As we have been taking Spanish lessons and trying to communicate effectively with our Mexican hosts, we have realized that our names present something of a challenge for Spanish speakers. So, for instance, instead of using Larry, I use my full name, Lawrence, but change it to the more spanish-sounding Lorenzo. I try to always introduce myself to whomever we meet – taxi drivers, shopkeepers, etc, and “Soy Lorenzo” seems to work well. In Mazatlan, I met a father and son team of Marine Service guys, named, aptly, Ruiz and Ruiz. When I introduced myself as Lorenzo, Ruiz the younger immediately said “Lencho”, the shortened name for Lorenzo. I kind of liked it… though Gwen was not entirely pleased. She insists that it must be some kind of inside joke.
Gwen has a very difficult name for Spanish speakers. In fact, people everywhere seem to creatively mangle her name. Even in the US, we regularly show up at restaurants looking for a reservation under her name, and wind up seeing “Glen”, “Owen”, or other odd takes. So, having my own Spanish name, I thought Gwen would be well served by having one of her own. She refused the standard contractions of her name, e.g., “Wendy”, and we eventually settled on Gabriela. However, when we next met some people and introduced ourselves, I boldly said “Lencho” and Gwen…. choked. She said “Gwen”. She just couldn’t pull off the Gabriela thing. The other morning when we were on the La Tovara Estuary tour, we introduced ourselves to our guide, who spoke some English. When he heard Gwen, he immediately said “Cuando”, which is, of course, Spanish for “When”. We had a good chuckle about that, but then I thought that this might be a good Spanish name for her. We used it a couple of times the other day, and Spanish speakers who know a bit of English do get a kick out of it. Gwen, not so much.
Perhaps our faithful readers can help Gwen… what should her Spanish name be?