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Monday, November 21, 2011

The Adventures of Joanna and Gretel

Break of day.  
Such an easy word in English, who knew it would be so complex when I left the comfort of the US.  

Apparently, this name is a complete anomaly in Spanish.  It's not a name in Argentina, and it's impossible for locals to pronounce.  

For the last two years, I have developed an alter ego named Joanna, which is how Dawn seems to be pronounced in Castellano.  A normal conversation goes something like this:

Starbucks Employee:  "Como se llama?"

Me:  "Dawn" 

Starbucks Employee:  "Como?"  

Me:  "Dawn"

Starbucks Employee:  "ummmm, Joanna?"

Me:  "Si." 

And then I end up with this:
Dawn = Gioranna
Luckily, the newest Twilight movie has opened here in Buenos Aires, and the English title is "Breaking Dawn", a huge stride in the advance of my name.  Unfortunately, in Spanish, my name is actually a verb "amanecer" (as is the Argentine working title of the Twilight movie) but I can't very well go around saying that my name is Amanecer, it just doesn't flow.  It doesn't even make sense.  It's like saying my name is "the sun is coming up". To avoid confusion, I started telling people that my name was actually Joanna.  It worked like a charm.  

And then I had Gretchen.  

I know for a fact that there has been at least one other Gretchen born in Argentina because there is a list of  acceptable names (no really, there is, we had to be sure that our baby's name was on this list: Argentine Name List.  You can have names added to the list, but it can be a real pain) and Gretchen is on the list, however, no one has ever heard of this name.  

A typical conversation regarding Gretchen's name:

Random Stranger: "Que linda bebe, como se llama?" (What a beautiful baby, what is her name?)

Me:  "Gretchen"

Random Stranger: "Como?" (What?)

Me:  "Gretchen"

Random Stranger: "Como, Gretel?" (Like, Gretel?)

Me: "Sure."

That's right.  My daughter's name is just like Gretel.  Like Hansel and Gretel. 

So that's us, just Joanna and Gretel, hanging out in town.  


  1. Haha! What if your last name was "Stank" how would that work out??


    Dying laughing. Seriously. If it makes you feel better when we're in Spain my name is always MAY-GONNE. There is a car company called Megane and that is as close as we get. Although they sound like they're going to hock a lougee on the "G."