Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water

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December 14, 2012 , , , , ,

My friend Steffi Burger is one of my German teachers. She was actually born in Germany but will soon join the Swiss club, the most exclusive and hard to join club in the world. She has lived there for about 20 years I think, and fully knows Switzadootch. She will never be able to speak like a real Swiss because she uses German as it was learned in Stuttgart, and will not be able to hide that ever.I am in a category of Swiss speaking much worse than Steffi. I do not speak or read hochdeutch, based on my theory that it has nothing to do with the language and culture of Switzerland. I have tried to learn this very funny and dialectic local code by absorbing it. Results vary. Sometimes I can read stuff and discover the meaning, and others I am totally off course when I read. They capitalize all nouns, which I joke about and have never found to be all that helpful. This is why….the noun is likely to be an entire paragraph. They just love to combine words in their language. I often really like them just for the way they sound. My new favorite word in German is weltuntergang. It is giving me flashbacks to the very first things I learned to say. My friend Beth and I learned a phrase from Ursula of Berlin, the most fashionable woman we had ever met. She taught us to say, ” Let’s be friends. The world is a village.”( Luts uns freude sein. die welt ist ein dorf ) It was my only full concept so I used it in response to everything and everyone. I knew some nouns and the verbs to ice skate and to ride a bicycle. But if the nouns I knew neither ice skated nor had a bicycle I had no way to make any coherent sense with my vocabulary. Welt, or world was in my initial lesson. Now the welt is going under in a single word. Wow, so much as happened, but one thing that has not happened is my magical acquisition of German or Swiss languages by osmosis.

I asked Steffi about parties in Langweiss or Zurich to celebrate the end of the world. She said this had not caught on as a festivity. It is sometimes hard to explain humor when the cultural background is missing. It is complicated to tell someone that the end of the world pot luck party you are excited to attend is to mock the people who are actually afraid of the end of the world. Gives new meaning to you had to be there. I spent the summer of the World Cup partying with the Swiss when the event was in held Germany. I could never convey to an American how the Euros feel about soccer. You truly have to be there to see what they do. Same with Fastnacht, it is inexplicable to people outside the culture. There are intense reasons to celebrate that are generational and not yours if you are born elsewhere. So the Swiss really do Advent, and appear to be skipping the idea of weltuntergang celebrations. I hope the world will not end before I get the chance to go back to Switzerland to party Swiss style. Stay neutral, my friends.

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At least I can learn some German out of this!!


Stevie Wilson

December 15, 2012

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