The name we are given

Posted: July 1, 2010 in Rant
Tags: , , , ,

Most people I know have at some stage in their life had some kind of issue with the name they were given at birth, either feeling it is too common, too boring, too complicated and so forth. I definitely fall into the too complicated category. My mother had for some inexplicable reason developed a fondness for Russian sounding names by the time she was pregnant with me. A fondness that my sister and brother escaped – lucky them.

So it was decided that I would be named Annuschka. The specific spelling of my name is very unusual – trust me, I have tried to find others with the same spelling, googling away to no avail. I believe the original idea of the spelling was that my friends could shorten my name and call me Ann… needless to say no one ever has and even if they would I would not react to that name, not realising they mean me. Either way, I ended up with a name that was very unusual in Sweden at a time when everyone else was called Anna, Maria, Linda, Emma etc and with a spelling that everyone got wrong.

To add to the confusion I also have an unusual surname (Wiesemann). It is a German surname and quite common there but definitely not in Sweden and it is a surname which is pronounced differently in Swedish, German and in English… which means all would spell it differently. I have spent a large part of my life spelling my name letter by letter for lots of people/banks/organisations… the list is endless… and many still get it wrong.

School was interesting… as my surname starts with a “W” my name was almost always the last to be called out and as soon as there was a new teacher I knew that they would get to my name on the list, stop, hesitate and then try to pronounce my name – incorrectly. Ohhh happy days. I have also spent much time explaining that yes I am from Sweden, yes I speak Swedish, yes I have a German background, no I am not from Russia or have any Russian connection part from my mothers fondness for Russian sounding names (I might blame that on all those “Dr Zivago” type films that she loves). One has to remember that nowadays there are lots more international names flying around in Sweden but in the 80’s, not too mention that we lived in the middle of nowhere in the countryside, most people were not used to “foreign” names.

When I moved abroad I was actually surprised to find lots of people who could pronounce my name correctly – even though the spelling still is an issue. There are definitely perks to living in a city with a multi-national population. When I was younger my name was a bigger issue for me than it is today. It is now part of whom I am, part of my identity – even though I have to confess that there are still plenty of times when I wish I had a simpler more “international” name.

So where do I want to go with this… maybe just pointing out to people out there and especially to parents that you might like the idea with a different, unique name but remember that it is your child that has to live with it… not you. Just keep it real.
Rant over.
And really… I kind of like my name now. At least I always know whom people are calling for when I hear my name – no mix-up. Guaranteed.

  1. Daisy says:

    I love your name :-)…. it’s YOU!!!

  2. annuschka is a gorgeous name; its kind of… sumptuous? (struggles to find the right word, then gives up)
    i got ‘josephine’: very imperious, posh, almost snooty, i think. coupled with… a few other incidents and most people who *think* they know me expect a massive country mansion, earl grey tea and a butler…

    • Ivy Blaise says:

      Sumptuous….Thanks! I can live with that. 🙂 I have more or less made peace with my name now…so all is well.

      Mansion and butler…. now that wouldn’t be too bad but definitely to much work…I couldn’t keep up the persona… would burst out laughing at all “serious, stiff-upper-lip” functions. 🙂

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