In English most people call me Eric, in Russian-speaking countries where Eric is a little bit hard to pronounce, most people just start calling me Yuric. In Thailand, where people once called me Elic, I now have a real Thai nickname, Yim, which means smile. It works well and many friends only know me only by this name.
In China, the search for a name has been elusive, for months I tried to figure out a useful Chinese name. “Golden dragon” I suggested, thinking it was an interesting name. After all, lots of Chinese people have dragon in their name, and in the absence of a Chinese name, my girlfriend’s mother started to resort to calling me Golden Hair. “No!” a chorus of Chinese shouted back to me “You can’t be Golden Dragon, a bus company already has that name.”
Damn, I went back to thinking until I found a new name, ShanFung, – Mountain Wind. It seemed appropriate. I hail from the mountains and travel as much as the wind. “No that is just too silly to be a name, you must choose a more traditional name” my girlfriend, Echo, explained.
“Yea, but just look at all the silly English names everyone in China has, names like Echo, Sugar, Glacier, Freedom, I-Phone, Shark, Poseidon, and so many other silly names, Why can’t I have a silly name?”
“My name is silly?” Echo asked.
“As silly as calling yourself Golden Dragon.”
My quest for a name continued, I searched for ideas, and failed. Finally I met a traditional Chinese teacher, Teacher Oh. Oh gave me my Chinese name. My Chinese name is now “Oh Yang Yo Hwa”, which means “friend to the Chinese people”. For me, it sounds silly, but when I tell my Chinese friends this, they give me a wide smile and compliment me on my great name.
If you watch the following video you can see how I explored the village met Teacher Oh and got my Chinese name.