September 17th, 2012

As a child, I always hated how long my name was and promised myself that my kids would not have long names. Unfortunately, that did not happen. It happened that we didn’t really like the shorter names or there was something “wrong” with them–like the way they sound to Chinese people.

I just had to label a box of 12 markers, and five other things with Nathaniel’s Chinese name…and for being just three syllables, it’s not short. It has 31 pen strokes. If I had to guess, I’d say that 20 – 25 is average. I really wish I were the mom of one of his classmates. That girl’s name has jut six strokes for three syllables!
And, for the record, Cathrine’s name also has 31. It would have had one less, had Santiago not changed the character that he wanted to use. ‘Yu’ was going to be the character for rain, but he changed it to the one for language. Here’s hoping she becomes the tri-lingual child that she’s supposed to be–and masters baby sign language quickly, too.

Baby Names

February 23rd, 2012

About a month ago, Santiago realized that the baby would need a name…I, on the other hand, had been thinking about a name for months. But, based on what we went through the first time around, with Nathaniel, I wasn’t even planning to burden his mind with the task until about mid-April.

With Nathaniel we decided, albeit after he was born and four days old, that we’d use his English name as the first name on his passport, combine the two Chinese given names as his middle name and, obviously, use his dad’s family name.  Santiago was the one to come up with the two Chinese names, Chen Xing (which confuses Chinese people because the name is typically given to kids who were born in the early morning hours–not 9 pm), and I chose Nathaniel.  Both names were chosen before the birth which is very rare here. 

My roommate in the hospital had given birth three days before me and when I left after two days, her daughter still didn’t have a name.  While her baby was sleeping or the grandma was taking care of it, the woman was looking over page upon page of names that they had printed off of the computer.  Santiago said it was probably from some website offering “lucky” names.  He had chosen the name for his older sister’s son but when the boy was a few years old, they got a copy of some software that will tell how lucky or unlucky a name is and that name didn’t make the cut.  So they changed it to a computer generated name! 

Actually Santiago has picked a Chinese name which, interestingly, will have the same pronunciation for either boy or girl.  Only the third character is different in the way that it’s written and the meaning.  I’m just not sure that I can pronounce it correctly yet!  It’s one of the more difficult words for me to say and I try to avoid using words that have that pronunciation as much as possible!



    About Charlotte

    I'm a wife, mom and freelance writer in small town China. My two kids and I are three of the dozen foreigners that live here, though we've yet to meet them.

    We're near enough to Beijing to visit occasionally, but far enough away to make it a bit of a hassle since we don't have a car.