Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Name Game

Since we arrived last year, we’ve been referring to our project as “Petit Paradis,” or in English, “Little Paradise.” As time has gone by, we’ve realized that name doesn’t quite convey what we want to say about our place. While we do believe that we’re sitting on a slice of paradise, we want a name that’s more subtle, creative and evocative (and is easy to say when answering the phone). We are now in the process of finding that perfect name, and we need help!!

One theme that we’re exploring is transformation. Both Patrick and I would like for our guests to feel transformed after spending time with us here. Our hope is that the Gringos who stay with us will detach from their hectic lifestyles and be able to relax and reconnect with nature. For the Costa Ricans who visit our restaurant, we hope they will enjoy being exposed to new cuisine and architecture, and also have a chance to spend time in the forest in a part of the country where much of the land has been converted into fields and pastures. An obvious symbol of transformation is the butterfly, and we have some of the most beautiful butterflies flittering all around our property. One possible name we are therefore considering is Morphose, which is French for morphosis. Since the beautiful blue Morpho butterfly is one of the species found on our property, there is an appealing double entendre to this name. Along the same line, Crysálida (Spanish for chrysalis) has a nice ring to it. Another more obscure possibility is Ovidio (or Ovidio’s), which is Spanish for Ovid, the Greek author of Metamorphoses.

Another theme we find intriguing is the idea of interconnectedness, which our rainforest ecosystem demonstrates so well. Unfortunately, the name Symbiosis was already taken by a restaurant down the street from us, but we’re still looking for other possibilities. It would be great if we could find a more elegant expression of Food Chain, which would be quite a clever name for a restaurant in the wilderness!

We’re also exploring names that reflect the idea that our forest contains different spiritual forces. In Greek mythology, Meliai were nymphs who inhabited the trees, and Kodama is the name for similar Japanese tree spirits. Ambrosia (or Ambroisie in French), the name of one of the Hyades nymphs who are said to bring rain, would be an apt name for a rainforest restaurant. Calling our restaurant Ambrosia might be seen as pretentious, however, and we wouldn’t want to create expectations that we might not be able to meet! Finally, the Chinese belief in ch’i, or “the life force that flows through water, earth and all living things”, appeals to Patrick and me. Harmonizing ch’i energy is the purpose of feng shui, and we have (unintentionally) incorporated some elements of feng shui into our Asian~style building designs. The name Sheng ch’i, meaning “vibrant strong energy,” is a possibility, although answering the phone, “Bon soir, Sheng ch’i” might sound a bit too bizarre !

We would like to solicit as many comments and suggestions on this matter from anyone and EVERYONE reading this blog. We need your help finding a big name for our little piece of paradise. Thanks in advance!

P.S. As a sidebar to this post about names, Lucas seems to have acquired a new nickname at school: “Lucas Peluca,” which in Spanish means something like “Lucas the Wig~Head.” The irony is that when choosing Luc’s name, we consciously selected one that (we thought) would work well in English, Spanish and French. Let’s hope we do better this time around!

1 comment:

michael & alison said...

OK, so here's a simple one from Michael: Lukapa with the accent on the middle syllable. It sounds exotic, is easy to say and is all your names.

Now I am going to look up some genus names of those butterflies and see if I can find anything that sings to me.
xxoo, Alison