Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Wife's Name

(PICTURE: This picture makes more sense later in the blog entry.)

Before I begin to blog about the wedding, I need to take a step back and address an important issue: my wife's name.

In the past, the issue with Huyen's name was how to pronounce her name. Clearly her name isn't easy to say since most westerners have never known someone named Huyen. We covered this issue on September 18th, 2008 on a video on the blog. Check out that video for a quick refresher on how to say Huyen's name. Many of my family members used to say Huyen's name incorrectly but for the most part everyone has gotten it down by now.

But that's not what this blog is about. This blog is about knowing that her name is HUYEN and NOT NGUYEN. Nguyen is Huyen's last name. It is a very common Vietnamese last name that I'd say roughly 25% of the population has. For some reason though, in the last few months people keep emailing me, "Congrats to you and Nguyen" or "Tell Nguyen congrats" or something like that. Seriously more people have been calling Huyen by her last name than first. Recently one of my friends who spent a WEEK with Huyen emailed me, "Congrats to you and Nguyen." This sort of put me over the edge because my friend had spent considerable time with her so there really wasn't an excuse. I emailed him right back and said, "Dude, her name is Huyen!" My friend then immediately wrote back and apologized. He said, "I was 99% sure her name was Huyen but I looked on Facebook and it said Nguyen Huyen so I thought I had always been calling her by her last name."

Sooooooooo, let me just set the record straight: In many Asian countries, people put their family name first and their first name last. Yes, this can be confusing for us westerners but that's the way it is out here. Think about it this way: Do you know the famous basketball player Yao Ming? On the back of his jersey it says YAO, not Ming. That is because Yao is his family/last name. Ming is his first name.

Anyway, I appreciate the kind words people have emailed me but please in the future call my wife by her first name -- Huyen! Thanks.

For those of you who thought this blog was about Huyen taking my last name, that's not gonna happen. For one, I've always said that I would want my wife to keep her last name. Personally, I wouldn't want to change my last name so why should she unless she had a big desire to. Secondly, I can't imagine the paperwork headache we'd have to go through with immigration for her to change her last name. That's a hurdle I have no interest in jumping over. Thirdly, in Vietnam, women don't take their husband's name. Finally, I love Huyen's name just the way it is.

Okay, now without delay, the wedding posts...