Chinese get English ones, English ones get Chinese ones, what do Turkish ones get? Changing countries and languages so often hasn’t been easy on my name. Poor thing, suffered so much over the years. During our time in Europe, we actually had a period of mild recovery – after only one or two repetitions, the Austrians had mastered it – only sometimes did it become “burCHu” instead of the rolled-back-of-the-tongue (almost silent) “r” and “j” combination. But we could live with that.
Sensing the high risk of again being badly bruised and mutilated here in China, I decided this time to spare it the humiliation. So “Burcu” is going into hiding. Please don’t think of it as an affront to Burcu, as I really only have its best interest in mind. In its place, please welcome the tried-and-true “Berszhu” for the Americans among us and “Bao Ze” for the Chinese. Actually, as Bao Ze is so new and cannot yet be left alone, it is to be accompanied by “Xia” (which means summer in Chinese and when pronounced correctly sounds very much like Scherr). Xia Bao Ze as it would be written here – actually it wouldn’t be written at all like that here – it would be written using Hanzi characters (see image). The newly-found Chinese friends who created my name at an expat dinner a couple of nights ago insisted that this was a very lucky name, because of the way the characters were formed, one part actually means Mao, like Chairman Mao. They could have told me anything, and I would have believed them. Anyway, they convinced me that this would be a very good name in China, so I practiced writing it over and over to the point they told me to stop and eat my dinner. But I was so proud of my new name, I turned to Patrick and pronounced it with all the right tones, which his novice ears mistook for “xiao bao zi” which actually means “small bread dumpling.” With the Chinese contingency laughing and thinking he is very clever, he firmly announced THIS to be my new name. Turns out that the “bao zi” is a derogatory name used for people with a big head.