quarta-feira, 29 de julho de 2009

"Sputnik": my travelling companion in Rio

What a photograph! It has it all: a bike, a space rocket and a black doll (an image of the 'other'???). Back in the USSR, circa 1962.
This girl has grown and in 2 weeks she will join me for her first time in Rio de Janeiro.
What she doesn't know yet is the fact that many people here in Brazil who were born the same year as her, 1957, were given names (official!) "Sputnik" (because of the Soviet space rocket launch that year). And "Sputnik" means "travelling companion" in Russian, so it makes sense for us to travel together....
Brazilian creativity applied to naming children - this is another favorite topic of mine. A soap opera character whose name was Shiva Lenin (he had 2 fathers - one a Commie and another a new age hippie kinda guy) is actually not as crazy as it sounds.
I've met people whose names were Joanna D'Arc (followed by smt like De Souza Santos...), Lady Aparacedia Benedita, Gioconda Brasil (1st and last name), Waldis Ney - not exotic? Think again - Waldis Ney is how the Brazilians pronounce Walt Disney...

My favorite story is about the father of 3 children, 2 of whose kids' names were Gorbachev & Gandhi. So one day Gorbachev breaks a leg and winds up at the hospital. The father calls the hospital (he was travelling outside of town that day) to check on his son and asks the nurse: "Could you tell me please how I could speak to Gorbachev?" and the nurse thinks he is joking, for the city in question is the nation's capital, Brasilia...

Moving from South America to the USA, I knew of a girl whose parents had trouble conceiving and when she was finally born, in October, they called her October Joy. Luckily for her she became aka "Toby".
Well, me & my Sputnik are going to have August Joy for sure.

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