Yesterday I found myself back at the immigration office. Thankfully, I didn't have to resort to a desperate prayer to Mother Theresa like last time, but I did take part in an impromptu christening (or rechristening, as it were).
I was efficiently attended to by the immigration officer at the Prefectura Naval in Quequén, and then he directed me to the comptroller's office to fork over my contribution. There I was greeted by a spunky older gentleman, a real character that I remembered from my previous visit.
Argentines seem to have a terrible time with my name, and this man was no exception. In fact, I recall that he had commented on the strangeness of my name before, and it struck him just as odd the second time he encountered it as the first.
Surrounded by a sea of carbon copies and rubber stamps, he thumbed through my paperwork, all the while squinting and scratching his head. He wisecracked,"What's with this last name?! And, Kathryn? What kind of a name is that? You're killing me here." When he came upon my middle name, one that is eminently recognizable to a Spanish speaker, he uttered approvingly, "Virginia. Ok, now there's a proper name."
He looked up from his paperwork with a roguish grin spread across his face, and he said to me, "Look. This Kathryn nonsense – this is no good. From now on, we're going to call you…Chicha." And with an approving nod from his co-worker, that was that.