Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Word


Brett showed me an ad a while back that defined many cities throughout Eastern Europe with a simple phrase. Sofia's was "untapped potential." Should that be Bulgaria's word? "Potential?" Or perhaps a word relating to the incredible natural beauty of the countryside like "rugged" or "Edenic"? Should the word somehow describe the political situation and history of the nation, perhaps "fraught" or "contested" or even, finally (maybe?) "free"? 

And what of Sofia? "Accept" comes to mind, because people have to accept a lot of things outside their control and go on about the business of life. "Family" would aptly describe the significance of tradition and home gatherings that the yearly calendar rotates around. "Vitosha" would characterize much of the city, because the mountain towers over everything from the edges, and everyone seems to want to escape the city to get there and hike in summer or ski in winter. 

I don't know. It's quite complicated trying to characterize a city and a country that you are living in, because you know how many dimensions there are to the place. I can quickly think of words for cities we've spent just a few days in, as all I have to sum up is my brief touristic impression, and not the history and dreams of its people. I'd give Istanbul "swirl", Belgrade "pleasure", London "money", Prague "zany", Vienna "staid" and Barcelona "color." There, I made that list in about 60 seconds. Why can't I think of Sofia's word?

Please, leave a comment with the word you would give your city, if you're in the mood...


Anonymous said...

One word for Duluth, MN? "SUPERIOR"

judy baker said...

Betsy, Maybe you can't think of Sophia's word because you have worked (and played) so hard to be a part of it that you are too close. Look at it like a tourist - like you looked at the other cities that you visited. Maybe it will come to you then. Judy

Mary and Jamie said...

SF = Ours. Sofia is your first place together. Your first adventure as husband and wife. So while it's not home (yet), not filled with family (yet), it's a place you get to grow into together.

Hugs from your former home state.

Betsy said...

I like "Superior." I totally agree to that word for Duluth! Not only does it acknowledge the incredible influence of Lake Superior, it sums up the natural beauty and friendliness of the place.