So some of you know this – but not everybody.
In late August, I applied to change my name. This is something I have wanted to do for a long time for two reasons: 1) I wanted to take my dad’s last name as a tribute to him and his side of the family, and 2) the first name had been bothering me for far too long already.
So what was wrong with my first name?
Well, nothing to start with, really – the meaning is Old Norse for the verb “to love”. At the same time it is in its nature difficult to pin down as to where it’s from; I have had guesses from being a Latina over Irish to Faroese. The latter is because I have had to explain the root of the name itself, which is – according to the woman I am named after – really popular in Thorshavn, the capital of the Faroe Islands. The most amusing incident, though, was the Irish fella at the Roskide Festival who insisted that I had to be Irish with that name.
But although it has been fun to carry three names of each their nationality and two of them being generic enough to use them such and, combining those with my linguistic abilities and looks, being able to convince people that I am of another nationality than I really am, something has really been bothering me; the fact that some people haven’t been able to get the first name straight. Some even in spite of having it spelled out in front of them or having it repeated several times.
I can tell you now that my name is not – and has never been – Oona, Una, Uno, Ulla, Unni, Unnur, Luna, or Uma. Nor do you pronounce it Ana when it says Anna (for the Danes, a better illustration might be the difference between Ane and Anne). I have never been a car or a card game, nor am I from the Faroe Islands. I haven’t even been to the Faroe Islands.
I have nothing against the Faroe Islands, and I do think it’s a compliment to have people call me the same as something lunar, Luna Lovegood, or Uma Thurman, and that they take me as being Irish, but I’m sick and tired of explaining that I’m not actually from the Faroe Isands (though I’m sure it’s a wonderful place), that I am in fact a Dane (born and bred!), and what you’re calling me is not – and has never been – my name. Check my d@#& profile or look in my passport, it’s right there.
Right after being elected for the parish council in Gellerup, the name change had been approved. The way I learned about it was not through contact from the office I applied in, but from the chairman of the parish council – he called to say that I had stated the wrong name in the form the newly elected perish council members had to sign. My new name certificate arrived the next day.
I had really hoped the certificate had arrived sooner so I could present myself by my new name at election night – but that didn’t happen. I was still elected, though, and can now apologize for that little mishap and present myself properly:
Hello. I’m Freya Wildt Nørrevig. I’m a student of dramaturgy at Aarhus University and am based in Gellerup, a suburb to Aarhus in Denmark, right around the corner from the local church.
I don’t know how life-changing this will be, but if it changes, one could hope it would be for the better – at least when it comes to the name.
More is hopefully to come – watch this space!