"Hello, my name is Steve" - those are words I've said a million times in my life, however they are not true words.
If you want to get all technical about things, my name has always been SteveN.
Mostly this hasn't mattered to me, or anybody else, I introduce myself as Steve, people call me Steve, and Steve is the name that makes me turn my head, when shouted across a bar. However things changed when I moved to Finland.
In Finland I had to open new bank accounts, sign mortgages, hand over IDs, and there were many many pieces of paper I signed, or forms I filled out. Unfortunately I screwed up:
- If I were thinking clearly I'd think "Oh, this is something official, I'd best write SteveN".
- If I were distracted, or not being careful I'd write my name as "Steve", and then sign it as Steve.
The end result? I've been in Finland for approximately eight years, and I have some official documentation calling me Steve, and some other official documentation calling myself Steven. (For example my "Permanent Residency Permit" calls me Steve, but my Social Security ID knows me as Steven.)
Every now and again somebody queries the mismatch, and there are daily moments of pain where I have to interact with different agencies, so I made the obvious decision: I'm gonna change my name.
A fee of €60 and a simple online form was sufficient to initiate the process. The processing time was given as "one to five months" on the official forename changing page, but happily the process was complete in a month.
I will now need to do a little housekeeping by getting updated bank-cards, etc, and then complete the process by changing my UK passport to match. Hopefully this won't take too long - but I guess if Finland knows me as Steve and the UK knows me as Steven I'll still be in a bit of a screwed up state, albeit one that is consistent in each country!
Not a big change really, but also it feels weird to suddenly say "Hello, my name is Steve" and mean it.
People are weird.
Names are interesting.