Chinese Names and Kittiens in Cafes
Chinese Names and Cats in Cafes.
Monday, September 3rd
Today, we had our first (mostly) free day since our arrival. We registered for classes in the morning. Splitting them between, business and Mandarin 50/50. The atmosphere of the registration felt a little like a 1990’s Wall Street bullpen. People were waving their passports and speaking about seven different languages. It went on mostly without a hitch, except when we were asked for our Chinese names. We didn’t have any! Luckily we were able to finish the process, promising to come back later in the day with our names.
After registration, we sent Dr. Gao a quick message asking if he would be as kind as to name us. Half an hour later he responded with: Lu Ai De for Adam and Lu Dai An for me. The process of choosing a Chinese name is actually really interesting. He chose our family name, Lu, because it’s pronounced similarly as the name Rule. In addition to being a classical Chinese surname. According to Dr. Gao, the Chinese version of Shakespeare had the surname of Lu.
Adam’s first name, Ai De was chosen for a dual reason. One, because, it’s similar to Adam in sound, and because of its meaning. Ai, which means to love and De which means virtue. It's translated as someone who pursues virtue, a compliment from Dr. Gao.
My name is Dai An. Which is essentially (Diane). Dai is the classical name in Chinese literature for the ingénue archetype in Chinese stories. Paired with the surname which is often associated with the classic Chinese literature, essentially means Classical Beauty. Again, another compliment from Doctor Gao. An alternate meaning for Dai is the pigment women use to fill in their eyebrows, but we’ll go with classical beauty. An, means peace or calm, which I think he chose mostly because it sounded very similar to my given name.
Anyways, after returning to the registration office and updating our information with our Chinese Names we had the rest of the day free. Which meant it was time for some exploring. But first, coffee. Espresso has been really hard to come by here in China. At least, espresso at the quality that you can find in the Western world. While walking home yesterday Adam and I spotted a café pretty close to school, so today we decided to scope it out. We retraced our steps and there it was! A cute place called BeanCat!
The interior decor was super trendy. The Americano I ordered was 22RMB. It’s standard pricing with an American conversion ($3.75USD) but expensive considering I can get around fourteen dumplings for the same price. But, honestly, it was so worth it. The quality was exactly what I needed. As an extra bonus, the café had kittens! Unfortunately, they were separated from the café by a glass wall, but they were still so cute to look at. The Wi-Fi was super fast, which is something we’re learning to quickly covet as the Wi-Fi at school is extremely slow.
It's great to find a place that feels a little familiar in this Eastern world! Even if the baristas didn't speak English, it was conforting to order my usual and sit and enjoy the company of my husband just like we would have back home!
xx Lu Dai An