Last week I went to visit my doctor (Dr. Sieben, or “Seven” as it means in English) for a preemptive cancer screening. The week prior I’d been summoned in to have blood drawn so they could test my thyroid, and this was my sit-down with the doctor to discuss the results. (They’re all about preventative health care here, and I appreciate everything about that.)
After he called me in to his office, one of the first things he asked me (after the reassurance that my results were fine and my blood pressure, may I just boast, was “perfection”) was about cancer in my family. In other words, who had it and what type did they have, etc.
I told him about my aunt’s breast cancer and then moved on to my uncle.
“Er hat…” I hesitated, “Schildkroete gehabt.”
Even as I said Schildkroete, I knew it wasn’t the right word. This happens a lot when at doctor’s appointments, simply because new vocabulary (in the form of symptoms or illnesses) come up all the time.
I was searching for the German word for ‘lung’ and it only occurred to me after ‘Schildkroete’ came out of my mouth that the word meant ‘thyroid.’
I’ve learned a few stomach-flu related German words this week. Diarrhea is ‘durchfall’ which literally means ‘to fall through.’ So logisch, this German language. “Kotzen” is to puke. Anyway, now you’re all set in case you visit and get sick. 🙂
We’ve all taken a turn with it since Monday and since I’ve been feeling so funky, my thoughts have reached out to other things that generally make me want to vomit. Like, canned green beans. (The fresh ones are fine.)
Another one that comes to mind is student teaching. I’ve been reflecting on that a lot, lately, and I’m not sure why.
At the time, I was twenty-four years old. Talking to a class full of students terrified me. And, you know, that’s sort of a thing you need to feel okay with if you’re in the profession.
It’s funny to think that exactly one year ago, today, I had an outie belly-button and constant Restless Leg Syndrome.
(Just in case you’re not familiar with RLS, it’s related to the nervous system and causes this constant urge to move your legs. Mostly at night, sadly, when all you want to do is relax.)
I’ve tried to explain to Todd what it feels like and the best I can come up with is this: imagine high powered fizz from a pop/soda rushing up and down through the veins of your legs.
The only thing that temporarily alleviates the sensation is to move. But, the moment you stop–that fizz starts back up. Slowly at first, and then gradually to a more nuclear fizz the longer you try to keep your legs still.
Pop fizz in the veins for at least four months straight. It drove me completely insane.
I take the giving of gifts seriously. In a way it’s a personal challenge—can I pick out a present that’ll be rewarded with the oh, WOW, I didn’t even know that I wanted this! But I do!
My favorite is when the gift is for someone who isn’t expecting much of me. Maybe we don’t know each other well, or they didn’t ask for anything in particular so they assume I couldn’t possibly have picked out something they really want.
Now, just because I care about gift giving doesn’t mean I’m any good at it. Sometimes I’m really “on” when it comes to what I pick out, but just as often I’m completely, well, off. People are too polite to say they don’t like their present, but it’s obvious. And it bothers me.
It takes me back to a fiasco back in second grade at summer day camp.
I’m not really the international criminal “type,” per se.
Not that I’m a total angel, either—I’ve definitely had my moments (mostly in my late teens/early twenties) that make me look back now and say, “Whaaaaaat was I thinking?!”
Adulthood, expat life and teaching have brought out a more outgoing version of me. But, at my core, I don’t think I’ve ever fully shaken that timid, over-the-top obedient child I once was. I was the one voted “Most Likely To Be A Librarian” in the class yearbook. Every. Single. Year. I don’t think people knew me well enough to vote any other way.
Throughout childhood I spent a lot of time at the local fire hall with my best friend at the time. (Her dad was a volunteer fireman.) She invited another friend to join us, once, and I was so shy that the girl finally came over, poked me in the arm (not in a mean way—she was just genuinely curious) and asked, “Are you mute?”
Quite a few people have asked where we came up with our eight month old daughter’s name—Laken.
I wish we had some super cool story with loads of meaning and an ancestor or two thrown in, but that isn’t the case (sadly!) To be very honest, I first heard the name when I was teaching in London. One of my colleagues was named Laken, and I fell in love with it the second I heard it. Any time she was mentioned at faculty meetings or in the hallway, I found myself rolling the name over my tongue again and again. It just had such a good sound to it—no matter whose voice said it.
Like all parents, Todd and I took our duty to name a human being very seriously. We wanted something that was unique and yet not impossible to pronounce or spell. Since that seemed a tad broad as a starting point, we added the requirement that it be Irish (for no other reason than just because Todd loves Ireland so much) and we both had to be 100% in support of it. Period. No compromises.
Todd’s initial pick for a name was Ireland. I just couldn’t give that big a tribute to the country, so we kept thinking.