Having the name Beth is not an easy name to have while in Thailand. Thai people have a difficult time pronouncing the “th” sound and the name itself isn’t familiar to them. So when they try to pronounce Beth, it comes out either “Bet” or “Bess”, which reminds me of “Bessie”, which reminds me of a cow and that association doesn’t make me feel very special. I’m sure that there are many nice women named “Bessie” but I don’t want to be one of them. As a result of not wanting to be called “Bess”, I end up telling people that my name is Elizabeth (which is really my full name), or “Elisabet”, as they like to pronounce it – they’re usually more familiar with that.
One of the other students at the language school suggested a Thai name/nickname for me – he and his wife came up with it. They (mostly he) likes to play on Canada’s use of “eh” and use it at the end of every sentence when he talks to me. I don’t mind, however, I don’t think that I say “eh” that often – I think that a number of Canadians don’t use “eh” that often. Anyway, they suggested that my Thai name should be “Eh” (with a rising tone), which is a common nickname for Thai people apparently. The Thai teacher explained its meaning by putting her hands up over her eyes, then removing them, and saying “surprise!” Peek-a-boo. Great. Just great. I hope I get another Thai name… or maybe I’ll have to wait to get a Thai-yai name. Or just continue going by “Elisabet.” If only I can remember to answer to that name.