Friday Five: Yuputka!

Mood: pensive

This week’s questions (and their explanatory introductions) are inspired by this Mental Floss article about words in other languages without English equivalents.

Friday 5

1. Iktsuarpok is Inuit for that feeling of anticipation when you’re waiting for someone to show up at your house and you keep going outside to see if they’re there yet. Who last invoked iktsuarpok in you?

Mandu and I obtained our marriage license during the COVID-tastic spring of 2020. I then sat on the business of changing my last name until — checks calendar — now. We are closer to two years of marriage than one, and it’s time for Mrs. Mandu Kim to give a heads up to her employer(s), and banking institutions, and the insurance companies, and the Board…

However, most organizations won’t allow me to move forward without a new REAL ID. One $30 DMV appointment later, I’m in the middle of what’s been outlined as a two to three week processing time. And so, dearest neighborhood mail carrier, I await any post you have for me with much iktsuarpok.

2. Georgians call it shemomedjamo when you’re really full, but your meal is just so delicious, you can’t stop eating it. When did you memorably shemomedjamo?

Scrolling through poor Yelp reviews for one of the hospitals I work at (with many bemoaning the lack of zero or negative star options, how original), I noticed a more recent complaint cited some “COVID vaccine screw up” as the reason for “plummeting” customer service. Assuming this person was referring to the firing of staff over noncompliance with vaccine mandates, I clicked through to his profile, scornfully wondering if Screw-Up Scott would condemn a public beach for the sand under his floor mats.

Turns out that not only is Scott able to like things and people and places, but nearly a decade ago he and his spouse gushed over a local eatery I happen to adore: MJ’s Fusion Deli (a.k.a. MJ’s Yogurt Time & Deli), home of the 805 South Burrito and longanisa fries. It’s probably for the best that I didn’t take full advantage of living five minutes away from this spot growing up. My arteries need all the help they can get in the land of taco shops and lumpia. But of course there are times when the craving is real, and my candle fizzles at both ends, and, frankly, it’s been a minute. In those times, MJ’s is there, like a favorite auntie or uncle, teasing but not judging, encouraging all acts of shemomedjamo with joy.

3. Zhaghzhagh is Persian for the chattering of teeth from the cold or from rage. When were you last so cold (or so enraged) you experienced zhaghzhagh?

I love the crispness in the air that starts the first evening I arrive at work and the sun is down before my shift begins. The buildings and trees on the way to the MRI entrance are silhouetted against a pale and dimming sky. Nights aren’t so bad. It’s honest work — 24-hour nursing care and all. But it is hard on my bones. At the 2 o’clock mark I feel like Sophie from Howl’s Moving Castle, an old soul trapped in a young life limited by a rapidly aging body. And by 4 a.m., well, I struggle. It’s just so cold. Our more alert patients keep calling for warm blankets. We pass out the already toasted ones, refill the blanket warmer, hug ourselves with our hands in our armpits or between our knees. Chatter to each other and into the sterile, space-like darkness: zhaghzhagh, zhaghzhagh.

4. A bilita mpash in Bantu is the opposite of a nightmare: an amazing dream. Whenever a dream question shows up in memes, half the respondents say they don’t remember their dreams, but here we go anyway. What is one bilita mpash you remember?

Lately I don’t dream. When I was a kid I saw tropical fish floating around the living room. Not soft and cartoony like the ones in Ponyo. These looked real. They swam in peaceful, shining rings above where I napped on a fold-out futon mattress. I must have been eight or younger; our base housing at the time was a high-rise apartment in Japan. Anyway, does that count as a bilita mpash sort of dream? Doesn’t strike me as spectacular enough.

5. In Thailand, the feeling you get when you don’t want someone to do something for you because it would be a pain for them is greng-jai. When did you recently resist greng-jai and ask someone anyway?

The nurse I’d been training for a few weeks got into an accident on her way to our last shift together. She made it to the hospital just after bedside handoff, bearing no visible injuries, though still sore and quite shaken. Technically she didn’t count for staffing. She should have gone home. Then again, nurses are the worst, so she instead pushed herself to stay and prove how dedicated she was as a new hire.

At first I didn’t want her to do anything. The assignment was made for one nurse to handle. My orientee had already demonstrated her ability to provide essential patient care safely and independently. Throughout the night, however, I tried to do most of the physical tasks while she documented everything. Honestly, I’m not sure if I was as fair as I thought I was being. We were both very tired.

I see two instances of the greng jai mentality here: 1) from my orientee who didn’t want to fall short of her colleague’s expectations, and 2) from me, half concerned for her and half frustrated by the usual pressures of the job. In the end I believe my own exhaustion demanded more from her than was reasonable, and I do wish I’d cut her some slack.

Redwall Abbey

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One thought on “Friday Five: Yuputka!”

  1. Wow. These sentences really got me in the feels: “We pass out the already toasted ones, refill the blanket warmer, hug ourselves with our hands in our armpits or between our knees. Chatter to each other and into the sterile, space-like darkness: zhaghzhagh, zhaghzhagh.”

    These are great answers. Thanks for participating in the Friday 5 this week!

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