Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What's in a name?

Hey this is the 200th time I've written a post! Exciting times.

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I love my name. I used to hate it when I was in primary school, and I wanted to be just like everyone else. All the other girls had names like Sarah and Melissa and Jessica... Mine was just weird, and people got it wrong all the time. Ogla. Oga - that one still makes me cringe.

People didn't even bother trying to say my surname right. I remember once getting a merit award at East Maddington, and the principal just mutilated my last name. He didn't even try, it was awful. He just said 'Olga, uh, Herrrm (mumble mumble mumble)'.
This from the institution that was teaching kids how to read. A good rule - if you don't know a word, sound it out. Just try saying the letters in the order they appear. Don't just look at it, dismiss it as too long and make it up. Grr.

Wow, I am surprised by how angry I still am about that.

Anyway, once I got to high school and stopped worrying about fitting in, I realised I liked my name. It's different and unusual, but it still sounds like a girl's name. It has history and family roots, although only as far back as my grandma. It's not strictly an Icelandic name - I think Helga is the Icelandic version - but it works just as well there as it does here or in Australia.

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International names are important. My parents made sure that all of our names work pretty well wherever we live, although I guess there's probably some country where Olga is a rude word. The best ever story I've heard of non-international naming is the Icelandic name that is a combination of the words 'river' (or is it year?) and 'sun'.
Ársól. And that ó makes a long 'o' sound, so you kind of pronounce it 'Ar-sole'. I am not making this up.

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Band names are interesting. When we named the band, we had no idea how long we'd be playing for. It's weird, you start out with a name that's an in-joke, or an oblique reference to something you thought was cool at the time, but eventually (hopefully) the name just becomes synonymous with your band.

You stop thinking about how ridiculous the name 'Smashing Pumpkins' is, because you don't actually think of pumpkins anymore, you think about their music and Billy Corgan's bald head (which is, it could be argued, a bit like a pumpkin. Okay, bad example.)

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And this leads me to 'why I probably shouldn't bother changing the name of my etsy store (again!) just because I feel like it reminds me of something else'. After a while, it'll stop being referential, or too cutesy, or silly-sounding, and it'll just be itself.

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Off-topic but necessary: Hey Mum and Dad! Here's my tattoo all healed up!



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I just realised I have enough to say about names for another couple of posts, so maybe I'll save it for later. I guess I am quite into language and how we use it - looks like it might be time to go back to uni...

7 comments:

Maja said...

OO I love this new template! Did you just change it? It's very neat but pretty. Which reminds me, I need to change mine too. The earth pic takes way too long to load on my iphone.

Olga is a lovely name :)

And the tattoo looks so awesome.

northern musings said...

Hey loved that post - you know my feeling on the whole naming thing - it is probably quite similar to yours. I hated Sigridur (especially when pronounced in very broad Australian) - it was a pity that Sigrid Thornton wasn´t at my school and I could have shortened it to be the same as hers. Then Siggy - God I hate that - still do. Finally Sigga got her name back and I love my name!

Gill Omega said...

200 posts is like 200 pages, which is practically a book. Congratulations! (If you become a famous writer, they will publish those 200 posts as an Olga collectable!).

Anonymous said...

Good that you like your name,sorry about your early times.Like the tattoo,love dad

olga said...

Haha, Maja, you must have been looking at it as I changed it! Glad you like it!

Sigga - yep, I'm sure we've discussed it before. I think it's good having a name you grow into. Better than having a name you grow out of!

Gill: I think that would be a pretty wacky book... We shall see!

Dad!: Hi DAD! How did you feel about your name when you were younger? Cause I have to say, my friends these days all wish they had a dad called Thor! It's a great name!

xx

eva.diblasio said...

I love Olga Dee!! Thats awesome. X

Bridget Turner said...

Woa you look like a mega babe in your photo. Love the tat too
xx