Thursday, April 20, 2017

Qarrtsiluni and Querencia

When it comes to Q-words, the English language is rather lean, so I was wondering if I would find anything worth sharing in other languages. To my surprise, I came across two words that not only felt right to my vocabulary, but also seemed to answer some deep need within me.

Qarrtsiluni is an Inuit word that describes the act of sitting together in the darkness, waiting for the light.

I just love it when a word lends itself to metaphorical usage, and Qarrtsiluni does that in ample measure.

I am reminded of how so often in life, we are Qarrtsiluni, waiting for something better to happen, for some way in which our lives might be brightened.

In many ways, Qarrtsiluni hints at the dark just before the dawn, at how if we but wait patiently, at a time when all hope is gone, we will be rewarded by the bursting forth of light.

But even more than that, I guess it means that we can nudge Qarrtsiluni along. If you are in darkeness right now and waiting for the light, perhaps we could stand up and light a lamp or a candle to dispel the darkness ourselves. Give hope a chance to breathe, and be rewarded when day finally breaks.

Have you ever been in a stage of your life in which you found yourself Qarrtsiluni?

Querencia is a Spanish word that describes a place where one feels secure, a place from which one draws strength, a place that feels like home. But that place doesn’t have to be four walls standing together or even a physical location.

My Querencia are my parents. They are aging, and I cherish each moment I spend with them, or speak to them over the phone. Knowing that I have them on my side gives me tremendous strength.  

Strangely, I consider my children my Querencia too. Their ages are in the single digits, and they both need all the protection and encouragement that the Husband and I can give them. And yet, ironically, they prop me up in turn. I feel deeply honoured to be their mother, and every time I see them, I feel renewed.

My books are my Querencia too. As is my Rosary. In my most desperate moments, I turn to God in prayer, and feel uplifted.

Where is your Querencia? Is it a person or a place?


  1. Hi Cynthia - good words - Qarrtsiluni - I thought was going to be mindfulness - quietude as patience reaps its rewards through mindfulness. But love to the Querencia ... yes we need that secureness. My mother felt Querencia as I looked after her in her later years ...lovely words - thank you ... cheers Hilary

    1. I am happy to know that your mother felt Querencia as you looked after her in her later years. God bless you.
      I quite liked both the Q words.

  2. My Querencia is my home and family.Interesting to read new words from different languages.

    1. Thank you, Neha. Our homes and families are indeed are greatest refuge.

  3. My querencia is definitely my home. I have been here 45 years and raised my boys here. I know I should consider finding a place with less maintenance but find it hard to give up the walls that shelter me.

    1. Forty-five years is a long time. No wonder you feel so strongly about your home. May nothing threaten your Querencia.

  4. Q is a difficult letter, but you find two interesting words!

    Just to clarify: querencia, in Spanish, has at least two more meanings:
    -the place where you grew up, or you are used to;
    -the tendency (of a person or animal) to go back to that place.
    I think the second meaning is the most known and used.

    Eva - Mail Adventures

    1. Thank you for sharing the additional meanings. I think they fit in perfectly. Because one feels secure about a place, one aches to return to it.
      A happy childhood may also be a Querencia, and as adults, we may long to return to it.

  5. I have been in Qarrtsiluni at one point and thankfully in the light now. Also, I feel some important people in my life are in Qarrtsiluni, and I don't know how to help them.

    Querencia for me is my parents, my husband, my kid and whenever I get to go to goa(my favourite vacation spot). My parents home used to be my Querencia before, but is not anymore.

    Its amazing how just a word or two can take us to different places and through different emotions!

    Celebrating 'Women & their work' all April @NamySaysSo Queen of Tennis, Serena Williams, wins grand slam while pregnant!

    1. Namy, I guess each person has to find their own light. We can only pray and be supportive.
      The family is the best example of Querencia. I feel sad for those who live in dysfunctional families and miss out.

  6. I have experienced Qarrtsiluni and unfortunately my son is going through that right now. Praying he will see the light soon.
    God is my querencia and when he was alive my dad was also my Querencia.

    Suzy at Someday Somewhere - Quieting the mind

    1. I hope and pray that you son finds the light soon. It is terrible to see our loved ones in Qarrtsiluni.
      When we lose our loved ones, their memories still remain our Querencia.



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