The Day I Changed My Name

There are some things in life I feel fairly strongly about. Same sex marriage, the right to freedom, the cost of petrol…and not giving your children strange names that no one can pronounce.

As with most convictions, this last one comes from first hand experience. Growing up with the name “Aroha” was hard. Being an adult and having the name Aroha is not that much better, to be completely honest. Before I go on, I’ll give you a little lesson in saying my name. Many of you have probably seen it either on my page, or when I’ve left a comment on your’s as “Aroha from Colours of Sunset”.

The easiest way to remember my name is that it is basically the word NARROWER, minus the N and with an Aussie accent. So really more like Arrowah. Clear as mud? It’s also like a bow and “Arrow” with an “ah” on the end. If you are a kiwi or have the ability to roll your R’s (which I do not) it can even be “Aro-ha” (with a rolled R). This is how the Maoris would say it, and it sounds beautiful. I mean, itΒ should sound beautiful, it does after all mean “love”. (*gag*)



The problems with having such a strange name are many. As a child I’d always scour the displays of pencils, mugs, stickers and key rings that all had names on them. I never once found anything with my name on it. So recently in New Zealand, when my name was on everything, it was really hard not to buy it all and make up for 35 years of never seeing it onΒ anything.

I was forever repeating my name, correcting others, and spelling my name. I still do that. Some of the responses I’ve had to my name include:

“What kind of a name is that?” (I don’t know, my parents hated me, what can I say?)
“How do you spell that?”
“That’s an unusual name!” (no kidding)
“Where is that from?”
“What does that mean?”
“Are you from New Zealand?”

And don’t get me started on what happens when you google my name. There wouldn’t be one other person in the world with my name, which means when you google me, everything I’ve ever posted online comes up. Pinterst accounts, Google +, personal pictures, Facebook pages I’ve commented on…it is really hard to undo all of that, although I’ve started trying to erase my internet history.

Until I was 21 I never had a nickname. Then I started an internship, where at our induction, it was my turn to introduce myself. After my spiel, I got, “What is your nickname?” “I don’t have one” I replied. “Well, what do your friends call you?” “Aroha” “What does your family call you?” “Aroha.” That is my name, that is what people call me! Well, that was too hard, so they decided my nickname would be “Ro”. Unfortunately, that wasn’t much easier. “Rose?” people would ask. “No, Ro. Like row row row your boat.” No matter what, I was destined to forever have to explain my name.

I’ve often wondered if my name has stopped me from getting job interviews. I have a bachelors degree, a graduate certificate and am working on my masters degree. I have over 15 years of work experience, yet I can never even get a job interview, unless I know someone at the place hiring.

I recently started a one-day-a-week internship, and there is a Gloria Jeans coffee shop in the center next door. So I have developed a habit of stopping for coffee on my way.This is one of those coffee shops where they ask what your name is, and call it when your coffee is ready. Now, my MO is to pick a random, easy name when I patron shops like this. My standard responses are typically my friends, sisters or mum’s names. I’ve been Kate, Kayla, Crystal, Alison, Emily and most recently, I decided I would be “Paige”. I have always liked the name, and when pregnant with Nick, it was on my short list for girls names.
As you do, I posted on Facebook that I was trying out a new name at the coffee shop today, and that you could now just call me “Paige”. Later that night I was thinking about how much I would actually really like to change my name, and maybe IΒ should change it. So I did what everyone would do first…I changed it on Facebook. Surprisingly a lot of my friends were outraged. “Why on earth would you change your name?” “Paige? Is that the best you could come up with?” “Aroha is the best name EVER”. Well, my only response is, “YOU try living with it.”

So I challenge you all. Next time you’re at a shop that asks for your name, tell them it’s Aroha. And see what happens. Then hit me up here or on twitter and let me know how you went. In the meantime, I’ll ride out my 55 days I have left on Facebook before I can change my name back to Aroha on Facebook and see if I get used to Paige.

What’s your name? Do you like it? Does it constantly get butchered? Will you take my challenge?

Linking up with Jess for IBOT, of course.


22 thoughts on “The Day I Changed My Name

  1. hmmm, interesting. I get all different names – I just answer to them (which drives someone I know batty) but if I know they mean me, I can’t be bother correcting them. Interestingly I was getting take away and they thought I said “Madison” (no idea why) and I went with it – I had to keep focusing on them yelling out that word…so I didn’t miss our food. Kind of spy practise…

  2. Ahh Aroha. I can just feel your frustration in this post. While I think your name is beautiful, I can understand how you would be completely over having to spell, pronounce and justify your name. When we lived in the UK people used to pronounce my name Ree-knee. Completely random, but it kind of stuck and I like it. I will try your Aroha test and let you know how I go xxx

  3. Lost my whole bloody comment when I accidentally hit back to your older post instead of checking the notify me of new comments box.

    Have to get us out of the house so will just sum it up with I love you no matter what your name hon. But for now I will call you Paige. Just keep me updated xxxx

  4. Enjoy the anonymity of Paige for a while Aroha. My full name is Kathleen, which sounds very old-fashioned and has only really been used by nuns at school when I was in trouble for talking too much. So not going back there.

  5. i love the name Aroha! But I can understand your pain though.. I mean, Ai is like one of the shortest and simplest names right? But I still get mistakes on it!

    It means “love” too by the way πŸ™‚

    And yes, challenge accepted too!! πŸ˜›

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

  6. My first name is very standard, but my surname is Westphal (pronounced “West-f-ah-l”), and yep, I’m constantly spelling it, correcting pronounciation, and explaining my husband’s German roots! I get lots of Westfails, Westfers, and Westfarms. All fun and games πŸ™‚

  7. Nobody but nobody will ever get my name mixed up – Linda is Linda is Linda. I have more trouble in Australia with my surname because of the ‘r’s in it !!!!!!
    I would love to accept your challenge except I never order anything with my name because I don’t drink tea of coffee !!!!
    And while I love the name Aroha – I also like Paige – fun fact : when I was little my doll was called Paige.
    Have the best day !
    Me xox

  8. I’ve always had to spell my name and it’s rarely on that name stuff either, despite it being a pretty popular name. People always question Dyllan’s last name as well. I gave up saying it when I make him appointments at our GP office because I was sick of arguing with the receptionists that I was saying a surname (his last name is a woman’s name with an s on the end).

  9. My name is Peta and especially in primary school, i used to get the ‘you’ve got a boys name’ comments. Those petered (see what I did there) out and even though I don’t love it, i’ve grown to live with it. Although it SHITS me when people spell it the boys way – so much so that I have been known to be ‘rebecca’ or ‘bec’ when ordering coffee. Hard thing is when you forget your fake name, and they are calling out ‘skinny latte for bec’ and it takes you five minutes to realise that that is you!

  10. Bahahhahhahah a friend of mine started a Tumblr blog with pictures of all the takeaway coffee cups that had ridiculously mis-spelt names on them. Her name is not even that tricky, so Aroha must throw up some interesting interpretations. I can understand why you’d want to use a pseudonym!

  11. Wow. That is so interesting!! I actually didn’t know how to pronounce your name, I just assumed it was pronounced like Aurora (which made sense to me given the colours of sunset .. it seemed to fit). You have a great name! There is no one else with it. That is fantastic! I mean, I don’t have to live with it … but I still think that is fantastic, You should be a rock star ….
    Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit

  12. It might be difficult for the barristas to get right but it’s such a lovely name! Apparently, coffee-cookers deliberately get peoples’ names wrong just for fun. There can’t be much fun in a day that involves just steaming milk…..

  13. I was pretty close with my guess on how to pronounce your name Aroha but I would have put the emphasis on the second syllable. I hope you don’t mind me saying but it’s a truly beautiful name. It reminds me of a Hawaiian princess name πŸ™‚

  14. Thanks for explaining how to say it properly. I was saying it different. Annaleis isn’t too bad but even my husband can’t say it and its easier to say Anna when ordering a coffee.

  15. I think those people in coffee shops are stupid. When I tell them my name is Sarah, they still get it wrong. I think that this is some sort of game they play. I will go into these shops and give them ‘stripper’ names. It makes me giggle. My favourite is to tell them I am Candy.

  16. I think Aroha is unique and beautiful! Having Aroha popping by my blog, is like having love over my virtual home, my day is definitely delighted! ❀

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