Life sends me down new paths from time to time. I just have to be open to the good things that are to come.

I’ve had a lot of names in my lifetime, all variants of my real name, but each quite different.

To the government I’m: Evelyn.

To my daddy when I was little: Eve’rie

To my childhood companions and family: Eve

To a few of my old high school peeps: EvieMarie

To my brother: Steve

To my students: Stew (Ms. Stewart until they knew me; occasionally Mama when they wanted something)

To my current friends, and family: Evie

Now, I’ve started a whole new life in a whole new country.  New occupation.  New sights.  New habits.  New food.  New language.  Even though I don’t have plans to stay beyond a year, it’s still a new life in the making, forging what I hope will be a happier, healthier, more balanced, more complete me.

The times I’ve introduced myself to the Costa Ricans around me it didn’t go so well.  In Spanish ‘v’ sounds like ‘b’…thus they called me Ebie.  I don’t like that at all.  It sounds silly, like a muppet or a character from Sesame Street.  No thanks!

And now I have a new name.

Yesterday my phone rang; a wrong number, of course.  The voice on the other end inquired, “¿Con quien hablo?”

“Este es Evía,” I heard myself say and I realized suddenly, ‘I have a new name.  When did that happen?’

I didn’t choose it, but it’s what Carlos calls me.  When I wrote my name and number for him the first time he saw Evie and to him it sounded like Evía (eh-vee-ah).  When he introduced me to his family I was Evía.  His dad had a hard time rolling the “v” sound into the “ee” and it got shortened to Eva.  That’s okay too.  I was Eva to my Cuban friend Lilly in school and anything’s better than Ebie!

As I thought about it I realized something else: there’s less confusion with Evía.  For as long as I’ve been Evie, people have misheard me.  I’ve been called: Amy, Eddy, Eve, Evy, Emmy, and on one memorable occasion Ellen.  With Evía, there’s no mistaking it.  Someone might spell it differently, but by god Evía sounds like Evía and not much else.

I’m okay with that.

Will it last?

Who knows?

I didn’t choose Stew, but it was who I was when I was teaching at Thomasville.  I was Stew for seven years, but I doubt I’ll ever be Stew again.

Evía may be just like that- who I am now as I become whoever I’m going to be; a name that lasts for a time and then stops being relevant.

My friends and family back home certainly won’t be calling me Evía (some of them still haven’t switched from Eve to Evie!), but here, now, it fits.

I like it.  I like the newness of it.  I like the softness of it.  It’s breathy and serene, with stretched out vowel sounds.  It’s like life here- there’s no hurry, no fast paced angst, no raucous stress.  Somehow, it makes sense to be Evía here.  Evie was curt, abrupt, sharp, in a hurry.  Evía takes it’s time, it’s gentle, sweet.

Evía.

It fits.

Advertisements