When I think of the little travelers as a group, there are possibly two things I love the most. The chats we have in the car and the enjoyment I get out of being able to observe them in their daily lives. Whether it’s playing sport, taking part in a birthday party or just messing about with their friends. There’s something incredibly beautiful about simple childish fun, watching the four of them dig a hole in the sand and seriously discuss the possibility of making their way to other side of the world, or seeing my two little girls, nose to nose, eyes as wide as saucers, deep in conversation about the flavour of the birthday cake.
I miss being a child. I miss cartwheels on the lawn and handstands up against the wall (so does G) – I’m joking! Seriously though, I miss how slowly time moved and how much fun a game of chasey in the school yard could be. Today I was reminded of that when I met a fabulous woman called “Purdy”. As she was introduced this morning I immediately said “Oh Purdy, I LOVED Purdy!” I was thinking about Joanna Lumley playing the role in the Avengers. She was so cool. In my games of make believe in Grade Four I was always Purdy, I karate kicked and shot down anyone that got in my way. The more sophisticated of us at the table (not me) were thinking of Purdita a character from Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale. My new breakfast companion said that she was very pleased when Purdy from the Avengers came along as her name suddenly became a little cooler. I was suffering from name envy.
Sometimes names just don’t translate though. 
A little later in the day I was getting the girls hair cut. I struck up a conversation with an American woman who had a very thick southern accent. She was really good fun. I love women from the South. I talk too much and tend to over share and it was for this reason I imagine that I felt the need to tell her that I’d had breakfast with someone called Purdy. And then I wistfully said “I used to be Purdy – back in the old days, in the school yard, I was Purdy”.
“Why darlin – you’re still pretty!” she said.
For a brief moment in time we stood staring at each other, crickets hummed, I blinked, she blinked and then I clicked and realized what she’d thought I’d said and nearly wet my pants in hysterical laughter. It wasn’t just the Purdy/pretty thing. I had a little flashback.
I was thinking of Liam.
My Aussie girlfriend in Houston took her new son Liam on a journey that involved heading into the deep South in the US, they stopped at a cafe/restaurant for a break. A very nice woman enquired as to what Liam’s name was. When my girlfriend told her the woman looked perplexed.
“Yes, that’s right – Liam”
This went on a few times until the woman finally said
“You mean like an arm and a leg limb?.”
Said with an accent from the south Liam/Limb. Same.
Said with an accent from Ireland.
A whole different story.
Has anyone got your name wrong lately?

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  1. Ha love it, especially as I’m Often Called Cathy 🙂

  2. People always get my surname wrong, instead of Flett I always get Fleet, Sleet or Slett. My maiden name is a common christian name so often I’d get called by that… I just answer, I don’t see the point in correctly someone I’ll never meet again 🙂
    P.S. I’m sitting here saying Liam/Limb out loud in a southern accent! 

  3. Naomi Hattaway says

    I am ALWAYS mispronounced.  Instead of NAY-omi, its pronounced NAI-omi.  I always suggest “say it like a horse, neigh!!”

    That and my last name … it has two t’s, in successive order.  In India, you say it “double t” … but then when I say the letter “w’ that comes a bit later, our name gets spelled like this u u (get it?  double u) ??

  4. I committed the cardinal sin of naming my second daughter Cecilie. With a “lee” sound on the end.  She is, almost without exception, called Cecile by anyone new.  It’s frustrating but I do persist in gently correcting them when I am with her.  After all, IT’S ALL MY FAULT. 

  5. I guess it tells you something about how long I lived in the South(although I am a New Englander by birth) that I immediately thought ‘pretty’ when I saw the title of this post.  I never thought of ‘Liam/limb’ though… this reminds me of a discussion I had with a lovely Kiwi lady who was telling me all about the increase in the amount of  ‘dye-ree’ (dairi?Dyeree?Dighreigh?) in New Zealand.  I finally asked her what ‘dye-ree’  was/were.
    It was dairy.  As in cows.  Oh.

  6. too funny!

  7. I had a lot of American friends could not understand why I named my daughter eyelash. As hard as I tried I could not get them to understand Ailish was not pronounced that way. Even when I sounded it out.

  8. I collect Cathy’s, Catherines and Kates. True story. My maid of honour is a Cathy, one of my favourite people in Calgary is a Cathy and I have a Catherine here. There’s just something about Cathys! Kx

  9. I promise you, you will never be able to meet another Liam without thing Limb again. BTW, how cool is the name Flett! Where did it come from?

  10. How gorgeous is the name Ailish? Beautiful.

  11. jennygilmc says

    Haha! This was too funny! As a girl from the south (but living in Malaysia right now) I totally got the “purdy” reference! When I tell people my name all over the world then tend to go straight to the Forrest Gump way of saying it…”Jen–aaaa” (for Jenny). My husband’s name is Dan, which in Malay, just means “and”, so he has to repeat his name a few times for them to think he is serious. 

  12. My last name is usually pronounced wrong, but my first name – well, it’s too easy so that never happens. By the way, as a NYer I am certainly not from the south, but when I saw your tweet my first reaction was, “well, she still is.” 🙂

  13. The Orkney Islands. If you go there, apparently every second person has my son’s name. It’s like John Smith.

  14. In Thailand, my oldest son’s name is often mispronounced as “alien.” (sorry, don’t want to give away his full name online). His Thai name (given to him by someone in our community) is Sakseet, but when we call him this, our expat friends think we are calling him “sexy.”

    When our second son was born here, I chose a name both Thais and foreigners could pronounce, but we’ll see how it translates in other countries!

    Thanks for the laugh!

  15. My husband’s Persian grandmother was meeting her soon to be grand-son-in-law named Kevin. After introducing Kevin to grammy, she quickly said “What be your name?” “Kevin” “Ehhhh, I call you Ted.” 

  16. Dejoe John says

    Tell me about it. Every day I get called so much different weird names that I couldn’t recognize that some were actually calling me. :\

  17. Mmmm Liam ….

    Oh sorry, where was I? Ah names. The amount of times I get called Kerry, here, in Australia, needs to be heard to be believed.


  18. I can’t say people get my name wrong. Lisa is pretty easy, in any accent.  But it does make me laugh that some of my friends shorten it to Lise… which is one syllable shorter when spoken, but still four letters when written… and many of these friends will write ‘ Lise’  rather than ‘Lisa’. It cracks me up!

    Nice photo of the famous Liam. He’s gorgeous!

  19. Trying being called Virginia.  I answer to Veronica, Vivienne, Victoria, Vanessa but was less accommodating when I had a name tag written up as Vagina!

  20. My name is Sian Davies and I am Welsh. My first name is pronounced Shan, with a longer a sound (it has a circumflex over the a but can’t be bothered to find it on my keyboard). My name is very very common in Wales and in my teens I thought it would be common everywhere, so I started signing my full name. It was only 8 years later, living in England that my then boss asked why I signed my full name (we were documenting something at the time that necessitated lots of signatures and my lengthy signature was slowing the process) that I realised that the signature Sian Leisa Davies was no longer necessary because there weren’t four of us in school any more but only one Sian at work. So may people mispronounce it but I don’t really mind, as long as they mispronounce it with love or good intentions….
    For our sins, my husband and I have kept the welsh theme with my son, Owain (only my welsh relatives pronounce it correctly). And the only name that we two stubborn parents could agree on for my daughter is Aoife, which sounds BEAUTIFUL (pronounced eefa) but I realised what I’d condemned the poor girl to when I booked her first flight at 2 months old and had to spell her name out about 6 times. It doesn’t help that her middle name is also beautiful but unpronouncable: Eirwen (it’s Welsh). Please tell me she won’t hate me when she’s a teenager….

  21. I have wondered for ages how to pronounce your name. I love it! I can’t believe you met Darina. She is so much fun and was very gorgeous to G and I when we moved to Doha. What a small world this expat world can be. xx

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