juana la loca
Today is San Juan, which is also my saint’s day. Since of course Shawn is John, which is Juan in Spanish and which is also…. Juana, John, Jack, Ivan, Ivana, Sean, Siôn, Shaun, Shauna, Ian, Jean, Jeanne, Joan, Jane, Janet, Giovanni, Giovanna, Evan, Ivan, Jan, João, Jenny, Vanya, Zane, Sinéad, Siobhán… just to give you a few other versions of my name, both male and female.

Growing up I hated my name big time. It was a BOY’S NAME (really, it is) and I wanted a cute girl’s name, preferably something ending in a Y. But later when I was older I kind of liked having an unusual name. And then I moved to Spain.

Can I tell you? Almost NOBODY can pronounce my name here. I get Chon, Chown, Chan and somtimes, when they see it written, Chwan. And of course over the years people have asked if there was a Spanish translation for my name and I’ve always said “noooooo…”. Why? Because I never wanted to be called Juanita (though an ex used to call me Chonita and somehow I was okay with that).

But I think I am about to change my mind about this. It turns out that Juana is quite a respectable Spanish name, and of course it always brings to mind Juana La Loca (a name that I think also suits me). So once I get back to circulating in society here and people ask my name I think I’ll say “Just call me Juana”.