She’s very nice. Always pleasant. She speaks with a Chinese accent and I always knew that she wasn’t born in the U.S.
Her name is Pam Yu. At least that’s what she always called herself. I had always thought that, since she was born in China, having the first name “Pam” was passing strange, so I finally asked her about it.
“Oh no”, she told me. “Pam isn’t my real name. I just started calling myself that because I didn’t want to use my actual, Chinese, name.”
I understood that. I’ve known many people, born in other countries, who have names difficult to pronounce for us Westerners. I’ve worked with a Rajasuri who called herself “Raj”. I’ve worked with a JINGHUA who called herself “June”. You get the point.
I explained this to her, and she quickly shook her head, looking uncomfortable.
When I asked her what was wrong, she explained to me that I didn’t quite understand why she had to change her first name when she moved to America.
I asked her to explain it to me, but she was very hesitant. Quite honestly, she looked embarrassed.
For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what her issue could be. She looked around to see if anyone else was within view, before handing me her driver’s license.
“When I moved here, I used my real name for about 6 months before I finally had to ask someone why people were constantly laughing at me whenever I introduced myself.”
Perplexed, I looked down at her license, and it took me a minute to phonetically read her name before I got it:
The poor girl standing before me was from that moment, and forever more, never to be thought of by me as “Pam Yu”.
Try as I might, I can only now think of her by her birth name:
I think I’d call myself Pam, too.
Speechless, I just handed her back her license, told her that I understood, and went on my way.
I should have asked how her sister “Blow Me” is doing……