In case you haven't heard: I'm French now.
Up until now I've been a New Zealander of several generations thanks to migrating European forebears. Before I could become French though, I decided I needed to find out how my name translated to the language of love.
It was a bit of a revelation to realise I could have a different name. Yes, I'm a slow thinker now - well: slower. I'm a different person these days having lost so many memories* and found my tastes have changed as well. This is what has lead to the need (opportunity) to rethink what I like and who I am.
One thing I really want to be, I thought, is graceful. I've never been graceful. I've been loud, and clumsy, and an oaf at times. French women are graceful, right? Beautiful, and graceful. That sounded like the me I want to be. A me I could be.
I loaded up Google Translate in my browser to begin my personality redefinition: my Frenchifying**.
Google translate, for those of you who don't know, loads as two text boxes. The one on the left takes what you want to say, and shows the translation in the language you desire in the right hand box.
I was probably more excited than I should have been. I do like my name, but the idea of a fresh start was very attractive to me as well. I typed my surname into Google Translate and thought in the near-future of actually signing the French version of my name in emails and on forms; imagining people thinking my new name quirky at first, but then coming to know me by it and, eventually, I would change it for reals.
Imagine now my slight shoulder slump when the translation of my surname Park appeared as Parc.
Not missing a beat I thought "Never mind! I'll try my christian name and get a better result." You might also start realising how brain-damaged I actually am to think I was expected something different from what was translated.
Typing M I C H E L L E into Google Translate I again selected French for the translation: I just stared at the screen's result. Did I do something wrong? The same name appeared in both boxes. Michelle Michelle. Michelle Parc.
So wait. I have a middle a name - not all is lost yet. I typed F R A N C E S.
My French name is Michelle Frances Parc.
J'étais tellement déçu.
I made a cup of tea and watched some soccer on the television*** for a while feeling really deflated. My first foray into the New Me had stumbled at the first hurdle. How could I be the graceful, beautiful French woman I wanted to be without even having a French name.
Yes; wait for it. Wait for it. Somewhere in the second-half (Melbourne City were kicking Melbourne Victory's arse 2-0) a lightbulb spluttered on and I realised:
I ALREADY HAVE A FRENCH NAME!!
So mes petits choux, my journey has begun.
Naw, I don't want to learn the French language but I do want to embrace the essence of the graceful art of Frenchness.
**Yes I know my family (father's side) is from Eastern Europe and probably Bohemian was a more authentic way to go but I'm going French for now, okay?
*** Told you my tastes have changed.