One of my very first posts in China was about students picking hilarious English names. It just cracked me up that a boy would call themselves “Cookies” or a girl “Super.” But like all things, you get immune to it. I’ve had plenty of none traditional names over the years, like “Lightning,” “Blue,” “Superman.” (Hell, my best friends name is “Color.“) But I got used to it. I kinda stopped seeing them as crazy and liked them. (Remembering the name Silmon is a whole lot easier than normal names like Wendy, or Lucy).
So I thought I had “seen it all” when it came to English names. Then I met my new students.
These guys aren’t English majors and therefore their exposure to western culture is much less. They also aren’t required to have an english name, so it’s totally up to them.
Maybe about half of them had English names, but most were kinda expected. Lucy’s, Daisy’s, John’s and May’s. There were plenty kinda “normal strange” like Tiger, Yeats, Pudding.
But then there were crazy off the wall, not even English ones. Most notable are Kumbko, Fuladino, Sharo and Past (okay, past is a real word, but his explanation of his name was awesome. He has 2 sisters and their English names are Future and Present. So his family coordinated unique English names which I thought was clever.)
But the all time weirdest name is….International Guo. The class cracks up every time I say his name in roll call, and I can’t help but say it with a flourish. He’s the first student who I recognize by name outside of class. See, the crazy names really do stick.
But the best goes to one student who stood up and instead of telling me his name said, “Names are meaningless so there is no reason to tell you mine. I am who I am.”
Can’t argue with that.