09 January 2008

Whatever You Call It, It's M-m Good.

So the heat has been off at my house since some time ago. I don't know exactly when because we were in the States at the time, but when we came home from the airport on Sunday the place was positively Arctic. Apparently what happens with these radiant floor systems is that they leak a little bit (?) and over time the amount of water that is missing is replaced with air and both of those things are a problem, too little water and too much air. Because of course, hot air in a tube under your floor won't warm much of anything.

So the landlord came over on Monday and did a little something (bled off the excess air), and said it would be working soon but might take 24 hours for the house to warm up.  So I waited patiently, partly because I am obedient (some would say passive), and partly because my German still sucks and I avoid conversations that must be conducted in German at all costs.  (My landlord speaks English, but not very well, and I speak German, uh, not at all.  Not in any meaningful sense of the word "speak," at any rate.)

Two days later, it was still damn cold in here.  So I called the landlord again, and established with his German-speaking wife that it was still "kalt" in here and could he please come look at it?  So he sent someone over to add water.  Umm.  Might he not have considered the need to add water when he noticed there was too much air on Monday?  Or is that asking too much?

At any rate, in my opinion it is STILL cold in here.  The thermometer in the upstairs bathroom, whose accuracy I have no reason to doubt, reads 14C, or about 57F.  That's not warm, folks!  That's cold.

Luckily, we are flush with blankets and down comforters, so sleeping is not a big problem.  But being awake in a cold house is not pleasant, regardless of wearing sweaters and slippers and the like.  It just isn't.  I don't need the house to feel like the African savannah under a noonday sun; I'd just like it to be warm, okay?

Anyway, the worst part is that I've been down with a nasty cold since we flew back on Sunday.  I truly believe I could have warded off the cold if the house would have been warm, but alas, it was not.

So:  soup!  I have been craving soup.  Any kind of soup would do, of course, but what I really want is homemade chicken soup.  Or Europa's* extra delicious creamy tomato soup, yum.  And I was thinking about how in every language I am familiar with, the word for soup is practically the same.  How many other words can you say that about?  Not many.  Even really common words like cat, dog, house are pretty different if you just look at French, Spanish, and German.  But soup is soup.  In German it's suppa, in French, soupa, in Italian, zuppa, and in Spanish and Portuguese, sopa.

Coincidence?  Or universal word root?  Any linguists out there care to weigh in?  Or, I dunno, anyone who isn't of European extraction want to tell me what soup is in their language?  (I bet it isn't quite the same in Senagalese or Thai, but without any annoying facts to screw up my theory I am batting a thousand.)

Whatever you want to call it, though, it really is m-m good.**

*Europa is the fabulous old-world Italianisch eatery up the street in the little village we live in.  It has a lovely family-friendly atmosphere, and as soon as I stopped expecting the owner to speak Englisch (about the time I learned enough German to order food in) she seems to positively glow when we walk in.  It also has the slowest service on the face of the planet, but the food is absolutely worth the wait.  Make a note, though:  it is not a place to take tired, hungry children.

**With apologies to the nice marketing people at Campbell's soup.

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