Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A Brief, Incomprehensive List of Names My Host Mother Has Called Me

A weird thing is happening in this house- my host mother does not know my name, or so it would seem.  While her grown daughter insisted on calling me by the proper pronunciation of my name and making her four and six year old children repeat it until they said it even without the slightest hint of an accent, the same cannot be said of my host mother.  It has never been important to me to go by Mariah in a Spanish-speaking country because this name, while it would seem easy, often causes people to trip up, and I already have Spanish names that I love.  So I didn't insist on my exact name upon coming here.  However, I would like to have A name, and currently it feels like mine changes every day...

For the first few days, my host family called me Mariah with a bit of an accent without a problem.  (I'm no linguist but I think the difference is that Spanish speakers tend to put the emphasis on a different syllable, which one I am not sure, and they pronounce it more MAR than the more common English Mer.)

Then strange things started happening.  Here is a list of things my name has become since:
1) Mari (Mar-ee)- Actually love this one, my Spanish name at camp
2) Maria (duh)- Also totally acceptable
3) Mori (Mor-eye)- What?
4) Mories (Mor- ays) This is the most recent and strangest, also is occasionally Mar-ays

While my host mother has been creating combinations of consonants and vowels I have never heard before, it seems my father (who I think knows my name anyway) has opted for the much easier option of mijita (my daughter), or increasingly often no matter how I look, mijita bonita (my beautiful daughter).

I believe names are really powerful, and I'm not sure, if given the choice, what I would want mine to be, but I would kind of like to have one, ideally not Mories...

I'll have to keep reminding my host mom.  Despite being entirely confused on what to call me, I still feel that my mother truly cares for me.  It is a strange thing, this host family relationship.  Because Ecuadorians are really loving and caring (so far that I have seen in general) and this family in particular has clearly opened their home to me and have made me part of the family.  However, it is also a bit strange because they are paid to have us.  I wouldn't say it is in any danger of ruining our relationship, but realizing that I have had five names in one week makes me feel a bit more like the paying client than the daughter.  Luckily, this is the only thing, and I love my host family to the moon and back.  They really are my parents here, and I think every day about how lucky I am to have people willing to take care of me in the absence of my own parents and to open their homes and lives to a complete stranger.  It is a miracle, and if it takes a few weeks to have a real name, no me importa.

1 comment:

  1. mory, I just don't understand the confusion.......