Other people think I am Vietnamese when they hear my name. Tran is not uncommon in Vietnamese families. I do love Vietnamese food, but I can’t claim any Vietnamese heritage. Although my father thinks the Vikings used to sail all over the world and may have gotten the name from the ancestors of the modern Vietnamese. He might be right.
Tron is an ancient Norse name. It is used now and again in Norway. Sometimes it is seen written “Trond” as in Trondheim, the city in North Norway. My father, who came to the U.S from Norway as a grad student, had a friend in Norway named Tron and he always liked the name and liked the friend, too. In Norway it is pronounced with a rolling “R” and a short Scandinavian style “O” and sounds nothing like anything we might say in English. The name means: one who is true, reliable and trustworthy.
So my name is a metaphor for the world we live in. I have an ancient name that is pronounced in a post-modern way. It had an ancient meaning that is lost to a set of age-of-technology assumptions and perspectives. I have an immigrant name that could come from several places that is said in my birth country’s style of speaking. Like so many others, I am a citizen of the whole world with one foot in a distant pastoral and rustic past and one foot in a fantastic future of high-technology and prosperity. How we manage our footsteps and the footprints we leave behind will determine how we feel about the world we are creating for ourselves.