(originally posted in a newsletter July 2022)
I have a memory of my grandmother, whom I'll shorten to Gma, many years ago talking about her first language, Spanish. She was trying to explain that English just didn't translate the depth of the romantic languages.
Her example was, "I love you." She said in Spanish there were so many ways to express the kinds of love and respect one would feel in a moment. Te amo, te quiero, the most common expressions were just two of a multitude of ways love rolls off the linguistic tongue.
Gma was saying the (romance) languages express feelings, not just words. And while anyone could argue English does that, too, I'd add normal everyday English lacks what poetic verse steps in to complete.
While I grew up heavily exposed to Spanish, I didn't grow up speaking the language. I was a product of a time in history when my mom was discouraged by her educational institutions from speaking Spanish in public. She had several instances of (I'll sugar-coat it) "unpleasantness" that she decided to raise her children in an English-speaking home.
Even though I took many years of Spanish (I picked it up quite easily and even started to dream in Spanish), I've lost a lot of the language simply from nonuse.
But sometimes, the lessons from my Gma trickle in and I feel what she was saying in her explanations.
My daughter asked me the other day what "gusto" meant. She was introduced to someone for the first time and they used that word. "Gusto" literally means "taste" when used all by itself. But when combined with words in different ways the meaning completely changes.
"Mucho gusto" is "Nice to meet you".
"El gusto es mio" changes to mean "The pleasure is mine."
These two phrases have very different feelings behind them. The former is more casual but courteous. The latter shows respect for the one to whom they have just been introduced, a more formal response, like tipping a hat or a respectful bow.
I could feel an energetic wave of warmth while trying to share how respect, love, and creative descriptions are used in Romance Languages, like Spanish, Italian, French, and others.
Fast forward to an exchange with a lovely human who placed an order with me over the weekend. Everything fell into place for creating special gift boxes for their recipients.
Putting the gift boxes together to support the love being expressed was something English just felt short of sustaining. I truly felt el gusto es mio - the pleasure was mine - creating special "hugs in a box" for all those who were on the list.
Every time you order from Cher the Fire, please know that I don't just pack "things."
Everything I create has a purpose, a feeling, and a story for you and your loved ones to benefit from. It might be joyful, small creative expressions, or a way to finally have a mindful moment. I'm here to help others to see things with new eyes, to open your awareness and heart, and support your Being - directly or indirectly.
I appreciate each of you who brings art and love into someone's life.
Spanish has another saying I admire....instead of goodbye (adios), I like to lean towards, "hasta luego" which means "until later" - whenever that is, whenever we meet again.
El gusto es mio, amigos.
Hasta luego (maybe next week).
Here's a list of 145 easy to read ways to express love in Spanish.