The Name Game

March 12, 2012 14 Comments »

house

This name says it all...literally

If I could…what would I choose? This question has plagued me throughout my time in Malta. Everyone at some point in their life considers that moment when you will get to make the ultimate decision; giving someone a name. Strangely I toy with the idea even though I’ve never really wanted kids; I still can’t help but wonder if I did have them, what would I name them. Molly, Ryan, Adam, Alexandra….I’m not really sure.

Names can be given for many different reasons; memories, family legacies, to make a statement, or to make people strong. Whenever I consider names I think about one of my favorite songs when I was growing up by Johnny Cash, A Boy Named Sue; that name certainly built strength! I would listen to it nonstop and smile every time the father explained why he named his boy Sue.

When I first arrived in Malta and walked around the neighborhood I was staying in, I immediately noticed that the majority of houses had name plates. At first I thought it was odd and funny. But the more I saw, the more I wanted to learn about them. I started asking locals about the names and the etiquette around naming a house. I learned some important rules:

• When a house changes hands, you can rename it.
• The name is part of the address the post office uses.
• There are no rules, you can have two houses with the same name.
• Not everyone names their house…but it is the norm.
• People in Malta think it’s strange if your house doesn’t have a name.

manhattan

This one caught my eye first!

I wandered around the neighborhoods looking for names that caught my eye and my imagination. Some were named for the people who lived there – combining names of the husband and wife into a completely new and nonsensical word. Some Some were named for geography and clearly identified the expat houses! Some were names for religion; considering Malta is extremely catholic there was a myriad of Saints ‘X’ and Mary’s. Some were named for humor. Some were named in groups like directions, musicians, instruments, mountains, or cities.I have a special fondness for grouping things so I was quite amused by these.  However, I gravitated towards the clever and sarcastic ones.

I found myself preoccupied with thinking about what I would name my house if I had one. I came up with names like Marilyn (after my mother), or Lea (my middle name).  But I really leaned towards the odd names,  such as I’m Loaded, Boat, My Office, North Pole, Enter Name Here, Exit, or Brangelina. Yet all of this house naming was silly, after all, I don’t even have a house. So then I considered that maybe I should simply name my backpack and it would serve the same purpose. Names like Wash Me, Smelly, and Oversized came to mind.

And then it hit me…of course I know what I’d name it.

Ottsworld.

Here are some of my favorites below!

If you could name your house (or backpack) – what would you name it?


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