Adım Alex.


Alex de Souza is the bain of my existence. Never mind that I’m not the biggest of Fenerbahçe fans, this man’s name tormented me throughout my time in Turkey. Who is Alex de Souza, you may ask.

Well, he is one of several athletes who I discovered over my time in Turkey, the first being former Boston Celtic player Semih Erden, the questioning would go:

“Where are you from?”
“Ahhh Semih Erden!!! Boh-ston! Boh-ston Celti-h-kssss!”
“Oh, yes, he plays for the Celts, yep.”

I go by Alex, which can at times create a bit of confusion, it being a typically male name (I am not male). In Turkey, I encountered a whole other level of curiosity.

“Alex, mi?” (Alex?)
“Evet, futbolcu gibi.” (Yep, like the footballer.)

I once tried to explain that my name is the Anglicized version of Iskander. That seemed to confuse them even more since Turkish has no female version of the name (I suggested Iskandera several times to confused looks and shrugged shoulders). And, because Turkish names tend to fall into one of two categories (1. Qu’aranic names 2. Turkic language names) mine, like many foreigners’ was a bit of a comedy.

This isn’t the first time that I have encountered issues with my name.  It has always been a source of interest. Its about as WASP*y as it gets: Alexandra Snow Hallowell. Either its my middle name: Snow (no my parents weren’t hippies, its a family name), or its a “Oh, you’re Alex, I was… ahh… expecting.. well never mind.” No, I’m not a guy.

I’ll never forget when the recently arrived Swiss exchange student point blank asked me, “Alex? But isn’t that a boy’s name?”

Obviously not.

So, Alex de Souza. Watch your back.


*For you non-Americans,

WASP is an informal term, often derogatory or disparaging, for a closed group of high-status Americans usually of British descent with a Protestant background who supposedly wield disproportionate financial and social power.


5 thoughts on “Adım Alex.

  1. This is such a funny post. Try working with “Elspeth” in Turkish…it comes out elz-pet, but that is fine with me. just a funny name journey! I am told I will need to change my name once my citizenship process comes through (we have to wait until 3 years married) and I am considering E names, Esma, Elif, etc. for my papers…

  2. My son’s middle name is James, which totally flummoxes people until I say “James Bond,” or to older men, “Jesse James.” After that, they often even spell it correctly!

  3. Yup, my name is Caroline and just about every time I’m introduced, I get a comment about an apparently evil Karolin (because Caroline would be Jar-o-lee-nay in Turkish) on some stupid Turkish series that this whole country seems to watch! And if I get one more suggestion that I adopt a Turkish name, I may scream. I suppose we Americans (I’m from Mass too!) are more accustomed to foreign names! 🙂

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