That’s my official name on paper, the name I sign my credit card purchases with, the name I give when somebody wants to list me down for something; however, I go by a different name among my inner circles – Zen. In a way it feels like having a double identity. Formally I’m Zeinab, a quiet, reserved girl who never toes the line and stays behind her books. Informally I’m Zen, a clumsy dork who enjoys childish things and eats more chocolate than is healthy.
My parents gave me the first name that occurred to them. Maybe if they had slept on it instead of naming me within the hour of my birth, they would’ve realized I’m not much of a Zeinab. It’s not that I dislike it, but I’m just not sure if it suits me. To be honest, I don’t even know what other name I would’ve chosen for myself instead, but I would’ve definitely preferred something less common. It’s a bit discomfiting when one out of 10-20 girls bears my name… at least where I live. If you stand on a crowded street and call that name, you will be sure to turn the heads of a considerable number of girls.
What does it mean? Zeinab is an Arabic name that stands for “Daddy’s precious jewel” or “a fragrant plant”, though my parents didn’t choose it for its meaning – even though dad did spoil me a lot and mum did make sure I always smelled nice – but rather because it’s the name of an important historical character. It’s been also said that Zeinabs are associated with chubby, rosy cheeks, so I guess that part hits the mark, haha. How do you pronounce it? Zay-nab. Incidentally, my new “identity” came about because my little cousin found it difficult to pronounce it and took to calling me “Zen”. I didn’t mind it; in fact, I felt more at home with it. My friends thought it was cool, and the name stuck and expanded to include variations like Zenny and ZenZen. Some people called me ZeeZee Za Zombie (and still do)… but that’s a story for another time. 😉
No, I’m not talking about the movie; I just thought it was high time I talked about my field of expertise. What brought this up now? An excellent translation of a German novel that made me wonder whether I would’ve enjoyed the story as much if I’d read it in its main language, and a translation of a Swedish novel that is supposedly hilarious but has so far failed to make me crack a smile.
Back in university, the one thing professors often drilled into us was that translators are mirrors. A good translator would create a perfect reflection of the source text in a different language, while a bad translator might just as well be doodling all over the mirror with a black felt-tip pen. I may not have much experience under my belt, but I do recognize a bad mirror when I see one. Continue reading “Lost in Translation.”
I’ve noticed that among all the blogs I come across and the bloggers I interact with, people define themselves as writers. Sure writing might be the skill we’re all most proud of, but I’m sure there are other things too by which we can defined. Let’s take me for example, I’ve been writing since I was five or six, and I like to think I’m good at it… but it’s not all I can do!
I’m a foodie. I love trying out new things when it comes to food. When I go to dine somewhere I try to pick a different dish every time, and I’m not deterred if it’s something too unusual. I love Italian food, even though I dislike garlic and onion, and almost any chicken dish is a winner in my book! Cooking, however, is not something I’m good at. I can’t even fry an egg properly.
Continue reading “I’m not just a writer.”
Okay, okay, so I’ve been slacking. I received some awards from three lovely bloggers, and I have yet to accept them. So I’m combining them all in one post! Thank you, Boomie Bol, The Jotter’s Point and Robin Coyle, for nominating me for The Versatile Blogger Award, The Inspiring Blog Award, The Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award and… uh, The Kreativ Blogger Award (Robin listed three so I just randomly picked one… okay, no, I like to think of myself as creative, haha). It feels great to be recognized by other great bloggers. =D
Continue reading “Thank you for the awards!”