December 12th, 2007

wayfaring wordhack

Here by Glimpses Known

As I described in an earlier glimpse, our immediate neighbors to the right are three women whose homes huddle around a communal yard. This lady is Swafia. She is sitting with her back to Sakina's kitchen, her house is in the background, and the children in front of it are getting decked out for the feast to celebrate the end of Ramadan. Swafia is more commonly known to us as MaNaïm. I'm not sure I've talked about the naming system here as it concerns parents, so I'll enlighten you now. 

Whenever a couple has their first child, they are usually no longer known by their own first names. In the case of Swafia, her first child is Naïm, so the prefix "Ma" is added and she becomes MaNaïm. It was only yesterday (after 15 months of living next door to her) that we learned her first name is Swafia.  I have no idea who Naïm's father is or what his name is, but that doesn't matter much because now he would be known as BaNaïm. Shimaoré is a spoken language and it has no academy, unlike French, to decide on rules of spelling, etc., so one could also write Ma Naïm and Ba Naïm.  

(click to enlarge)

wayfaring wordhack

The spool keeps spinning

and the threads of the year draw taut and thin, the frayed ends already tickling my fingers. Yet another "winter" is being spent in Mayotte, and I can't say that I particularly enjoy missing out on cold, fog, and snow. I know several people on my flist suffer from SAD, and I must admit that as a lover of all seasons, it is a disorder I cannot understand. I adore the spring when pastels of every hue start creeping across the land once more; I love the hot days of summer when the redolent evening air is full of gold and the sound of cicadas; sated on heat and long days, I'm always ready when the time rolls around for the leaves to change color and start their drifting, skittering exodus into mounds of woodsy-mossy detritus; and I feel like a kid with eyes and heart full of wonder when the first freeze sets everything aglitter. I need that hibernating time of year when it is okay to bundle up, snuggle down with a good book and a cup of hot spiced cider, to have a raclette with loads of charcuterie. I enjoy the short days and the longs nights. I enjoy the holidays.

So naturally, not having the bracing cold here, I get a bit nostalgic for the fall/winter season, and it hits particularly hard November through January. Sometimes I have surreal moments, like walking out of the baking heat into the refrigerated grocery store at the end of November and seeing garish Christmas decorations tacked to a hideous, towering fake tree, garlands of tinsel thrown willynilly across the spindly branches. Or like last night, attending a Christmas concert in a church with the pivoting shutter-windows open and the ceiling fans going full blast. The music was lovely, but, as I said, surreal. They skipped Noël Blanc because they said they hadn't learned it, but I'm of a mind to think that they just didn't have the heart for it since the high yesterday was 99°F.

Taking a small trip might help with the seasonal disconnect, even if we can't afford to go somewhere with snow; hence, we've decided to go to Reunion Island for 8 days in January. We'll visit the "Snowy Peak" most likely, but we won't find snow during the middle of the rainy season. If the crater isn't offlimits due to dangerous activity, we might get to see lava flowing. That should either take my mind off snow or make me miss it even worse. We'll see.

In the spirit of nostalgia and year's end, I thought I would do the retrospect meme:

Collapse )