Monkey See, Monkey Do, Tai Wen, Tai Tu

The kids and I were talking about picking Chinese names, because we’re about to welcome a new Chinese scholar to Harrisonburg (we serve as a “friendship family” for the visitors that EMU brings from China every fall). I feel like my name is pretty hard for Chinese speakers, so I’m considering selecting a Chinese name to make it easier.

Silas and Petra, of course, wanted to pick names, too. Silas wanted to go first, so I ran down a list of Chinese male or neutral names that I found on the internet. He liked “Tai.” Cool, right?

But then Petra says, “But I want to be called ‘Tai.'” Sure enough, it’s a neutral name.

“Wouldn’t it be confusing if you were both called ‘Tai’?” I asked.

She just started screaming, “I want to be called ‘Tai,’ too!” over and over.

Tu is also a Chinese name.

“Okay,” I said. “You can be called ‘Tai Tu.'”

Silas said, “Wait, if she’s called ‘Tai 2,’ and I wanted to be called ‘Tai’ first, then I should be called…’Tai 1,’ right?”

Well…Wen is a name.

Tai Tu, Tai Wen
Tai Tu, Tai Wen

JC points out that “Tai” is one of the 100 Chinese surnames, so maybe we’ll be the Tai family….

Silas says, “Petra, your Chinese name is so cool, because ‘Tai Tu’ sounds like ‘tattoo.'”

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