Tuesday, August 23, 2011


When I was a child, people always had problems saying and spelling my name. As a result, I now have a kind of obsession with names. Once, I even wrote a term paper about them for sociology. So it's only appropriate that I have a post about what people are calling me here in Taiwan.

The Chinese name Kelly (one of our program directors) gave me when I first arrived is 丁柏雅 (Ding Bo-ya). 丁 (Ding) is just a last name that is similar to Dean. Technically, it translates to "nail" in English. 柏雅 has a bit more meaning to it. 柏 (Bo) means cypress or cedar and 雅 (ya) means elegant. So, in English, my Chinese name literally translates as "elegant cypress,"which I'm cool with. I don't mind being an elegant tree. And I'm rather proud to say that in the past three weeks I've actually learned to respond to my new Chinese name (well, most of the time).
The Taiwanese are very proud of their Taiwanese cypress trees. This cypress was
in the annex when we went to our press conference at the county office.
As far as my English name goes, Taiwanese people in general have a lot of trouble pronouncing Gabrielle. So everyone has taken to calling me Gabby instead (Gab is also a challenge since most Chinese words end in vowel sounds instead of consonants). But, funny story, my LET has since informed me that "Gabby" sounds just like the Taiwanese word for "coffee." Then again, I guess having my students address me as "Teacher Coffee" all year is somewhat appropriate when you consider that I was the only ETA so attached to my morning brew that I brought a coffee press with me to Taiwan.
My trusty coffee press. The awesome cover is
compliments of my very talented sister!

1 comment:

  1. Awe, I'm glad that you like it :) I think that coffee is a fitting name for you. But elegant cypress sounds like a wonderful name too! I do like trees.....