My 5 words for 2021
It's been quite the year. I am sure we can all agree. As we continue to live through this pandemic, each and every one of us faces our own moments of struggle, happiness, sadness and success, sometimes, all at the same time. No matter who you are, where you are, or what you do, life is a complex reality full of emotions.
And for someone like me, the way I describe my reality and emotions is through words. And we may not always have the right words to describe the way we feel, often the key obstacle in human communication. Knowing how you feel is the first step. Putting it into words is the second. But between these two steps, there's often a huge lexical chasm.
Going back to what I mentioned just at the beginning of this post about each one of us carrying their own story, we often assume that others have a better life than us, they are lucky, or have it easy, but there comes a moment, hopefully, when we realise that every single individual, every random passerby, is living a life as complex as your own. And that moment, that realisation, is the exact meaning of the word sonder.
And as I walked and walked around London, sometimes with the only purpose to hit those 10,000 daily steps, or catch the post office, get to the office on time, head to the shops, avoid people, avoid public transport, I observed humans and realised they all have a story. I took phone calls, replied to emails, I even joined zoom calls from St Jame's Park and FaceTimed my mum from Kensington Palace Gardens. People often ask me how do I have the time to walk so much every day. When I walk, I actually work. And even if I don't work, my mind does. Walking provided me with huge inspiration. It's an excellent break from the screen and I have to say, I got some of my best ideas during my walks.
And on those lovely, crisp, cold and sunny mornings I went on dog walks with friends, I experienced the beauty of komorebi, the sunlight shining through the trees. A moment described perfectly by this beautiful, simple and straightforward, Japanese word 木 (ko) tree, 漏れ (more) come through, and 日 (bi) sunlight. Aren't languages beautiful? Why don't we have a word like that in English? Are the Japanese perhaps better in living in the present moment or more appreciative of nature?
But I have to admit, walking and looking at my phone was not always a good idea and so I hope to do more walks with less screen time in 2022. Because I, like many of you, I'm sure, ended up occasionally with the feeling of kuebiko (久延毘古), the state of exhaustion inspired by endless depressing news, which forces you to revise your image of what can happen in this world—mending the fences of your expectations, weeding out all unwelcome and invasive truths, cultivating the perennial good that’s buried under the surface, and propping yourself up like an old scarecrow, who’s bursting at the seams but powerless to do anything but stand there and watch. Such a complex feeling described by a single word, right? Well, Japanese seems to be this deep.
All to realise that perhaps my most important quality throughout these last few years is my ability for equanimity, a state of psychological stability and composure which is undisturbed by experience of or exposure to emotions, pain, or other phenomena that may cause others to lose the balance of their mind. calmness and composure, especially in a difficult situation.
But even in the calmest and most composed moments, occasionally I couldn't help the feeling of saudade, a mixture of emotions such as longing, melancholy, incompleteness, and love for places, people and times I couldn't see, wasn't with, and belonged to the past.
And as the year draws to an end, words will continue to describe my thoughts, feelings, emotions, and daily life. They will continue to pop inside my head, making me question if I know them truly, if I spell them correctly, if I transfer them accurately, if I use them appropriately. Words will continue to shape my reality, inspire my journey, help me fulfil my mission to help you achieve your goals through the power of what else...words.
Vasiliki is a translator, interpreter, transcreator, blogger, consultant and director of Greek to Me Translations Ltd. She works with English, Greek and French herself and has a team of trusted colleagues who can cover other languages. The offered language services serve mainly the legal, creative, and psychometrics industries.
Vasiliki is a Chartered Linguist, member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL), the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) and Panhellenic Association of Greek Translators (PEM). She is registered with the Greek Consulate in the United Kingdom as a certified translator and interpreter.
She holds a BA in English Language and Linguistics and Masters in Business Translation and Interpreting. She is a Steering Group Member of the CIOL Translating Division (CIOL TD) and CIOL Business, Professions and Government Division (CIOL BPG). She is an Associate Lecturer in Legal Translation at London Metropolitan University teaching Legal Translation, Translation for International Organisations, Linguistics, Translation Theory and Strategy. She is a public speaker and writer for industry magazines.
Her mission is to help organisations and individuals achieve their goals through the power of words. Through mentoring, Vasiliki helps aspiring or young translators to overcome self-limiting believes, build a business mindset and achieve their highest potential.