Breathe the fresh spring air

April 1st, 2016
post preview image

If there’s one thing I love to do when the birds begin chirping and the flowers start popping up, it’s opening the windows to the fresh spring air. That’s step number one to beginning my spring.

(Second for me, of course, is grabbing a lighter coat and racing outside.)

Opening windows wasn’t a ritualistic part of my life until I moved to Germany. I’d walk down the Berlin streets and see apartment buildings full of wide open windows and balcony doors. It didn’t matter if it was the retired woman with lace curtains or the young man who could stay up all night playing techno music and drinking beer—they all welcomed the fresh breeze … especially in the spring.

Read more …

A German word we need in English

June 23rd, 2015
post preview image

My toddler son, Niklas, is learning German words like “Elefant” and “Schuh.” They’re easier for him to grasp because he’s also attempting the English equivalents.

There is no translation for the German word I want to use, though.

“Gemütlichkeit.”

It sounds like a train chugging up a hill. Clickity clack, clickity clack. The meaning of the word, however, gives you the opposite feel. Gemütlichkeit is like the word cozy, but it goes a dozen step further. Snuggling under a blanket while you sit in a camping chair by the campfire is cozy. Gemütlichkeit is surrounding yourself with close friends, a bottle of beer, s’mores, and lots of happy stories and jokes while you snuggle in your blanket by the campfire.

Read more …

Fears of the unknown

April 13th, 2015
post preview image

The first time I moved to Germany, my fears involved things like finding friends, knowing where to get a gallon of milk (there’s no such thing), and learning vocabulary for things like contact lens solution at the drug store. I clung to Martin, my German husband, using him as my crutch. I was afraid of answering the intercom or the telephone in our apartment. (You never realize how much body language matters until you only have spoken words to communicate.) Sometimes if Martin was gone, I wouldn’t even answer. I’d crouch down and get very quiet, nervous that someone would catch me as a fraud, ignoring phone calls and intercom buzzes.

Read more …