Delta Winds: A Magazine of Student
“Evangelina?” my English teacher called while taking roll. “Here,” I replied as I raised my hand. Automatically, my classmates’ heads turned and looked at the girl with the long, unusual name. The person I was sitting next to turned towards me and asked, “What’s your name?” “Evangelina,” I said, but by his confused facial expression I could see that he still didn’t understand, so I quickly added, “But I go by Eva.” Throughout elementary, middle school, and high school, Eva was the name I went by. But as I grew older, I began to dislike my nickname simply because Eva wasn’t my name. And I felt as if I had taken on the identity of someone with another name.
The name Evangelina comes from the word “Evangelio,” which means “Old and New Testaments” from the Bible. In English, Evangelina means “good news,” which relates back to the Bible and the testaments. I was named after my great aunt, who also went by Eva. In Spanish my name has an accent to it as if there were an H and a K in it because in Spanish the G is pronounced as an H. When I first began to tell people my name, I pronounced it the Spanish way, but the reaction I received made me resort to saying my name in English. Everyone would say the same thing: “But there’s no H or K in your name.” So I’d try to educate them about how the G in my name is pronounced as an H, but that made them even more confused. To make the situation worse I have five syllables and ten letters in my name. I felt as if my name gave me a disadvantage in school because while all the other kids had normal and simple names that flowed nicely when they were said, I was stuck with the name Evangelina.
Whenever one of my teachers made us do group work, I knew that my name would be the topic for a while. So when the person who was writing down all the names on the top of the paper always asked, “What’s your name?” I’d tell him, but after a whole lot of “Huh?” and “What?” I’d just take the paper and write it down myself. My name also gave me a disadvantage on math tests. Every Friday my teacher would give us 60 seconds to answer as many math equations as we could. Since it was a race against time, all the kids in my class were ready and set, prepared for the finish line. Then BANG! The buzzer went off and away the kids went. Of course, with my ten-letter name, I was still at the top of my paper while the other kids were already done with half the problems because their names weren’t as long. I would go home and complain to my mom about how long my name was and every time she’d say, “Why? You have such a beautiful name.” I would think to myself, “What’s so beautiful about it? None of my classmates can pronounce it correctly.” I found myself in a tough situation, at odds with my very own name.
When I was in high school, things began to change for me and my name. Maybe it had to do with my self-esteem and improved confidence, but suddenly my name appeared to be beautiful to me. When I was in elementary and middle school, I went by the name Eva, which is the first three letters in my full name Evangelina, but in high school the nickname Eva really got on my bad side. Everyone at my school had the typical names, such as Brittney, Sarah, Kayla, Alex, and Kate, and I didn’t want just a typical name. My close friends called me Evangelina—a rare and beautiful name. I felt as if I had lost my sense of independence when I was going by the name Eva. I would rather have a unique name with a powerful and meaningful past to it. I think that in my younger years I was uncomfortable with myself, and all I wanted was to fit in with everyone else. But in high school I matured and found myself in a large group of students. I realized that I would rather stick out than blend in with everyone else.
I have accepted myself as well as my name. When I was younger, I didn’t appreciate my Spanish culture and background, but when I matured I realized that my background was what made me who I am. Knowing that my name Evangelina means “good news,” which relates to the Old and New Testaments, I can take my culture and religion seriously. My middle name is Rosario, which is “rosary” in English, so that also has a religious sense to it. It’s amazing how all you have to do to accept yourself is to simply look at your name and understand its background. I can proudly say that my name is beautiful and that it makes me who I am today. So go ahead and ask me about my name and all the letters and syllables in it, because I’ll speak loudly and clearly about what’s so beautiful about the name Evangelina.