Monthly Archives: April 2010

Thirteen Words

…beautiful and without a 1 to 1 translation in English.

1. Waldeinsamkeit (German): the feeling of being alone in the woods

2. Ilunga (Tshiluba, Congo): a person who is ready to forgive any abuse for the first time, to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time

3. Taarradhin (Arabic): a way of resolving a problem without anyone losing face (not the same as our concept of a compromise – everyone wins)

4. Litost (Czech): a state of torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery

5. Esprit de l’escalier (French): a witty remark that occurs to you too late, literally on the way down the stairs…

6. Meraki (Greek): doing something with soul, creativity, or love

7. Yoko meshi (Japanese): literally ‘a meal eaten sideways’, referring to the peculiar stress induced by speaking a foreign language:

8. Duende (Spanish): a climactic show of spirit in a performance or work of art, which might be fulfilled in flamenco dancing, or bull-fighting, etc.

9. Guanxi (Mandarin): in traditional Chinese society, you would build up good guanxi by  giving gifts to people, taking them to dinner, or doing them a favour, but you can also use up your guanxi by asking for a favour to be repaid.

10. Pochemuchka (Russian): a person who asks a lot of questions

11. Tingo (Pascuense language of Easter Island): to borrow objects one by one from a neighbour’s house until there is nothing left

12. Radioukacz (Polish): a person who worked as a telegraphist for the resistance movements on the Soviet side of the Iron Curtain

13. Selathirupavar (Tamil): a word used to define a certain type of absence without official leave in face of duty

And one more to make 14:

The Samoan word for cowardice is peamoku – or unfinished tattoo.

(via constantwanderlust: thehermitage)

I Heart Oregon

I’m enjoying an afternoon of complete laziness and taking the chance to catch up on my favorite blogs. Bless Google Reader for not counting the number of unread posts after 1000 (just indicating ‘1000+’). I have seen a million things that I want to reblog, but this print from Amy Ruppel topped the chart. I have a small craving for the Oregon springtime, although I’m not likely to fly in again until late autumn. I will content myself here in Amsterdam with some trips to Berlin, escapades around Holland and a trip to South Africa in June. Sprinkled with several visits from my siblings, that should be sufficient (via unruly things).

Imagining America

Most Chinese were intensely curious about foreign life, and they liked to ask certain questions … People tended to have extreme views of the US, both positive and negative, and they became fixated on fantastic details that they had heard … In China, I came to think of the United States as essentially imaginary: it was always being created in people’s minds, and in that sense it was more personal for them than it was for me. The questions reflected Chinese interests, dreams, and fears—even when people discussed America, the conversation was partly about their home.

… A Chinese person with options would never choose to live in a place like southwestern Colorado. The American appetite for loneliness impressed me, and there was something about this solitude that freed conversation. I learned there’s no reliable small talk in America; at any moment a conversation can become personal … Many Americans were great talkers but they didn’t like to listen … Leslie and I learned that the most effective way to kill our end of a conversation was to say that we were writers who had lived in China for more than a decade.

— Returning to America from a life in China, an article by Peter Hessler on returning to the US after living in China for 15 years (via the pandas)

Assembly Required

An image of collected bike parts by Sweden based cinematographer Martin Lang (via another something).

The Jazz Loft Project

The Jazz Loft Project is an archive project profiled in a multimedia production from The New York Times. The production features photography and audio content from the archive of W. Eugene Smith, captured from the unique perspective of his loft building (via Micha).

From 1957 to 1965, the photographer W. Eugene Smith exposed 1,447 rolls of film to record the goings-on inside his loft building, as well as scenes from street life visible from his windows. He also made 4,000 hours of audio recordings that captured random conversations, phone calls, radio programs and, above all, many legendary musicians of the day, who came to the building to hang out, rehearse and jam.

Spring Cometh

All the blogs seem to be posting pictures of spring bursting in. So, here I am, leaping on the bandwagon. The above image is of the just-emerging flower buds in Cologne, taken during a weekend trip with my lovely sister. The image below taken during a Saturday afternoon walk through Amsterdam with Herr Pfeiffer. We walked one hour to get fresh bread. Yeah.

Today, I Could Be…

…walking through the streets of Trastevere. Yes, I could handle that today. Trastevere, the neighborhood in Rome where I lived and studied during the summer of 2004, which prompted a love affair with the unfamiliar and the ancient.

The Music of Movement

The sound of footsteps on the cobbles mingled with the rumble of the carriage wheels and the echo of horse hooves to make what Charles considered to be a uniquely city sound. It was the music of movement itself.

The Lambs of London by Peter Ackroyd

The inner world of Mastic villages

Mastihohoria (Mastic Villages) is a series of photographs by Stratis Vogiatzis dedicated to the villages of the Greek island of Chios.

The Inner World concerns inner spaces which Stratis photographed for almost three years. Stratis with this project has recorded and revealed the unaffected and transparent treasures of a genuine people’s culture which lost the battle of time and hide away from fear. He doesn’t enter the place for self- pleasure, neither does he have an ulterior motive. He goes in like a pilgrim entering a righteous and holy place of worship in order to be able to understand and feel. He strips himself of everything and puts himself into the other person’s place in order to see what the others would never see by themselves. In this way he leads us into the inner world of the homes whose decoration reflects the pain and loss as well as the inspiration of life.

Thus he leads us, in a selective and mystical way, inside the houses whose decoration reflects the souls of the people who live or used to live in them. There where the rooms and their ornamentation are not a showy deception or a deliberate covering up of the truth, but a humble staging of the need for moderation, of the burden of deprivation, as well as the playful enthusiasm for life which, together with faith and hope, have nurtured the people’s culture for whole centuries. The simple and essential things of this culture, those which we would probably come across in the findings of an ancient settlement. There where we recognize our true identity with a sense of awe and enthusiasm.

— Dimos Avdeliodis, Director

A New Glimpse of Jane

The 18th century novelists and writers were very popular in the trenches in the Great War. And yes, Austen was used in the fever chart that the War Office drew up to treat shell-shocked soldiers. She was put top of that chart, in terms of how therapeutic her works could be in a dire situation where a man was grievously wounded and needed to be read to. Austen’s novels were thought to be the most comforting.

— Claire Harman, author of the book Jane’s Fame in an NPR interview (thanks Dad!)