A German word we need in English

June 23rd, 2015
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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.

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Beauty in interrupting your daily routine

April 20th, 2015
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Stand near an elementary school’s doors just as class gets out. Don’t stand too close–you’re likely to get trampled! Kids are dashing to the swing set, the waiting school bus, the soccer field, their moms’ cars, or no where in particular. Coats are getting tugged. Backpacks are flung. Shouts. Squeals. Constant chatter. Just the thought of all that chaos makes me feel a little exhausted. You too?

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Fears of the unknown

April 13th, 2015
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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.

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