I spend a good percentage of my life lost in translation. That seems reasonable, living in another country, but it has actually been the case for most of my life.
And I don’t mean this in a bad way. Maybe because my mother was so different from her siblings and not only survived, but thrived, it made it all seem possible. She spoke a language of fashion and make-up, of poetry and romance. A language I understood. A connection so familiar that it turned this “other” into something spectacular. I didn’t need to be understood by everyone, because I was understood by her. A safety net I count on still.
Perhaps it was this security that set me free.
This French that I think I’m speaking, is mostly understood by my husband. I often hear him repeat to others the very thing I heard myself saying. And I could let that bother me, or I can choose to see it for how special it actually is, to have this one human really understand me.
I stumble upon new words every day. Not ones I hear in conversation. No, those are rare. So often when I ask what does that mean, I get the response, “it really doesn’t translate.” And I must admit that is a lonely feeling. To be left hanging, alone, with no connecting words. But the other day, I found one. Such a gorgeous word. Chamade. Even without knowing, it sounded familiar. I looked up the meaning. Chamade — a wildly beating heart. It was my “jimbly.” My racing, excited, almost nervous, anticipating, open, risking, love-filled heart. Inside this word, these beautiful letters, I was not lost in translation, but found.
I shared my glorious discovery with my husband. He smiled and said that his mother loved that word. I was, am, connected, still and again. My heart beats wildly!