Yoghurt Voice

Me as the Happy Yoghurt Baby

Me as the Happy Yoghurt Baby

Yoghurt is a thing in my life. Has always been. I have loved yoghurt since I was a little girl in Heidelberg, asking my mom to buy hazelnut yoghurt from Ehrmann for me. I was so young it did not even weird me out that this yoghurt company’s claim was “Ehrmann – no one turns me on more”. (I hope they have abandoned that yoghortic slogan now.) At work, some of us usually go to the supermarket before lunch and I usually do not because I am either on the phone discussing seating plans for hours and/or have food with me. But I almost always want a yoghurt. People are very helpful and get me a yoghurt (even though only my direct co-worker is a real Helenic Yoghurt Connoisseur who gets me when I say, “Anything but cherry”.) The thing is they do not want to be reimbursed because yoghurt only costs some cents. For some reason – not on purpose – I have managed to always ask a different person so now I have eaten at least 5 free yoghurts. I have brought up the idea of creating a yoghurt account to which I contribute money.

When I read up the weird names of conference rooms to my co-worker (“peach”, “date”, “pear”), she said I had a voice that could totally be in a yoghurt commercial. I would be the perfect person to talk while the fresh fruits were graciously falling into the white yoghurt. “Other people are hand models and you’re the voice woman”, she said. I think that was a compliment. And, I mean, at least I can identify with yoghurt buyers, right?

Library Love

The impressive Stockholm Central Library (Photo Simon Paulin/imagebank sweden)

The impressive Stockholm Central Library (Photo Simon Paulin/imagebank sweden)

Remember how I suffered from the excruciating heat during my first weeks in Dizzel? Well, it seems that this town only offers two kinds of weather: burning heat or pouring rain. In the last week, I came home rain-drenched twice. And when I say rain-drenched, I mean completely wet to the bone.

Raininess does add to the mysfaktor/Gemütlichkeitsfaktor though – if you’re inside with a lit candle and a hot cup of tea. And – yes, a good book. Yesterday, I registered at the public library.

Libraries and me have history. We go way back. Some of my very first memories is the children’s section at Heidelberg’s public library. There was a dragon of some sort and a kind of reading arena (do I remember this correctly, mom?) and it was wonderful there.

Actually, I’ve gone through various public libaries in my life. In the small village where I went to primary school, I read through all the shelves. (They were rather limited numbers of shelves, to be fair.) In the small town we moved next, I was a frequent visitor in both the school library (with great enthusiasm, I read all of “Malory Towers” (“Dolly” in German) and “St Clare’s” (“Hanni und Nanni”) and we reenacted their Midnight Parties) and the so-called Catholic library (where the biography of a terrorist made the biggest impression on me).

Düsseldorf Library

Düsseldorf Library

As I moved to Bremen to study, I got to enjoy a large and most beautifully designed library. When my mom came to visit, we would plan spending an afternoon there, leaving with heaps of books. After relocating to Stockholm, I devoured all the Swedish literature I could finally access so easily. The Stockholm Central Library is a piece of architecural art, and the branches in the parts of the city are so many that it was never more than 10 minutes to walk to a library. They even have a library in the subway – so convenient! There, you could take “literature to go” with you in a paper bag that had “crime” or “love” written on it and preselected books in it.

Graduation Day, me in front of the Carolina Rediviva

Graduation Day, me in front of the Carolina Rediviva

In Uppsala, the dignified National and University Library Carolina Rediviva became my second home and I wrote my entire thesis in the cozy Karin Boye Library. Each Monday night, I would go to the local public library close to my student dorm and meet Janne and Britt, two eldery Swedes, who would practice language skills with me. The concept is called Medspråk and the library kindly hosted it. (I also took the opportunity to borrow a children’s book series on Queen Kristina there.)

Only in Hamburg, I never set foot into the library. In retrospective, this worries me because I kind of believe in the (allegedly Chinese) saying, “After three day without reading, one’s speech becomes tasteless.” I hope no one was bothered by my potentially tasteless speech.

So yesterday I took the important step to register at the Düsseldorf Library. It is squeezed between the main railway station, some weird sculptures, and the Consulate of Greece. I had very little time (and actually the last book of Moberg’s distinguished “Emigrants” series left to finish) but I remembered hearing recommendations about Donna Tartt who only publishes one book per decade and blows the critics away every time.

So now it’s me, the rain and “The little friend” for October.

The Swedish Queen and I

Queen Silvia Photo: Julia Hetta, The Royal Court, Sweden

Queen Silvia
Photo: Julia Hetta, The Royal Court, Sweden

When Swedes want to compliment me on my language skills, they very often say, “I can’t believe you are German. You don’t sound like Queen Silvia at all!” As I have learned, most of her subjects do not like the accent with which their queen speaks and while I can understand it is somewhat funny that a professional interpreter did not manage to acquire a language perfectly, I still think that Silvia has saved the Swedish monarchy with her regal elegance and her clever sense of discretion.

Language matters aside, Silvia and I happen to strangely share quite some things. Actually, it feels like they keep getting more. We already share the very first thing in our lives: the birthplace. Both Silvia and I were born in the picturesque city of Heidelberg. Also, both of us were born to a German and a non-German parent, resulting in a somewhat darker appearance than the average German. And now guess what? The Queen of Sweden moved, just like me, to Düsseldorf once. In 1963, she graduated from Luisen-Gymnasium in Düsseldorf, a school which happens to me right next to where I lived my first 6 weeks here. And does it even surprise you that both Silvia and I attended an all-girls-school?

I hope Hamburg wins the bid on the Olympic Games and becomes host city 2024 because obviously that’s where I should find love to following the Silvia-path, right?