What’s In A Name?
If you’ve been keeping up with my posts, you’ll know I now teach a Devil, who is a rather sweet girl to be honest. But, as in all things, teaching in a place where students can choose their names is always an adventure. I can’t remember if I mentioned it in my last post, but Devil is one of my junior English majors, which means she’s kept her name for three years now.
Also in her class is YoYo.
I rest my case.
I have had students choose names in my Concentration Camp Classes since I started teaching them. Some of them were very simple, ordinary names, like Bob and Sara. I noticed the increase of names like Bella and tend to attribute that to the insane love of the Twilight movies here in China. Many of my girls will ask me, “Do you like twee-lit? Twee-lit?” I have to wrap my head around their pronunciation sometimes, but I now know on cue that “twee-lit” is their pronunciation of “twilight” and can quickly answer their questions.
However, in other CC classes, I’ve had students choose the most fascinating names imaginable. Their minds definitely intrigue me. Last semester, especially, I had some fun names.
One girl chose the name Fridge. At first I wondered if she was trying to say French instead, until she told me “I choose the name Fridge because I think all good food goes in the fridge and all good food should go in me.” Well spoken. And at least she’s honest. I had a hard time not laughing about that.
A boy in the same class told me his name was Bad Boy. His reasoning was that by calling himself Bad Boy (anyone else hearing the song in their heads?) he would prevent himself from really being a bad boy in class. “Whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?” Unfortunately his bad tendencies weren’t banished by his name, and he failed my final exam.
This semester I’ve got a few new names that are tamer but definitely not what I expected in my CC classes. Three of my male students are named Blue, Green, and Brown, respectively. Blue explained that his favorite color was blue and that was why he chose that name. Simple enough. I also have a Sail in this group of classes who is also male.
Another trend I’ve seen in this class has been the gods that have joined class. I have two so far; though I can’t remember if one was a god or just a son of the gods. One of my guys is named Jupiter. Another is named Cupid. Granted, we’re mixing Roman and Greek mythology, but I suppose that’s okay. I like Cupid; he’s a good kid, sits up front, and smiles a lot. He’s got a bit too much of a baby face for me to take him seriously when he says his name is Cupid, but it’s also kind of cute.
One of my all-time favorite names so far has been Lary Jane. I spell it the way he spelled it; though I think it should have been Larry Jane. I did a double-take when I read the name initially and wondered if it was a guy or a girl and then if it wasn’t supposed to be Mary Jane. Nope, Lary Jane it is.
Seriously, this has been a very interesting way of getting to know my students. They’re all wonderful kids, for the most part, and I really enjoy them. I just thought I’d share some of the better names they like to use. The best part is that the students who pick the most interesting names are some of the ones I remember the most.
That said, I have a new friend I’m referring to as CCG, which stands for Crazy Conditioner Girl. It’s a really funny story, to be honest. So I’ll share, and you can enjoy my amusement as well.
CCG caught me completely off-guard earlier in the week. I was in the store looking for conditioner, which isn’t as simple as it sounds because a lot of Chinese products are 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner deals. I may try one of those at some point, but that day I just wanted a bottle of conditioner and couldn’t decide where to look. A girl in the store noticed my puzzlement and asked in pain-staking English “What do you want?”
I told her, and she directed me to the correct aisle. I started browsing, but few labels are in English, and even fewer are in good English. A salesgirl came up to me and asked me something in Chinese. Giving her my patented “stupid American” shrug, she giggled and then asked the girl who walked up to my side instead. It was the same girl as before, and she asked again what I wanted. When we finally ascertained that, yes, I wanted the “after shampoo” stuff, the salesgirl gave me more specific instruction by pointing to two shelves. Finally I could get my conditioner!
I gravitated towards one brand when the salesgirl sidled back up to me and told me if I bought another one she had a free gift for me. Okay, whatever, promotional deals are always fun, and it was only a few kuai (RMB) extra. I went to the cash register to pay for it, and then I turned around and saw a table set up just behind the register where the salesgirl was already waiting for me. I picked my gift, signed my name and number on their little list for the odd-number of Chinese text messages I’ll most likely delete automatically since I can’t read them. Then I left the store. No big deal, right?
Two hours later, I got a text from an unknown number saying it was the girl I’d seen in the “suppermarket” and she wanted to be friends with me. Oh, and could I help teach her English? She was a university student. I had no idea who it was until I got the second text saying she was the conditioner salesgirl. That’s when I realized she’d stolen my number off the list, and I have to admit, I wasn’t angry, just amused.
We sent a few texts back and forth for a while and agreed to meet up on Tuesday after my first Chinese lesson. I’ll write more about Chinese lessons later, but when I met up with CCG, I had the hardest time pronouncing her name. It looks suspiciously easy, but you try saying Chun Xiao Bo and say it to a Chinese person. Just wait for all the laughs you’ll get!
Xiao Bo, as she asked me to call her, is genuinely sweet and not overbearing in the least. She also mentioned she could show me places where I might find clothes my size and, even better, shoes in my size! So I’m going to spend some time with her, and she’s agreed that we can help each other learn our respective languages.
I’ll probably write more about Xiao Bo later, but for now, I wanted to leave you with that wonderful Shakespearean quote “What’s in a name?” Seriously, though, what IS in a name when you can pick anything from Fridge to Bad Boy? Tell me that!
Leave a comment, let me know what’s new with you, tell me if this made you laugh, and I hope you’re all doing well! Much love is sent your way from wonderful Wuhan, and I look forward to hearing from you!