Scene from Adrian Leeds' Après-Midi meet-up. (Mom, can you find me in the crowd? :-) Check out Adrian's Parler Paris & sign up for more Paris news! Next meetup (with Kristi) is April 28th, in St. Cyr Les Lecques. Check back next week for more info!
: to grow up
Audio File: Listen to my son Max pronounce these French words: Download MP3
Grandir. Qu'est-ce qu'elle a grandi ma soeur!
To grow up. My sister has really grown up!
A Day in a FRENCH Life... by Kristin Espinasse
This week's trip to Paris was the chance to meet an impressive young lady. Assertive, efficient, and street smart--I can't believe how my 16-year-old has matured!
You wouldn't know it from the way she orders from a menu, and I had to fight the urge to clue-in the restaurateur: Mademoiselle is not old as she looks! If the fancy menu is off-putting, it is because she still prefers the nuggets on the childrens' menu.
But don't let her simple taste fool you, Jackie is quickly becoming a seasoned citoyenne du monde! I am amazed watching my daughter take the initiative--outside the restaurant when our ride doesn't show up as expected. "Mom, take the restaurateur's offer. Let him call a taxi!"
It is the same timely advice she gave me last time, back at the hotel, and if I hadn't listened then we might have missed our first appointment. Thanks to my child's quick-thinking, we were on time and efficace....
"Donne-moi ça. Hand me that," Jackie says, grabbing my suitcase of books as soon as we arrive to the Marais, where I'm scheduled to speak at Adrian Leeds' Après Midi. I watch my girl beeline it from the cab straight to a bistro table to begin setting up the book stand we never even talked about. I don't know where this assertiveness is coming from, but I can't argue with it.
She would make a great assistant! I realize, as I skip off, not quite knowing where to spend so much new-found freedom. Turns out my daughter has an answer for that too!
"Mom!" Jackie signals. In hushed tones she points to a table where a man with salt-and-pepper hair is seated. "You need to sign Mike's book."
"Mike's book?" I am a little confused, until my daughter waves a couple of bills. "Oh! you've already sold some books! Good for you, Honey!"
From the serious look on Jackie's face, this is no time for sweet talk. This is business!
"Vas-y! Hurry up. Mike's over there!"
I notice how she recalled one guest's name when she might easily have said "Monsieur." My daughter may not remember to put her dinner plate in the dishwasher, but her memory is sharp as a tack when it comes to business manners!
During my talk, Jackie silently cheers me from a table in the back and before long the presentation is over and we are sitting side by side at the book stand. Jackie is back in business mode and she's swiftly elbowing me.
"Mom, Susan's been waiting!" Seems I'm chatting too long with each guest. Time to get a move on!
As savvy and professional as my daughter is, I am reminded she still has a lot to learn about selling.
"Look!" Jackie says, when we've packed up our stand. Opening the bright red money pocket she points out 300 euros.
"Can you buy me a pair of shoes?" She's remembered my promise to buy her something special while we are in Paris.
"Sweety, we have not made 300 euros. We have made more like 80 euros." I have to explain that the books weren't free to begin with. We have first bought the books and paid to have them shipped. "We have to deduct our cost for the books. Also, twenty of those euros were already in the billfold, in case we needed change for our customers."
Jackie's disappointment is palpable and I almost regret breaking it to her that the writing life is not as lucrative as she imagined!
Wrapping my arm around my daughter, on our way down the cobbled streets of the Marais, I'm delighted to see her smile return. And a million-dollar smile at that...
"Eighty-euros," she calculates. "It's enough to buy those shoes!"
* * *
Adrian and Kristin at Tuesday's Après-Midi gathering.
A very big thanks to Adrian Leeds, of Parler Paris, for inviting me to speak at her Après-Midi. Be sure to sign up for her free Nouvellettre for a taste of life in Paris and France: http://www.adrianleeds.com/parler-paris
I am now struggling to put names to faces (look at this endearing brochette). One of the challenges, at events like this (besides fear of public speaking), is to remember names--and sometimes faces. The idea of not recognizing someone in unthinkable.
All photos by Adrian Leeds (or Adrian's camera :-)
Several of the women who attended emailed me beforehand, to offer good wishes. Talk about feeling support before even arriving to the event! And there was even a big surprise: Jim Haynes showed up! I have been wanting to meet this character ever since reading about his Sunday Night dinner. For 36 years Jim has served dinner at his home--to over 130,000 guests! Eating at Jim's has been on my bucket list for some time, but I never dreamed I'd see him so soon! Jackie tells me that when Jim arrived at the book stand, he hesitated between the two books, and ended up buying Blossoming in Provence. "I think he wanted the other," Jackie said, "but he was 5 euros short."
When I heard the news I wanted to chase Jim down the street. But it was too late to give him a copy. Mr Sunday Night Dinner disappeared, as quietly as he'd come.
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