Monday, November 21, 2011

What's in a Name?

I have been wanting to do this blog for a while now,
but Saturday pretty much sealed the deal for me.

This story starts as Sergio and I were on our way to Pocatello to watch an amazing choir concert that my friend, Kara and her husband were in. Did I say it was amazing? Because it was.

Before the concert started we wanted to try Texas Roadhouse for dinner so I called to make reservations.

This is the basics of the conversation I had with the front desk girl.

"Hi I wanted to make reservations for tonight."
-Okay.  For how many?
"2 and a high chair."
-Okay what is the name.
"Sergio Riva...I'll just spell it for you...
R-I-V-A-D-E-N-E-I-R-A."
-Oh wow...that is by far the hardest name I have ever heard.  Congratulations!

Sergio and I laughed a lot.
When we arrived at the restaurant I mentioned that we already had reservations and they asked me our name again.
So...The conversation started again.
"I'll spell it for you...R-I-V-A-D-E-N-E-I-R-A."
-Oh right. Hey, you guys really need to make up a fake name for when you go out to eat...So it will be easier.
We laughed even harder.

I didn't want to get into the details of every time I call to make a Dr's appointment, or when I need to pick up a prescription, or when I get a church calling.
So we just made our way to our table I chuckled about it for the rest of the night.
Today I am dedicating this post to my very original last name.
Here are some random facts about my last name:

Funny Fact:
You can sing the Mickey Mouse song when you spell it...
try it out:
R-i-v-ade-n-e-i-r-a
pretty awesome right??

Grammar Fact:
The #2 question I always get (1st being...How did you two meet?)
is:
How do you say your last name?
So here it is...
Our name is basically 3 names all together
Riva
de
Neira (Nay-tha...Nay like the sound a horse makes and the 'ra' works best if you can roll your R's it's actually a RRRR sound but the th works pretty well too.)
If you are still having a hard time pronouncing it...don't worry, I still can't say it perfectly...and neither could the majority of the people in our Spanish branch.
In fact, most everyone in Argentina still calls me by my maiden name...since they knew me by that name first and since it isn't really tradition to change your name when you get married there.  Your name doesn't change on your legal documents and you vote under your maiden name. So don't worry about offending either of us if you decide to call me by my maiden name.

Geological Fact:
Part of the reason that it is so...dare I say..."weird" is because our name comes from Galicia, Spain which is a providence that borders Portugal so the last Neira...is actually a Portuguese ending.
There is even a River called Rio Neira.

Historical Fact:
But my favorite fact about where my last name came from is a story that my mom found doing family history work.
You can read the original site where I got this information here, The information was taken from a book called Genealogies of the New Kingdom of Granada. It was printed in Madrid in 1624, but I am just going to give you the less accurate Kira version.

Basically 13 years after Christ's death some of Jame's (from the bible) disciples were on a boat traveling towards Galicia.
The Queen Wolf allowed them to dock and then they asked for a cart and a couple of oxen to help them unload a few things. What I understand is when the bulls came to the boat they started to charging and the disciples made the sign of the cross and the bulls stopped.
This miracle scared the queen and so she ordered for them to be put in jail.
Sometime later one of the queen's maids went down to the dungeon and saw a "great radiance."
The maid was startled but she must have known it was a miracle so she went upstairs and grabbed the blind prince by the hand and brought him down to the dungeon.
He was miraculously healed and all the people in their town were baptized by the shore (A.K.A. "riva" in Spanish) of the Neira River.  They then changed their name to Rivadeneira.
So basically our family were some of the very first gentile members of the church after Christ's death.
Pretty cool hu?

Over the last couple of years I have really grown to love my new last name.
Especially because of the man it ties me to.
We have an amazing family and I am grateful for my new heritage.

4 comments:

Kara D. said...

I love this post! What a great last name you have. I should do some digging into my new last name, see what I can find out. I'm sure it won't be nearly as interesting as yours though. Again, I am so glad you could come to my concert. I know you spent money on gas and dinner to come up here, and it sure means a super dooper lot to me! I love you tons!

Lene said...

Awesome story, but I am still going to call you Rivademuchomacho

Jill said...

Great post Kira! What a wonderful story!

michael laura said...

Kira what a great post!! My maiden last name is Rivadeneira !!!! After lots of research and having done a DNA test to answer some questions I had about my heritage, your story indeed coincided with some stories my great grandfather had told my grandpa, I was always curious but knew the chances if accuracy might have been lost in translation. Thank you for sharing :)