roxanawrites

Words are delicious.

Category: Love

Writersbootcampza #2 – Five of my favourite words

Gezellig

(Adjective, Dutch)

I lived in Rotterdam, Holland for one year, working as a live-in au pair. This word is my teleportation device – back in time, across the world.

It’s an experience I struggle to explain.

You’re in a small restaurant. It’s a late winter’s afternoon. It’s -7 degrees outside but you’re comfortable. It’s warm and inquisitive rays of sun offer a gentle glow. You have five of your best humans around you. The conversation is so authentic it makes you feel like you’ve never been alone and never will be.

You get up from the table to take a phone call. Before you rejoin, you stop. You choose a moment of witness. Perspective. You see what you were a part of, what’s about to consume you again. And it’s difficult to tell whether you love your friends or whether you are, in fact, in love with everyone one of them.

Gezelligheid.

Ennui

I once went on a really bad date. Well, I’ve been on a few. But only one is relevant right now.
The next day I was talking to a friend about it online. Explaining how I know I should be attracted to this Adonis of a man and that we have a lot in common and he’s so shy it’d be more comfy hanging out with Gollum.

He was asking for details of the evening and how I felt about how things went.

I was about to launch into a tirade of typing, using all the adjectives (bad form), saying everything.
Then, in a moment of expansion, I realised my position on the experience could be comprehensively summed up with one word: Ennui.

So that’s all I typed. My friend’s questions abated. All of them having been answered with five letters.

Yasas!

In the winter of 2013 I had the greatest holiday of my life with dear friends in Ithaca an island to the west of Greece.

Yasas. It’s colloquial. It’s ‘hi, howzit, hello’.

It’s also fun to say as a South African because of our unaware penchant for liberally sprinkling ‘jussus’ into our daily banter. Like it’s a condiment for bland language.

The word makes me happy. It reminds me of flopping from the too-hot, too-bright outside into a consequentially too-dark tiny shop at the top of a hill. A post-swim break en route home. “Yasas!” says everyone in varying degrees of breathlessness. “Yasas!” the Greeks smile.

It’s time for ice-cream.

Aum

Aum is supposed to be the frequency that the universe vibrates at. When you say/chant it correctly (most don’t) it’s a worthwhile experience.

Breathe deep into your belly. Now make the sound “aw’ from that same part of your belly for a few seconds.

Then move up your body and get a “ooh” sound vibing from your chest and up into your throat. Finally, move onto a “mmm” sound from your mouth with your lips closed. Your lips should tickle and, (don’t freak out) so should your third eye.

How peaceful.

Solipsistic

Russell Brand is the reason I know this word. I enjoy his intellect (and his face). He uses it often in his books, comedy and interviews.

Solipsism is a philosophy that the self – one’s own mind – is all that can be known to exist.
It’s a lonely idea. Narcissistic too.

That’s why I like the word so much. It’s contrary to what it captures. It’s not its definition. It’s pleasurable to say. All those serpentine s-sounds and the hiccupping ‘ip’, ‘is’, and ‘ic’.

You can roll it around in your mouth like a cherry Fizz Pop. The word being the saccharine mantle, the definition the effervescing sherbet.

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Jozi Hearts Us

Most of us have a love-hate-love-love relationship with Johannesburg. For the most part, things evolve in a predictable and entirely doable manner. It begins with meeting, mating and perhaps a puff of Mary Jane in high school, differentiation and drug dabbling in the tertiary years and then, rather unfortunately, reconciliation and responsibility-taking for the latter as we inhabit our mid-to-late twenties.

The wonderful thing about our city is that amid the high-speed rush that is growing up in a flux of intense passion-pain experiences, Joburg provides us with ubiquitous incidents that allow for a certain sense of security.

Here’s a list of the top seven experiences Joburg uses to provide us with a (sometimes disguised) sense of belonging and stability.

1. OMG, my car is still here

There is something superior about that overwhelming sense of relief one feels when walking out of a bar/restaurant/shop and seeing your car still parked, windows intact, where you left it. *This experience cannot be put into words, it has to be felt.

2. Cardinal points

If you dare drive further than 10km from your house it is as if you have teleported to some dodgy, overseas destination. You know people are speaking English but you cannot understand them, they dress funny, listen to bad music and their goal in life is to own a Tuscan Villa cluster in Lonehill. Vom.

3. You are always beautiful

Whether you’re dressed to the nines, still in last night’s clothes, or in your pajamas, sick as a dog, and on the way to the doc, you will be hard pressed to find a robot to stop at where you won’t be recognised as Miss South Africa or Mama Africa (although I’m not so sure about the latter, I thought it was reserved for Miriam). I do realise we all own the same title and that it would still be bestowed upon me if I was a troll but it’s kinda nice in that I-know-you’re-talking-crap-but-I-like-it-so-do-continue way.

4. Nobody is a stranger

You have at least one mutual friend (sometimes even a family member) in common with everybody that you come into contact with. It is pretty rad, if you don’t think about it to deeply, and allow it to just mean that you have a piece, however tiny, of common ground to kick-off a conversation from. If you are a thinker though, you will quickly realise that this also means that most of us have shared spit, among other things. Eew.

5. Ever present encouragement to do better

There is always somebody that’s cooler than you. Somebody that makes you make yourself dress better, improve your taste in music and try form your own, educated opinions on current matters, be they politics, music, woman or one night stands. It is cool to have your own opinion, and most people (the intelligent ones – the only ones who matter really) are always keen on hearing it.

6. Perfect balance

Truth be told, Joburg isn’t the easiest city to try and make it in. Sometimes our efforts are in vain and we become as disillusioned with life as politicians are with people who tell the truth. But the wonderful thing is that in the very moment we are buying our ticket to down-and-out-ville somebody is busy remembering why life is wonderful and they are generally just the pick me up one needs.

7. The shock-factor has been reversed

Pink hair, piercings and a plethora of tattoos wont really get you a second look (unless you go to Lonehill – but why would you do that?). Dare step out in a faded tracksuit and boring hairstyle and everyone will wonder. People want to know that you’re having fun and the deduction that if you dress boring then your life must be boring is quickly and irreversibly made (old folks shopping at PnP are exempt, of course).