So! After a ridiculously busy week that included a last-minute trip to the big city to get the company's name approved, I got the company's name approved! The good news is that now we know the name of, if not the coffee shop, at least the business. The bad news is that it doesn't translate very well into English. Go figure.
It's the 花儿餐饮有限公司. The last part basically means that we're a company that deals with food and drinks--basically it indicates that we're in the business of starting restaurants/drink shops. The first two words, "Hua'er," are a little more difficult to explain.
Basically, a long time ago in our area, men would be way too embarrassed to tell women how they felt about them. So, instead of going through the immense embarrassment of a red-faced "I like how your shoes are so sparkly," they would instead sing a song they would make up as they went along, that implies that they like the girl. To me, impromptu songs are a few more rungs up the ladder as far as embarrassment goes. But anyways: those songs are called hua'er.
Mark gave me an example of what a hua'er would be like: "Everywhere I look, I see pairs. The doves in the sky are two, and every railroad track has a mate. But I am alone. I use all my strength to climb the highest mountain. I look down, and I see a beautiful flower." THE END. Sorry, girls--we're too manly around here to actually say (sing) anything directly about a woman ever.
I told my friend that I'm going to sing a hua'er to the next girl I date. But it's probably going to just be an out of tune rendition of the following: "I climb a mountain... and I see this flower, right? It's a really beautiful one... and its name may or may not rhyme with someone's name who's in this room right now. Hint hint."
Eventually it became a genre of folk song, and a man and a woman would, at festivals, stand on different ridges of mountains around here and sing hua'er to each other. Nowadays, there are still hua'er festivals, but they sound slightly less dramatic.
I like the fact that it was a spontaneous, impromptu love song that rose in spite of embarrassment. You get the feeling that the guys had no other ways of expressing incredibly strong emotion, so eventually they just had to start to sing--and the only way they wouldn't be completely embarrassed was to sing something that would take some interpretation. It makes me think of the love song that stirs in our hearts when we see those first buds of spring, wake from a nap on the couch to a light breeze blowing through the apartment, or lay in bed in the early morning, inexplicably awake, listening to the rain.
Although, admittedly, Spring's not coming easy. It snowed again today. But I didn't mind. Something about the sound afterwards of it melting--like the whole world was dripping to the ground.