5. Embrace despondency.

January 30, 2014 — Leave a comment

5. Embrace despondency. That’s a “tip” from HOW TO SURVIVE A POLAR VORTEX, ACCORDING TO THE GERMANS, yesterday’s piece in the tongue and cheek Guardian series, Lessons for America, and written by Brittani Sonnenberg, an American expat living in Berlin.

Some of 4. Get Naked appealed to me. I like saunas and the balance between extreme heat and cold. That, and 4. also reminded me that I took a photo a few nights ago of this igloo snow cave structure some neighborhood Hasidic children sculpted outside their apartment building.


I’m a big fan of the Guardian; it’s one of my favorite papers. But overall, the article wasn’t particularly well written or funny. Unfortunate, since the premise is appealing.

You tell me. Maybe it’s actually not below Guardian average and, you, along with everybody else, are actually guffawing up a storm and finding it brilliant and enlightening. Maybe “cozied up next to” isn’t so bothersome to you and the redundancy a non-issue.

I suppose there’s a chance I’m in a cranky mood and need to concede to 5ing. I did call out and am now dedicating time, effort, and an entire post to this subject. And…huh… the first thing I did when I got home (after I peeled away the layers and put the kettle on the stove) was google weather + polar vortex when will it end.

Anyhow, here’s the entry for 5. Embrace despondency, followed by the closing paragraph.

Admit it, it’s a pain to be cheerful. Germans know that Americans are faking it 99% of the time, and they want you to know it’s okay to give up the ghost. Americans can best exercise their sad muscles by indulging in seasonal affective disorders. Don’t buy expensive light therapy products; try turning off all the lights and putting on Joni Mitchell’s River on repeat. Pretty soon, you’ll be that guy with dark purple shadows under your eyes, who weeps when other people say “good morning” or “nice shirt” and likes to spend your free time cozied up next to moldy old suitcases in the basement. That’s when you know you’ve truly learned how to survive winters like a pro. There’s even a name for this enlightened state in German, which is impossible to translate into English: Imkaltenkellernebenmuffigenkoffernwehfreude.

Once you can successfully pronounce this word, and you’ve mastered every tip on the list, you should be fine until spring hits. Which brings, of course, a new challenge: “How to Survive Irritatingly Pleasant Days and Blossom Scented Breezes”, a conundrum that most Northern Europeans have yet to conquer.

I was thinking I should just go to sleep, rest my bruised tailbone from the recent skiing adventure (another point–Oh, she’s in pain, too–to add to winter woes), and let this post sit in draft mode overnight. Nah. I’m done with this Imkaltenkellernebenmuffigenkoffernwehfreude nonsense.



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