When you are at a restaurant in Mexico, it is customary for the person serving your table to say buen provecho to wish you good eating. I consider it roughly the same as bon apetit. Now if you are trying to translate this literally, you might say if “buen” relates to “good” and “provecho” means essentially “benefit” …. then how does buen provecho fit? You can think of this as a succinct way of saying “may this food be of good benefit to you.” It does not in any way mean “enjoy your meal”. That translation is just given as a saying that might be used in a similar situation (before everybody starts eating). In English, we don’t have a phrase like this and we wouldn’t want to just say “enjoy your meal.”
I’m sure many are thinking that I use a lot of Spanish. Being of Latin descent/heritage is a big part of who I am. Recently a friend had me read an article about translation and interpretation. I was raised bilingual and didn’t think much about this. There are words or phrases that just don’t translate. I don’t think about that. When I hear Spanish, I think in Spanish. I do not translate to/from English. I just know what words mean. Now that all makes me wonder, is there a way to “think” stroke? By that I mean, is there a way to think rather than translate? I don’t mean being stuck in a place. There are several descriptions to use when someone has had a stroke and survived. I use stroke survivor. It implies that the stroke happened and now we get on with life, maybe in a new way — which is why I use renewal. I often say stroke survivors can do whatever they did before the stroke, it just may look different than it did or how we think it should look like. Also, think about the challenge using a spell checker with a Spanish word. My spell checker keeps changing provecho to privet — as additional information, I do not like privets!
Our oldest son and his fiancee (now wife) got married last month in the California wine country over a holiday weekend. It was a lovely wedding. The couple choose a venue where they could extend the festivities. The wedding was on Saturday, they did an event on Friday night and another one on Sunday! People could go home leisurely on Monday the holiday. The whole thing was memorable and certainly fits with the thing about thinking different. If you’ve ever planned an event like a wedding, you can appreciate how much work is involved. If you have to do all that planning, why not do four days instead of four hours? That is the standard duration of a wedding ceremony and reception. It was an extension and demonstration of their love — for each other, family and friends. How cool is that?
I recently heard the word oeuvre. Isn’t this a great word? It is defined as all the works that a writer, an artist or a composer has created. It’s a masterpiece! (A great Scrabble word when you get all those vowels and a ‘v’.) I’m sure people who describe themselves as artists are familiar with this word. When I heard the word, I thought, that’s how I view the stroke. It’s my masterpiece. I’m not naive and I won’t say that this has been the greatest thing that has happened to me. But as I think about it, I have tried to make the best of this situation. It’s been a lot of work but definitely one of my masterpieces. The TV show Rizzoli and Isles ended this season and one of the main characters (Vince Korsak played by Bruce McGill) said “you don’t always get to pick when life changes … so I’m going to make it the best version of the next step”. Isn’t that fabulous! Might as well make it a masterpiece.
I’ve said that we watch the movie Bull Durham every year before the baseball season starts. One of the funniest scenes is when the catcher (played by Kevin Costner) tells the pitcher (played by Tim Robbins) “hit the bull”. We just don’t know what’s next! I love that scene when the pitcher hits the bull (mascot) and chuckle every time I see it. Sometimes the benefit of something is the humor or smile it brings.
We have a painting by the artist Lucy Liew in our house. Here’s what Lucy shared about the piece. The title of this piece comes from the 1997 book The Fourth Turning by historians William Strauss and Neil Howe. In this book, the authors define four generational archetypes: Prophet, Nomad, Hero, and Artist, that repeat sequentially in rhythm with the four-stage cycle of social eras or “Turnings” that have defined American society since the Colonial era. As each generation ages into the next phase of life, the mood and behavior of society changes with it, giving rise to a new turning. Thus, a symbiotic relationship exists between historical events and generational archetypes. As Strauss and Howe explain, “your generation isn’t like the generation that shaped you, but it has much in common with the generation that shaped the generation that shaped you.” In this painting, the different generational archetypes are represented by four Rhinoceros Hornbills rotating at the center of the painting. The Rhinoceros Hornbill is the state bird of Sarawak, which is the Malaysian state where I grew up. One of the unique behaviors of these birds is that male and female mating pairs will often feed each other. In this composition, I have each of four birds in the center nurturing the next cycle or “turning”. In addition, each of the subsequent “turnings” is different from the previous generation. As a visual person, this painting made the connection between generations. I suppose if this painting had a theme song, it would be “Turn! Turn! Turn!” by the Byrds.
Lucy is a fabulous artist. I would bet she is familiar with the word oeuvre. I love the concept of this whole thing. Reading a book and her interpretation of it. The idea of our turnings (or whatever you choose to call them) is a big deal to me, especially now. We do not live in a vacuum. We influence others and they influence us – that’s the part of life after the stroke that’s been a big learning in the journey. It’s a bonus that the primary color in the painting is red.