N'importe quoi: Deported from France, Kristin dusts herself off and imagines the ideal career.
Join us here at home + A Santorini Caper

Depaysement: A Change of Scenery unlocks inspiration

1-Mas des Brun wedding anniversary

We would be so happy to see you at our winetasting this Saturday, September 26th at 3pm. RSVP to [email protected] (Photo taken for our 20th wedding anniversary, here at home last year. We celebrate 21 years tomorrow!)

WORD OF THE DAY: Dépaysement

    : change of scene, disorientation, culture shock

=> dépaysement is often used  in a positive sense, for "a change of scenery"

Hear Jean-Marc pronounce this example sentence:
Download MP3 or Wav

Le dépaysement. Ce séjour sur l'ile de Santorini a été un grand dépaysement. Maintenant, si vous voulez vous dépaysez, venez à notre winetasting ce samedi 26 septembre. Change of scene. The stay on Santorini island was a great change of scenery. Now, if you would like a change of scene, come to our winetasting on Saturday, September 26th.


by Kristin Espinasse

It turned out to be a very good idea, inviting myself along for my sister's Greek vacation. Sometimes you have to oser, or dare to ask what you secretly wish for. And when Heidi and her fiancé, Brian, agreed they would be happy for us to join them, my husband booked tickets from Marseilles to Athens, and on to the volcanic rock island of Santorini!

  Jean-Marc, Kristi, Heidi, and Brian

Jean-Marc also found us an apartment perched above the port of Ammoudi - a deal at 100 euros a day. We stayed five nights. To get to our nest, high up in the volcanic branches of the ancient port, we passed several fish taverns and climbed a series of steps so steep that they might as well have been rungs on a ladder or verticle fish nets! Would we tip backwards and fall into the bay, only to be fished out by the octopus hunters? No, we would reach our destination in time to unpack and sample the fresh grilled squid!

Chris, Kelly, Randy, Merry, Kim, Randy, Heidi and Brian

On the second day we met my sister, her fiancé, Brian, and friends on the catamaran they had rented for the week, in celebration of one of their birthdays (happy 60th, Merry!). And it was on that boat that my shrinkwrapped world began to loosen and expand.  From that first swim with my sister in the salty mediterranean waters, and the laughter of friends--to the many steps we took trekking across the whitewashed villages, a quiet transformation was taking place inside of me - until eureka! - a fountain of inspiration sprang forth on the flight home.
Falling in love with the useful, medicinal caper plant, in Santorini

If I now had a new passion and, finally, an overdue pitch for a magazine article it was thanks to the rough and steep terrain which gives way to aromatic Greek cuisine and an ancient mode of transport!  (There are no cars in the village of Oia, but you could hire a donkey or a mule....)


As for the new passion, I will tell you more about that soon. For now I am off to pitch a story to--of all places--a car and travel magazine! Wish me bonne chance. If all goes well I will be able to experience and share a quirky new adventure with you very soon! (For a hint of the subject see this photo at the top of the previous post).

Warmest wishes from Bandol, where it is now time for a Greek-inspired lunch--right after giving thanks for this enlivening dépaysement. May you, too, enjoy a change of scene very soon!


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BLOSSOMING-IN-PROVENCEBlossoming in Provence. When you purchase a copy of my book, you help to support this free word journal - and you help a friend to improve their French. Order a copy here for un(e) ami(e). Merci beaucoup!

I loved photographing each of these dogs, spotted in or near the town of Oia, Santorini. And it was heartening to see the many bowls of water and food left out for them by the ever-hospitable locals. Visit Greece!  See all of the photos from our Greek vacation, click here.

A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal each week. If you find joy or value in these stories and would like to keep this site going, donating today will help so much. Thank you for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

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


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Good to see you back here! We will miss your lovely wine tasting 'again' as we will be in Biarritz and then the Camargue. Maybe next year!

Almost thought you'd take one if those strays home!

Hastings on Hudson, NY

Kalika Sathe

Bonne chance. Love reading your posts. Je apprend la langue française depuis trois mois et j'aime ton blog.

Ally Davis

Félicitations ! Bon anniversaire de marriage! 21 ans!

Cynthia Gillespie-Smith

You obviously had an amazing time in Greece, Kristi! It's wonderful how travel can open doors, and offer us ideas, new experiences and perspectives. And the chance to spend time with Heidi was special -- sisters can be such fun! Glad you're back!

Trina from St. Petersburg, FL USA

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!And bonne chance on the article! Great dog photos ... possible friends for Smokey in his (maybe?) future book adventures? :)

I recently returned from a few days in the Chicago area with family. I totally agree, a change of scenery does the body good. And in the comfort of family who welcome us? Twice the benefit! So glad you were able to have your getaway.

catharine ewart-touzot

happy anniversary..a change of pace is a good thing. Following ones inspiration is also a good thing. Good for you in all counts.

bj tuininga

Happy Anniversary! Nothing like a wonderful trip with a complete change of scenery, good company, laughter, and relaxation to feed that much needed inspiration. so happy that you have had such a wonderful time and that you have allowed yourself to let down and rediscover your wonderful muse....she has been there following you around...you just needed to reconnect. Happy writing!

bj from binghamton, ny

Dan McLaughlin

Congratulations on your anniversary. The change of scene can work wonders.

Dan from Corpus Christi, Texas.


As I read from the deep trenches of motherhood..... It was a little vacation for me too. Thank you. And bonne chance, toujours


A beautiful place in which to spend time with both your beloved husband, sister and perhaps new friends (?). Hard NOT to be re-energized and inspired, n'est-ce pas? So glad you had this special time away - I still recall our stay in Oia of three years ago with great fondness and hope to return some day. Your readers will look forward to more news about your upcoming article! Happy anniversary too!

Julie Farrar

Welcome back and happy anniversary. And good luck with your new challenges.


Best of luck! I hope to read about your new passion soon. Santorini looks and sounds beautiful.

Faye, Gleneden Beach, Oregon

Congrats on 21 years! I used to be a marriage counselor and I know it is a major accomplishment!

Congrats also on the new ventures! Travel is wonderful, esp with loved ones.

Be well!

Bruce in Northwest Connecticut

My favorite word and my favorite experience!


Happy Anniversary! Glad you were able to visit Santorini & enjoyed it! Feta always makes life a little better, especially when shared with friends! Oia is one of my favorite places in the world- can't wait to take my own kids, though am worried they might tumble over the edge!

Joanne Ablan

Hi, Kristin, You are certainly blessed with a happy marriage and many
talents! There is supposedly a Greek proverb which says something like, "The heart
that loves stays young." Your love of family and friends, of discovery, and of inspiration will undoubtedly keep you young for many years. Happy Anniversary
from Joanne, Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA.

Judy Feldman

Il faut changer les idées, n'est-ce pas? Glad you had such a lovely time!


Loved your article today. And apropos, because, coincidently, I too look forward to un depaysement this week. Thank you for the new word. I hope I will be as inspired. Merci


Our dearest Kristi,
Your wonderful post and beautiful pictures(could NOT choose a favorite!)once again captured our imaginations and totally wrapped us in hugs.
Sometimes all it takes is a change of scene(physical and mental)to see everything through fresh eyes.
And you took us along with you so we could share in it,too.
Happy Anniversary to you both.One look at you two and it is obvious that your love and magic together is ever bright.
Natalia. xo

BONNE CHANCE for your new writing adventure!

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristin,
What a fun vacation! I love Greece and would love to go back again someday! Happy Anniversary to you and Jean Marc! Wish I could be there for the wine tasting! Tara is harvesting grapes today! The winemaker is French and she has been practicing her French with him! Bonne Chance on the article!

edie schmidt


Quelle belle isle!
Lovely photos. The food looks great.
Glad you were able to take the trip and good luck with your magazine idea.
I'm going on an adventure with my 2 sisters and their husbands to Northeast Vermont. Maybe we'll be able to slip over the border into Quebec and practice some French!
Not as exotic as a beautiful Greek Island, but a new venture aussi!

from Savannah

Kimberley Cameron

Happy Anniversary Kristen! David and I will celebrate our 22nd in December - I WILL make your wine tasting event some year... we will be in Villefranche sur mer for the December holidays. Do let me know if you come to the Côte d'Azur!

Carrie @ Season It Already

You are going to laugh at me, but I'm wondering what sandals you are wearing in your photo with the capers!


Happy Anniversary! I subscribe to your emails and enjoy reading what you have to say and looking at your pictures.
Best of luck with the pitch.

Joan L.

Enjoy your depaysement. You deserve it, et bon anniversaire!


Dear Kristin...
" on a ladder or verticle fish nets! "
a ladder OF verticAl fishnets???


Bon anniversaire and many more. Thank you for helping us celebrate ours. I'm curious about your next venture. Bon chance.


Cynthia P. Lewis

Congratulations and a very happy anniversary to you and Jean-Marc !! And bonne chance with your new endeavor; it sounds intriguing and exciting! My best wishes.

Lee Isbell

Yum. What a great place to spend the holidays.

Lee Isbell

Flying into Toulouse on Saturday, for the start of a dépaysement

Happy anniversary!


Chris and I always wanted to go to Santorini. It's always had such an allure. I'm glad you had such a beautiful time! As far as your wine tasting, maybe I'll plan for one in 2016, once I get my land legs after this devastating tragedy - I know I'm going to have to learn how to live a new type of life as the old one is no longer possible. Maybe I can combine a watercolor class with your friend, along with a wine tasting at your mas. :)

Happy anniversary to you and Jean-Marc. Kiss and tell each other every day how much you love one another, no one knows what tomorrow might bring - hopefully, nothing but roses and sunshine, and a great bottle of wine! Love, Judi

Diane Young

Bonne anniversaire. So happy you were able to enjoy the depaysement. Nothing like it for refreshing your life. Beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing and certainment, bonne chance with the magazine article.


I so enjoyed meeting you, Kristi! It was wonderful to have you and Jean-Marc join our band of merry sailors for our last full day on the boat and then to spend some time together in Santorini. I look forward to reading your future posts and have my fingers crossed that the capers will flourish in their new home.
Kind regards,

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