This is where I list some of my favourite words and phrases. I think of them like stones found on a beach. Some are recent discoveries, while others are treasures I've cherished for decades.
Babushka: Russian. Old woman. Such a vivd word that I used only with deep respect. It brings to mind a poor woman wearing a chin-tied headscarf. I imagine gold teeth, mismatched clothes and absolute wisdom etched upon the crease-lines of her face.
Brotloße Kunst: German, Derogatory description for the pursuit of art. Literally means "breadless art."
Carapace: A tough exterior to protect soft insides. Think: bike helmets or turtle shells. But, it can also apply to ways we protect emotional vulnerabilities.
Gobsmacked: A feeling of shock. Often leaves one speechless. Always unexpected.
Insouciant: A casual lack of concern. Good word for describing dictators like Stalin or Hitler. Discovered it recently while reading Laurence Rees' 2021 book, Hitler and Stalin.
Natschalnick or nachal'nik or hachal'nik: (Russian) Means leader or boss in Russian. It was how my mom and other Germans referred to their Soviet superiors.
Sammeltassen: (German) Collection of mismatched teacups and saucers.
Schadenfreude: A German word used by English speakers. Means joy at another's pain.
Sehnsucht: (German) A yearning sort of like homesickness without a cure. Sailors have Sehnsucht for the sea, and then at sea they have Sehnsucht for land. It might be one of my most favourite words.
Starosta: (Slavic): female term for a leader (male form: starost). My mom said they called her the starosta while in the Ural POW camp because she was older and could speak Russian. As a child, I thought of the word meant she was a 'star' and liked thinking that she could have once been such a bright little light.
Taphophile: Someone interested in graveyards and headstones. (Who knew there was a name for this!)
Vergangenheitsbewältigung: 25 letters long! The struggle of coming to understand an unpleasant past. (Modern Germany dealing with its Second World War guilt.) Vergangenheitsbewältigung: Something I'm been trying to do with my own stories created from family's history.