Kinn creates timeless jewelry for Asian names
I have two names: Vivien and 은혜 (Eun Hye). As a second-generation Korean-American who grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood, I am (sorryly) grateful for my American name in English. Vivien. It is easy to say and spell and no teacher or classmate can dissect it. I spent years in school watching white classmates and teachers try to pronounce other cultural names, only to decide it was too complicated to say. Instead, my teachers, my friends’ parents, and university professors wouldn’t stop asking me if I knew my English name like the beautiful actress in the movie. Gone With the Wind. I’ll copy and paste the same reply, “Yes, I’ve heard that! However, I’m not named after her but instead my mom’s favorite aunt.” Even then, the actress’s last name was Leigh, not Lee. When white students found out that I used 은혜 at home, they would strangely ask if I could give them a Korean name – I’m not Santa. I also felt embarrassed after another classmate told me that my name is very common among Koreans and its meaning is simple. I’m glad that unlike many other Korean parents, my parents didn’t use my middle name as their middle name. I’m just Vivien Lee.