Gezelligheid Gesundheit

credit: Henk van Ruitenbeek

credit: Henk van Ruitenbeek

They are not the same thing at all of course – I just like odd titles.  One is a dutch noun (see below) and one is a german word for health, contrary to my initial impression that it is interchangeable with Bless You following a sneeze.  Gezelligheid has no one word English translation.  This is perhaps one of the reasons why English-speaking people talk so bloody much – it takes us twenty words to say what other more concise people blurt out in one.


gezelligheid (Photo credit: rhodes)

Thanks to rarasaur and Prompts for the Promptless for another great suggestion which has me wandering off on nonsensical word association tangents.

Gezelligheid is a Dutch noun meaning the comfort and coziness of being at home, with friends, with loved ones or general togetherness.  Gezellig is an adjective that the noun is based on and can mean cosy or inviting, entertaining or pleasant, fun, pretty or nice.

I tried to look up the pronunciation and found this –  Dutch pronunciation: [ɣəˈzɛləɣɦɛit] – which for me was not all that helpful in boosting my confidence for using the word any time soon in polite conversation.  And that’s too bad, because it’s a wonderful word.

On Sunday I’m leaving for a holiday to visit my sisters, sister-in-law and their families – whoever isn’t scared off by my impending visit.  They’re a pretty brave bunch, so I expect to see most of them.  It doesn’t really matter what we do, because aside from the fact that I’m happy just to be away from work for awhile,  it’s the general togetherness with family, the catching up, the shared memories and the laughter and fun that count.  There will be the usual nostalgia involved in missing our parents (they’ve been gone five years) because they were always the central focus of every visit, the heart that the rest of us revolved around.  And now I have no big brother to welcome me either.  The changes sneak up on us and turn our world upside down for awhile,  but they also make us wildly appreciate what we still have, and treasure the time we have right now to spend with each other.

Maybe the most gezellig thing of all is that our family has grown too.  I have a beautiful great niece and two great nephews, the latest one just 3 months old.  My sister told me to get prepared for an overdose of cute.  I don’t know – can you overdose on that?  I guess I’m about to find out.

Reading Material

Reading Material (Photo credit: jgarber)

Gezelligheid to me is also my treasured home alone time.  Is it selfish to love it so much?  Probably. But I’m perfectly content with a good book, a hot cup of coffee or a cold glass of wine, nowhere to go, nothing else to do.

I like the silence, the peace and quiet, the no rules, no schedule, lazy doing whatever I please days all to myself.  I am a self diagnosed gezellig book wino.   I don’t even care if there’s no one around to bless me when I sneeze.