I didn’t know I was attached to my last name until it came time to change it.
It’s this way with most things, isn’t it?
I’ve been married for 318 days, 315 of which I’ve been Heidi Kurpiela, a name that I’ve pronounced two different ways my entire life: Ker-peel-ya and Ker-peel-a.
I always give people these two options when they ask me how to pronounce it. I’m not sure which is right and which is wrong and it doesn’t much matter as long as you spell it with a “pie” and say it with a “peel.”
Kurpiela is a German name with Polish origins, the result of blurring boundaries between two countries from which my people hail. Other than my Dad’s immediate family, I have no known relatives with this last name in the United States. Three years ago, Facebook introduced me to a whole new brood of Kurpielas in Canada, but after sending a series of messages back and forth with one of them, I’ve yet to find a common ancestor.
This is unfortunate considering how much I love Canada.