Don’t tell Liv, because she’ll kill me if she finds out I shared this, but her French name is Virginie.
When I took Spanish with Harry Rush back in the early 90’s, you were referred to in your Spanish name only if your name translated well into Spanish. William was Guillermo, Mike was Miguel, etc. Ryan doesn’t work, but I did get called Senior Casablanca. It worked.
Today, Olivia is taking French 1 in Middle School. The new rule is thus: if your name isn’t French, you pick one from the list. She chose Oliver, because hey – it looks like Olivia. She was dismayed to discover that it’s a boy’s name. Now, with her first choice denied, and standing before the class, she hastily picked Virginie (French for Virginia). She hates it. She was super bummed to learn it’s pronunciation. I like it – she thinks it’s Vir-geenie. With a “guh.”
That night, the night of the choosing, Gabe was telling me that Gabriel means “strong man of God.” I told him Ryan was Gaelic for “little king.” Olivia couldn’t help it. She chimed in with: “Vir-geenie is French for ‘too stupid to pick out the right name.'”
She said she was going to go back and ask if she could change to something like Ann (her middle name), but since her flip-flop also broke in the first French class, and needed to be repaired – to her maximum embarrassment – that she’s done enough to make a first impression, and will suck it up.
I wrote this post today, unbeknownst to Liv (obviously). Imagine my surprise when she ran up to me and said, “Guess what? Guess what? I asked my teacher if I could change my name and she said YES!! I’m Ann. It was totally embarrassing, and I think I was sweating, but I did it!”
Will wonders never cease?