My Year in Yiddish (week 10)

This week I am relying on Yiddish jokes and sayings to make sense of life. Actually the joke below started out in English. Does translating it into Yiddish mean it is now a Yiddish joke? Something to ponder. (It probably depends on how you tell it?)

Did you hear about the restaurant on the moon?
It has wonderful food but no atmosphere!

Hot ir gehert vegn dem restoran af der levone?
Er hot vunderlekh esn ober nisht keyn atmosfer!

?האָט איר געהערט וועגן דעם רעסטאָראַן אויף דער לבֿנה
!ער האָט װוּנדערלעך עסן אָבער נישט קיין אַטמאָספֿער

Source: Laugh Out Loud Jokes for Kids by Rob Elliot (2010).
(Translation into Yiddish by yours truly!)

One of the things that initially drew me to Yiddish was the great sense of permission to not hold back on talking about the things that feel difficult in life. Nearly two and half months in to my Yiddish diary, here is one of those moments. Not sure why it took me quite so long…

Today everything felt difficult.
Haynt hob ikh zikh gefilt az alts iz shver.
הײַנט האָב איך זיך געפֿילט אַז אַלץ אַיז שװער‪.

The birds are sitting on the branches, singing about spring.
Di feygl zitsn af di tsvaygn zingen vegn dem friling.
.די פֿײגל זיצן אויף די צװײַגן זינגען װעגן דעם פֿרילינג‬ ‬

‪The artwork for these pages is inspired by one of my favourite art books ever: Imagine a Forest by Dinara Mirtalipova.

It’s been two years since I’ve been away from home.
Just thinking about going somewhere makes me feel anxious.
A Yiddish saying: “It is good everywhere but home is better.”*

Shoyn tsvey yorn lang zint kh’bin geforn vayt fun der heym.
Nor batrakhtn zikh vegn ergets forn makht mikh umruik.
A Yidish vertl: “Umetum iz gut un in der heym iz beser.

שוין צװײ יאָרן לאַנג זינט כ’בין געפֿאָרן װײַט פֿון דער הײם.
נאָר באַטראַכטן זיך װעגן ערגעץ פֿאָרן מאַכט מיך אומרויִק.
אַ ייִדיש װערטל: “אומעטום איז גוט און אין דער הײם איז בעסער.”

*Source: Words Like Arrows, a collection of Yiddish folk sayings compiled by Shirley Kumove.

Recently, I’ve been waking up earlier than the alarm.
Time for some morning meditation.
A Yiddish saying: “Life is no more than a dream – but don’t wake me up.”*

Do nisht lang, hob ikh zikh oyfgevekt nokh frier forn veker.
S’iz tsayt af der frimorgndiker meditatsie.
A Yidish vertl: “Dos lebn iz nit mer vi a kholem ober vek mikh nit af!”

דאָ נישט לאַנג, האָב איך זיך אויפֿגעװעקט נאָך פֿריִער פֿאַרן װעקער.
ס’איז צײַט אויף דער פֿרימאָרגנדיקער מעדיטאַציע.
אַ ייִדיש װערטל: “דאָס לעבן איז ניט מער װי אַ חלום אָבער װעק מיך ניט אויף!”

*Source: ‘Words Like Arrows’, a collection of Yiddish folk sayings compiled by Shirley Kumove.

I constructed a timeline of the TV shows we’ve been watching. Alfred the Great: ‘The Last Kingdom’ takes place in the 9th century, soon after ‘Vikings’ ends. I star in both shows! 

Ikh hob oysgeboyt a tsaytplan fun di programen vos mir hobn oyfgekukt. Alfred der Gevaldik: ‘Dos Letster Kinigraykh’ pasirt inem nayntn yorhundert, bald nokh endikt zikh ‘Vikingen’. Ikh bin der shtern fun beyde programen!

איך האָב אויסגעבויט אַ צײַטפּלאַן פֿון די פּראָגראַמען וואָס מיר האָבן אויפֿגעקוקט. אַלפֿרעד דער געוואַלדיקער: ׳דאָס לעצטע קיניגרײַך׳ פּאַסירט אינעם נײַנטן יאָרהונדערט, באַלד נאָך ענדיקט זיך ׳װיקינגען׳. איך בין דער שטערן פֿון בײדע פּראָגראַמען!

Note: My drawing of Alfred the Great is inspired by the Byzantine-style ikon of Alfred the Great by PadreDelElToro (cc. Wikimedia Commons)

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