Archives for posts with tag: language

I read a disturbing article. It wasn’t really an article, but a profiling piece by a German foundation that helps older women to find jobs.  It said that women over 50 have a hard time finding  jobs when they become unemployed (I think for men it is not that easy either). I have heard this before from other sources but thought it was scare-mongering. I find it hard to believe that a society can discard such a large group and valuable resource by making 50 the cut-off point for participation in working life. When I was still living there, Germany didn’t have a huge culture of volunteer work either. So what are you doing when you are over 50 there? Is it really old age? Do you really have to start preparing for retirement? S-c-a-r-y!

It slowly dawns on me there is no way I could go back to Germany, even if I wanted to. This door is firmly closed. There is, however, this other interesting research I read a while ago, and it has stuck to my mind: In old age, you revert back to your first language, as you will loose the ability to speak your second language. I think old age might become very frustrating for me. Ah well, I always can talk to my puppets!

I use my art to dissect ideas that float around my head. It relaxes me tremendously and helps to solve any difficult issues I have to deal with.

When I was at school, my doodling habits drove my teachers absolutely bonkers. I never finished a period with any sort of usable notes and therefore couldn’t revise at home. In the end I got kicked out of school because my English and French weren’t up to scratch…  Ah well, as time goes by… I wish my English teacher could hear me now.

I am still doodling when I am in meetings, some habits never die! Funnily enough, I can take in conversations much better when I do this. I am pretty sure all the other doodlers out there will agree :)


Last night a friend told me a story about a “family friend”. I can’t remember the actual story, but I suddenly wondered what constitutes a family friend.

I always understood it as someone who knows Mum, Dad, the kids and maybe Granny as well, basically some one who is accepted into the the closer family circle. However last night it occured to me that a family friend might be someone nobody takes responsibility for – and while he is always around, nobody can recall how he actually became a friend. So, it is not really a friend of mum’s or a mate of dad’s, or Ganny’s for that matter. Of course kids call anyone their friend…

With this new interpretation,  I will call Socialite a family friend.


The finished french artist

Here he is: the finished L’artiste. The puppet I showed last week  in progress.

I am pretty sure Deutsch Fraulein will fall in love with him when she meets him. (I will have to say something about her, but this post is about L’artiste).

He doesn’t appear to be unhappy, but when one looks closely at his neck, there are little fish visible (you can’t really see it in this pic, it  is too small). In German we have the saying that “somebody is up to their neck in water” (“Das Wasser bis zum Hals stehen”) if somebody is in trouble. Having the fish around his neck says it all, but he seems to care little about it. This saying, I think, is pretty much the same as “being in deep water” in English. Sink or Swim!

But as a second language speaker, you have to think much more careful about proverbs.

I have written the book in English and wasn’t thinking about the German translation at all at the time. There are a lot of similar sayings in both languages. But one in particular will cause me a lot of trouble, should I translate the book. In English you have “skeletons in the cupboard”. (In the book I moved them to the wardrobe – as my cupboard is too small to accommodate my huge family of skeletons). The Germans have a “body in the cellar”. I had totally forgotten until my brother pointed it out.

Of course a skeleton looks different from a body. Maybe I could get away with it, by saying that my bodies have been in the cellar for a very, veeeery long time.