mox nix

1. a: (slang) “it doesn’t matter,” or “makes no difference”

b: English adaptation of the German phrase macht nichts

Jenifer JagielskiEither way, it’s one of those colloquial phrases that invariably permeates your vocabulary. Well, at least it did in my family. And for this story, that’s what matters.

Growing up, thanks to my father’s career in the army, we lived (and traveled) all over the world. That’s how we ended up in Germany. And how I ended up learning German and of course, macht nichts.

In hindsight, the mox nix approach started when my parents chose to place me and my brothers – 10, 8 and 5 respectively –  in the German schools (instead of the American schools attended by most of the kids we knew.)  We were adaptable kids so it didn’t really matter to us. Besides, at the time, my biggest decisions was really whether to join the soccer or gymnastics teams. Everything else was mox nix.

Once settled, we began taking weekend excursions to explore this new country.  It’s novel at first, but after a few times, the trip planning was met with childish whines of “Dad, not another castle/museum/memorial/monument”. Eventually though we just went along for the ride and let the parents choose the destination. They introduced us to so many different things, which I assume was their cultural version of throwing spaghetti at the wall – keep trying until something sticks.

I’d never admit it then, but mission accomplished. There were indeed things that stuck. I teared up when I saw The Pieta in St. Peter’s Basilica, imagined myself as a champion sprinter at the Olympic Stadium in Munich, marveled at The Crown Jewels in London and felt overwhelming sadness on the beaches of Normandy. I was just 11-years old.

My brothers and I on the ski slopes

My brothers and I on the ski slopes

So, kind of like our first order of escargot we began to live by the mantra, “you’ll never know unless you try.”

Now, umpteen years later, tables have turned and I’ve been relegated to persuading my partner, who considers dining-out as eating his steak and potatoes near our open window, to embark on the same challenge – “Doesn’t matter how or why, just try it.”