Thursday, November 11, 2010

not what's on the birth certificate

Here’s a photo of me from this morning’s meeting, where I’m introducing myself (and looking ridiculous) to representatives from community organizations around my municipality. Also, if you zoom in like 100x you can tell that I have officially changed the spelling of my name (Gretj, this one’s for you):

The nametag I wore to today’s community meeting read:

Lic. Yastin Hargesheimer

(Lic = Licensiado, which is Guatemalan for Bachelor’s degree… formally refer to people and their university degree here, like it’s part of your official title – a number of people stood up and talked about “gracias al licensiado Yastin por venir a nuestro comunidad…..” )

I switched from “Justin” to “Yastin” because most Guatemalans can’t pronounce my name and this new version sounds kinda similar: YAH-steen. (ok, so it doesn’t sound similar at all). It’s fine. Meanwhile, some volunteers have changed up completely as they’d gotten tired of listening to Chapines (Guatemalans) butcher their names, but I’d rather have an weird name than have to remember that I’m “Oscar” for the next two years.

Also - today I realized that my name has been different at each point I’ve spent significant time in a foreign country.

Age 6-8, Central America – Justin (pronounced like it reads in Spanish: who-STEEN …. It’s a solid name, and I guess I could have used it again but it sounds too young or something)

Age 22, living in Italy – Giustino (Italianicized and diminutived by my host family, the Antoniuccis: pronounced joo-STEEN-oh)

Age 24, traveling in South America – Justo (new Spanish update, frequently paired with “Profe” since I was teaching English most of the time. Funny cuz my name literally means “just”. Pronounced: WHO-stoh)

Age 31, Peace Corps’in it up in Guate – Yastin (latest Spanish update; whatever, it sounds fine: YAH-steen)

The name changes have gotta be an age specific thing.


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