Before summer runs away from me, this little blog of mine has to visit Spain.
Enough with Boni’s flowery language, enough with Davidis’ succinct instructions, and it’s not time for canning yet, so no Norwegian either! Today we celebrate Spain and Simone Ortega, wife of the founder of the newspaper El Pais, who in 1972….wait….
Language and vocabulary notes
“schwitzen” – usually this means to sweat. So I wasn’t really sure what sweating peas meant. Apparently it can also mean to steam up or be in a sweat. I chose “steam” in the end. Anyone else have any other suggestions?
“Zergangen” – “zer-” is one of the most beautiful prefixes of the German language, at least when it comes to the emotions it invokes. The very thought of it gives me shivers and images of violence. “Zer-” usually implies something being destroyed. So when reading “zergangener Butter” the first image that came to mind was that of pulverized butter. Turns out it just means melted….
“Griesflöße” – (Kudos to anyone who can actually pronounce this!)
Boston winters are cruel.
I thought I was a stoic Northerner, but the 7 feet of snow and the long nights slowly chipped away at my resolve to brave the winter and I became a husk of the sun-loving girl that had embraced Boston and its summer only a few months before.
Boston summers can, at times, be even crueler, at least when it rains.
This one’s from the Maltese Ex-Pat.
“What’s the food like in America?” is a question I’ve gotten a number of times since moving here from Europe. The question reveals the gulf of mutual ignorance on either side of the ocean. Can one talk of “American” food like one can talk of Italian, French and Spanish food?
Enter the European stereotypisation of America; giant portions of burgers, steaks, hot dogs and chicken wings. An unflattering image of simple, fattening food. The polar opposite of the complex, naturally healthy gourmet food on every table in Europe.
But just like the actual Arctic and Antarctic poles, these areas are more alike than they are different. There’s no shortage of fast food in Europe, the same western tendencies away from traditional food and towards ready-meals, frozen food and junk are now well entrenched. In America as well as in Europe, a more recent reaction to this trend in the form of the organic and slow food movement is well underway.
When was the last time you went on a three hour walk?
Dieting in America is a $20 billion a year industry and we will pay well for the best body in the shortest amount of time. I fall into this trap as quickly as anyone else. In the last year, I have started and stopped Weight Watchers 3 times, joined an expensive monthly gym that I rarely frequent and woken up almost every morning feeling bloated, ugly and dissatisfied with my body.
Like every girl, I have spent a large amount of energy, passion and brain cells trying to calculate the perfect formula for losing weight. However, since I am human, when it comes to dieting, exercise and general wellness, I have many flaws.
Funny then that every time I am in Europe I seem to weigh less. In France, I eat bread and butter, in Italy, I devour pasta and in Germany, I drink beer. Carbs, gluten, SUGAR, I eat and enjoy it all. Really there is only one difference between here and there.
Last week I attempted to translate an Italian legal document. Their hanging adjectives, which in many cases could have referred to either the mother or the daughter, its need to turn one word into twenty (Italian is beautiful, but NOT concise), and its excessive use of Latin phrases, left me with a headache and in need of a stiff drink.
When your head is aching from vague Italian, what a relief it is to then turn to that most unambiguous and methodological language with its never ending list of nouns.