Why a Schmetterling?

Better yet, why a blog? A few of you have suggested I keep a blog to document my exploits in Germany/Poland/France/USA/wherever I happen to be. Putting together an email to my friends and family today, I realised I had way too much to say than I could possibly write in a single email.

I hereby faithfully promise to keep this blog updated weekly (unlike this blog about Canada that was abandoned shortly after birth: http://canstud.wordpress.com/)

Schmetterling (rightly, der Schmetterling) is German for butterfly. I would like to say that I chose it because it’s the most ridiculous of German words, but any one who has ever studied German knows there are far worse (Sehenswurdigkeit, fahrt, Keuschheitsgürtel, and Fahrrad fahren come to mind). Indeed, Sehenswurdigkeit, meaning a sight, might have also been an appropriate name for this blog.

What I love about the word butterfly is that it’s different in every language, even in latin languages that often closely resemble each other: papillon (fr), mariposa (sp) and farfalla (ital) have little to do with each other. Each culture and language is unique in how they think about butterflies. For example, the French have created a verb out of papillon. Papilloner (passer d’une chose ou d’une personne à une autre, sans s’attarder sur aucune), translates into flitting around in English, moving on from one thing to another, without paying much attention to any of it. In other words, papilloner is an excellent metaphor for my life right now.

I’ve just arrived in Jacksonville Florida from Berlin and promise to write more about the craziness of Americaland soon. Pictures too!

Until then,

Der Schmetterling sieht die Sehenswurdigkeiten.

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One Response

  1. Nice first post! Looking forward to updates, papilloner. 🙂

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