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The first day of my first Chinese class ever, my teacher decides that she's going to give us Chinese names. She explains that she will make our names from a combination of characters that we think describe us. Excitedly, I start writing down all of these great adjectives that I think would make a cool name. The next class, she hands us a slip of paper with our names on it. With a great deal of anticipation, I open my paper to see 安娜. So I'm thinking, "Wow! That looks really cool!" And then she reads it to me: Ānnà, basically my name with a slight Chinese accent. Sort of let down, I look around the classroom and study my classmates. Most of them were given very difficult and hard to pronounce Chinese names that sound nothing like their English names. This makes me realize that my short and easy Chinese name is a blessing: easy to remember AND pronounce!
Fast forward a year and a half and my calligraphy teacher tells me I need a Chinese surname. How hard can that be right? So I pull up Google and search for the top 100 Chinese surnames. I know I want a name that means something nice and begins with the "K" sound like my English surname does. Wikipedia gives me two choices: 康 Kāng and 孔 Kǒng. Flipping through my dictionary, I discover that 康 means healthy and peaceful, while 孔 means hole. Deciding on 康安娜 Kāng Ānnà, I begin the next step: gaining approval from native Chinese speakers online. This is a lot harder than I expect, everyone has a different opinion! Some say it's too western while others say it has to many "ah" sounds. Finally, I ask my Chinese friends that I regularly speak with and they all tell me it's perfect for me! SUCCESS!!! I finally have a real Chinese name!
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