Indonesians love to name their children with deep meanings – middle names are often words constructed together to convey the dreams that the parents have for the children. So, middle names are often unusual and cannot be used to address the person. For example my middle names: Sapta Tjahjadi – you can’t really call me using those names because they are more like words strung together to give my full name a noble meaning. Sapta is a Sanskrit word for seven, as I’m the seventh child in the family; and Tjahjadi or Cahyadi in the new spelling is an uncommon name constructed from two words: cahaya (light) + di (at/in). So the full meaning of my name is: Arry, the seventh child of the family is the light in the family. Very noble, eh? I hope I can live up to the dream that my parents put on me.
Last night I went to the 70th birthday party of my dear friend Graham Taylor – I regard him as my Australian father because of his spiritual guidance and advice. I’m also a great friend of his wife, Cynthia, who is also a mother figure here in Adelaide. She had been praying for me to get a girlfriend and was so overjoyed about my relationship. She even announced it during Graham’s birthday party yesterday! 😳 The restaurant was filled by Graham’s close friends and families. Yani and I were probably some of the youngest invitees in the room as a lot of those who came to the party had known Graham for 40 years or more. Some of Graham’s friends also gave glowing testimonies on how they had been blessed by him. Birthday greetings from all over the world were also read out after we had dinner. He’s a father figure to many people all over the world!
Yani and I sat in a table of seven – thanks to the nametags, we could converse with the rest of the people on our table. Each one of us was also given a quiz about Graham’s life that provided good topic for discussion. 🙂 There was one gentleman in our table who was originally from Estonia – I mentioned to him that I had been to Tallinn and that I liked the city a lot. At the end of the night, he said that my surname could mean something in Estonian, with a couple of minor spelling modifications. Apparently, tänu means thanks, sõna means word, and the suffix -ja means somebody who does something. He said that tänusõnaandja could mean something like The giver of the word ‘thanks’. How beautiful is that? 🙂
Spelling my surname is a chore for me sometimes, especially here in Australia because of its non-Anglo Saxon origin. I have mastered the whole ritual of “T for Tango, A for Alpha, N for November, U for Uniform, S for Sierra, O for Oscar, N for November, D for Delta, J for Juliet, A for Alpha, J for Juliet, and A for Alpha”. I can even predict what would be said after I finish spelling out my name: “Wow! How do you say that?”. 😀 However, hearing that it means something so beautiful in a language from a distant part of the world, has made me so proud of my surname. I would also like to live up to that meaning, to always be thankful in every circumstance, on top of being a light whereever I am.
PS: A special Aitäh (thank you) to my friend in Tallinn, Estonia for helping me to get the spelling! An ‘Indiaanlana’ with a surname that could mean something in Estonian! 🙂