Welcome to our first edition of the Wetherbridge for the 2022 calendar year!

An old colleague and friend introduced me to a new book during the holidays called ‘What a Wonderful Word’ by Nicola Edwards and Luisa Uribe. I have just bought a copy for the School Library, as it is such a good read! This is a handpicked collection of untranslatable words from all over the world which celebrates the magic of language with fascinating facts about each word and the culture it comes from. It features extraordinary words from Swedish, Swahili, Spanish, Japanese, Indonesian, Brazilian Portuguese, Thai, Welsh, and Yiddish cultures, to name a few, so I thought it would be something you would all be interested in reading. We have all been in situations where we wanted to find the word to best describe a moment and this book highlights 30 such words.

For instance, did you know that in Swedish, the word ‘GÖKOTTA’, means to wake up early in the morning so you can go outside to hear the first birds singing? This word literally means ‘early cuckoo morning’. On Ascension Day (apparently the best time of the year to hear the cuckoo’s call), it is traditional for Swedes to go out first thing to hear these birds sing, and perhaps even enjoy a picnic in the fresh air. Additionally, and perhaps rather apt for this time of the year and the recent freeze we have experienced in New York, in Icelandic culture, the word, ‘GLUGGAVEDUR’, literally means weather that looks beautiful while you’re inside, but is much too cold when you step outside! I am sure many of us have experienced that of late and now we have a word for it! Another one made me smile, which is the Scottish word, ‘TARTLE’ which means to hesitate because you have forgotten someone’s name. As much as none of us wish to admit this, I have certainly had a few ‘tartle’ moments over the years!

It is the Hindi word ‘JUGAAD’ which further caught my attention, as this refers to the ability to get by without lots of resources, and find new and creative ways of solving a problem. In Indian culture it is considered important to establish harmony between yourself and the universe and to make peace with chaos and difficulty. The idea of making the best of things is deep-rooted, which I find an inspiring message as we enter a new year and 2022 together. I certainly personally experienced the French word ‘RETROUVAILLES’ during the school holidays on my return to see family and in French culture this word refers to the happiness of being reunited with someone after a long time apart- how lovely. As we look together to the future in 2022, may we use the Thai word, ‘NAM JAI’ (this is one of my favourite from the book, to finish) which refers to the spirit of selfless generosity and kindness and a willingness to make sacrifices for friends and extend hospitality to strangers. There are many more hidden withing this gem of a book – I hope you enjoy it as much as I have this holiday!

Last Friday, we looked at the theme of ‘Role Models’ in Assembly. I wonder who yours are in your life and why? We had some very good contributions from our Grade 4 class, who modelled a good example to our youngest learners at 7E96. We talked about what makes a good role model and where the children might be role models in their lives already, without realising. With a passion and ability to inspire others, with a clear set of values, with a commitment to community, with an ability to overcome hurdles and obstacles and with a selflessness and true acceptance of others, it strikes me that we already have many figure heads within our school and family community who embody the characteristics of valued role models. If nothing more, which is a good message for the New Year and on Martin Luther King Jr Day (as I type this article), these role models remind us that all ideas and goals are possible, no matter how impossible they may seem, and that asking for help and working together towards an end goal can only bring success. Whilst we are here together, we look forward to seeing you at the first 2022 Family Assembly on Friday 28th January on Zoom at 9am and I hope as many of you can attend this special event, as possible.