If you asked me what I wanted for a gift for my birthday, for Christmas or my retirement anniversary, I would probably say, “Oh, nothing. I don’t need a thing. I don’t have space for anything.” Now that would have been true until I got this book in the mail. The good thing for any potential gift givers is that you can save your money. I already bought LOST IN TRANSLATION, an ILLUSTRATED COMPENDIUM OF UNTRANSLATABLE WORDS from AROUND the WORLD by Ella Frances Sanders.
Are you thinking that is a word nerd book? It could be, but it’s more than that with its charming illustrations and its way to go straight to your heart and your funnybone.
‘AKIHI — This Hawaiian noun might define me…”Listening to directions and then walking off and promptly forgetting them means that you have gone “akihi.” I might add this word to my name–Marguerite ‘Akihi Ferra. How does that sound?
Then, there is a word for my friend, Virginia Dillon, who just received a gift of eight bananas. PISAN ZAPRA. This Malay noun indicates the time needed to eat a banana. (Generally two minutes…) Do the math, Ginny!
I vowed to give you only three examples–although there’s the thought that you can’t have too much of a good thing. No, only three, but it’s hard to choose.
Okay, how about that impromptu meal that my daughter’s Vietnamese mother-in-law made for us on Thursday afternoon? Chicken with lemon juice, corn on the cob and fresh bread that she brought to the living room coffee table… Sitting there with three godsons, one son-in-law, two children of a godson, my daughter, my daughter’s mother-in-law and father-in-law and listening to everyone talking in English and Vietnamese in that lovely way when we have known each other through thick and thin (except for the kids!) for more than twenty years, I felt something indescribably happy.
I didn’t have a word for it, but now I have it… GEZELLIG, the Dutch adjective that describes “much more than just coziness–a positive warm emotion or feeling rather than just something physical–and connotes time spent with loved ones, togetherness.
The illustrations make this book even more fun. I am going to enjoy this book for a long time.
So–have a good weekend readers. Good-bye for now. I have to deal with KABELSALAT--“a mess of very tangled cables, literally a cable-salad.” Thanks to the Germans for this oh, so handy noun.
Written by Marguerite ‘Akihi’ Ferra who also loves the word, DRACHENFUTTER…
P.S. I’m going to throw around that word at my book club and see what happens.