a big beautiful mess

Как меня зовут?

Sometimes, it bothers me that I still haven’t learned how to type my name — Рут — in Russian. It always takes me a couple of tries to find the right letters on my keyboard. Makes me feel like I don’t know who I am. Some of my colleagues have the “R” down pat, but still make it into Roof or Root, and some get the “th” but still roll the r into Rrruth. And at home, with Łukasz, I’m Rutka.

Also, I don’t have a patronymic. Instead of a middle name, Russians have a name that comes from their dad’s name; so, if my dad’s name were Ivan, I would be Ruth Ivanovna, for example. When I got my library card, the lady behind the desk saw Rebecca on my passport and asked if that was my patronymic. I hesitated and said, “Not exactly. It’s not from my father.” She just kind of nodded curtly and decided to forget about it. On another form of some sort my name is listed as Ruth Ø Spurlock.

And my last name isn’t a walk in the park either! First of all, Spurlock is not even remotely a Russian-sounding name. Second of all, it has a masculine ending! The first time I borrowed an extension cord from the Fonateka, the guy carefully listened to me spell my name — Сперлок — and then added an “a” on the end to feminize it. Tsk! As I keep telling Łukasz, Я либеральная женщина! — I am a liberal woman! Oh well…


  1. Jefe B Jefe B
    10 November 2011    

    Seems like the Russians should have some equivalent of Ruth. What name do they give that book in the Bible? Of course, I’ve never run into a Spanish-speaking person named Ruth. The relevant O.T. book is Rut, which sounds about as Spanish as “cat.” You could give yourself a patronymic.

    • 10 November 2011    

      The book of the Bible is Руфь — Ruf’. Which I kind of hate. Actually, at the office where I worked in Madrid, they had had a person named Rut work for them before, and there were a bunch of files on their computer system still named “Rut,” some of which they just gave to me, as I recall.

      I think we should wait and see what they come up with you for your visa and then patronymicize it. My guess is Джоновна — Dzhonovna : )

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