I have gone the last half-week with many variations on my name.

It isn’t hard for the Ticos to pronounce my name, it’s just that, in Costa Rica, nicknames are given to people you like, and my family likes me, so I’ve been going around with half a name…

Here, I’ll explain:
My name in English is Elise. When I say it to the Ticos, they follow the rules of Spanish and put the accent of my name on the second-to-last syllable, making it E-lise instead of E-lise. No big deal. However, in Spanish, my name is Elisa, which forces the accent to match, but the family I live with have a daughter who is also named Elisa. Thus, the nicknames. I’ve been called every variation of ‘the girl Elise’ to ‘Lisa’. The daughter is nicknamed ‘Eli’, and my name constantly changes. Mostly, I’ve been addressed without a title, just to avoid the confusion.

Also, down here, the Ticos tease everybody. I mentioned before that they want to give me a nickname–I’ll go further and propose that my Tican family wants to give me a name that fits me with them. That’s the type of people they are, Ticos. One of my brothers is always teasing me about my boyfriend, another is teasing me about being clumsy… they all just enjoy life, and they see the funny. By teasing me, they help me see the funny, too. Through teasing and being nicknamed, I am endeared.


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