Needed an American Name
Photo: T. Peters
I came to America, my name often caused me
to feel embarrassed because Americans can
not say my name correctly. Sometimes they
call me, and I don't know who they are
name is Shen Yu. My English name is Shelly. I have
a lot of things to say about my name. Yu is my last
name. It doesn't have a special meaning, but if you
pronounce it in Chinese, it sounds like "fish" in
first name is Shen. In Chinese, it has two
meanings. One is a city in ChinaShanghai. I
was born in Shanghai, and my parents hoped I would
love the city. The other meaning is "monkey". In
China, we use twelve animals to indicate different
ages. Mine is the monkey.
China, most last names don't have meanings. First
names and middle names have different meanings, but
I don't have a middle name.
I came to America, my name often caused me to feel
embarrassed because Americans can not say my name
correctly. Sometimes they call me, and I don't know
who they are calling. In my first English class, an
American teacher wanted me to answer a question.
She called on me three times, but I didn't know she
was calling on me.
the teacher wrote my name on the board and asked,
"Who is Shen Yu? Stand up." I saw my name on the
board, and I stood up immediately. I felt everyone
was laughing at me. The teacher asked me my English
name and how to remember my Chinese name. I had to
tell her that my name means "monkey and fish."
After that, when my teacher wanted me to answer
questions, she called me "Monkey and Fish." All of
my classmates always laughed.
that time, I had been in America only one month. My
English was very poor. and I often couldn't
understand what the teacher said. When the teacher
called on me, I was very nervous, and I often
didn't know how to answer the question. When my
classmates laughed at me, I couldn't say anything.
I often kept silent a long time and said nothing.
had another English teacher, and he couldn't
pronounce my name correctly either. He gave me an
English nameShelly, so my name became Shelly.
A month later, my father gave me another English
nameSunlight. He said "I hope you will be
like bright, warm sunlight. You are happy and
honest, you get trust easily. You must do your best
to help others and give them warmth and hope, like
In a Name?
and Thomas Peters - firstname.lastname@example.org