Posts by Darlene

Bonjour, moi c'est Darlene. I'm a mom, writer, and Francophile based in the San Francisco Bay Area. I'm passionate about books, chocolate, French-inspired things, music, postcards, world cultures, and more. Welcome to my blog!

Wednesday Postcard: Nouméa, New Caledonia

Bonjour! This week’s carte postale features Moselle Bay and the Cathedral in Nouméa, New Caledonia, the French overseas territory located in the South Pacific.

  • Nouméa Cathedral is a Roman Catholic Church dedicated to Saint Joseph, the husband of the Virgin Mary
  • New Caledonia was discovered in 1774 by British explorer, James Cook, who thought the island looked like Scotland
  • In 1853, France annexed New Caledonia
  • France sent over 20,000 prisoners between 1864-1924 when New Caledonia was a penal colony
  • In 1946, New Caledonia was named an overseas territory of France
this postcard was printed in Berkeley, California!

In April 1974, the sender wrote to his sister to express his appreciation for her Easter wishes. He adds that he believes Valéry Giscard d’Estaing (1926-2020) should be elected president. (He won by a margin of 1.6%, the closest presidential election in French history!)

I like how the postcard was originally printed in California, then sent from New Caledonia to France, and now that I have it, it’s back in California!

Over the years, I have accumulated hundreds of postcards from around the world, which I’ve either purchased from my local antique shops or received from thoughtful family and friends who know I collect them. When I travel, I also like to send myself a carte postale just for fun!

I hope these postcards will make you want to revisit a favorite vacation spot or to embark on a journey to the destination of your dreams (when it’s safe to travel freely again, of course!)

And if you’ve been to the destination featured, tell me about your experience there – I’d love to hear from you.

Until the next Wednesday Postcard, take care!

Wednesday Postcard: Bordeaux, France

Bonjour! This week’s carte postale features four popular attractions in the port city of Bordeaux, located in the Gironde department of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region in southwest France.

This undated postcard was produced by Cartes Postales Elcé (1981-1990)

Pont de pierre

This “stone” bridge over the Garonne River is actually made mainly of brick. Its design consists of 17 arches, which is said to represent the number of letters in the name, Napoleon Bonaparte, the emperor of France who commissioned the bridge.

Cathédrale-Primatiale Saint-André de Bordeaux

This Roman Catholic church is dedicated to St. Andrew and is one of the three main churches of Bordeaux that was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998.

Porte d’Aquitaine

The arch is located on the Place de la Victoire, which is the entrance to the shopping area on Rue Sainte-Catherine.

Pont d’Aquitaine

This steel bridge over the Garonne River is the second-largest suspension bridge in France.

Over the years, I have accumulated hundreds of postcards from around the world, which I’ve either purchased from my local antique shop or received from thoughtful family and friends who know I collect them. When I travel, I also like to send myself a carte postale just for fun!

I hope these postcards will make you want to revisit a favorite vacation spot or to embark on a journey to the destination of your dreams (when it’s safe to travel freely again, of course!)

And if you’ve been to the destination featured, tell me about your experience there – I’d love to hear from you.

Until the next Wednesday Postcard, take care!

“Demystifying the French: A Panel Discussion”

Alliance Française San Francisco (2017)

In 2018, I met author Mark Greenside at a local independent bookstore where he gave an entertaining talk and read funny excerpts from his latest book, (not quite) Mastering the Art of French Living. He signed my book, too!

On Saturday, August 28, 2021, I got a chance to hear him speak again during a lively online event called, “Demystifying the French: A Panel Discussion.”

The Bethesda, Maryland-based Federation of Alliances Françaises USA invited American authors, Mark Greenside, Janet Hulstrand, Adrian Leeds, and Harriet Welty Rochefort, to share their insights, perspectives, and experiences gathered over the course of many years of living, traveling, and/or working in France.

The panelists took turns answering the following four questions. Here are some of their replies:

  1. What’s the most important lesson in dealing with the French? “If you don’t ask the right question, you will not get the right answer.” (Adrian Leeds)
  2. What is the most embarrassing faux-pas you’ve made in France? “Taking the wine bottle and serving myself.” (Harriet Welty Rochefort)
  3. What do you like/admire the most about the French? “How parents nurture the love of art, history, and language in their children.” (Janet Hulstrand)
  4. What is the single most important tip for travelers to France? “Politesse. Everyone gets a bonjour / au revoir / s’il vous plaît / merci!” (Mark Greenside)

Speaking of manners and mistakes, a faux-pas I made in France while trying to be polite was when I greeted someone « Bonjour » twice on the same day! I’ve since learned that people could take offense to this thinking you’d forgotten that you’d already greeted them. Désolée!

Watch the recording of the entire hour-long panel discussion below (Federation of Alliances Françaises USA’s YouTube channel):

Have you lived, traveled, or worked in France? Now, I’m curious to know your answers to the questions above! If you’d like to share, please do so in the comment box below! Merci!

Music Monday: Je te promets

Now playing on my French song playlist:

Title: Je te promets
Songwriter: Jean-Jacques Goldman
Performed by: Johnny Hallyday

Lyrics I like:

Je te promets la clé des secrets de mon âme
Je te promets la vie de mes rires à mes larmes
Je te promets le feu à la place des armes
Plus jamais des adieux rien que des au revoir

Translation:

I promise you the key to the secrets of my soul
I promise you life from my laughter to my tears
I promise you fire in place of weapons
No more goodbyes only “until we meet again”

🎶

music & lyrics | all rights reserved

Fans of the late French superstar, Johnny Hallyday can experience his music like never before in the upcoming Johnny Symphonique Tour! Under the direction of Yvan Cassar, Johnny Hallyday’s voice will be accompanied by a symphony orchestra and choir. Beginning May 2022, the tour will make stops in several French cities, as well as Brussels, Belgium; and Geneva, Switzerland.

I like to listen to songs en français, so I won’t forget the French I learned in school!

Until next time, have a good week ahead. Stay safe!

Wednesday Postcard: San Francisco’s Chinatown

Hello! This week’s postcard features the Dragon Gate in San Francisco’s Chinatown!

Photo: K. Glaser, Jr.
  • The Dragon Gate was completed in 1970
  • China donated 120 ceramic tiles depicting parts of Chinese history
  • Located on Grant Avenue and Bush Street, the arch marks the south entrance to San Francisco’s Chinatown

After our lovely lunch at Wayfare Tavern, my family and I took a stroll around nearby Chinatown.

Portsmouth Square Park with a view of the Transamerica Pyramid
“This marks the site of the first public school in California” (1848)
welcome to Portsmouth Square Park
Rack of San Francisco postcards at souvenir shop in Chinatown
one of many souvenir shops in Chinatown
Red lanterns and statue wearing face mask
spotted on Grant Avenue and Clay Street
a view of the Bay Bridge from the cable car tracks on Grant Avenue and California Street
across the street from this French bistro, you can see…
…the Dragon Gate!

Over the years, I have accumulated hundreds of postcards from around the world, which I’ve either purchased from my local antique shops or received from thoughtful family and friends who know I collect them. When I travel, I also like to send myself a carte postale just for fun!

I hope these postcards will make you want to revisit a favorite vacation spot or to embark on a journey to the destination of your dreams (when it’s safe to travel freely again, of course!)

And if you’ve been to the destination featured, tell me about your experience there – I’d love to hear from you.

Until the next Wednesday Postcard, take care!

Woman taking photograph of statue with her phone
Thanks to my dear husband for this “behind the scenes” snapshot 🙂

San Francisco’s Wayfare Tavern is for (Organic Fried Chicken) Lovers

Tyler Florence, celebrity chef and television host, recently featured one of his San Francisco restaurants, Wayfare Tavern, on the Food Network show, “The Great Food Truck Race.”

The restaurant opened in 2010, but briefly operated as a food truck at the start of the pandemic when many restaurants had to close. Their food truck service is now on hiatus, but their restaurant has reopened!

Wayfare Tavern and the Transamerica Pyramid in the background

Chef Tyler’s Organic Fried Chicken was named one of the Best Fried Chicken in the United States by Food & Wine Magazine (2019).

The magazine even reveals the cooking technique used to achieve its special quality. (Hint: after marinating in buttermilk brine, the chicken is baked on low heat for a few hours before frying!)

Enticed by the idea of trying this special chicken on a special occasion, my husband immediately booked a lunch reservation at the Financial District restaurant to celebrate our anniversary.

Burrata Toast, Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco

For appetizers, we ordered charred country bread with burrata. The soft, creamy Italian cheese was lightly sprinkled with balsamic vinegar, served with several cubes of watermelon, cantaloupe, and pear, and topped with some fresh microgreens. My elder daughter called first dibs on the prosciutto di Parma. (By the way, she snapped all of the photos shown here. 📸)

While we waited for the Burrata Toast, we nibbled on warm popovers (our American version of Yorkshire pudding). My younger daughter and I thought they were freshly baked croissants until we tore off a piece, revealing a soft, hollow inside. The popover was especially tasty with a spread of butter!

As for beverages, I recalled Sancerre’s recent win as « Le village préféré des Français » on the France 3 program of the same name, so I decided to have a glass of the Karine Lauverjat Sancerre 2019. I thought it was light-bodied and soft. I wondered, Is this typical for this appellation? Didn’t matter – I liked it anyhow! Meanwhile, my husband enjoyed his red sangria cocktail of Tempranillo and rum with licorice-flavor from the French tarragon.

Preceded by the distinctive scent of roasted garlic and the woody aroma of rosemary, the main course arrived, at last. After removing the rosemary sprigs that were perched atop five assorted pieces of golden fried chicken, I squeezed some lemon on top and took a bite. I decided it was definitely worth the splurge: the chicken was simple, but tender and seasoned to perfection!

Organic Fried Chicken, Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco

In San Francisco, mask-wearing and social distancing are still required indoors (regardless of vaccination status), but neither rule seemed to be strictly enforced here. Despite the full house, the noise level was comfortable. At our table, we could hear each other without having to shout. We couldn’t hear others’ conversations either over the cheerful music playing softly in the background, like this tune:

🎶

With its mahogany walls giving warm British pub vibes, savory Italian cheese appetizers, lively Cuban music, and sweet French wines from the Loire Valley, Wayfare Tavern is true to its name – the atmosphere lent a feeling of journeying to distant lands!

Overall, I had an enjoyable experience – and that’s not the sauvignon blanc talking! 😉

Cheers / à votre santé !

Music Monday: J’imagine

In keeping with the spirit of the 2020 Olympics, I’ve been listening to the inspiring theme song from the 2010 Winter Olympic Games called, “I Believe” by jazz-pop singer, Nikki Yanofsky.

I also love the French version that was co-written and recorded by Annie Villeneuve:

In 2017, the Utah-based One Voice Children’s Choir performed a bilingual English & French version under the direction of Masa Fukuda.

Title: J’imagine (I Believe)
Songwriters: Alan Frew, Stephan Moccio; Thierry LeFlamme, Annie Villeneuve
Performed by: One Voice Children’s Choir (under the direction of Masa Fukuda)

Lyrics I like:

J’imagine une force invincible
La beauté d’un monde uni
J’imagine que l’on peut voler
J’imagine cette force une réalité

Translation:

I imagine an invincible force
The beauty of a united world
I imagine that we can fly
I imagine this force a reality

🎶

Watch their beautiful video that was filmed in Paris:

music, lyrics & videos | all rights reserved

I like to listen to songs en français, so I won’t forget the French I learned in school!

Until next time, enjoy your day and the week ahead. Stay well! 🎶

Wednesday Postcard: Tokyo’s 23 Special Wards

“Tokyo Calling” (srg-uk dotcom)

Hello! In honor of the 2020 Summer Olympics, this week’s postcard features the 23 special wards of Tokyo, Japan! I purchased the letterpress postcard from a stationery shop in Berkeley, California.

The special ward area is an administrative system which balances the responsibilities between the metropolitan government (who handles water, sewage, and firefighting services, for example) and the local ward governments (who handle issues, such as welfare, education, and housing.)

The 23 special wards of Tokyo are:

  1. Chiyoda
  2. Chūō
  3. Minato
  4. Shinjuku
  5. Bunkyō
  6. Taitō
  7. Sumida
  8. Kōtō
  9. Shinagawa
  10. Meguro
  11. Ōta
  12. Setagaya
  13. Shibuya
  14. Nakano
  15. Suginami
  16. Toshima
  17. Kita
  18. Arakawa
  19. Itabashi
  20. Nerima
  21. Adachi
  22. Katsushika
  23. Edogawa
  • The world’s busiest intersection is located in Shibuya (13th ward)
  • The Olympic Stadium is located in Shinjuku (4th ward)
  • Ginza, the popular upscale shopping district, is located in Chūō (2nd ward)

Over the years, I have accumulated hundreds of postcards from around the world, which I’ve either purchased from my local antique shops or received from thoughtful jet-setting family and friends who know I collect them. When I travel, I also like to send myself a carte postale just for fun!

I hope these postcards will make you want to revisit a favorite vacation spot or to embark on a journey to the destination of your dreams (when it’s safe to travel freely again, of course!)

And if you’ve been to the destination featured, tell me about your experience there – I’d love to hear from you.

Until the next Wednesday Postcard, take care!

Mixed Emotions About the 2020 Olympics

At last, the 2020 Olympics are here!

The motto of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics is “United by Emotion.” I’m not an athlete, but I do enjoy watching the Olympic Games. But in these pandemic times, I have mixed emotions about them. Most of the time, I feel fine and simply look forward to watching people from around the world showcase their superhuman strength and athletic prowess!

But sometimes I fear for the safety of the athletes and wonder why they didn’t cancel the Games. Other times, I’m disgusted when I’m reminded about the doping violations, sexual abuse allegations, and other scandals and wonder if I’m supporting all of it just by tuning in to watch. My emotions about the Olympics are a mixed bunch of awe, fear, excitement, and happiness.

Emotion: Awe

The first Olympic Games I watched on TV were the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. I was in awe of Team USA’s athletes, like gymnasts, Mary Lou Retton and Mitch Gaylord; track and field athlete, Jackie Joyner, and diver, Greg Louganis!

Years later, in May 1996, I got to see the Olympics torch relay come through Davis, California en route to Atlanta, Georgia, the host city of the 1996 Olympics! I recall the torchbearer jogging by so quickly that I barely got a glimpse of the flame. Nevertheless, it was awesome to witness and share the excitement with the crowd.

Many years after that, in 2011, I was awestruck once again when I got to meet a former Olympian! My family and I went to the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco where 1992 Olympic figure skating champion, Kristi Yamaguchi greeted fans and signed copies of her children’s book, “Dream Big, Little Pig!” It’s about a persistent little pig named Poppy who dreams of becoming “a spectacular ice-skating star.”⛸

Emotion: Fear

We’re in the midst of a pandemic. Won’t the Olympics be a super-spreader event? They should have cancelled the Games this year.

Japan declared a state of emergency recently due to the surge in COVID-related infections. In response, organizers said that they wouldn’t allow any spectators, but later changed to say that they would limit spectators to only people in Japan. But, as of this writing, only 20% of people in Japan are fully vaccinated!

Due to world wars, the Olympics weren’t celebrated in 1916, 1940, and 1944. While the pandemic is not a war, it is a global crisis. So why not cancel the 2020 Games, too?

Emotion: Excitement

The Olympic events that I enjoy watching are gymnastics, swimming, and track & field. But I’d have to say that my absolute favorite Olympic event is not even athletic. I’m talking about the Parade of Nations during the Opening Ceremonies! (In my Pacific Time Zone, I’ll have to tune in at 4 o’clock in the morning on Friday, July 23, 2021 to watch it live!)

What’s not to love about the Parade of Nations? I love the flags! I love watching the artistic program that showcases the host country’s cultural identity and history! I love hearing them announce the countries’ names in three languages: French, English, and the host country’s language.

Why French? French historian and educator, Pierre de Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee in 1894, organized the first games of the modern era in 1896, and made French and English the official languages of the Olympics.

Emotion: Happiness

I look forward to the 2024 Olympics in Paris and the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles – two of my favorite places! 🇫🇷🇺🇸


“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”

The Olympic Creed

What are your thoughts about the Olympics? Which Olympic events do you enjoy watching? Tell me in the comments below!

Throwback to 2018: Bastille Day SF

[Updated July 2021]

Wishing “Joyeux 14 juillet” to our friends in France who are celebrating their Fête Nationale! 🇫🇷

In 2021, the one-day Bastille Day San Francisco event is a week-long celebration.

“Bastille Week SF” runs from July 11 through July 17, 2021 and participants are encouraged to take part in their “Bastille Photo Week” contest for a chance to win prizes.

They want participants to visit French businesses, take photos there, and then share the photos on social media.

It’s a clever way to support and discover local French businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area!

Throwback to Bastille Day SF 2018

In 2018, I joined the Bastille Day SF volunteer social media team. My job was to update the event’s Facebook page (@14juilletsf).

Photo credit: Bastille Day SF (dot) org

Here are some photos I took at Bastille Day SF 2018 at Embarcadero Plaza:

img_7696

img_7687

the line for crêpes was endless

Pétanque

Slideshow: Exhibitors, Performers, and Vendors

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

[Originally published July 2018]

What are some of your favorite French or French-inspired shops, restaurants, and service providers? Tell me in the comments below. I’d love to check them out!

Who Won Le Village Préféré des Français 2021?

The French village of Sancerre (in the Cher department and Centre-Val de Loire region) got the most votes and was named the winner of the 2021 edition of the FRANCE 3 program, “Le village préféré des Français” by host, Stéphane Bern on June 30, 2021.

Fresnay-sur-Sarthe (Sarthe department/Pays de la Loire region) came in second, followed by Hérisson (Allier department/Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region), a charming French village that won my heart many years ago! ❤️

To see how all 14 finalists ranked, read this article (en français).

I’m so happy for everyone in Hérisson! Félicitations for making it in the Top 3! 🥳

Photo: Le château d’Hérisson (1995) | Hérisson, France came in 3rd place out of 14 finalists in the 2021 edition of “Le village préféré des Français” competition
Hérisson, France (1995)

My related posts about Hérisson

Bein’ Green in 2020: the Châteloy Lavoir

My experience at an international volunteer project in Hérisson

Vote Hérisson for Le Village Préféré des Français 2021

Wednesday Postcard: Sea Otter in Monterey Bay

a sea otter in Monterey Bay

Hello! This week’s carte postale features a sea otter swimming in Monterey Bay! In 2015, my family and I got to watch sea otters swim and play at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

In a previous Wednesday Postcard post featuring Cannery Row in Monterey, I had mentioned that I’d love to visit the central coast city again once it’s been deemed safe to travel. The State of California officially reopened on June 15, 2021, so my family and I decided to visit Monterey last Saturday!

Driving south along Highway 1 (California State Route 1), you know you’re getting closer to Monterey when you start to see sand dunes in the aptly-named town of Sand City.

Sand City | June 26, 2021

Face masks are still required here.

Monterey | June 26, 2021

My younger daughter was more than happy to pilot the paddleboat we rented at El Estero Lake.

Monterey | June 26, 2021

In the middle of the lake, there’s a tiny island where pretty birds like to hang out.

Monterey | June 26, 2021

Dennis the Menace Playground includes an actual locomotive. Until 2012, children were allowed to play in it.

This low-rise building was built in 1843 to become the first French Consulate in Mexican Alta California. Today, it’s the Monterey Visitors Center.

Monterey | June 26, 2021

Although the pieces were small (and pricey), I couldn’t resist trying the rose-flavored Turkish delight and the traditional honey and pistachio baklava by Troya, a small shop on Cannery Row.

A serene scene in Monterey Bay…

sailboat in Monterey Bay
Monterey | June 26, 2021

Until the next Wednesday Postcard, take care!

Over the years, I have accumulated hundreds of postcards from around the world, which I’ve either purchased from my local antique shops or received from thoughtful jet-setting family and friends who know I collect them. When I travel, I also like to send myself a carte postale just for fun!

I hope these postcards will make you want to revisit a favorite vacation spot or to embark on a journey to the destination of your dreams (when it’s safe to travel freely again, of course!)

If you’ve been to the destination featured, tell me about your experience there – I’d love to hear from you.

I Took BART to San Francisco for the First Time in Over a Year

Since the pandemic began in March 2020, you could say I took the “stay at home” orders quite literally. I haven’t been on a bus, plane, train, or ferry! So after 15+ months, I was thrilled to take BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) again!

Masks are required on BART property through September 2021 | Lake Merritt Station

There’s never a dull moment on BART! 😉Here’s a sampling:

A woman sitting next to me on a bench asked me, “Do you smell smoke?”

When I said no, she whispered, “I hope it’s not a fire. Last time I smelled smoke, they evacuated the station.”

Later on, after arriving at our stop, that same woman shouted at the top of her lungs to the people on the escalator, “Stand on the right, walk on the left! Ugh, TOURISTS!” As soon as she said that, the escalator came to a gentle halt.

BART has 50 stations and they’re piloting free high-security bike rack systems at five of them | 16th Street Station

Then on my return trip, I spotted a bevy of beauties who looked like they’d just walked out of a music video! Sporting sparkly tops and white form-fitting pants, they commanded attention as they sauntered through the station to the beat of the music blasting from one of their tiny designer handbags.

Translation services available | Powell Station

Finally, while I was walking up the stairs to exit the station, I witnessed a man yell “EXCUSE ME!” at another man ahead of him who was apparently climbing the steps at a pace too slow for his taste. They exchanged some lovely hand gestures and colorful expletives before going their separate ways.

Time stood still: This is a poster for the March 22, 2020 Oakland Marathon | Powell Station (June 19, 2021)

“Sisters With Transistors”

My reason for going to The City on Saturday, June 19, 2021 was to see a limited screening of “Sisters with Transistors” at the Roxie Theater in the Mission District.

My elder daughter invited me to go with her to see the documentary that she’d recently learned about in her music history & industry program in college. The 2020 documentary is about women pioneers in the field of electronic music. In particular, I enjoyed learning the stories of Daphne Oram, Eliane Radigue, and Laurie Spiegel.

Daphne Oram (1925-2003) was a British musician who created the Oramics technique, which produced sound through lines, waves, and other shapes written or drawn on film that were then played back on a sound system.

Eliane Radigue (born 1932) is a French electronic music composer living in Paris. Her signature sound is created with an ARP synthesizer and recording tape.

Laurie Spiegel was born in Chicago in 1945. She created the music composition software called Music Mouse.

Ferry Building at the Embarcadero

Before going to the movie theater, we stopped by the weekly Farmers Market at the Ferry Building.

shops inside the Ferry Building
The notice says that “masks are no longer required for shoppers, sellers, and staff” at this farmers market

Juneteenth Celebration on the Waterfront

June 19, 2021 | San Francisco

Juneteenth, a portmanteau of the words, June and nineteenth, has been celebrated in various U.S. states since 1866 to commemorate the day (June 19, 1865) that people of Galveston, Texas learned that slavery had ended two and a half years earlier (after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation became law on January 1, 1863.) On June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden declared Juneteenth a federal holiday.

June 19, 2021 | San Francisco

We caught a glimpse of Mayor London Breed visiting the various food stalls!

London Breed, Mayor of San Francisco

Reopening of California

On Tuesday, June 15, 2021, the State of California officially reopened and many restrictions were lifted (Visit Safely Reopening California to learn more!)

The state may have reopened, but I believe it would be prudent to keep wearing masks (even if fully vaccinated). It’s clear that the pandemic is not over. Knowing that variants of the virus that cause COVID-19 are appearing and infecting people around the world is frightening.

The fact that many countries are still waiting to receive an adequate supply of vaccines boggles the mind. Meanwhile, vaccine-hesitant people here need to be lured with “Vax for the Win” incentives, like cash or dream vacations! Un embarras de richesse? (Or, just plain embarrassing? Sigh.)

A giant reminder to get vaccinated | Westfield San Francisco Centre

Please stay healthy and safe! 💕😷

Wednesday Postcard: Chéticamp, Nova Scotia, Canada

St. Peter’s Church | Photo by P.J. Wall

Bonjour! This week’s carte postale features St. Peter’s Church, located on the west coast of Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, Canada.

St. Peter’s Church, or Paroisse Saint-Pierre, was built in 1893 using the design by Québec City architect, David Ouellet (1844-1915). The church is one of only a few stone churches on Cape Breton Island. It is also culturally valued for its central role in the spiritual life of the French Acadian Catholic community in Chéticamp.

My childhood penpal from Nova Scotia sent me this postcard in 1989 from Chéticamp, where she spent summers with her family. She and I share the same first name, as well as a deep admiration for Canadian musician, Corey Hart! In fact, we met through his fan club called “Shades” — a reference to his 1984 hit song, “Sunglasses at Night.” 😎 By the way, his latest song, “Morning Sun” was released in May 2021. Listen:

For more information:

Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Visit Chéticamp

Over the years, I have accumulated hundreds of postcards from around the world, which I’ve either purchased from my local antique shops or received from thoughtful jet-setting family and friends who know I collect them. When I travel, I also like to send myself a carte postale just for fun!

I hope these postcards will make you want to revisit a favorite vacation spot or to embark on a journey to the destination of your dreams (when it’s safe to travel freely again, of course!)

And if you’ve been to the destination featured, tell me about your experience there – I’d love to hear from you.

Until the next Wednesday Postcard, take care!

I Promise You an Herb Garden

When I told one of my dear friends that I was feeling a bit blah lately, she surprised me with a cute herb growing kit to cheer me up! I was touched by the caring gesture, but I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of trepidation, too. What if… the herbs don’t grow?

My maternal grandmother had a green thumb, but unfortunately for me, it’s not hereditary! My previous failed attempts at keeping even low-maintenance house plants alive discouraged me from developing a deep interest in gardening.

In my household, it’s my patient husband who tends to our little backyard garden. For the most part, I help by staying out of the way. But when the time comes to rake and collect all of the fallen crunchy leaves, I’m happy to do it!

As for the herb growing kit, I’m going to follow the instructions to the letter. I want my herb garden to grow!

top: basilic, coriandre
center: ciboulette
bottom: persil, thym

If it doesn’t grow, at least I can say my French vocabulary grew by five words:

basil: basilic

chives: ciboulette

cilantro: coriandre

parsley: persil

thyme: thym

Another way to say chives in French is civette, which sounds like civet, the cat-like mammal found mainly in Southeast Asia. For clarification, I asked my dear friend in Toulouse which word he uses for chives and he said ciboulette — so that’s the one I’m going with, too!

Sowed on June 9, 2021

Wish me luck! 🌱

Do you like gardening? Tell me in the comments below!