What’s in a Name?

“When you talk to people on the phone, do they think you are Chinese?” I was asked this question by a receptionist last week after I gave her my name. My last name is Woo. My last name is Woo because my husband’s last name is Woo, because his dad’s last name was Woo, because his dad’s last name was something that started with an H but he had to adopt the name Woo from his host family when he came to America from China. No one has ever asked me if I’m Chinese.

Me and my husband

First of all, I’m about as blonde hair and blue eyed as you can get. (OK, OK, my hair is light brown, *pfft*) Second of all, if you heard me speak you would know instantly that I was born in a back holler (which is “hollow” for people who speak proper Enlglish) of small town Kentucky.

It just struck me as odd that she asked me that. It didn’t make me angry, but I did have a chuckle at her. I do realize it’s odd for someone like me to have a last name as amazing as “Woo”.

Unfortunatly, there have been some nasty remarks about such an awesome last name. For instance, I was once told that my husband was having difficulty finding work because “people will assume he can’t speak English.” I don’t know, correct me if I’m wrong but I thought we were in the 21st century where we, as the melting pot of the world that we are, don’t assume from someone’s name that they don’t know the language. My husband was born in Boston, and while he may forget an “r” or two here and there, he still has an exceptional grasp on the English language. So let’s just ignore the fact that our economy is in the toilet, with about 10% of the state out of work, and go straight to petty and mean assumptions. Even if someone was born in China and then came to America to work, it doesn’t mean they can’t speak English. People astound me sometimes.

At any rate, no, I’m not Chinese. I don’t look Chinese, I don’t sound Chinese. My husband is 1/4 Chinese. But if any potential employers are reading, my husband knows the English language really well! He’ll accept any job short of street-walking … and even then we might be willing to negotiate.


6 thoughts on “What’s in a Name?

    • It’s pretty fun! I actually just refer to my husband as Woo because that’s how he was introduced to me. So when we got married everyone kept asking if I’d calling him David now, since my name is Woo too. But it would just be too weird to call him David after forever calling him Woo. I’d been calling him Woo almost 6 years when we got married sooooo he will always be Woo to me! It’s fun saying it, Woo Woo Woo Woo Woo! hehehe

  1. Hey Laura!

    Thanks for finding me! I absolutely love this post, you had me laughing so hard. Esp. with the Boston thing, as I’m from New Hampshuh 🙂 Although I do pronounce my r’s because I was afraid of being bullied when I went to a parochial high school (gag) surrounded by rich kids from places like Texas and California.

    I think it is asinine when people make comments like that. But, hey, it gave you something to blog about, right? 🙂

    Love your blog, keep up the good work.

    Kate aka limebirdkate aka 4amWriter

    • Thank you! My husband has been living here in Kentucky for over 20 years so most of the time he just talks without an accent, but when he gets really mad he slips into that Bostonian accent. Strange how that happens! His mom had lived here in Kentucky too for the same amount of time but she never lost her accent, it was great listening to her speak. She once told me that when my husband was in elementary school a friend of his told some classmates that they needed to listen to her speak because she was from France! Silly kids!

      And I agree, it was a family member who told me that, and I was too astonished at the time to say “Hey, you do realize that my name is Woo now too, right? Maybe I don’t know English now?” Crazy crazy!

      Thank you for the comment!

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