might do something "au contraire" to their way of life. But people are really the same world wide....as you found out from the stable owner. I think she may have wanted to sit down with you and covet the day.
My list of stepping "out of the box" (would and how would the French say that?)
1. Come to France and Switzerland alone and stay for 4 months.
2. Actually finish the cookbook I started to write.
3. Do a real long zip line.
4. This one will only happen if I can be on a secluded beach preferably in the tropics...put on a bathing suit again and swim in the ocean!
It is hard to differentiate between the list of things I want to still do and those that would take me out of my comfort zone. You have made me think more about this..hmm.

Wendy

Typing a comment in the box is my first step out of the comfort zone!
2. Asking to take a photo of a stranger.
3. Talking to strangers.
4. Going to a party without "really" knowing someone there. Are just a few.

harriet

OMG I remember when I attended a boarding school in Warrenton Va in the fifth grade. It was horse country (& still is) and the other girls were crazy about these animals. I was lifted onto one of these giant horses & the silly little reins were in no way comforting, how could I, such a light weight, control this beast. I never fell off because I wasn't about to canter. Besides I gave up the reins & clutched the mane with both hands. Never, ever again.

kristen

Today's post made me laugh! I was in France a month ago and asked to take a photo of une poissoniere and was denied! I was also once asked to get off the grass at La Cimitiere Pere LaChaise, so I guess the answer might sometimes be "non", but at least I tried!

My list would include dressing much younger than I really am and traveling to Africa.

Nancy Reinhardt

Kristin, your mother reminds me so much of my own mother, who passed almost 22 years ago. I miss her daily and regret time that we spent apart and somewhat distant from each other. I love hearing about Jules--il chauffe mon coeur! I bought a hat last month when I was weekending in Nashville, IN and I'm trying hard to be brave, step out of my comfort zone and wear it often! It's a great hat and I tied my Paris silk scarf around it, so it's extra-special.

Joan Linneman

Zone de confort? A friend and I (both French majors at Loyola, Chicago) decided to attend a lecture on Georgian literature in the swanky president's board room where we were each served a little glass of port wine to sip on during the lecture. Imagine our horror in realizing that Georgian literature had nothing to do with English King George. Not only was the lecture about Russian Georgia, but the handouts were all in cyrillic. We enjoyed our wine, and after the lecture we about died laughing. My friend was Sue Kwasniewski; I haven't thought of her in more than 35 years. I still can't read Russian, but the term Georgian always makes me laugh.
Joan L. Loyola University Class of 1973

Cindylee

Out of the comfort zone...
1. Switch your normal daily routine around into a different order.
2. Read something you would normally never read.
3. Try a food/recipe you've never eaten before.
Marianne - as for those Dolphins - they will definitely take you out of your comfort zone to a magical place. :) I feel they choose to "swim with you."

Kathleen

Out of my comfort zone:
Buy a house in France or rent one for a year
Take a watercolor class
Wear bright colors while traveling in France - just as your mom does
Go skiing again
Go white water rafting
I'm sure that there are many others, but I just can't think of them right now.
I remember when we WERE ALLOWED on the grass at the Luxembourg Gardens. It was during the Grand Picnic which went from the north of France straight through Paris to the south of France. I don't remember the year, but it was about 2000 or 2001.

Pat Cargill

Out of my comfort zone: Well, this is a repeat of 3 years ago, BUT

Travel to France and stay 3 or 4 weeks, at least. Three yrs ago was in Aix-en-Provence for almost 4 wks, painting a bit, walking a lot, looking and sitting and watching the people, talking to strangers, as well. I enjoy eating out alone and had some lovely times. Some nice side trips as well.

Horses. I have not been afraid of horses since the time I jumped off one that was running away w/me (no saddle) rather than face the unknown ahead. No broken bones, but then that was long ago and I was a lot less heedless than now.

Rules. I have had a serious "problem" w/following rules all my life. I dare say I have written more school-time "I will not ...(fill in the blank) sentences than anyone else in the whole wide world! Teachers probably don't make kids do that anymore. Ha! I blame my "arthritic" hand on those mean ol' teachers! (kidding)

I'd like to see Tibet.

I'd like to be in an audience listening to the Dalai Lama ('couse, that wont be IN Tibet, alas...).

I'd like to parachute once...but will wait until I'm 80 or so to try it, just in case. (Should I live so long, oiy.)

Thanks for a thought-provoking blog today and the sweet, heart-felt histoire de toi and Jules. Yea, Jules.

And happy b'day tomorrow Max!

Oh, here's a skewey funny tale of walking on grass. My sister and I had toured the Govenor's Mansion at historic Williamsburg, Va and were leaving. It was hot, hot and I was pregnant, with feet and everything else killing me. We took a short-cut through the lawn de la mansion and I decided to remove my shoes. (Oh, the shaded grass felt so good!) A suited, too-important-for-his-own-good-gentlemen strolled by, dropping his gaze to my bare feet and commented, "Oh, you must be from North Carolina!" Grrrr. Those hoity toity Virginians (where I currently live, btw!!). It took Josye and me a few seconds to realize we had been gently insulted and then we laughed til we cried.

Pat Cargill

P.S. Jeanne: DO! DO! DO! paint with your non-dominant hand. Release any and all expectations and find delight in the unique and unexpected that will come. A way to begin to delve into your Mysteriousness...it's fun. xox Pat

Alberta Boileau

Me voici, hors de mon zone de confort......I really enjoy your column but I have refused to join you email club because I would miss all the contact it affords me with my daughter who emails it to me to discuss and improve her knowledge of French.
I thoroughly enjoy Jules' attitude to life, I could relate to her. At 84 I feel I can do as I please, within reason, and care less what others think of it. I speak to strangers quite often. I think it goes with the white hair. I strut proudly through the Mall with my walker and a smile on my face and feel the connection to people of all ages. I still wear capris and sandals, if I choose. Nobody looks too closely at the little bits of discolouration they reveal.. Life is good..today is beautiful and sunny....the sky all blue...with a gentle breeze..the trees are budding and I am working on young seedlings I hope will give me a balcony full of flowers come June and July. I do not feel like leaving mon zone de confort. It's so beautiful here.
Too bad some of you have missed the pleasure of sitting astride these magnificent giants who will take you hither and tither over ditches and down cool paths in the woods where you can feel and smell nature at its best...I started hanging around at a small stable at 16 years of age when I earned my first part time pay and learned to really enjoy the feeling of trust that develops with the gentle giants. Sorry to say that my body would not let me go there now but that would definitely be one place I would like to go out of mon zone de confort. Salut a tous........Alberte
aka. BERT

Stacy, Applegate, Oregon

Oh, Kristi, I love you! Great writing, so vividly described I felt I was there. You have certainly stuck a smile on my face! First with this great photo of the lovely Miss Jackie horseback and then with your wit in sharing your attempts to corral your Mom’s generous spirit! I had no idea in France it is taboo to lay on the grass; here I do so every chance I get.

I was born horse-crazy, they stir my soul! I completely understand your terror; they are such large and powerful creatures and capable of causing great injury (something as innocent as accidentally stepping on your foot). Even with all my experience, an unruly horse would put me out of my comfort zone. It is good Jackie has the opportunity to learn how to safely enjoy these magnificent creatures. For me at her age, there was nothing more fulfilling than time spent with my horse.

I’ve become so cozy in my comfort zone the list would be long. To begin with, I wish to start riding my horses again. A few years back I bought a seasoned show horse that was quite determined to get me off his back. Though I have physically recovered from the fall, the fear is still with me. It is unsettling to have something that for 40 years was so second nature, bring fear. I’d also love to learn to paint. Oh, and travel to a wonderful organic vineyard in France and stay with a cherished friend and her family!

Herm in Phoenix, Az

Salut tout le monde,

At 80+ years old I too, like Alberta, do pretty much as I please. As an active stock trader I continue to test the limits of my comfort zone on a daily basis. Also, since I received my new knee, I regularly hike the Arizona desert while keeping an eye out for the buzzards that like to circle overhead this old desert rat. I’ve even been known to write a poem or two.

A phrase that I came across years ago makes sense to me. . . . “Behold the turtle, he moves forward only when his neck is stuck out!”

À bientôt

Stacy, Applegate, Oregon

Dear Kristi,

I just read through the comments and am so touched by other readers’ sharing. Because you dared to follow your dreams, and share your beautiful self authentically with the world through your stories and photos, your ripple has gone out into the big pond and connected the lives of many of the dearest and most interesting people. Thank you and all who comment here for enriching my life.

Blessings!

Kristin Espinasse

Good morning and thank you for every word! To borrow my long-time & very cherished friend, Stacy's, words: I am so touched by these notes from "the dearest and most interesting people. Thank you all... for enriching my life." And thank you, Stacy, for finding just the right words to help me express what I feel each time I read the comments. (And, since Mom has arrived, I've been reading the comments twice: once aloud to Jules, who sits in the chair beside me).

Alberte, aka, Bert, what an image you paint - "struttin' through the mall". So thankful to have met you when you accidentally forwarded a response to your daughter (which landed in my inbox). I was smitten from the get-go!

Herm, As I type this I glance over to the framed poem that you offered me at the latest French Word-A-Day meetup in Phoenix. Your poem is the closest object (along my desk) to my computer mouse. I like to think it whispers encouragement to this writer. (For anyone reading, a copy of Herm's poem is found here, at the end of this post):
http://french-word-a-day.typepad.com/motdujour/2011/03/randonnee.html

reshmi

Salut! Bon jour!hey guyz the comfort zone was a real nice thing. This was really awesomeeee and i've read all your posts and they are great. The way you share your feelings with others it feels like this is a family and i'm happy you people will let me be part of it. All this stuff remembers me my childhood with a lot of sweet and cherish able memories with my mom. Thank you all and hope you will be part of this till the end. Merci!

Leslie

Something really fun to do to relate to a horse and kind of experience its gentle power, without actually getting up on one and sitting on it is to feed one an apple or a carrot. You keep your palm open and let it take it from your hand. I used to love to do that when my girls were young and smitten with horses, hanging out at the stable while they had their riding lessons. I never had the chance to ride when I was a kid and am a little afraid of horses, but I'm planning a lesson at a local stable where I know the horses are nice and gentle. BTW, the ear covers protect them from annoying insects.

Newforest

"un petit mot en coup de vent",
but first of all...
Hello Max,
Quelle chance d'avoir ta grand-mère chez toi!
Je te souhaite un très heureux anniversaire en famille et une joyeuse célébration avec tes copains et copines.

Bisous à toi et à tous.

********************

will take time this evening to read in more details this newsletter AND "commentaires de chacun et chacune".

All the very best to all of you!
Bye for now

mhwebb

Joyeux anniversaire, Maxime! Sixteen is an amazing time of life!

Regarding suggestion #4 above for stepping out of one's comfort zone: Never plant a Bird of Paradise next to a heat vent, as did the previous owner of a house we once owned. Bird of Paradise does not like to be moved once it has been planted. It was so sad to watch it suffer.

Stacy, Applegate, Oregon

~HAPPY Birthday Max!~ How wonderful that Grandma Jules will be in attendance for your big 16th celebration! Enjoy!

Christina

Step out of your comfort zone by not letting the rain stop you from doing whatever it was you were going to do.. until it rained.. I was photographed in point shoes and a leotard today... in the rain. I can't wait to see the photos.

Robyn Daniels

Hi Kristin

I'm glad Jules helped you to 'just be' and to enjoy nature's bounty. Jules is an artist and a force of nature - also an American - and the French understand her nature and way of being. You too are an artist and a force of nature but it sounds like your American soul is hindered by a desire to be French and conform. This is not the way of the artist which you are. To the French you will never be truely French although they may regard your children as French. To them you will always be the American woman married to a Frenchman - why walk a tightrope? Have your feet firmly on the ground either side of the divide - one on your enthusiastic American heart and the other on the sensitivities of your love affair with all things French - and then look up at the stars and breathe in their eternal beauty. You are what you are, just as Jules is what she is - you have a right to be just as you are -
and you are both amazing!
love
Robyn x

Marianne Rankin

Vicki and Judy F. and everyone afraid of public speaking: Look into Toastmasters International. It has branches in dozens of countries, and surely France is one of them. You'll have a chance to speak with people as scared as you are, who will be a sympathetic, receptive audience.

Joan, isn't Georgian written with its own alphabet, not in Cyrillic? Or was the info about it in Russian?

Kristin may never be "truly French" in the sense of not being native-born, but I think she has the best of both worlds. I'm glad she's sharing them with us.

Pat Lane

For Marianne, who longs for the dolphins: Look into www.dolphinspiritofhawaii.com I never thought I could get close to dolphin spirit in the Big Blue, but I did just that, thanks to Trish and Doug, who run these amazing encounters. Go for it!

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