Tag Archives: saying

Sorority Apartments

MAIN PIECE

Sorority Apartments

“A lot of Sorority girls at CSUCI have fought over who gets to live in a Sorority apartment building like most sorority girls at other schools would fight over living in the Sorority house.  To call something a Sorority apartment came from a stupid law in Camarillo from the olden days that prohibits more than ten unrelated women to live in the same house, so sororities have gone around the issue by leasing specific buildings in apartment complexes around the school.   That’s how the term came to be!”

BACKGROUND

SM is from Camarillo, California and has grown up in the area since he was born.  He says he knows this from his sister who went to CSUCI and was in a sorority that had to do this.   He remembers specifically being confused about why her friends would always call it the Sorority apartments cause on TV, people would always talk  about sorority houses,  but never apartments.

CONTEXT

SM is an old high school friend of mine.  I invited him to a  Discord server and I watched him play The Witcher.   He was open to talk about folklore of the area we grew up in during cutscenes he said he had already watched when he had played the entirety of the game before.

THOUGHTS

Folklore acting as a sort of counteraction against a law is nothing new, but the fact that it has stuck around as long as it has is impressive.  The saying of this word must come out of a unique sense of being and is probably not just specific to CSUCI sorority girls, but CSUCI students as a whole.  It must be somewhat nice for this folk group to know they get to say something that would seem a bit odd to the average person, but completely relatable and even political to those who knew the issue.

Mexican proverb

Main piece: 

“Más vale que la lleves y no la ocupes a que no la lleves y la necesites” 

Transliteration:

More better that the takes and no the uses to that no the takes and the needs

Full translation:

It’s better to have it and not use it than having to use it and not having it 

Background: My informant here was my grandma who’s staying with us during COVID-19. She was born in Guadalajara, Mexico but lives in the U.S. with us for the most part. This recorded proverb wasn’t really an interview. I heard her say it to my mom during mid sentence and I was able to catch on to it. After I asked my grandma to repeat it for me so I can jot it down. She added that she learned it “a long time ago” and that because of it she’s always prepared for everything. 

Context: My mom was going shopping and paying bills. It was mid to late afternoon and the sun was still. She was saying bye to us when my grandma asked “do you have a sweater” to which my mom replied “no, it’s still kind of warm” and my grandma countered with the transcribed proverb and my mom ended up taking it (although I think she did just to please my grandma). 

Thoughts: I’ve heard the proverb many times, usually because my mom tells it to me when I go out. And after analyzing it a little more, I guess it’s true. It’s better to be prepared, even over prepared,  than to need something and not have it (unprepared). For example, in the case of taking a sweater when you go out. Sometimes you don’t use the sweater and you just carry it along with you. But other times, maybe it gets cold or it rains and you happen to take the sweater, so you put it on. It is in these scenarios where you benefit a lot.

Mexican saying

Main piece:

“Calladita te ves más bonita” 

Transliteration: 

Quiet you look more pretty

Full translation: 

You look prettier quiet 

Background: My informant was my mom and this proverb was something I collected while she was scolding my sister. I asked her later about the proverb (what it meant exactly even though I knew). She gave me valuable insight and mentioned that my grandma would tell my mom and aunt that as kids whenever they sounded silly attempting to defend themselves from wrongdoing. 

Context: My sister was being scolded by my mom for having a mess in her room. My mom started going off tangent and bringing more and more stuff into the argument. My sister would retaliate and call out my mom on certain things. But there was a line that my sister said that did not help her case a lot and that’s when my mom said the recorded proverb above. 

Thoughts: Sometimes I feel like my mom overuses this proverb in order to keep my sister from talking but other times it hits right. In this example it fits right because whatever my sister has said, all I know is that it didn’t help her case, was nonsense and my mom pretty much said to stop talking because she’s not helping herself. In other words, my sister would be doing herself a favor by not talking and metaphorically flopping all over the place with words.

“Iru di nma adiro nma itu mbo”-Onitsha Proverb

Context: This is a proverb that is native to my dad’s village and he learned it as a child growing up in Onitsha. Proverbs like this were a prominent means of giving advice and life lessons especially to the children of the tight-knit community.

  • “Iru di nma adiro nma itu mbo”
    • Transliterated Proverb
      • Iru: face
      • Di nma: is nice, beautiful
      • Adiro: is not
      • Nma: nice
      • Itu: to throw
      • Mbo: nail
    • Full Translation: A beautiful face is not good to be scratched, meaning do not ruin a good relationship or look for trouble where there is none.
      • Explanation: This proverb is especially important to my dad because it represents a warning against telling lies or spreading unsupported allegations about someone. My dad learned this from his own father. This expression presents a metaphorical scenario where an individual scratches[falsely accuses] a beautiful[innocent]person. It means that a person in power should not accuse someone without any valid evidence and that in doing so you are not only telling a lie about that person, but you are also ruining a possible relationship and starting unnecessary trouble.  

Thoughts: I have to agree with the premise of this proverb because I grew up in a household that always emphasized the importance of never telling lies and not starting trouble. The saying is indicative of many of the life experiences that my parents have amassed living here in the United States. My dad, in particular, suffered a lot of hardships from individuals that would take his kindness and trust for granted and would try to discredit his character. However, this proverb speaks to a profound belief that my dad possesses. He believes in the law of karma, or the idea that if you lead a good life and stand by truth as opposed to lies that your good nature will be rewarded. I grew up with the heavy rhetoric of telling the truth and I honestly believe that it is one of the reasons why I am not a good liar. This proverb really speaks a lot of truth into who I am as a person, and who my dad still is. While I still tell the occasional white lie here and there, I do my best, to tell the truth, and I hope to pass that on to everyone I interact with.

“Isi buka ora ka Okpu”-Onitsha Proverb

Context: This is a proverb that is native to my dad’s village and he learned it as a child growing up in Onitsha. Proverbs like this were a prominent means of giving advice and life lessons especially to the children of the tight-knit community. 

  • “Isi buka ora ka Okpu”
    • Transliterated Proverb
      • Isi: head
      • Buka: big
      • Ora ka: struggle
      • Okpu: cap
    • Full Translation: No matter how big a man’s head is, we can find an alternative cap, meaning that we can always find a solution or alternative to any issue or problem.
      • Explanation: This proverb comes from my dad and he learned about this when he was a child growing up in Nigeria. This was supposed to be a saying that illustrated that no matter how big a problem was that a solution could always be found. When my dad told me about this proverb, he emphasized it as a teaching rather than a saying. He experienced a lot of hardships and adversities growing up, but he always remembered the words of his father in that there was no problem that he could not solve and to keep pushing forward.

Thoughts: Growing up this was not a saying that I would hear often here from my parents, but I recognize a lot of variations in English that they would tell us. It is interesting to think about how this one proverb could summarize the experiences of my dad as a child and his journey from Nigeria to the U.S. to start a better life for himself. Life in itself is riddled with challenges, but this proverb provides a simple and almost cheesy solution. If we think of problems as being impossible and that they can never be solved, then they will continue to plague and affect us throughout our life. However, if we address a problem with possible solutions from the beginning and speak into existence that a solution is near then no problem will be too great and we’ll always find a solution. The proverb is speaking clearly on the value of being solution-orientated and I agree with this message entirely. Given my dad as an example of what happens when you choose a path of solutions rather than problems, I hope to carry on the message of this proverb and apply it to the challenges I know I will face.

Act in Haste, Repent at Leisure

Context: The informant is my uncle and he is identified as J.I. He was raised in the Bay Area by my grandparents alongside my mother. In the following quote gathered from a phone call I had with him, J.I reflects on the aphorism, ‘act in haste, repent at leisure’; one that his father would often tell him in his adolescent years.

Main Text: “My dad had so many great expressions. I was always kind of impulsive, and I still am in some ways, but he always used to tell me ‘Act In Haste, Repent at Leisure’. It was his way of teaching me a lesson and warning me that making impulsive decisions could leave me with an unwanted result. Many times after making a rash decision I was like why did I do that, or why did I act so quick, because I’m stuck with it now, you know? And I think that this quote is really great when you look at life. You can always pull the trigger on something, but it’s usually best to marinate on an idea or big purchase so you don’t feel stuck with something later.”

Analysis: This saying passed down to my uncle from my grandfather is one that reteaches a common lesson: that if you act fast and don’t like the end result, you’ll have plenty of time to regret it later. I think this piece of folklore is relevant to many adolescent boys and even grown men because it is often tempting to make what seems like a fun, short-term decision without considering all of the long-term ramifications. After researching, it seems that this saying is derived from the 17th century saying “marry in haste, repent at leisure”, which originated from the 1693 novel “The Old Batchelour” by William Congreve.

He Who Laughs Last, Laughs Longest

Context: The informant is my uncle and he is identified as J.I. He was raised in the Bay Area by my grandparents alongside my mother. In the following quote gathered from a phone call I had with him, J.I reflects on the aphorism, “he who laughs last, laughs longest”; one that his father would often tell him in his adolescent years.

Main Text: “My father used to say ‘he who laughs last, laughs longest’. The way I looked at that is it’s not always about getting noticed or winning first, but how you come out in the end. This could be in a game, a job, in school, in any aspect of life. It can be tough sometimes when you are not winning or getting credit, but in the end, many times you come out on top by working hard and staying focused. This comes to mind in my life as I was never the biggest in high school; I didn’t start growing until junior year. But maybe two years later, I was out at a party, and by that point, I had grown and started working out. Some girls took notice of this and mentioned my arms, cause I had some guns at that point. So one of my old buddies, who was sort of the alpha, challenged me to an arm-wrestling match at the party, and I ended up beating him. And that’s what I’ll remember, it really captures the message behind the saying.”

Analysis: This proverb reminds people that everyone is bound to have some bad luck or not get their way in life, but what really matters is how you handle these situations and create your own fortune. My uncle’s story is a great example of how you can’t let immediate misfortunes get to you and how you ultimately have to look at the big picture. A similar anecdote is a tale of “the tortoise and the hare”, which also teaches that persistence and hard work can overcome superficial or immediate losses. The sweetest victory is the final one.

A Gamer’s Language to Duel

“1v1 me Rust” is a popular saying amongst gamers, primarily ones who play fps (first-person shooter) games. It’s like telling someone to fight you but in a video game. This came from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 when they released a map called Rust. This map was extremely small and was often used for duels and 1v1s which is just like one of those cowboy shootouts. It’s easy to use cheap tricks in shooters like these and people would normally get upset or trash talk. The way to settle the dispute would be a 1v1 on Rust. It makes it clear who the better player is and now the saying is used in other shooter games as well.

Context: The informant identifies as a gamer and has been playing various video games since they were in grade school. He first found out about the saying when he first played the game in its release in 2009. He has also seen the term with popular professional gamers and streamers.

Thoughts: I really like the comparison from the duel to that of an American western shootout. It shows the competitiveness of the gaming community and how certain influencers of the community shape the outcome of a game entirely. It makes sense to have competition such as this to see who is the better player. One on one games have been apparent in almost every competitive setting and it is interesting to see how certain aspects of the game create a whole new saying.

White Rabbit, White Rabbit, White Rabbit

“White Rabbit, White Rabbit, White Rabbit” is an expression used when people are sitting around a campfire. It is used to get the smoke out of one’s face and by repeating these words, the smoke will change direction. The concept is that the smoke is made up of hundreds of minuscule white rabbits. They only go in your face because they don’t feel appreciated and want attention. By saying white rabbit three times, you acknowledge their presence and therefore, will leave you alone.

The informant learned this folk expression through Boy Scouts. It is exactly the type of silly thing that would be made up by kids. The informant heard it from an older scout while away at camp. They still practice it to this day because it shows a fun, non-serious side.

It seems to me that it is a childish solution presented for a childish problem. Many kids enjoy camping or at least are forced to participate in it. Kids are very focused on the moment, so something like smoke in their face would upset them greatly. This “solution” turns this problem into a fun game that holds, in theory, real-world significance.

Chinese Proverb of “To Kill Two Birds with One Stone”

Main Story: 

“There is a common saying in Chinese (Mandarin) : 箭双雕” 

Original Script : 箭双雕 

Phonetic: Yi (Yee) Jian Shuang Diao

Transliteration: Complete two tasks with one job 

Full translation: to shoot two birds with one arrow

This saying is also present in English, it is the same concept as “to kill two birds with one stone”. The theory being you can complete two separate tasks with one action. For example: say a person has to go get a test done at the doctor’s office and also a check up with a different doctor. But both doctors happen to operate out of the same medical office building. By scheduling the appointments back to back, the person is able to complete two tasks (the doctors’ appointments) with one action (driving to the medical office building). 

Background: 

The informant of this info is my friend and she is Chinese and used to live in Shanghai. She always found it interesting that this phrase exists in both English and in Chinese in an almost synonymous context. She can’t find anywhere as to which phrase came first and who got it from who or if the similarity is purely coincidental, and if it is a coincidental likeness then she wanders what does that say about human nature? 

Context:

The informant is a friend of mine and we were video calling over the phone during quarantine and just chatting about life and funny coincidences across cultures.

My thoughts: 

I kind of agree with my friend on how she feels about the odd coincidence between the two languages and the same phrase. It is interesting that they are so similar in literally every aspect of their meaning.