What the Hell is Enya Saying?!?!?!

July 14, 2018

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Since the past two posts have been about Korean words and I just finished the language section of my Cultural Anthropology class (which by the way, sounds way cooler than it actually is - kind of reminds me of when I first heard about Forensic Accounting - yeah, that is nowhere near as exciting as it sounds, either), language has been on my mind quite a bit lately. I communicate, albeit poorly and crudely, with all of you on this blog. I am now the Communications Director for 325Kamra as well. Words seem to be gaining more importance in my life. I don't think I have ever focused on every single detail of every single word as much as I do now. You might be thinking if that is the case, why do your posts still have the structure of an ADD schizophrenic at the rodeo? Well, it's because that's sort of how my mind works and I write this blog in a stream of consciousness format that drives editors furious.

 

One of my favourite artists is Enya. I literally still have warm and fuzzies about Crystal Light from the commercials back in the early 90s that used Enya's Orinoco Flow as the background music. You might remember it as the "Sail Away" song. I realized that I was a pretentious yuppie douchebag to Enya's "Book of Days" from her Shepherd Moons album. I was driving in my BMW, wearing an Armani suit, holding a cup of espresso and listening to that song. I think I looked around and realized that I could not be any more stereotypically yuppie unless my Sarah Lawrence attending girlfriend was holding a picnic basket of artisanal cheeses on our way to the Hamptons to go to an outdoor charity concert held by Yo Yo Ma and the Harlem Boys Choir benefitting the indigenous Bolivian lesbian ice skating community. Hopefully I've toned down the yuppiness these days, and instead of having sweaters wrapped around my neck, I have the loving arms of a very practical Midwestern wife (who went to Washington University in St. Louis, so I guess I haven't toned it down THAT much). I discovered the majestic beauty of the Catskill Mountains to Enya's "Storms in Africa" - by the way, I actually listened to this song whilst in Africa, strangely, it wasn't the same. 

 

Life has funny twists and turns, and as it turns out that Enya, who's real name is Eithne Brennan (if you want to get SUPER technical, her real name is Eithne Pádraigín Ní Bhraonáin) is from Gweedore, Co. Donegal, Ireland. This is a place that I would come to know very well later on in my life. In my feeble attempts to become more familiar with the Gaelic language, I often used Enya songs to try and learn the proper pronunciation of words. In theory, this is a terrific concept. In reality, this is a very bad idea. It might have worked if it weren't for the most galactic twatwaffle in existence, Roma Ryan. In 2005, stoopid Roma decided that nooooo, 6,800 currently existing languages in the world wasn't enough to draw from, let's invent a totally fictitious language called Loxian, inspired by fucking elves, and not the Keebler kind! This meant Derek's attempt to learn Gaelic was going to have to take quite a less musical turn. This resulted in my only learning curse words and sayings. You know, the important stuff. Mallacht mo chait ort! That means my cat's curse upon you. Very useful in East Texas, I can assure you. Lisa Gerrard decided to do the same thing when she sang "Now We Are Free," from the Gladiator soundtrack. I just looked up the English translation of the song, and I guess I now know why the made up words were used instead, because the English lyrics came from Psalm 1:3, "Teenage Cheerleaders do Devotional Poetry."

 

Enya's music, untranslatable Korean words, hiraeth, what does this all mean for us? What makes words so remarkable are the ability to convey our thoughts to something that others may understand and appreciate. There is no such thing as a 100% efficient system, no matter how much conservatives might wish it to be the case. There are moments and situations that just defy proper communication and translation. For Lucifer's salad tosser Roma Ryan, she felt that she needed an entirely new language to properly display what the feelings inside her were. I think as I am experiencing my surprising path of self discovery, I have had moments that I am certain that no one else can understand or appreciate -- or at least not people in my immediate circle. Adoption can feel pretty solitary and transracial adoption even more so. Transnational adoption on top of that at an older age causes some very rare circumstances. Having biological parents searching for you instead of the other way around is very unusual. Having it be the father is rarer, still. It is no wonder that I feel isolated and alone in my experience. It is no wonder that I cannot properly articulate the torment, even to those people closest to me. I have my own internal language of what it means to feel all of these alien and unfamiliar thoughts that course through my already overtaxed and weary mind. They don't sound as wonderful as Enya and they aren't as confusingly popular as han or jeong. But they are there and until I can find a proper dictionary, I have a feeling that many of you will be uttering, "What the hell is Derek saying?!?!?!"

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