Other projects – words and games

Well, scheduled posting is a great thing.

While it seems like I’ve been here all week creating new posts about our time in Bernay-en-Ponthieu, the reality of my life has involved a lot of cleaning my basement. The flood has now been diverted, thanks to a lot of help from a dear friend, and my Dad hiring a contractor to dig a trench from my house out to the lower part of the property. All the posts this week were written last weekend. Today was spent cleaning as much as I could, removing cement dust and emptying dehumidifiers.

It’s nice to be back here, writing in this virtual place.

While the blog this week has focused on what we did together, you might be surprised to learn that I started a few new things on my own (sort of) while in France.

I started two collections:

  1. words
  2. games

The word collection comes from an interaction over breakfast. I hard-cooked some eggs. Ramon (hi, Ramon!) asked if I’d ‘startled’ the eggs – I was completely charmed by the expression! Mentally, I saw eggs that looked a little like this:cold water (blue) being poured on eggs that have startled facesOf course, Ramon was talking about putting cold water over the eggs to cool them rapidly.

It gave me an idea.

The school district I work in has seen a tremendous decline in language programs. I deeply believe that there is so much to learn from other cultures – and a starting point is language. There are words in other languages that we’ve adopted into English (schadenfreude, anyone?) because we simply don’t have a way of expressing those feelings/things any other way.

Meriç (hi, Meriç!) took the time to explain to me that, in Turkish, ‘arkadas’ is ‘friend’. ‘Arka’ means ‘back’ and ‘das’ comes from ‘tas’ meaning rock: that it translates as ‘backrock’. He said, “In the past times people were in war with arrows. Where they were living was central Aegea, all flats, all steppes. They need put their back to stones for protection. The friend supports you as these stones.”

See? I’m completely charmed by this.  Along with that ‘cauliflower’ translates to ‘belly of the spring’ (also Turkish).

And so, I’ve started collecting words. I’ve got an idea for a children’s story, one that would introduce children to the charm of these other points of view – to introduce them (and their parents) to the multiple perspectives that come from learning about other cultures.

The other collection I’ve started is children’s games.

I’d love to create a multi- and cross-cultural collection of games. I have an idea about creating ways to play together so that language is not a barrier. If we can play together, we can learn together. Some of the games I played with others in France were new to me, some were familiar to us all. You might be surprised to learn that you could probably walk on to a school yard in Portugal and play hopscotch without uttering a word in Portuguese.

As people we have these beautiful points of connection.

Our world is so big. This country is so diverse. There are so many forces that can pull us apart. I’d like to spend some real time working on the ones that reveal our commonalities, our humanity – and bring us together.

Until next time,



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