Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My Chinese Name is Li Zhe

This weekend I went to Beijing by train. It took about 9.5 hours on the night train and I set out around 10PM from Changchun in a whirling blizzard that wrapped the train station in a thin veil of snow.

I spent the day on Friday at North Park and then inside of the Forbidden City. I bought some artwork (two scrolls) and had a stamp with my Chinese name inscribed in traditional characters. The seal has the characters for my real surname (Lee) and the Chinese name that my colleagues gave to me (Zhe). The handle is a double dragon. Li Zhe is a play on words. Some students gave me the name Li Changchun, because I already have a Chinese surname and because I live in Changchun. There is a very well-known Communist Party bigwig named Li Changchun so that name really would not do. Zhe, which means double lucky and smart, is the character for Jilin Province, where Changchun is located, repeated twice. It is a good name.