Tuesday, August 4, 2015

What's in a name?

So, we are naming our daughter, Hannah Catherine Sykes.  Her Chinese name is Long Yin Xue - which American style means her first name is Yin Xue and her last name is Long.  Apparently everyone in her orphanage (Social Welfare Institute) is given the last name of Long and it is the Director of the Orphanage's last name.

So, we picked an American name for her for many reasons.   The main being we tried to put ourselves in her place and what type of name she would want.  This is the same thinking we did with each of our boys.  And we figured she would want a name that is not hard to pronounce or spell.  A name not too common, but not so unique it is weird too.  We want all of them to have a name where they could be President one day.

Now, I know that Hannah is pretty common nowadays, but Andy wasn't agreeing to any names and came up with that one.  And Hannah's advocacy name was "Alice" and we had a baby niece Alice about to be born any day.  So I really wanted to start calling her by her final name - so I jumped on him liking a name :-).

We also really like our children to have names with some meaning - i.e. some tie to a family name.  Mack is Mack Warren.  Mack was my paternal grandfather's nickname and Warren was Andy's paternal grandfather. Then Cooper is Cooper Andrew.  Andrew is obviously his daddy's name.  I really wanted to name Cooper a variation of Andrew, for his first, but I just thought it would be too confusing to have two Andrew Sykes in the house :-).  We thought about Drew for him, but (no offense if you are a guy and your name is Drew), but I have not known any male Drews of whom I am fond.  It kinda seems like a jerk name to me.  So that was out.  So it became Cooper's middle name :-).

So Hannah's middle name is Catherine.  And it is after her paternal grandmother (or my mother-in-law), Cathy.   Her name is Cathy, not Catherine, but Hannah Cathy didn't roll off the tongue to us, so we did a variation.  And if you know Cathy, you know that if Hannah has any of her attributes, then we will be the luckiest parents around.  I haven't met a sweeter, kinder or more generous in nature person than her.  She is the mother-in-law/grandmother I hope I will be one day.  I frequently worry that Andy is comparing me to her because she is a domestic goddess and where I have many talents, my home-making skills would not be at the top of that list ;-).  But luckily, he seems pretty happy with what he got.

So, that brings us back to Hannah.  I am in the process of sending her a care package that tells her that we are her forever family - including a picture book of us, a letter to her, a cuddly blanket and a doll.  And the lady sending the package sent me the following information about Hannah's Chinese name.  I am so happy!  I have been pronouncing it so wrong.  

She sent us her name in Chinese Characters (I had these, but only in picture form so I couldn't cut and paste it), a link to the meaning of each and it also has a sound on how to pronounce.  I had been pronouncing the Xue part completely wrong.  I had been pronouncing it shyue and it sounds like you are supposed to pronounce it shiyeh.  Take a listen for yourself:

Long Yin Xue: 龙吟雪

If you click links above ,you will find out the meaning for each symbol ,if you click the Speaker ,you will know how to say long yin xue in Mandarin !

I love having this information!