All my life I’ve known that my name, -Maisha-, is the Swahili translation of the word LIFE or to be “Alive and well.” But, in that, I’ve never had a clear etymological understanding of my middle name -Kiana- until a conversation I had with a dear friend some time ago, and was blown away at what he helped me uncover!! Basically, if you break the name ‘Kiana’ into a compound of the two words ‘KI’ and ‘ANA’, this is what you get:
KI is a Japanese variation of the Chinese word ‘Qi’ which is known as “LIFE energy, LIFE force, or vital energy flow.” This encompasses the qualities of breath and air (or wind), which are essential to live. Qi is DEEP, when you really look into it!
With this bit of insight into the first syllable of my middle name, I went digging around to see what the second one was all about. I read that ANA is of Hebrew origin and means FAVOR and GRACE!….*gasp!* If there’s ever been a constant in my existence, it’s that I have and continue to lead a FULL LIFE overflowing with the Favor and Grace of God Almighty!! I was overwhelmed to realize this because I really believe that names –can– hold such a significant value and shape one’s calling and life work. Bless my parents for giving me such a powerful name! ♥ Maisha Kiana = ALIVE, WELL, and full of FAVOR AND GRACE! ((I’ll take it!))
Well, imagine my surprise and delight when I realized that my shortened name, MAI, also has thematic significance. The nickname came about years ago when friends and family would playfully call me Mai or Mai-Mai for short. The older I got, the more I liked the name Mai for its distinctive and personable vibe. (I mean, how dope is “flyMai!” <— shout out to DJ A-Ski UniqueSeventyFour for coming up with the ill moniker! Or even “Mighty Mai!” given to me by another clever friend!) So, ‘Mai’ is the name I use most often these days. It wasn’t until I moved to the Middle East that I realized the Arabic translation of the word WATER is “Mai”. Wen al mai? Means, where is the water? I hear this often when people are thirsty and looking for something to drink. (There also seems to be an Arabic comedian who has a joke that asks “Wen al maaaiiiiiii????” which some find hilarious… I’ve seen the video on YouTube but don’t know how to find it.)
I am fascinated that “Mai” means water, because tying it back into my full name meaning, you cannot live, survive, or function without WATER. It is a necessity in leading a full, healthy LIFE. I’ve always been a water lover, too! I was swimming as a toddler and have a constant need to be near water whether pools, rivers, oceans, jacuzzi tubs…! In California, I’d visit the beaches of Venice and Santa Monica often growing up. One year I worked in San Pedro and would take lunch breaks at their beach as well. I’ve memorized the view of the ocean from Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu which looks amazingly similar to the Camps Bay coast in Cape Town. When I moved to New York, I’d take evening walks on the Hudson up in Harlem or would take lunch breaks on the waterfront at World Financial Center. When I interviewed at Kingsborough Community College a few years ago, as soon as the bus dropped me off at Manhattan Beach, I knew that I would get the job! It only made sense! And over the next few years I held many classes out by the shore! I am made for being in close proximity to water!! I love swimming in the ocean and turn into a bit of mermaid when in the flow of the waves. When I visited the Canadian side of the great Niagara Falls one midnight last spring, the sheer volume of water was completely mesmerizing and haunting. I literally wanted to get into the water if only for a few moments, but I knew I would never return! So I just stood enthralled by the sounds and view until it was time to go… And now I’m living in the UAE in a beachfront apartment experiencing the kind of life I’ve always knew existed for me… A life at the beach!
So…. My name is Mai! Made from earth, wind, fire and water!! And it’s A PLEASURE to have you visit my blog!!! ♥ Here’s to LIFE! The good life! The joys of life! Here’s to the BLESSINGS available to all of us! Here’s to living WATERS! And living in the sun!!!! Thanks for reading….. And check out more of my postings whenever you feel like a bit of MAI in YOUR LIFE! 🙂