Being an author is like being in charge of your own personal insane asylum.

- Graycie Harmon

Thursday, February 17, 2011

So Much SQUEE!

Squee is a noise I stole from my High School pal Leonie Allan. It adequately describes that perfect mix of joy and excitement as no other sound has yet to do.

The first Squee is the delightful thought that late next week, my little brother will be landing on Canadian soil, looking to make a life for himself here. He'll be staying in Vancouver for a while, which means that I won't get to see him until late March, but whatever. Vancouver is far closer than Australia.

The second Squee is the wonderful feeling that sunshine and warm weather has brought to me. It's supposed to reach 9 celcius (that's right, plus 9) today, and go as high as 12 by Sunday. While I find that slightly scary - plus 12 in February? - it's awfully nice to be able to ditch my heavy long coat for something a little lighter, and much shorter.

The third Squee is my new name. No, I didn't legally change my name. I was given a Chinese name last night (I've kinda always wanted one). This was the result of mucking about after training on Tuesday, when all the white people around the dinner table were wondering what their names would be in Chinese. There might have been some slight culture envy happening that night... Luckily, K.C. was there and able to bestow everyone with a Chinese name.

One would have thought that my name - Sonia - would have translated well in Chinese. Not so! Poor K.C. quickly scribbled down "sun ya." It meant something like elegant modesty (sun = modesty/humility and ya = elegant).

The name bothered K.C., who is not only a traditionalist, but a perfectionist as well, so he hunted for a more appropriate name for me. Apparently "sun" is never used in names. He hunted, and hunted, and hunted. A few promising candidates for a "sun" replacement (based on sound) turned out to be masculine. K.C. wouldn't let me have a masculine Chinese name (even if "ya" is especially feminine). It's not traditional. Also, he complained that giving a girl a masculine name would somehow make them butch.


After a few more attempts and the better part of an hour mucking about on his nifty phone/computer thingy-ma-jig, we decided on a better name. It sounds less like Sonia than the other candidates, but the important sounds are more or less there and the meaning is just plain, well, beautiful!

Thus, my Chinese name is "Shi Ya." It means "elegant poetry" ("Shi" = poetry, poem, verse, ode and "ya" stayed the same at elegant, graceful... which I'm not, by the by). I'd give you the actual Chinese characters, but I don't know how to do that on this computer.

In any case, I am very pleased to have a Chinese name at last. I have a Hindi name (thanks to my dear friend, T.H.'s, grandmother (we shared the same name in Hindi, actually)) as well. I think I'm just going to collect as many names in as many different languages as humanly possible.

Excluding Europe, of course, as Sonia is an Indo-European name and so translates to "Sonia" in every European language... and Slavic languages now that I think on it.

In any case, SQUEE, SQUEE, SQUEE!

So, onto today's Forgotten English.


Mutton of a maiden sheep; Gloucestershire.
- Samuel Pegge's Supplement to Grose's Provincial Glossary, 1814

Thanks to BBC's Qi, I knew this already!


Life intervenes said...

What does your English name mean? I have no idea what mine would be in any other language, but its meaning based on its roots is 'pure, sweet grace' which is frankly the least appropriate thing I can think of!!!!

S.M. Carrière said...

The roots of my name are the same as for "Sophie." It means wisdom(or wise)/skillful/intelligent. Cough Cough.

I quite like the meaning of your name!

You need to make good friends with a wide swath of cultural backgrounds, then they could give you a name (assuming they know sufficient amounts about their cultural backgrounds).

Or take a Facebook quiz...