Curhat(Indonesian): To share one’s story, the pouring of one’s heart, a casual act of opening up.

“And so, there we were, on the edge of knowing what a life together would be like, and you know what?”


“That’s when he starts talking about some lady he’d been eyeing ever since we got out of the store!”

Was there something on her face?


Was she… Wearing some strange outfit, or talking to herself, or is he a medium? Maybe she was possessed by the ghost of her grandmother, or father, or, just a ghost. Maybe he was worried that she’d be sucked into –

“I called to give you a story.”

It doesn’t sound like it’s going to be pleasant.

“It isn’t.”

Well, if it’s going to be like that, then I’m going to try my best to lighten the mood. I don’t want to sit here and give you a pity party.

“That’s not what I’m asking for.”

Well if it’s not, then let’s have some fun.


What? Not serious enough for you? If he’s going to be eyeing other women when he’s got you, then you’ve got to lighten up too. If he’s not serious, then why should you?

“That’s…something I figured you’d come up with.”

I’m not sure what kind of impression you have of me.

“Well, you’re the type of person I’d call.”

Fair enough. So, it was a ghost right?

“How do you think it died?”



Jayus (Indonesian): When a joke is so terrible that you can’t help but laugh.

What’s green and has wheels? Grass, I lied about the wheels.

I bought the world’s worst thesaurus yesterday. Not only is it terrible, it’s terrible.

  • How do you put a Giraffe into a refrigerator? Open the door, put the Giraffe in, and close the door.
  • How do you put an Elephant into a refrigerator? Open the door, take out the Giraffe and put the Elephant in.
  • The Lion King is hosting an animal conference, which animal does not attend? The Elephant.
  • You come across a river with knowledge that it’s inhabited by crocodiles, what do you do? Just swim, all the crocodiles are at the conference.

A group of friends walk into a bar.

What’s red and smells like blue paint? Red paint.

I’m sorry if this joke was anticlimactic.


Duende (Spanish): The mysterious power that a work of art can have over a person.

In a swirl at the moon;  with the twirls of a skirt, you swung with the trills of the notes that floated on lit candles and whitened drapes flowing in chords. In a crescendo at the base of a mountain; with the snowy blanket falling over our heads as you hummed in bursts of four beats drinking red wine and overcooked steak. That was my mistake. In a forte at the eye of the storm; with the sharpened winds draping your arms in light brushes, tiny pricks lifting your hairs, your eyes nearly falling into black. The song ends and we’re sitting at our tables, drinking red wine with food that no one would die for. The next song comes on, we’re back at the moon.


Litost (Czech): A feeling that synthesizes grief, sympathy, remorse and longing.

I saw her crying that night when her father died. She wouldn’t answer me. My touch faded into her space. My words fell flat onto her ears. Her eyes were a distant red. My step-sister would never come to forget him, and I barely knew him. I was hardly in the world when I was born. I was hardly in the world when everything around me seemed to change. I was hardly in the world when those that I should have sought close to me were further than the stars. My step-sister came into my life soon after. I met her first at the train station waiting for the 104 to come. Her smile beamed throughout the dim light of the afternoon station. She greeted me with all she had. Her bright hair flung behind her in her playful gait. Her warmth found me. Not long after my mother remarried, my father had died again. Pangs of daggers came onto me from every moment of living. But seeing my sister be so distraught, seeing her smile turn into contortions made me want to hold her. To lend her my warmth, the same warmth she lent me. I never knew my father, or my step-father, but I have an obligation now to be someone who can protect my family. I wish I knew my father, or my step-father, so I could at least have some way of knowing how I can do that.


Saudade (Portuguese): Melancholic longing or nostalgia for a person, place or thing far away.

My hands dip into the water as you float further from my finger tips frizzling in the short aftertaste of rain as it glides off the tip of my tongue, you find yourself waddling in short waves that emanate from the origin of my touch, and you graze the corner of the ocean with your short reach finding yourself in its embrace before I jump in after you, but you only continue to float further and further from my grasp that you seem to be a year away and that every step I take you retract five more years away until finally we’re at the end of our lives and it’s the world on fire and we’re finally within reach of our futile lives and yet you still retract and turn your head away looking into the sunset blaze of seven billion lives and you tell me that I’ll never be where you are again.


Fargin (Yiddish) To wholeheartedly appreciate the successes of others

I’m glad you’ve got it all together. I’m glad you’ve lived this long. I’m glad you’re here with me. I’m glad you can tell me all about your day. I’m glad that you can just take your taxes, laugh and pay. I’m glad that you don’t worry about student fees. I’m glad that you’ve found a nice community. I’m glad your friends love you. I’m glad you love your friends. I’m glad you’re eating well. I’m glad you haven’t made your way and fell. And if you do, I’m glad you can pick yourself up. I’m glad you can continue. I’m glad you can wave your hands and tell me hello. I’m glad you can wave your hands and tell me goodbye. I’m glad you’ve stopped crying. I’m glad you’ve stopped trying. You already have it all together, you’re already winning. I’m glad you’re here. I’m glad you’re glad. I’m glad you’ve held on so long. I’m glad you’re there, and I’m here. And I’ll be there, eventually. So when I do find you there, please be glad for me as well.


Mencomot (Indonesian): Stealing things of small value for fun

Its red. Its big. It’s pretty. And I know it costs less than a buck, and I know if I wanted it I could ask her. But I walked slowly, brushed past her, and slid my hand into her pocket, extracting the pen. I apologized and turned. I slipped the pen into my pocket, and continued down the tables. Everyone was working diligently tucked into their seats. However my itch was gone. My breathing settled and I knew I had gotten my fix. I left the library and took in a breath. It tasted like smoke. I turned towards a tired looking man who was puffing out clouds. His hands were filled with dirt, but the cigarette he consumed was white as snow. The itch came back. I walked slowly towards him.


Shouganai (Japanese): When something is inevitable so why worry about it. It cannot be helped, nothing can be done about it.

You wake. You sleep. You laugh. You cry. You eat. You drink. You open. You close. You walk. You fall. You listen. You ignore. You know. You don’t. You study. You play. You mend. You break. You want. You need. You get. You lose. You remember. You forget. You enter. You leave. You change. You stay. You smile. You frown. You wave hello. You wave goodbye. You love. You hate. You work. You can’t. You cheer. You can’t. You blush. You can’t. You relax. You can’t. You breathe. You can’t. You talk. You can’t. You scream. You can’t. You run. You can’t. You inhale. You can’t. You inject. You can’t. You cut. You can’t. You jump. You can’t. You win. You lose. You live. You die. You see another day. You find another way. You know its futile. You know it takes time. You manage to strive. You find a light. You know no one else matters. You know your life is yours. You find the world through two words. You can.

Koi No Yokan

Koi No Yokan (Japanese): The feeling upon meeting someone that falling in love with them is inevitable

Have you ever gotten the feeling of nostalgia from a stranger? Like you’ve met them before on another day, or perhaps on the bus, or passing by in the window of a car, or even during the transition between classes, or at the coffee shop at the corner, or at the pizza stand in front of the plaza, or at the convenience store picking up a bag of chips, or sitting by the bench at the park gazing at a group of bees chasing each other in a loop, or at the train station where everyone’s waiting patiently behind the yellow line and they keep telling you to stay behind that yellow line, or at the ice cream store near your home, or at the bus stop looking at her phone, or in your class at the front row, or sitting down with a cup of coffee no sugar one milk, or eating a slice of vegetarian, or picking up a yellow lighter for whatever reason, or smelling the line of sunflowers that shine in yellow in the slow sunlight, and finally you know that you love them.