Return to the storm
| About my names:
Zia Mei Cooper and Hong Dongfang
Zia Mei Cooper is the name we chose for our daughter.
Zia is a derivative of the botanical (Latin) name for "grain."
Mei is a common Chinese first name, and means "beautiful."
Cooper simply means "barrel maker," but we'll ignore that for the moment. We'll just think of her as our "beautiful grain" that will flourish under our care.
Hong Dongfang is the name given to Zia at the orphanage in He Fei.
Hong is the family name, and is given to all children who arrive there this year. Fang (pronounced "Fong") translates roughly as "sweet smell," and Dong means "winter." We have been told that a middle name is not used the same way that it is in the west, so Dongfang runs together even though it is represented by two characters in Chinese.
The Chinese characters used to translate Zia Mei Cooper in her official documentation are:
They represent the family name Cooper first (before the dot), then Zia Mei following the dot. The translation of the characters used here for Zia Mei is roughly "most beautiful." The representation of western names in Chinese characters is not an exact science. Our friend Mengchi describes the process like this:
"Following local custom, the name usually comprises three characters. First character matches first vowel in the (English, German, French etc.) surname. The rest of two characters come from given name. The art of naming a Chinese name is simple. Pick a nice word (good meaning) that matches the pronounciation."