Boleslaw. Outside of Poland (and the former Czechoslovakia, where it’s spelled Boleslav), it’s not a very well known name.
Many English speakers find it hilarious - or look at it with derision. “It sounds just like coleslaw,” some people proclaim after seeing it in written form. “It seems, you know, too food-like. Or foreign. But mainly too food-like.”
Why, then, would I adopt it as a name?
I like it. I like the way it sounds - it’s pronounced something like bowl-LE-swaff, a far cry from “coleslaw” with a B. I enjoy the meaning behind it - great glory gives it a good tinge of respectability. Plus, it pares well with my middle name, Dartagnan.
Poland’s a country I enjoy visiting, too, though that’s more of a secondary factor if anything.
What does it matter if it’s “foreign” or not? Names and naming traditions all vary across cultures. There’s no reason to dismiss something just because you’re not familiar with it.
I plan on being outside of my country of birth for long periods of time. I am foreign, everything is foreign - and putting up walls just because something is different is one of the worst things you can do as an expat, or in general.
That’s yet another reason why I adopted it: it’s a way to help encourage people to see the world differently and learn new things they might not have even thought of. It’s a subtle way to break down those barriers, but you’ve gotta start somewhere. I like sharing my experiences, the things I’ve learned, my opinions - and using that as a stepping stone to learn from others, too.