As anyone with a hard Armenian name knows, it can get annoying to live amongst those who can’t pronounce it. Unless you give yourself a non-Armenian moniker, like I did in high school when I decided mine would be Melody (NOT Meg) after every teacher would take a long pause before attempting to read my name on the roster on the first day of school. But of course, I never changed it legally, which means that when I would go see the doctor, the nurse would still stall before calling me inside. I admit at those times I would get irked at my mom for giving me such a complicated name (that “gh” sound is killer) considering I was born and raised in America, but I’m lucky that my name has a direct translation in English. Plus I also happen to love the sound of the word Melody, but sometimes I felt guilty about taking a name that’s not really mine.
But I’ve never felt more proud of my name as I do here in Armenia, first because no one gives me a blank stare when I say it, and also because the name is not common here, so when I introduce myself, they are so fascinated. It’s the name of a famous cafe, but they don’t name their girls Meghedi here. It’s never even crossed their mind. I joke that soon a few little Meghedis are going to be running around Yerevan!
I’m so excited about being able to use my birth name so freely for the first time in my life that I recently had my friend and jeweler Sarkis Mahroukian (he’s also a repat from LA) make me a nameplate necklace. And now I’m so happy that my mom stuck to her guns and named me something so Armenian, no matter how hard it is to pronounce around the world.