Sometimes I wonder what if I had a different middle name. Would I have been living a different life – for brighter and better? Nominative determinism is not entirely superstitious because your name gives you an identity, an existence. My middle name is Joori, the first name used in Korea, while my first name Stephanie is my baptized Christian name, used in the church community.
Korean is a unique phonetic language of the Ural-Altaic linguistic family, which includes Japanese, Finnish, Hungarian, and Turkish. “Joo” means red, and “ri” means beneficial. My paternal grandmother named me after the family tradition of using the same first letter of the name according to the gender of the progeny. For instance, my cousin’s name, the daughter of my father’s elder brother, was “Joohyun,” meaning red wisdom. Then the grandmother was then in a cult of an angel called “Chulrikyo,” from which the word “ri” originated. Hence my name is a work of a family tradition and angelic cult.
My mother has recently revealed that I had no name for a year after the birth for reasons unknown. During the unnamed time, I was called “the baby.” A fortuneteller once told me that I should change my Korean name because it would bring no happiness to my life. Whether or not it is true, I don’t want to dwell on it because, anyway, I am not in Korea, where the spirits of the land may not/will not exert their supernatural concoction to frustrate my life to the extent possible.