“What do you think about Jesus?” Thai children are brainstorming about a name for our baby to come. Very seriously one of them mentions the name ‘Jesus.’ I tell them we will think about it, but that it’s not very likely this name will be an option.
Besides a Dutch name, the baby will also have to get a Thai name. Our own names are very hard to pronounce for Thai people so from the moment we live in Thailand, we all have double names. It’s funny to hear our children adapt their names according to whom they speak. When they speak with a Thai person, they use their Thai names; do they meet someone from another nationality, they automatically pronounce their names in an English way.
The official Thai names are often long and unknown to us. We are glad that every Thai person also has a nickname.
These are short and often have a meaning. Sometimes a name is given because of physical appearance or an event, like Red or New Year, but often it’s a name from nature. For example, the boy next door is named Banana and we know children with the name Watermelon or Leaf. Getting to know more children is very helpful to extend our vocabulary! The hard thing about nicknames is that they all seem similar to me, because most of them are very short. And then there’s also the difference of tone!
Changing names is no problem in Thailand. Another boy in the neighborhood was called Ice first, but after six years, his mom decided to change his name into John. At first, we were puzzled when she talked about John, and wondered who she was talking about. But now we call him John too.
We have decided on the Dutch name for our 4th baby already; we aren’t sure yet what the Thai name of the baby will be.
Anyway, we hope that the name Jesus will become a meaningful name for the Thai children!