Why guavaduck?

I served in Thailand for two years as a volunteer full-time missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was a life-changing experience, and I learned to love the people, languages, and food of Southeast Asia, particularly those of Thailand and Laos. While trying to come up with an available, unique, easy-to-say, and easy-to-remember domain name that actually represented something about me, I naturally thought of my time in Thailand.

The Thai word for foreigner (usually a non-Asian foreigner) is ฝรั่ง /faràŋ/, which also means guava. Although folk etymologies suggest that this is because Westerners somehow resemble guavas, the word meant foreigner first, and then was used for the fruit (for more, see my friend Rikker’s post here). Regardless, the connection between foreigner and guava is there. I use the Lao/Isan word for guava as my username in a number of forums. Hence guava. I just had to find another word to use with it.

A Thai once told me that Thai men are like ducks. He went on to explain that ducks can walk, but not very well; ducks can swim, but not very well; and ducks can fly, but not very well. Likewise, he said, a typical Thai man can fix a motorcycle, mix and pour concrete, or wire a house for electricity, but isn’t usually an expert in any of these things. In terms of English idiom, the duck is basically the jack of all trades (and master of none) of the animal kingdom. While I hope to not be a master of none, my projects do span a number of skill sets, so I thought it would be appropriate to include duck in my domain name.

One of these days I’ll make a picture of a guava duck . . .

If you happen to be really curious, you might wonder where the favicon came from. Go here for background. (Go for the background, stay for the laughs.)

(I discovered that, despite my efforts to check for other users of the name “guavaduck” before registering the domain name, I missed that it is someone’s username on YouTube. That isn’t me.)