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In Bloom: Creating a shared language of healing
What we lose, and what we gain, in translation
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It’s Francesca with you again this month, adjusting to a very gloomy London. The sun sets at 4pm UK time now, so our days are shorter and darker. Winter is in the air! Writing these introductions feels like a way to attune myself more closely with the passing of time and the seasons. I am noticing the way the landscape changes around me, and how my body and mind adapt to the winter months in the northern hemisphere. I often think about the December solstice on the 21st, when the light will start to come back to us.
This month, we are focusing on language to celebrate the release of our Bloom courses in Hindi, Portuguese, French and Spanish. Each language has a unique sense of time, place and history. There are certain words or topics that cannot be directly translated into English but borrowing words, phrases and concepts in a kind of exchange is a beautiful way of connecting across language. If English is the only way we talk about healing, joy, and hope, we lose so much.
Ground: Settling into our bodies and the present
We are going to imagine a place or a scene that makes us feel safe. It can be somewhere you’ve been before, a place you remember, maybe from a holiday; or it could be somewhere you’ve heard about, maybe in a story. Or it could be somewhere that you invent and make up for yourself.
Now take a few deep breaths....
Notice the feelings and sensations that come up in your body. Notice if you are feeling positive emotions.
Have another look around and take a mental picture of this place. Save that image.
This is your Safe Place and you can come here whenever you want to feel calm and secure.
Root: Connecting with the Chayn community
16 Days of Activism
It is 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence! Launched by the United Nations, 16 Days is an annual campaign running from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, through to 10 December, International Human Rights Day.
A crucial time for raising awareness about gendered violence in all its forms, we will be super active on our socials during this period if you’d like to keep up with us. From advocating for stronger action against tech abuse to introducing our amazing, global Bloom team, follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn for our thoughts and reflections (and our usual space for grounding and catching some breaths) over the coming days. If you want to help us grow and reach more people, share our work on your socials! Our resources and support are completely free. Chayn has supported 500,000 survivors around the world so far; help us reach even more.
Collaborate with us
We continue looking for trauma-informed therapists to partner with us!
Trauma-informed therapist partner [USA & Canada based]: We’re looking for a trauma-informed therapist based in the USA or Canada to partner with us, delivering remote, short-course therapy to survivors.
Trauma-informed therapist partner [Portuguese]: We’re also looking for a Portuguese-speaking, trauma-informed therapist to partner with us, delivering remote, short-course therapy in Portuguese to survivors.
And from Chayn…
Our updated Manipulation is Abuse guide is almost here! The guide can help us to identify what coercive control is, what it can look like, and how we can access much-needed support. The guide is a great resource to reflect on one's own relationships or sharing it with someone grappling with covert coercion in their relationship. We are launching our new version on Friday 2 December so keep an eye out across our socials!
Branch: Exploring together
Below, we have brought together a collection of ‘untranslatable’ words and phrases in languages from our beautiful teams of volunteers and staff that cannot be put into English; words where there isn’t an equivalent, where the words don’t feel the same—they lose their texture or meaning or context. We would love to know words or phrases you’d like to add into our shared Bloom dictionary or thesaurus. We have so much to share and learn with one another!
In Welsh, ‘Hiraeth’ (heer-eye-th) doesn’t have a direct translation, but it’s a mixture of nostalgia, a deep sense of longing tinged with grief and sadness, and homesickness. We normally use it for home when we’ve moved away, or for our loved ones who have gone.
‘Daw eto haul yr fryn’ (dow-et-o-highl-ar-vrin) does have a direct translation (‘the sun will shine on the hill again’), but it more means ‘things will get better’ or ‘better times will return’. We normally may write or send this to people going through a tough time.
A colloquial Hindi word that can’t really be translated in English is ‘Jugaad’. Jugaad is an integral part of Indian lifestyle and it comes from a culture and thought process that we always have limited resources, so we just get accustomed to that and we try to find the least expensive and unconventional solution to something. It’s like finding an efficient, makeshift, quick fix that just really works. Jugaad is deeply rooted in Indian mentality and Indian living.
In Hindi, we also don't really have a word to say a casual bye. So if you're on call with someone and want to end the call, you say something like ‘acha chalo’ which just means 'okay let's go' which is the signal to end the conversation. On the other hand we have a word called 'alvida' which is an intense final goodbye with an undertone of intense sadness. We don't really say alvida to someone unless we're actually seeing them for the last time or when someone passes away. It makes me feel that in our culture we don't really say goodbye until it's the very end.
In Spanish, we have a word that is incredibly beautiful. ‘Apapacho’ (ah-pah-pah-choh). It means "hugging someone very hard; hugging with our heart".
‘Poderío’ (poh-deh-ree-oh) is typically from the South of Spain and mainly used with and for women. It's like empowerment but much deeper because of its cultural meaning due to it being linked to the Southern women (the south of Spain has been always the poorest area in the country so people have to work harder to get ahead and, of course, women more). This word means power, resilience, courage and security, and with the image and accent of an Andalusí woman in your mind.
‘Compañera/compañere’ (kohm-pah-nyeh-rah) is a word we use in Latin América that has much more meaning than its equivalent. It means partner, comrade, friend but it also means ‘we are in this fight together’. When someone calls you compañera you know you're welcome there.
‘Sobremesa’ (soh-breh-meh-sah) is a word that has no direct translation because it's part of our culture. La sobremesa is the moment after sharing a big meal with family and friends where we talk for a while. Sometimes it can even last for hours! In Argentina, if you get together to eat asado, let's say for lunch, people usually leave when the sun goes down.
‘Akelarre’ comes from the Basque Country and the language Euskera (one of the most ancient languages in the world). This word was redefined by the Inquisitors in Spain centuries ago to refer to groups of witches that meet to do witchcraft, when they were just groups of women meeting and doing things together. The Basque Country was mainly a sailor area, so women were used to being alone for long periods of time and when they got together and did things together it was seen as a threat by the Inquisition. Nowadays we use Akelarre to refer to an empowered and united group of women or your girlfriends.
‘Morriña’ (moh-rree-nyah) means 'missing the home, roots and homeland' when you are far from your people and community. This word comes from Galicia and its language (Gallego).
In French, we say ‘je t’adore’ to a friend which means ‘I adore you’. Although it might sound a bit strange to tell a friend ‘I adore you’, it’s definitely more commonly used in France! Also, you might refer fondly to a romantic partner as ‘mon coeur’ or ‘my heart’. French can be quite the romantic language. The word ‘dépaysement’ does not exist in English and translates to the feeling of not being at home or being in a different place. ‘S’entendre’ is an interesting word that means to get along with someone or to be on the same wavelength as someone. ‘Retrouvailles’ is another beautiful word that refers to a reunion between two people who have spent a long time apart.
I really like 'meri jaan' (my life/soul) in Urdu as a show of affection, but translated to English it feels too intense. 'Mauj karo/manao' in English means enjoy yourself or have fun, and it loses the essence of mauj as a wave of water.
While ‘I love you’ can be addressed to anyone we care about in English, we have a different expression in Italian for those we care about (e.g. friends and family) and those we're in love with. The first is ‘ti voglio bene,’ which literally translates to ‘I want good for you’, and the second is ‘ti amo’, which means ‘I love you’.
Another beautiful one that was introduced to the Italian dictionary through poetry is ‘meriggiare’ which means ‘to rest outdoors and in the shade, in the hot hours of the afternoon’.
Through our Bloom courses in Spanish, Hindi, Portuguese, French, and English we try to capture the essence of our feelings in each of these languages so that you can relate more deeply. To browse all of our content in your language, click the 🌐 EN icon at the top right corner of our Bloom homepage.
You can share your reflections on the courses with us on chat in your preferred language. We're now available on chat in the languages we mentioned in the paragraph above! So feel free to send us a message about the untranslatable words that come to your mind, or the feelings and reflections that the courses evoked for you. If you want to share with us in a different way, via our social media, we’d love to hear from you.
Until next time, we’re all wishing you so much tenderness for the month ahead,
Francesca and the Bloom team
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