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.

1 comment:

Russell Whitehorn said...

Double barrel it to Manata-Ramalho. That is becoming quite common these days.