Ordering fancy-pants coffee in Mexico presents a very minor challenge at places that ask for your name to write on the cup of your impending tasty beverage. Although I go by “Julie”, I usually tell the coffee gods that my name is “Julia” [Hoo-lee-uh], both to avoid the confusion that results when you pronounce J’s in English while talking in Spanish, and because my real name is Julia so I feel it is a valid option.
Others take a different tactic. My husband’s name is John. Again, we enounter the J problem. When he introduces himself to people in Mexico, he usually presents himself as “Juan” [Hwahn].
However, John recently disclosed to me that he has an entirely different Coffee Name. When he visits his nearby Starbucks, he often introduces himself as “Cuauhtémoc”. [roughly pronounced Kwou-tay-mahk]
For those of you who’ve not heard this name, let’s just say it is all over the place in Mexico. It is a neighborhood in DF (where the US Embassy is located, in fact). There is a Cuauhtemoc metro stop, at least one Avenida Cuauhtemoc, and probably a few dozen other Cuauhtemoc-related streets. Some Mexican men also carry this name. All of this Cuauhtemoc adoration stems from the Aztec leader of the same name, who ruled Tenochtitlan in the 1500’s and was tortured at the hands of Cortés.
Anyway, whenever I need a good belly laugh, all I have to do is picture John in his suit & tie in line at Starbucks, having the following conversation:
Barista, pen & coffee cup in hand: “¿Como se llama?”
John, totally serious: “Cuauhtémoc.”
Barista, staring blankly at the tall gringo standing at their counter: “Cuauhtémoc. Claro.” [insert mumbling under breath here]