When I was a kid, we didn’t often have family coming over. We lived rather far away from the main railway station and the airport, and so most family members, especially those from out-of-state, would prefer to stay at my aunt’s place, as her home was more centrally located.
On the rare occasion that someone announced that they would drop by at our place, Mum and Dad would invite them to share a meal with us. Mum would tell me of the impending visit when I returned home from school. I would be filled with excitement at the prospect of meeting an aunt or uncle or my cousins, with whom I got along fabulously.
At such times, I would keep going to the door or the window to try and see if they had arrived. Mum would tell me to take it easy. She would say that when our visitors arrived, they would knock and call out to us. But patience didn’t come easy to me back then.
That attitude of mine, I’ve discovered, has a name. It is called Iktsuarpok, and though people all over the world experience it, only the Inuit languages thought of coining a special word for it.
Simply put, the word describes the anticipation one feels when waiting for someone, and how one keeps checking to see if they have arrived.
My kids exhibit humongous amounts of Iktsuarpok but only when they are expecting a cousin or their grandparents or aunts and uncles that they are fond of. I have some dear friends who, when they promise to drop in, also elicit a lively display of Iktsuarpok on our part.
Have you ever experienced Iktsuarpok?
Of course, I can’t be counted on to drum up enthusiasm for any caller.
So often I am home, just the kids and I, having the time of our lives, and the security guy of our apartment complex buzzes us to say that we have a visitor, somebody we don’t know or don’t particularly want to see then (you know what I mean). At such times, I wish I had a butler, one that would announce to the visitor that I am not home.
Clearly, having grown up I have outgrown Iktsuarpok.
Today my dominant mood is Irusu, the Japanese word for pretending to be out when someone knocks at your door.
Of course, mere wishing that the visitor turn on his/her heels and head home has no effect. And since I don’t have a butler who might lie for me, I am forced to suddenly scramble around, tidying the hurricane that La Nina and El Nino inevitably manage to conjure up around the house, in the few seconds we have before the visitor rings our doorbell.
So what’s your dominant mood when visitors come a-calling?
Iktsuarpok or Irusu?