Frequently asked questions about my name, heritage, accent, etc.
(because I get really bored with having this conversation over and over)

How do you pronounce your name?
My surname is pronounced "day gwar dee oh luh". Feel free to just call me Susan.

Is the "de" part of your last name? How is it alphabetized?
That little "de" is a particle, which technically is not part of my last name, though this is a futile distinction in the United States. It means "of", and it suggests that some ancestor was either noble or pretentious. Please note the proper capitalization, spelling, and spacing: de Guardiola. Two words. Small "d" and capital "G". My initials are SMG, and it is more correct to alphabetize me under "G", though it doesn't happen very often!

Are you Italian?
No. My surname is Spanish, not Italian. I am Cuban-American, born in the United States. My father immigrated to America in 1960 and became a naturalized citizen when I was a small child. His ancestors emigrated from Spain to Guatemala and Cuba in the nineteenth century. Their origins are in northern Spain; some of my ancestors are Basque. "Guardiola" is a very unusual Spanish surname, and "de Guardiola" is even rarer.

Why don't you look Hispanic?
I do. "Hispanic" is an ethnicity and linguistic group, not a race. We come in all shades and racial mixes. I am light-skinned because that's the way the genetics shook out. My mother is not Hispanic, and her family tends toward the fair and freckled, but even among my Cuban relatives, some have fairer skin than others. My paternal grandmother was a pale-skinned redhead. Here, take a look.

What about your accent? Do you speak Spanish?
I do not speak Spanish fluently, though I read it reasonably well. My slight accent comes from being raised in Texas. Most of my southern drawl has been erased by decades of living in the northeast, but I still extend some vowels, and if I am not concentrating on pronunciation, I still have the pin/pen merger trait, which you can read about here.

How is your name transliterated into the Cyrillic alphabet?
The official transliteration from my Russian visa is: Сьюзан де Гуардиола. If you don't like that spelling, please feel free to take it up with the Russian government.