As many of you know my father is Indonesian and my last name comes from him, but there is a bit of a strange story behind it all.
You see in Indonesia many people only have one name, as in they don’t have a first, middle, or last name…it’s a one in all sort of deal.
But when my dad came here to the US to go to college he ran into a problem. Over here he was was constantly having to fill out forms that required a first and last name.
So his solution was to use the name ‘Joe’ (“Like Joe Cool” he explained to me one day) whenever a form or situation required two names and then use ‘Wirawan’ as his last name.
I always thought that must have been kind of weird for him, to have what is essentially his first name become the family name all of a sudden. Just imagine how strange it would be if your family suddenly was using your first name as their last all the time. Like Sally John, or Brian Laura. Well to him Anita Wirawan is the same sort of thing.
Anyway, Wirawan as a last name lives on through me as now my wife has taken the name Wirawan as well. So now she is Jennifer Wirawan and when we have kids they will be Joseph Wirawan or Julia Wirawan.
Jennifer chose to take my last name because the last of the blood-related family that I know here in the US, my brother Jody Wirawan, died in 2008.
Her choosing to have the last name Wirawan and so choosing the same for our future children is a sweet way of reassuring me that yes I do have family here and will continue to. Also since Jody didn’t have any kids it’s a way of having Jennifer and my future kids share the same family name as him.
So now that I think about it Jennifer Wirawan is actually a very appropriate name for her, because for doing all that she is my hero ;).