source: Pop Chart Lab (larger zoomable version available)
My first exposure to the concept of coffee was the sight, sound and smell of my parents’ percolator in the 1970s. Through the eyes of youth, this percolator seemed like an industrial marvel. It weighed what seemed to be 56 pounds (25.4 kilos) and made a lot of intermittent whooshing noise. It was a mechanical whale. The drama of it all sadly ended in the 80s when they “upgraded” to a drip coffee maker called “Mr. Coffee” made of cheap plastic. It offered no excitement to speak of.
Coffee was a morning beverage in our family. An exception was made if we had people over for a weekend dinner in which case they would be offered a cup with their dessert. By Swedish standards, the coffee of my youth could be described as “coffee flavored tea”. Despite my addition of copious dairy and sugar, I never really got into it, not even during my initial university years when one needs the caffeine to pull all-nighter study sessions.
Until, that is, I rediscovered the drama of coffee during a semester abroad in France. I quickly assimilated to morning café crème and after meal espressos. I then worked in a bohemian suburban Chicago café for a year. This is where I learned to steam a perfect milk froth and discovered my espresso shot limit (9).
If I come to your home and you graciously offer me a cup of regular coffee, I will most likely politely turn you down and ask if it is possible to have a cup of tea instead. If however we are in a metropolitan area and fall upon a café with an imposing, chrome-plated machine churning out espresso and steamed milk concoctions with foreign names, I’m totally in. The inflated price of these types of beverages (especially in Stockholm) only adds to my pleasure. Note that Starbucks is a last resort. I prefer more authentic ritual if I can get it.
“Just like facts and flies, English words have life-spans. Some are thousands of years old from before English officially existed, others change or are replaced or get ditched entirely. Here are 18 uncommon or obsolete words that we think may have died early.”
Read on: Are You a Spermologer?
My last two entries have gotten me thinking of home. I grew up in New Hampshire just over the Massachusetts border about an hour’s drive north of Boston. I first included a nod to my fellow Boston-area peeps with my Harvard/Hahvahd interpretation in “Global Dexterity“, then there was my St. Patrick’s Day post. The Boston area is home to the highest concentration of Irish-Americans in all of the United States which means that St. Patrick’s Day is big where I come from whether you are Irish or not.
In honor of my little corner of the world, here are a few tips of how you too can sound like you come from the Boston area of New England.
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SWEDISH/ENGLISH FALSE FRIENDS
Sign up to Cyntactic’s mailing list to receive occasional tips and course offering updates. In return, you will immediately get a list of common Swedish/English False Friends - words that sound and look similar between our languages but don’t really mean what you think they mean - for free. Free stuff - who doesn’t have time for that?