Who's on 1st? She's on 2nd.

I named my daughter Gabriella.  I love the name.  It means “God is my Strength” – a phrase my husband repeated to me over and over during her difficult birth. 

It’s familiar, but not common.  Being named Sarah in the early 80’s made me particularly focused on this requirement.  I often teased my mother that she simply called out in the delivery room, “What are you naming yours?”

It also flows between cultures… or so I thought.   

Not originally drawn to the nickname “Gabby,” I call my baby girl Ella instead.  My sister makes adorable bibs, and her mother-in-law stitched “Ella” onto one of them for us.

When Ella entered her pre-teething drooling stage, my husband would snap the bib around her neck before we went out, hoping to reduce her ever present need for clean clothes.

At that time, we were living in Buenos Aires, and if you know Spanish, you see where this is going...

We are walking our daughter around Buenos Aires wearing a bib that says “Ella,” which means “she” or “her” in Spanish.  Everyone we passed would croon “Ella” as if the purpose of the bib were to shout “I’M A GIRL!”

It’s pretty much the equivalent of me naming my daughter Shelia and calling her “She” for short.  A little odd.  So… when in Latin America, she is Gabriella.  And when in the US… we still call her Ella.  

“She” seems happy either way.

How does your name work in other cultures?  Was a multicultural name something you thought about when naming your kids?


  1. Hi Sarah- I just found your blog--- and love it! I'm from the states and also married to a Guatemalan...but our story is kinda of the reverse of yours. We live in Guatemala and work for a mission organization here. small world, huh? All your posts about raising bilingual kids? cross-cultural marriage? electric shower heads? etc-- Are all things I've wondered and am living : ) Thanks for writing!

    1. Hi Michelle. I'm so glad to meet you! Thanks for your sweet comment. I also got a chance to check out your blog, and it's fabulous! We have a lot in common. :) Are you still living in Antigua? We are actually traveling there in October. It would be so fun to connect!


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