Park Life


There are moments of clarity every now and then as an expat, when you remember suddenly that you are far from home, and that this is your life.

I had one today in the park when it dawned on me that the names all the parents were calling out would sound pretty weird in an Australian or British park – at least, all together like that.

“Balthazar!”

“Caetano!”

“Julietta!”

“Candela!”

This is not a Jack, Ava, Oliver or Sophie neck of the woods. Here, the longer the name the better. The more syllables, the better. If there’s a chance to roll and R in there somewhere, better still. 

In Peru, I’ve noticed that the monied upper-crust types like these long names, and traditional Spanish names. And among the working classes there’s a trend for western names, but such strange ones – it’s like someone has been selling a 1930s version of a Best English Baby Names book here. Wilbur? Wilmer? Erwin? Who CALLS their kid that?! And then there’s made-up names or renditions with odd spellings – Laydee, Daysy, Jhon.

Across the region there are also examples of political leanings – lots of Lenins and Marxs (my first gym instructor here was a Lenin). And USNavy (ooo-es-navi), MadeinUSA (pronounced maad-en-ussa).

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