Today, 18th April, is my official nameday in Hungary. Although, yeah, totally forgot about it – I used to get those hideous, long-stemmed gerbera daisies at school. Most Communist flower ever. Or that´s the carnation? What do you think? What do we know.
Bueno, this year´s special in many ways. Living the book of changes coin by coin, my new habitat has no space yet for many a traditions I´d normally keep. Thus melts away International Pirate day (and Tweedy´s bd), Jesus´s barn stunt, San Silvestre, the 3 Magi, resurrection. But thus bob along new, or almost new, red-letter days, and I successfully switch to autumn mooncakes, commemorating Women´s Day (not at all unfamiliar from my childhood when boys gave us girls a bunch of snowdrops in primary school, and later, during my single or ¨it´s complicated¨ twenties, I just picked some myself or simply bought some at Moszkva square from the toothless auntie in front of Presszó) and woo-hoo, let us not forget about Mao´s ascendance to the throne on 1st October.
My name in Chinese translates to 安 An 迪 Di (Quiet Enlightener). Laugh not, pliz, having embraced big China big time does indeed muzzles and wisens people up somehow. So goes my private, international, free hug to and fro this part of the world.*
Naming a child here is super important. Basically, anything that relates to a child is. They have only one chance to make everything right. One child, one dream. Most names, therefore, have either some mega-lucky meaning (gold, luck, ha!, long, bright, etc) or a story. Wonder what 王 Wang 蒙 Meng, one of my liebling authors´s name, stands for then. According to my Pleco dictionary, it means King Dupe. This is fun. My free association game is turned on at once. But hombre, if one can come up with something as genuine as Butterfly, he (or the parents) must not be blamed at any cost. Phoney translation there or not, his stream of consciousness is royal, without a doubt.
But. Somehow I hope a name does not determine one´s fate (bringing along endless jokes or tiresome explanations, particularly when combined with questions about my surname, nor does knock up and down the leads of my sentimental EKG. Andrea means manly, virile. Come on. One who hunts. In order to make it easier for everyone (and rather than being call Andlea or Andlew) I just say Andi. Cannot really win, though, I know. I worked in Sicily in the summer of 1999, with fellow uni classmate, Andrea. Proved to be the easiest pick-up line, ever.
A story comes up reeling very vivid and sweet memories now. Perhaps 8 years ago I went to the island Capri, Italy with my parents. While we were waiting for the ferry to dock so we can start boarding I went down to the shore and started throwing little stones in the water. A little guy came up to me, with a broad smile, speaking very good English. Eleven, born in Cambodia, adopted by an Italian couple. There, you see, mum and dad, on the bench. When I said my name with a Hungarian pronunciation (´a´ is a sound in between the English ´o´ and ´a´, which gives East European languages their distinct Slavic timbre) this young ragazzo made a nice analogy, saying my name sounds like ¨ondi¨, waves in Italian.
I am the youngest of three children. Whether it´s only family legend or the usual teasing of my folks but seems that besides my two brothers, my parents wanted to have yet another son. At least my mum. Dad was reading a book just before I was born, Hunting in Alaska by Zsigmond Széchenyi, not the one by Michener published in 1988, though I wish I was that young, especially in a country that makes people feel so ancient. Remember the Shengnu (leftover woman/saint woman) story?
Anyhoo, where was I. Oh, yes, so, hmmm…hunter. I swear, apart from doing professional shooting in secondary school and accidentally killing all my pets, I am not a born bazooka. But guess the name of the, male, character my dad liked the most.
All in all, I´m all right with my name. Has a lot of history now. And I don´t have to cut it as short as Z. (Loved it, read it!)
Muchos besos from faraway land. I miss you people,
*Mind you, forgot to mention that I´ll be an intern at a weekly from next month, which will break the quietness, I guess. How enlightening it will be I dunno but will report on restaurants and Shanghai art galleries with much delight, for sure. Funny this English language, no, enlight and delight. Logically, latter should mean endarken then?