“Experimentierfreudig, pflichtvergessen und angstfrei”

Finding pleasure in experimenting, forgetting about what you “ought” to do, and being free of fear.

From Zeit’s profile of a 61-year-old Irishwoman who just spent a year as an Erasmus student in Berlin.

In her blog, Lulu Sinnott described discovering a city but also what it felt like to be totally free for the first time in her life. And the atmosphere in a Berlin pub when Germany won the World Cup.

“Since I was sunbathing at the many lakes in Berlin, trying out all the groovy cafes and dancing as often as I could, I endlessly postponed the finishing of the school work I had to do, and ended up doing all the work in the final week. I couldn’t believe myself. I’m the person who hands essays in early usually, who never risks having to get an extension, who spends her weekends at the desk. Will I be able to revert to being a swot again? Having a completely laid-back semester has changed me in some way, made me less anxious about results in general, since they are all a ridiculous fiction anyhow.”

(Exp ear ee meant EAR froy dichh,   flichht fair GESS en   oont   angst FRY.)

Glücklich

1) Happy, and 2) having good luck. The U.S. family name “Glick” probably was originally Glück or Glueck, meaning happiness or good luck.

(GLICK lichh.)

Reiseberichte, Reisebeschreibungen

“Travel reports,” “travel descriptions.” Travelogues, books and stories that share a wanderer’s experiences, discoveries, places and times.

From a recent travel article in Spiegel-Online:

“Iran has sensational sights to go and see. The monuments to the poets, the gardens in Shiraz, the oasis idylls of Yazd, the mosques in Isfahan, all were on my itinerary. But then I kept meeting so many wonderful people, whose stories were much more interesting than those narrated by historic stone walls.”

(WRY zeh beh RICK teh,   WRY zeh beh SHRY boong en.)

Alltagsgeschichte

“History of everyday life,” history of ordinary people and ordinary things they did and made. Alltag in the present is considered rather gray and oppressive in a special way in Germany, at an intensity only made possible by festivals, so another English explanation of Alltagsgeschichte might be history of the LDG, loathsome daily grind, rather than of DWM, dead white males.

Most people who ever lived have been forgotten. The ordinary events in their ordinary lives might have been considered the most unworthy of documentation because ubiquity gives an air of permanence, because the literate few didn’t know how normal people lived or because chroniclers wanted to erase or deny aspects of it. Accidents are thus the source of much of the little we know in Alltagsgeschichte and related branches of historical study. Such as the preservation of medieval clothing cast aside in mountain salt mines, the preservation of Stone Age bodies in Alpine glacier ice, the Viking custom of sacrificing things valuable to them in anaerobic peat bogs. It took an unusual event to bring details of common people’s lives into written forms that were preserved: in witch trial documents clerks wrote down where women were and what they were doing when bedeviled, old coroner’s reports contain information about peasant work, Samuel Pepys’s diary is a unique source of day-to-day detail, and Ken Starr’s report accidentally tells us more about White House routine than any political memoire. Anything that causes secret services to violate people’s rights to privacy will record details of everyday life otherwise lost to posterity. On a lighter note, today’s Bundestagsfloskeln websites, where people can submit examples of classic German parliamentary speech phrases, real or “pastiche,” are accidentally excellent teaching aids to people unfamiliar with parliamentary democracy or the intense German “discussion” tradition.

One wonders what technology, customs and rules might lead to a future Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy-type encyclopedia in which important events are narrated in 3D video with realistically embarrassing detail.

(OLL togs geh SHICHH teh.)

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