“How can I live there permanently?” She asked the back of the embassy clerk’s head.
“You’re unhappy to return home?”
“Not exactly….” Her voice trailed off as she searched for words.
The clerk nodded patiently.
“Ever since the T9 let me off in Cardiff I just felt comfortable, as though I’d always lived there.”
“Ah, yes.” He peered at her over the half-lenses of his spectacles. “This is cynefin, my dear.”
Of course they had a word for how she was feeling. “How do you spell that?”
He wrote it out on an orange post-it note and passed it to her under the glass along with a work permit application form.
She stared at it, momentarily speechless.
He met her shining blue eyes and simply nodded.
Beauty of the World: In this series I use an “untranslatable word” in a story. These wonderful words capture the beauty of languages around the world.
Cynefin (Welsh, n.): A place where one feels one ought to live; the relationship one has to the place where one was born and/or feels at home.
T9 Cardiff Airport Express Bus Service.
For more wonderfully untranslatable words, see:
- Untranslatable Words, by Tim Lomas, PhD.
- Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words, by Ella Frances Sanders