If the title didn’t give it away, this is my 100th blog post!!! I can’t believe it has been over a year and a half since I started this blog to document my study abroad experience. Who would have thought I’d be back in China now, teaching CRAZY high schoolers.
Speaking of crazy, I wanted honor this momentous post with something everyone will enjoy: English names.
I gave all 900 of my students the option to create their own English name. They could either choose one for themselves, or I would pick one for them. I did this on the first day of class, which lasted two weeks because I have THAT many students. I had them all take out a piece of paper to turn in, which is much harder than you might think because in China that’s not a thing; students have notebooks of all different sizes and were tearing up scraps of paper to share with friends- I even got a few post-it notes!
On the paper I had them write their:
1. Name in Chinese characters
2. Name in Pinyin (romanized Chinese)
3. English name (If they have one)
4. I am a girl/boy (so I know what gender of name to give them)
5. Their favorite animal
6. Favorite color
7. Favorite class OR favorite thing to do in Ningbo (depending on their level)
Many students also chose to write a few notes on their papers such as:
“You are so beautiful”
“I ❤ you”
“I love you, give me your QQ!”
“My favorite class is English (only you)”
Talk about an ego boost. I also heard a lot of these things in person too- from girls and guys.
When I need a good dose of humor, all I have to do is look at the English names my kids have created. I honestly think celebrities get names for their babies by visiting Chinese high schools. I decided to break up names in order of weird-ness.
First, we have the names that are a bit uncommon:
Dolores, Pink, Kobe Bryant, James Bryant, Sherry, Coco, Snow, Shirley, Cook, Timor, Sherry, Gladys, Oswald, Hans, Cissy, Cherry, Barry, Dante, Eunice, Chaplin, Sunny, Sun, Buford, Marlene, Vergil, Cavins (girl), Klaus, Bobo, King, Kero, Apple, Rainbow, Stark, Meru, Yuki, Kane, Candy, Jancy, and Doris
Then we have the names that have some gender issues:
Girls: Woody, Anthony, Tank and Moe
Boys: Summer, Spring, Lexus, July, Rainbow, Betty, Sky, Rose, Destiny, Dove
(Summer, Betty and Rose chose to change their names once they realized they were “girl names”)
Next the names got a little weirder:
Silver, Maybe, Snake, Chocolate, Sequin, Mars, Lincoln, Dream, Lemon, Windy, Tomboy, Icey, Superman, Joker, Chitty, Suyi, Shaddow, Angle, Boss, Shine, Partner, Death, Hero, Dream, Trouble, Yoke, Obama, Burning, Jax, Leaf, Ice, Sail, Town, Sprite, Smoker, Green, Cetrina, Erb, DELUXE (boy), Zoo, Top, Hamburger, Smile, Lear, Hae, Doom, Orange, Banana, Apple (boy), Apples (also a boy), Tone, Nack, Super Hulk, Teeny, Shandy, Leaves, Yaona, Andy Law, EZ, Yoke, Bobo, Luki, and Shaddow
Finally, I don’t even want to know where these names came from:
Sylwish (girl), Old White, Eleven, Outmoon, Enoch (girl), Future Summer (boy), Nate little Smith, Captain Killer, Single, KK, Wilt, Mommon, Jokwoh, Kajore, Marchin, Odile, Redjade (girl), King Baby, King Sun Moon, 30, Aoife, Happy Sky Fly, Dovi, Wesker, Atear, Collaoge, Trach, Luffy (boy), Easor, Small Yun, Poo Chai, Monkey D Luffey, M-hey, Drong, Super Liang, Small Sandy (boy), One Piece, Tarch, Yoona, Chitty, Kajore, Marchin, and F*** (I made him change it)
Just imagine trying to call on “Hamburger” or “Happy Sky Fly” in class. I can’t do it with a straight face.. I just can’t.
Another funny aspect of these names are which kids are in which class together.
- I have four Jacks in one class: Jack Shu, Jack Wu, Jack Lu and Jack Xu
- I have two “Snakes” in one class
- Banana, Orange, Apple and Apples are a group of boys that all sit together
- Super Hulk sits next to Super Liang
- Spring, Summer and Autumn all sit together. Spring and Summer are boys and Autumn is a girl. When I told Spring and Summer that their names are “girl names”, Summer changed his name to Winter. I then said “Winter is coming”, but I guess no one got my game of thrones reference… Awkward.
In addition to the names, I’ve also been dying reading their responses to my questions.
“My favorite thing to do in Ningbo is Chat with women”
“My favorite thing to do in Ningbo is sleep all day”
“My favorite thing to do in Ningbo is eat snacks” (about 50 people wrote this, and they pronounce snacks as “snakes” which is hilarious)
“I don’t have English name but I want have”
“My favorite subject in school is Chemical”
“My favorite animal is a rabbie”
“My favorite animal is dragon cat”
“My favorite color is chocolate”
“My favorite class is English (Ps: the English class you give me)”
“My favorite animal is human”
“My favorite animals is woman”
“My favorite class is heard”
“My favorite subject is English what be teached by Ms. Jiang” (that’s me!)
“P.S. I want a headsome name” –not sure if SHE was trying to say handsome?
“I am a body” –(In response to “I am a girl/boy”)
If the students finished early, I let them ask me three questions. The most common were:
- Where are you from?
- Do you have a brother or sister?
- How old are you?
- Do you have a boyfriend/husband/baby? (Some students asked all three together)
If you think those are weird/invasive questions, wait ’till you hear these:
- “Do you like eating meet?”
- “Do you like Lakers? Do you like Kobe Bryant? Why do you like or dislike Kobe Bryant?”
- “What’s your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram Password?”
- “Are you feeling bored when you teach us?”
- “Do you afraid of snakes?”
- “What animal is you hate?”
- “What does your husband come from?, Do you have babies?”
- “Will you love Chinese men?”
The only thing I could think when reading the last one is “Yes, I will have many Chinese lovers”. Oh China….
Finally, these two are my favorites:
- “My name is King Baby, I am a MAN, my favorite color is yellow, my favorite animal is a turtle, son.”
I couldn’t figure out why all of the boys kept saying their favorite color was yellow, while the whole class would laugh. Then I learned that “Yellow Movies” are the Chinese term for XXX Movies. Of course.
- “My name is KeVin (yes KeVin). I am a sunny boy […] My favorite thing to do in Ningbo is eating food. You know, Ningbo’s food is very delicious so I am so fat… it’s not a good thing for me”.
On that note, check out some of the pictures of my school!
I’ve never laughed so hard at something on the internet. This is amazing, send it to buzzfeed or reddit.
Such a great post! Such cute responses, really had a good time reading this!
Just want to point out Aoife is a perfectly normal and common Irish name. 🙂
I can help with the “King Baby” maybe. King Baby is an american jewelry designer, it’s pretty punky. At least I think that’s the right word for it? Rock and roll maybe? If the kid likes to wear skulls and guitars it might be the perfect fit!
Thanks for letting me know about some of these names! The funny thing is that they pick them and oftentimes have no explanation as to why. At least in the case of Aoife, she had no idea how to pronounce it either.
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