Saturday, June 30, 2012

Friday, June 29, 2012

Becoming a Mrs.

This month I went to my first English wedding (well, in truth it was only half-English, but it was on the bride's side, and that's always the side that counts the most!). It was lovely! Great venue, amazing food, everyone was so nice to us, foreign guests, the whole event had a nice flow to it, so it wasn't ever boring and we ended up having a marvelous time. Because it was so far from home and with me still unaccustomed to the English roads and it being raining cats and dogs we decided to spend the night and head home the next day after breakfast. And so it was that, at roughly nine the next morning, we said goodbye to the happy couple, he wearing a t-shirt with "Mr. B." printed on it and she with a "Mrs. B." t-shirt. And it got me thinking.

Now this is something we have ceased to do in my country for a couple of decades now. Before moving to the UK never in my wildest dreams would I consider changing my name if I ever got married. Even now it seems a lot alien to me. Not being the rule in my country (and thus having to willingly choose to go through all the hassle to change it) it would feel like betraying my roots. As if I'd be trying to erase them. Of course you'd have to know  my family to understand where I'm coming from.

You see, in my family, for generations and generations, what happens is that a person gets married and has two kids, a boy and a girl. Once they grow up only one of them gets married and then he/she, in turn, has two kids, a boy and a girl. As so on, and so on. Now in my generation (meaning me and my brother) I'm the only one capable of getting married and having kids. Of course my (potential) kids will bear the father's name, not mine. So I have tried to make my peace with the fact that the family name will die with me. It'd be easier if I was named Silva or Ribeiro or some other common name. But I have never met anyone with the same name (even though I'm sure there are a few out there), so it is a pity to "become extinct".

And it gets my mind thinking what does this really mean? Leaving your maiden name behind and becoming a Mrs. I know it's just how people do things here and probably not much thought comes into it. But still... I don't think I can say anything sensible about the subject, I'm too close to it to actually be able to say anything worth remembering. Once again, I'm still sending my rants and thought into the void.

But I just want to say one more thing. I love my boyfriend to pieces. He has a lovely last name. And I adore his entire family too. If we ever end up getting married I would love to take his name and become part of the clan, officially. A Mrs. Ramalho. But I don't think I could ever do it at the cost of my own family name. I could never cease to be who I already am. For better or for worst, no matter how well or how badly I get along with my relatives, I could never cease to be a Manata.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Dreams do come true, even musical ones

The first time I was went to London was way back in 2007. Being a musical geek a trip to London is the equivalent of dying and going to heaven. The escalators on the tube alone send shivers down my spine with the posters from all the shows. And there's so many that it's simply impossible to choose. Alas, I had too. When you go abroad with a group of friends you can't always have your way. So I used all my powers of persuasion for us to go see The Lord of the Rings - The musical. A lot of people argue that it wasn't the greatest of ideas, but I had done the translation of the behind the scenes documentary and knew I was going to see something great. And above all I was fully aware that it was something that would keep the Drury Lane busy for a few months only (and I was proven right when The Lord of the Rings gave way to Shrek - The musical). I had time for Phantom or Les Miz, but this was a one time only opportunity that I gladly took. Of course it pained me to see the posters of all the musicals I wasn't going to see. And then there was Hairspray. Not that it's one of my favourite musicals (even though it's so adorable), but it had Michael Ball as Edna Turnblad and that was another world of pain to miss. And there and then I told myself that one day I would come back to London (or even as many times as it took) and I would see my fair share of musicals and I would see my favourite actors on stage, Michael Ball being amonst them.

Fast forward almost five years. It's 2012 and I'm proud to say I moved to the UK almost a year ago and am currently living just about two hours away from London. I've been there four times and I've seen three musicals, which may not look like much but it's a lot more than it would've been had I stayed back in Portugal. Spring Awakening, Wicked and - just two nights ago - Sweeney Todd featuring Michael Ball as Sweeney. And with that I feel that I've come full circle. I have grown and changed by leaps and bounds and am now in a position to delight myself on a fairly regular basis with a few of what is to me one of life's great pleasures. Musicals. Right here, so close to my doorstep. And I am happy.

Five stars indeed