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Yes, there’s two of us

| Monday, September 28, 2020

Yes, there’s two of us. Having to repeat this phrase has become a bit of a habit for me here in college. It has also become an odd alteration to my usual “Yes, there’s three of us.”

See, I am a triplet. Surprisingly, sharing a womb — and most of my life thereafter — with my brothers did not prepare me for the bizarreness of sharing both my first and last name with someone else. Yes, there’s two of us — two girls named Adriana Perez in the class of 2022. (No, we’re not related.)

And before you roll your eyes and stop reading, indulge me for a few minutes. I assure you, I recognize this is not that big of a deal, especially at Notre Dame. If you are called Jack, Matthew, Michael, Elizabeth, Abby or Katie (or any variation of these names), you most likely share a first and last name with someone at this school.

Maybe I just did not expect to have to travel to a whole different hemisphere to find someone with my same name. But I guess both Adriana and Perez are common enough in the Hispanic world. Although we are namesakes, there are actually some easy ways to differentiate us.

Firstly, she hails from Dorado, Puerto Rico, and I come from a bit farther south, from Guayaquil, Ecuador. Secondly, I currently have shoulder-length brown hair, whereas Adriana is a redhead with beautiful long locks.

Thirdly, Adriana is also a phenomenal dancer, whereas I cannot dance without making an absolute fool of myself. Not even an easy dance, like the “Macarena” — not even if my life depended on it.

Also, she graciously hyphenated her two last names to Perez-Negron (in Hispanic cultures, people often carry both their paternal and maternal surnames, in that order) in the Notre Dame directory. And though I could not find a way to do that, I was able to add my middle given name (Maria, also a common name in Hispanic, predominantly Catholic cultures. You can learn more about naming conventions in Spanish-speaking cultures here.)

Pointing out these directory changes and distinctions is necessitated by the funny — and sometimes awkward, even frustrating —consequences of being namesakes. Not that you asked, but here are some of the most notable confusions our name has caused:

After roommate assignments our first year, her roommate followed me on Instagram and sent me a sweet direct message. I promptly had to correct them. Yes, I did have a “ND ‘22” and a shamrock in my bio, but I was not the Adriana they were looking for.

Once we got to campus, Adriana and I found out we were both in different sections of the same Writing and Rhetoric class. Predictably, our professor mixed up feedback on our work a couple of times. But to her credit, once we gently mentioned it, she tried her best to not confuse us again.

The worst possible misunderstanding happened our first year too, only a few weeks into the fall semester. Another student approached me on her birthday, as she sat in front of me — I had approached her to congratulate her — and he wished me a great day, hug and all.

Even now, I get emails meant for her all the time. As does she. We try our best to forward messages to each other and connect people with the correct Adriana, but alas, sometimes people slip through the cracks.

(On a similar note: if you reached out to her about some research project you are involved in, thinking she wrote for The Observer, and she gave you my number, it was the Ecuadorian one. I promise I am not ignoring you. I hope you read this and are able to connect with me.)

And some of my friends have shared classes with her. One of my closest buddies, for instance, actually had to delete her number from her phone after way too many instances of texting and calling the other Adriana.

I wish I could glean a life lesson from this to share with you, but after midterms, I do not think I have the mental capacity to do that. And even if I did, whatever profound thing I say would probably be a bit of a reach. So, consider this just a friendly — even somewhat gratuitous —public service announcement. Who knows? It might come in handy, should you ever meet either of us.

I do want to clarify, though: This was definitely not meant to put anyone on blast — Adriana and I know these mistakes are genuine. In fact, they give us something to bond over, to laugh about. They serve as little reminders to check up on each other, too. So, do not worry if you get confused. I never expected there might be two of us, but I would not have it any other way.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Adriana Perez

Adriana is a Notre Dame senior from Guayaquil, Ecuador, majoring in political science and minoring in the Gallivan Program of Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. She is currently serving as Editor-in-Chief of The Observer for the 2021-2022 term. You can find her at @adrianamperezr on Twitter.

Contact Adriana