Monday, 1 September 2008


for a long time now i have been searching for the right word to name our house. this is not as easy as it sounds. i once even searched through the back section of 'lord of the rings' for one of those beautiful names created by tolkien, like 'lothlorien'.

sounding beautiful was not the only criteria though. at the same time we wanted something less commonly used and of course the meaning had to fit. it had to feel right.

i spent time searching the spanish-english dictionary. although i have never been there, i love everything about the country, its art, food, music and language. i tried to find words for home, or words that described what we know and feel about where we live and what we believe in.

nothing seemed to fit, until recently when i picked up a book at the library called "isabel's daughter" by judith ryan hendriks - an enjoyable read by the way. the story eventually leads to santa fe (a vibrant centre for art ) in new mexico. the main character is given the generous gift of a small adobe hut which once belonged to her artist mother, the first thing she had ever been able to call her very own. the property was named;

'querencia'. (pronounced ke-ren-see-a)

there is no exact translation for the word in english, but these are the definitions i managed to find;

  • a place from which one’s strength of character is drawn.
  • in spain, it is the place in the ring (the 'corrida') where the wounded bull goes to renew his strength and center himself, ready for a fresh charge.
  • a place in which we know exactly who we are. the place from which we speak our deepest beliefs.
  • a safe haven, affection, fondness, homing instinct, den, lair, nest, roost, home, sanctuary.

this is the name we have chosen.

although i was originally searching for a house name, it is one we would take with us wherever we go, as it is more about how we feel about our home, than our house.

the next thing will be to design a sign or perhaps make a mosaic to hang out the front.


  1. Oh, wow, thank you for teaching me something new today. I speak Spanish, but I had no idea querencia could mean all those things. That is especially fascinating about the part of the bull ring.

  2. How special to have a safe haven, to share a place like this with others. How grounding! I am glad you have this, Patti...I really wish to have this myself someday. Much love, O

  3. Great post which shows just how difficult it can be to find the right name for a home and the reward for perseverance. Really like the idea of taking the house name with you wherever your home may be. Look forward to seeing the sign!

  4. Oh, Patti, what a perfect name for your home! I can certainly relate to the naming of a home. I purchased my "farm" 10 years ago and thought I'd name it Rivendale (I love Tolkein) because I find this place to be magical and healing. However the films came out and it seems an inappropriate name now. So, for the time being, it is simply "the farm".

  5. Great story Patti of how things evolved to bring you to your name. Great name and can't wait to see the sign. I too like the idea that you will take the name with you should you move. Meanwhile, just from seeing that corner of your house, it looks super to me. It is a blessing to have a home that is your own.

  6. I love it! Its so poetic and musical ... the meanings are also bliss-full.

    Many blessings my friend,

  7. It is the perfect name for your home!
    I've missed you and am catching up on your fabulous blog posts.

  8. Thanks for posting. Great word and I love the meanings you found. Powerful.


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