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names and naming

After my Chinese class finished on Tuesday I stopped by the Foreign Language Department's computer lab to get an early start on our next homework assignment. Normally we're given a mixture of listening comprehension, reading comprehension, and translation questions, but after looking at our schedule of homework for the week it turned out to be an easy assignment of five translations. While sitting in the lab I suddenly heard a voice behind me exclaim, "Oh, Bái Lì Yáng!"

Only one person on campus calls me by that name, and when I turned around I noticed Ms. Luo approaching my table. The first thought to cross my mind was that I had done something horribly wrong that she wanted to discuss with me outside of class. (hopefully not on the subject of asking out a teacher on accident) However, a moment later I noticed the girl studying semantics from our class walking behind Ms. Luo, and it was soon explained that she was looking to borrow someone's workbook because she couldn't find her own. At least it wasn't related to my hão bu hão from before.

In addition to Ms. Luo calling out my Chinese name across a public space I also received two new names from friends in recent weeks. My flatmate decided that "Sleeping Beauty" would be a good nickname for me given how often she finds me napping during the middle of the day. We actually discussed that tale in my ASIA 474 (South Asia: Culture and Change) class yesterday - in particular how foolish the king was for banishing all spindles from his kingdom. From a vaiśya point of view it makes absolutely no sense to destroy one's textile industry, as this can be such a large source of revenue for a ruler. Hmm. It is a funny nickname to have, but probably quite fitting at the same time. Another person called me her angel a few days later, but that's a story you don't get to hear just yet. I still smile when I think about it though, even now.