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 gianxi 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
One of my favorites isn’t on here: “carabanga” (Spanish?): nostalgia for what could have been. Example: two people on opposite train platforms share a look. A train arrives and one of them gets on it. The other stands on the platform and watches the train pull away from the station. Carabanga!
i love this. also, maybe michelangeno was actually saying carabanga all the time instead of cowabunga. this makes me think he was quite the romantic. or just really, really, into pizza.
The best argument for dating is that it can lead to kissing. Smooching. Lip boxing. Inhaling face. Never forget that. A kiss is an immortal handshake. Sweating palms. A peppermint quickly chewed. Two tongues crashing into one another like a pitchfork of lightning bisecting a horizon. Kisses break spells, make promises, and start wars. And in the end, it’s like the game of poker.
If you stay at the table, you can either win or lose. But if you get up from the table, neither will happen. So play your cards. Always be honest with yourself and the other players. Never bluff. Sure, you’ll lose. But you can win. That’s worth it. All of it. It’s a game of chance. But as the poet says: one cannot lose forever. Keep dating. Keep losing. Eventually, all the pop ballads on the radio will play just for you.
The following is from A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genuis, by Dave Eggers:
The cars flash around the turns of Highway 1, jump out from cliffs, all glass and light. Each one could kill us. All could kill us. The possibilities leap into my head—we could be driven off the cliff and down and into the ocean. But fuck, we’d make it, Toph and I, given our cunning, our agility, our presence of mind. Yes, yes. If we collided with a car at sixty miles per hour on Highway 1, we could jump out in time. Yes, Toph and I could do that. We’re quick-thinking, this is known, yes, yes. See, after the collision, as our red Civic arced through the sky, we would quickly plan out—no, no, we would instantly know the plan—what to do, the plan of course being obvious, so obvious: as the car arced downward, we would each, simultaneously, open our doors, car still descending, then each make or way to the outside of the car, car still descending, each on one side of the car, and then we would we would we would stand on the car’s frame for a second, car still descending, each holding on to the open car door or the car roof, and then, ever so briefly, as the car was now only thirty feet or so above the water, seconds until impact, we would look at each other knowingly—“You know what to do”; “Roger that” (we wouldn’t actually say these words, wouldn’t need to)—and then we’d both, again simultaneously of course, push off the car, so as to allow the appropriate amount of space between our impact and the car’s once we all landed, and then, as the Civic crashed into the ocean’s mulchy glass, we would, too, though in impeccable divers’ form, having changed our trajectory mid-flight, positioning our hands first, forward and cupped properly, our bodies perpendicular to the water, our toes pointed—perfect! We’d plunge under, half-circle back to the surface and then break through, into the sun, whip our heads to shake the water from our hair and then swim to each other, as the car with bubbles quickly drowned. ME: Whew! That was close! HE: I’ll say! ME: You hungry? HE: Hey, you read my mind.