So, by far the coolest thing I got for Christmas was my Chinese name. I was visiting friends in Shi Yan, and on Christmas day we had a party. (I didn't get to blog all this at Christmas time because my internet was down.) There were of course Americans and Chinese, but also Germans, Brits, a man from Gibraltar, from Cameroon, etc. I met there a Chinese woman named Louise, which is my middle name. That got us started talking about names, and she asked if I had a Chinese name, a question I've had many times before. I told her I didn't, and she did what no Chinese person had yet: offered to name me!
My name is Tang Sha, the two characters above. (The tones are 2nd and 1st, respectively, for those that care.) This "tang" sounds like the word for sweet or candy, and we all know about my sweet tooth! However this character means the Tang Dynasty. "Sha" contains the character for sand, which is good, because I love the beach. This character has no modern meaning, but is common in girls' names, the Chinese say it sounds good. This "sha" also is the first character used when the Chinese write phonetically "Shakespeare" using characters.
Now I can write and say my Chinese name, so I've been using it much more often. So: I'm Tang Sha. Nice to meet you!