My name is Krista. My last name is Quintana. And I’m Asian. Most people assume Quintana is an Asian name, mostly because of how similar it sounds to katana. (The Qu is like quesadilla, or quiche. Has a hard K sound. Also, it’s Spanish, not Japanese.) No one even questions my last name.
My first name is a different story. I can’t count the number of times people are surprised by it. I had a patient’s husband come up to talk to me, and after we talked about the patient, he looked at my nametag and said, “Krista with a ‘k’. That’s different.”
I replied with, “Yup. It’s because of my Swedish heritage.”
He laughed. “Swedish, right.” After that, whenever he saw me, he would say, “There’s that Swedish nurse.”
He thought I was joking. But aside from my mother, who was adopted from Japan, the most recent immigrant in my family heritage is my Great Grandmother who came from Stockholm, Sweden. In fact, after Japanese, I’m probably the highest percent Swedish.
I’m proud of that heritage. I love my Great Grandmother, and I’ve learned about her life. I even wrote an essay about her when I was in sixth grade. She’s one of my role models, even if I don’t look like her.
We are all children of immigrants. They all came to the US for different reasons, but they all gave us a legacy. I’m grateful for the sacrifices they made for me.