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When most children go to school for the first time, they only have a Chinese name. Makes sense of course, we all just have one name. But, when they go to an international school or English training center, they often need an English name. You can pick literally any name and this is what the Chinese do, they choose any…. Often the first word that comes to mind or the only word they know in English, like Apple, Flower or Baby.

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But sometimes they put some more thought in it. I met a girl named Cactus once. She saw my facial expression I guess and started explaining that she looks hard and prickly from the outside, but is really soft inside. Ahhh, nice, but still weird.

Since my school is brand new, many parents asked me to help pick out a name. By now I must have already given about 40-50 kids an English name. It is the most fun job in the world. I started with getting the whole “Friends” cast complete. But after Joey, Rachel, and Monica I was scared they would find out…. Maybe I’ll continue in a different class, cause I still think it’s a hilarious idea. I also have a Bart and Maggy (Simpsons) and quite a few of my own friends back home have a “mini-me” in China.

They also like to give it a Chinese feel and call it an English name. Just put some consonants between the letter A. Yaya, Wawa, Lala and yes, even Kaka…. (apparently the last one is a regular name in Japan, but I couldn’t help smiling)

I have met children with these names: Comic, King, Tiger, (hold on, stop laughing, not finished yet)…Sea, Twinkle, Cuddle.  Many names are also wrongly spelled, like Eason (Ethan?), Evvan or Kimmi for example.

British Beau Jessup was 16 years old when she developed an app that helps Chinese parents to choose a proper name for their child. I think she deserves a medal this girl! Although…it does spoil the fun a bit.

I am open to suggestions on what to name the next boy or girl. Bring it on!