My name is . . . ?

People here go by short nicknames instead of their full names. So, after I introduce myself as Danielle, I am promptly asked what my nickname is. The first time I was asked this I was stumped since almost everyone just calls me Danielle.

My first thought was Dani, the most popular nickname for a Danielle. But Dani is most definitely not my name, as most of you already know. I have been trained by all of my elementary school friends and my parents that my name is NOT Dani. There was a short period in middle school in which people tried to call me Dani. But when they called my house and asked to speak to Dani, my Dad would respond by saying “Dani doesn’t live here.” So Dani was out of the question.

My next thought was Ellie. I always liked that name and secretly hoped to go by it one day. I lived with an Elly last year though, so now when I hear that name I think of her and wouldn’t respond to that name either. Plus, L’s are a little hard for them to pronounce here.

My third idea was Dee. I have a handful of friends that call me that and I like it. So after a minute of pondering, I said my nickname was Dee. There was then a chorus of Dee Dees repeated back to me. I had become Dee Dee.

It sounded weird at first. I tried to explain that at home DD means a sober driver, hoping they would decide to drop the second Dee. They responded by telling me that Dee means good in Thai and that saying Dee Dee means very good. It still sounded a little awkward to me, so when I woke up the next morning I looked through my Thai-English dictionary to find some other words that I might like as a nickname. I could pick anything, but I didn’t find any that called out to me, so I decided to stick with the name “very good.”