What’s the most interesting name you have heard in real life?
I think that would have to be one lady whom I once met on a coach when I went on a pilgrimage with my grandma. She went by Mela, so I assumed she must be Melania (not a very common name either but I guess most commonly associated with this nickname) and I was really surprised to learn that she was actually called Melchiora. As in Melchior, one of the Three Kings, and that’s because she was born on Epiphany. Good thing her parents didn’t name her Kacpra (Kacper is the Polish form of Gaspar/Jasper, or Baltazara). I think Melchiora is a bit clunky but still quite pleasant-sounding, and it reminds me of the name Meliora which I once came across in a book and which I actually really like.
Also I seem to have some kind of luck for hairdressers with quite unusual names. The one I think was most interesting went by Lonia, and my Mum once asked her about her full name, because Lonia is her aunt’s name and it’s short for Leonarda which is also a highly unusual name which I’ve never ever heard on anyone else. And she said her full name was Longina. I knew that such a name exists but I wouldn’t have thought that it’s actually in use on living people over here anymore! So we were both really surprised and my Mum kept questioning her how come she had such an unusual name which she didn’t seem overly comfortable with. She said she really disliked it, which I can understand, as it didn’t really seem to fit her all that well. Prior to that, I also had a hairdresser called Jessica, which might seem very normal to you if you’re in an Anglophone country, but for me, and even more so for my Mum, it was rather unusual. Jessica is one of those modern names that came around 90’s and which a lot of people dislike because they sound very pretentious in Polish. Also no one really knows how to spell Jessica, because if you want to go with the English pronunciation, the most straightforward way to spell it in Polish would be Dżesika, but it looks made-up, while the original Jessica might end up being frequently mispronounced and misspelt. I’ve also seen forms like Jesika, Jessika or Jesyka in use over here and I don’t know how that Jessica spelt her name. Jessica still has some eyebrows-rising potential even when you see it in the age-range where it is most common, but that particular Jessica was a bit older I think, and that’s what was so unusual about her name to me.
And even earlier I also had a hairdresser called Luiza, which is nowhere near as striking as Melchiora or Longina, nor as controversial as Jessica, but still feels quite unique. I also went to school with a Luiza. And generally I had a bunch of people with interesting names in my various schools. I think one that stands out the most was a girl called Adela with whom I went to high school/college, I went to one for adults which means it was part-time, and I think she could have been around thirty. I think most people in Poland see Adela as a very retro name, and so do I, but I also really like it so I was positively surprised to see it on a young woman, and she did pull it off really well. Ohh and of course the blind school which I attended for most of my education was founded by nuns and, as is the case with many religious orders, our nuns often had interesting names as well, but it feels much less striking given that they’re not actually their birth names. Some of those that are unusual and that I like at the same time include Noemi, Nulla (I didn’t actually meet sister Nulla as she died before I came there but she wrote some poetry and that’s how I came across her name, so I’m not sure it counts as real life. The meaning is a bit problematic, as it means “nothing” which is a reference to humility in a religious name and to how we are nothing compared to God, but as someone’s actual, real life name would not be very fortunate), Pia, Hiacynta or Rufina.
How about you? 🙂