Saturday, August 2, 2008

I'm Giving It A "Ken Ayina Hora"

For those of you who may not know it, I am a MOT ("Member of the Tribe" aka, Jewish). My grandmother (I called her my "nonny") used to speak yiddish. What is yiddish, you ask? The Yivo Institute for Jewish Research defines Yiddish as follows:

"Yiddish was the vernacular language of most Jews in Eastern and Central Europe before World War II. Today, it is spoken by descendants of those Jews living in the United States, Israel, and other parts of the world. The basic grammar and vocabulary of Yiddish, which is written in the Hebrew alphabet, is Germanic. Yiddish, however, is not a dialect of German but a complete language—one of a family of Western Germanic languages, that includes English, Dutch, and Afrikaans. Yiddish words often have meanings that are different from similar words in German. The term "Yiddish" is derived from the German word for "Jewish." The most accepted (but not the only) theory of the origin of Yiddish is that it began to take shape by the 10th century as Jews from France and Italy migrated to the German Rhine Valley. They developed a language that included elements of Hebrew, Jewish-French, Jewish-Italian, and various German dialects. In the late Middle Ages, when Jews settled in Eastern Europe, Slavic elements were incorporated into Yiddish."

Anyway, I'm not quite sure how great Nonny's Yiddish was, but she passed some choice words and phrases onto my mom, who in turn, passed some choice words and phrases on to me. One of my favorites is "Ken Ayina Hora." I don't know the correct way to pronounce it, but Nonny taught me to say it like "kunn-a-horrie." The "kunn" we pronounced as in "country." The "a" was pronouced like the "uh" in "duh," and the "horrie" rhymes with the name "Morrie." To shorten it, we just say "kunna."

What does it mean? Well, I have a feeling that once you know it, you will use it all the time. Gene does. . . I think it is one of his favorite yiddisha expressions. I believe literally it means "without the evil eye," which is to say "not to jinx it." So when Gene might say, hypothetically, "Wow, I can't believe we have almost made it all the way from Florida to Colorado without one single car problem," I might respond, "Don't give it a kunna." If I were to say, "My back feels great and I've lifted like 30 boxes today," Gene might respond "Don't give it a kunna." And so if you are going to use the word "kunna," it will always be preceeded with "don't give it a." I'm sure there are other uses for the expression, but this is the way I learned.

And so, this brings me to the relevance of that phrase to this blog posting. Things have been going SO great here. Portland is absolutely beautiful. I love our house. The movers were so nice. In fact, everyone is incredibly nice. Our neighbors, the cashier at the grocery store,the guy who pumped gas for us yesterday (you can't pump your own gas in Oregon. . . so weird), everyone. And I mean ridiculously nice. Like we are back in the South nice. The car has been repaired already, and while the problem wasn't covered under the warranty, it didn't cost a ton. (It wasn't the radiator, but I can't remember what it was. . . some gasket or something. And while it was sort of related to the radiator, they said it didn't have anything to do with what those guys in Colorado did. . . just freak coincidence.) Gene and I are both so happy.

And so I shouldn't give it a kunna, but here I am. I can't help it. Everything has been so great today. And while we are waiting for the other shoe to drop, in light of every problem we have encountered during this move, we are at least enjoying these moments of calmness, happiness, and no-problems-ness. We hope it continues.

One thing that Gene and I know will continue is this blog. Although we have made it to Portland, so the traveling part of the saga is over, we know the adventures will continue, and we love sharing them all with our friends and family. This was my first blog, and I really enjoyed it (as you could probably tell). It has made me feel not so far away from home and the people I care about. Gene feels the same way too. The comments (Miss Holly, you ROCK!) and emails have helped us out so much when we were feeling down, so thank you! Your love and support really meant and mean a lot to us.

So, check back here if you like. . . we will continue to post about our adventures here, or misadventures, as the case may be. And PLEASE come visit! You all are invited (unless you are some random person who happened to stumble across this. . . you are not invited, sorry).



adina said...

Your Nonny would be so proud.

Anonymous said...

so glad that things are going well! i imagine that the omorosa manigualt-stallworth car woes make the great aspects of portland seem all the sweeter!
and thanks for the new addition to my vocabulary; i like it! i also like the literal translation...maybe i will use that, in "don't evil eye it".

Anonymous said...

Hi guys. Would you email me your bricks and mortar address. I don't seem to have an email address for either of you. I promised pound cake and pound cake you will get!
love, Miss Holly