Wednesday, December 29, 2010

On Changing a Name

It's no secret that I got married and changed my name. In fact, the name change process has been almost completely finished so you see can find my new name on my mailbox, University id, bus pass, passport, and office door. However, there are a few things that still need to be changed which have caused me some headache such as my US drivers liscence, ma Germany visa and my frequent flyer card. The liscence was the first road bloack, aparently, due to a 24 hour computer update cycle you can't change your name at the social security office and the DMV on the same day. Since I was only in my home state for about 10 hours, I had no chance but I tried. Now, I'll just wait until it expires and I have to renew it in August +/- 3 months which is another assanine policy for another post. The visa is not done because I'm not really sure what the steps are, some one says I need an appointment, someone says I don't maybe I can change status, maybe I just need the same one transplanted into my new passport and maybe I have to go to a different office completely. I don't think it is really a problem at this point as mine is still valid for some time. Finally the frequent flyer card is more of a hassel than I ever would have thought. Can I change it on the phone? no. Online? no. They need a copy of my new passport, ok. can I email it? no. Per fax or mail only. To complicate matters, I have an outstanding reward which expires next month but I can't book a flight for next wek then fax in the name change because I can only use the reward for myself and clearly a changed name makes me a different person before I change it! This is one of those situations where I just gave up because my German is not good enough to argue with customer service and when they are charging me 26 cents a minute I don't really feel like wasting my Skype credits in ultimately being put on hold so she can check with someone else. So that's the name change status update. It's not too hard, a little stressful but I keep telling myself I only have to do it once. Which reminds me, I still have credit cards to change over/cancel. I also see it as a chance to simplify my life and get rid of cards I don't use instead of changing my name. From a social perspective, it's been a bit more fun. My work phone now shows my new name whenever I call anyone which has led to a few fun reactions. My work email has also changed and the sign on the door is the best. I've had one completely lost student thus far and just this week, I had a student, who clearly knew who I was despite the name change, look at the door, look at me and then as I watched it click, he asked, "Did you get married?" I think, next time I should say no for fun. There have been some negatives as well. First of all, I am taking a huge hit in the alphabet falling from F which always left me in the first 1/4th of any alphabetical list to T which will put me in the last quarter. I guess now I'll know what it's been like for my cousin to be a W all these years. Secondly, my initials have changed. Anyone who knows me, knows I really liked my old initials, I even had a perfect one motion connected initial for signing off on things. It just does not work anymore, there's no way to connect a J and a T without it looking like a messed up version of one of those letters. Not to mention my initials are now JT...eww. To finish on a high note, Germans can finally understand/pronounce/spell my new name (sometimes with a bit of assistance on the end) which is a huge improvement when making appointments and reservations!

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