Saudade

I’ve recently been reminded by my sister that there is a wealth of glorious words that have no English equivalents. I was trying to name this series of photos to no avail. Probably because there’s no English word that really encompasses what I wanted to convey.*

This set of photos includes many of the usual suspects – some of whom are in Philadelphia with me and others whom I haven’t seen in a while. I miss them. I miss going on adventures. I miss going on adventures with them. Looking at photos of them makes me happy and also, I’m obsessed with the sky (?!)

It’s not quite a feeling of nostalgia. These photos aren’t old, but what they portray feel so far away. Our reality was very rapidly altered and continues to shift. There’s only so much we can do to keep up. And sometimes it feels like we won’t ever get our old lives back. And maybe we won’t. But still, sometimes we all long for it.

So, saudade it is.

It’s a Portuguese word. Wikipedia definition included below. I hope you enjoy these photos while treasuring your own memories but living in the present.

Saudade – “a deep emotional state of nostalgic or profound melancholic longing for an absent something or someone that one cares for and/or loves while simultaneously having positive emotions towards the future. Moreover, it often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might never be had again. It is the recollection of feelings, experiences, places, or events that once brought excitement, pleasure, and well-being, which now trigger the senses and make one experience the pain of separation from those joyous sensations. However it acknowledges that to long for the past would detract from the excitement you feel towards the future. Saudade describes both happy and sad at the same time, which is most closely translated to the English saying ‘bitter sweet’.

*I would also like to write more about these beautifully specific yet rich words. Somehow, I don’t think that the English language has room for them. To me, the English language is one that was made for efficiency and effectiveness. It’s not one made to accommodate words that might be deemed frivolous or “useless.” We live in a highly utilitarian culture, and even now, I can’t find the right words to describe what I feel about the English language. Anyway, let me know about your favorite untranslatable words.

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