My name is pretty common, easy to pronounce. Ji Hye means wisdom and it was a popular name in the year I was born. At least in Korea, anyway.
I came to the States when I was 13. Within a month, my aunt took me to a local high school and enrolled me. At the end of that meeting, the school’s ESL teacher suggested that I take an English name. For convenience sake. Since my name Ji Hye starts with J, a bunch of adults decided to scrap “Ji Hye” and call me “Jennifer”. I was at that school for exactly 4 month and I refused to answer to “Jennifer”. Once I transferred to a different school, I stuck by my actual name but was rudely mocked for it. Here are some variations:
Kimmie: My last name is Kim. I don’t know who Kimmie is.
Jai Hai: I don’t think so.
Gee Hi Joe: Brilliant.
Once a kid named Charlie called me Ji and I barked at him that my name is not Ji just as his name is not Char. In retrospect, maybe I over reacted. It is spelled weird. Continue reading ‘What’s in a name?’