Friday, March 28, 2014

Swedish word/phrase of the week - Elma edition

This is a special Swedish word/phrase of the week because it features a phrase that I'm not entirely sure is commonly used, or even used at all, by anyone other than my friend Elma. But it has stuck in my head since last summer when we were teaching a lindy hop class together based around changing roles and improvisation. 

The world was unfortunate enough to lose Elma in January this year. I'm still trying to understand that she's not around anymore. I will be writing a bit about her to try and let the wider world get a sense of how amazing she was and how catastrophic losing her has been. But I want to start here, with a phrase that I learned from her and will always remember.

Det kittlas så skönt i själen

Direct translation : It tickles so beautifully in the soul

Translation that is a bit more idiomatically English in nature: I'm so delightfully tickled by this, deep down in my soul

I want to quickly tell you the story of how I came to learn this phrase. As I mentioned, last summer Elma and I taught an intermediate lindy hop course over a weekend. I say we, but I was mostly there as Elma's sidekick. When we met up to plan the classes, she had already determined most of what was going to happen and we just had to fine tune the details. 

One of the exercises she wanted to do in this class was something she had learned from an improv workshop she had attended. It was a kind of team building exercise (as much as I hate to use that term because it sounds wanky and Elma was anything but wanky). 

Here's the exercise, everyone stands in a circle, relatively close together. One person starts by clenching their fists and putting both hands into the circle and saying loudly "Maaaaaaaaa". Each person adds their "Maaaa" and fists to the circle in turn until everyone is doing it. Once the group feels that are at the end of their breath, they bring their hands in by their sides and finish the word together, ".......zunga".  

I have a very clear vision in my head of this Mazunga we did at that workshop. I can see Elma smiling, holding her hand to her chest and saying "Det kittlas så skönt i själen". And she was right. As much as I am generally not a fan of these kind of things because I feel like a bit of a dick, having Elma lead it and being involved did tickle me. It felt good and I left that weekend in awe of Elma and her ability to bring a group of people together and infect others with her joy. 

1 comment:

Inge Kearney said...

She sounded a lovely person.