On Memorial Day



When I was a little girl, growing up in Normandy, I knew only two things about the United States of America.

People living there spoke American English.

It was the country that ended World War II.

One of my oldest childhood memories goes back to a day my father and I stood on a beach along the Atlantic coast. Since I had only seen the Manche (the English Channel), I asked him what stood beyond the Atlantic Ocean.

America, he said.

I detected an edge in his voice. I was too young to pinpoint the emotion behind, yet I knew to recognize reverence.

Until I moved from France to the United States my father’s only connection with America was tied to the liberation of his small Normandy village by a coalition of American and Canadian soldiers right after D Day.


Here in the United States I’ve met a handful of American men who fought in France during WWII but none who landed on the beaches of my childhood.

Recently I spoke to a woman whose father was among the ones who set foot on Omaha Beach in the early hours of the day that would bring peace to Europe. I was so moved by the fact that her father had walked through the villages and small towns that are the fabric of my childhood landscape that I asked her if I could meet him.

I wish you could, she said, but he died last year.

When his daughter told me his age, I calculated that he was twenty yeard old when he arrived in Normandy on D Day.

Only a year older than my son. A year ago, he and I hiked in Yosemite on Memorial Day weekend. I wrote a post about this unforgettable hike, which still echoes my thoughts on this 2015 Memorial Day.



Soundtrack to the French Idioms From A to Z

Embed from Getty Images


Of all people I know that the spelling of a word doesn’t always match the way native-speakers pronounce that word.

When it comes to popular expressions the challenge can be greater.

This is why I have recorded the twenty-six French idioms from A to Z.

You can listen to them by clicking on the A to Z New Category that I added to my blog.

Let me know if you enjoy the idea.

Promise: No Oral Test on Monday!


Mother’s Day With an American Twist

I gave birth to my second child an hour before Mother’s Day, a few months after my move from Paris to the San Francisco Bay Area.

I hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast and was starving. A vision of a delicious tray came to my mind and made my mouth water. A warm vegetable soup, then a fresh tomato and mozzarella salad, a piece of crusty baguette and a slice of creamy camembert and to end on a sweet note a mousse au chocolat would be perfect. I envisioned a sparkling Perrier with a zest of lemon to quench my thirst. After all, the year before I had delivered my first child in Paris, and the service had been close to the prestations of a Relais Château.

“You must be hungry,” the nurse said, reading my mind. “But the kitchens are closed now. Let me see what I can do.”
She returned with a huge grin. “I found something for you!” she announced cheerfully, handing my husband and I two cans of freezing cold Coca-Cola. “Congratulations and Happy Mother’s Day!”

Even though the Coca-Cola didn’t taste like the champagne the French uncork in similar circumstances, it was, however, fresh and sparkling.

This is how my husband and I toasted our first-American born child.

My first Mother’s Day in the USA remains very special, and even though my daughter was born an hour before the official day, I’ve sometimes wished her Happy Birthday on Mother’s Day when both happen to fall on the same day.

And I always kept a very fond memory of the Coca-Cola that felt then as sophisticated as French champagne.


This assortment of flowers is my Happy Mother’s Day bouquet to every Mom, Maman, Mama, Mum, Mummy…, reading this post.






Vous pouvez aussi lire un ancien billet ici en français.

Sentiments or Feelings Post A to Z Challenge

A-to-Z Reflection [2015] - Lg


From April 1st to April 30th I posted every day but Sundays a French idiom, its literal translation, and its best American English equivalent.


  • I had previously considered writing about French popular expressions but always postponed the task. It’s only when a friend of mine asked me to join her for the A to Z challenge that I finally wrote A Month of French Idioms.

Like anyone else I benefit from an occasional Coup de Pied aux Fesses or Kick in the Butt.

  • The response from the people who already read me but also from new readers was positive, encouraging me to explore similar themes for my blog.

Receiving good feedback Donne des Ailes or Give Wings.

  • I never blog on a daily basis and don’t plan to do so, but during the month of April my productivity in other areas of my writing increased.

Sometimes Travailler Contre la Montre or Working Against the Clock is good.

  • These idioms had been with me since a long time. In fact I realized that I used at least one in my two novels Trapped in Paris and Chronicles From Chateau Moines.

Ne Sois Pas une Poule Mouillée : Don’t Be a Wet Hen or Don’t Be a Chicken.

  • Thanks to Mary’s suggestion I am now recording the idioms for your enjoyment.

J’ai du Pain Sur la Planche : I Have some Bread on the Wooden Board or I Have Some Significant Work to Do.

  • Would I do it again or am I disappointed?

Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien.



What do you think of the A to Z challenge if you participated? If you didn’t, did it trigger your desire to give it a try next year?

And to each of you who kindly stuck with me for a month: Thank you. Merci. See you soon. A bientôt.



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