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Somewhere Between Podcast
Somewhere Between Podcast

Episode 2 · 2 years ago

What's in a Name? ft. Olivia Jin

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode, we discuss our relationships with our different names, the meaning behind them, and the struggles of identifying with them. We are joined by Chinese adoptee, Olivia Jin.

I'lcome back to the third episode of adopted, a podcast made by Asian adoptees for Asian adoptees. Were journ to day by our special guest, Olivia. Hi, I'm Olivia. I was adopted from you young orphanage in Jungshi, China, on June eighteen two thousand. I'm in only child and I live with my mom in our cat Mia, and right now I'm in my second year in pregraphic design at IA State University Awes. I'm glad to have you here today. Yes, thank you. We're gonna be discussing our names and our relationships with them sort of start. Do you guys want to say your names and who gave you that name? Sure, I have quite a few names, but the name I mainly going by is Alia, and then I have my Chinese name that was given to me by my adoptive parents, I lean, and that I have another name, which is the name that my orphanagia given me, which is Shao Chi. What about you, Maya? So my first name was Maya, and then I sometimes go by like rose or rosy because my uncle calls me that, and then also have my Chinese team, which is how your own. Then I'm a last name and the orphanage give me the Chinese name, and the Huh is because I was found in her face city, so like it's like a homage to the city has found in. That's really cool. I have my name, amy, that my parents gave me. See, I have the Chinese name that the orphanage gave me as well, which is you and a Lou. Why? You an Lu, and that's pretty much the names that I go by. I don't have a middle name, though. Fun of fact. What about you, Olivia? So my name is Olivia, which is the name that my...

...mom gave me, and the name that my orphanage gave me is you gen fung, which is my Chinese name that I go by, and my middle name is actually gin. So my mom took the GIN from my Chinese name as my middle name. That's nice. Oh, that's a nice way to like incorporate it. Yeah, so do you guys know like the stories behind your name's, like, whether it be your Chinese name or, you know, the name that your doctive parents gave you? I think my mom just fold like to the name Maya, so she gave that to me. I don't know how the orphanage decides to give names. I, at least I don't do. There's a story of how they assigned me that name. So sadly there's no cool name being story for that. I also don't know how my orphanage assigned names. But also my mom named me Olivia because she liked the name. She didn't know any Olivia's and she just told me that she really liked the name. Oh, I guess it's kind of similar for me in that originally my mom wanted to name me Lea, but my father wanted a more like Arabic, like Muslim name, and so then they settled upon Alia, and my mom also liked it because it's the name for one of the past queen of Jordan. That's really cool. Thank you. In terms of my Chinese names, if I remember correctly, I lean was given to me because one it kind of like matches my like my you. I don't know how to really do to describe my current my real my real name. I guess they're both real names. English name. Yeah, like my English name, because it's also Arabic, though, so it's like do I call...

...this but oh, call my English name, my name, your main so much is my name name, and then also she knew someone who had something that was similar or she liked one of the characters from their names, like one of her friends children, and so then that's how they came up with my name. Regarding my orphanage name, that when I know the story of, like the town that I was supposedly born in is Shaoyong, and at the orphanage there they gave everyone the last the surname of Shao, which apparently what I actually looked it up. It actually is just a common Chinese surname and as I couldn't really find the word g just by looking it up because, as you know, like pinion leads to a lot of different names because caroc there's so many characters for one pinion. But when I looked it up by radical and then finding their exact word, apparently it means beauty. So pretty happy with that. I have lovely Lotus for my adoptive and then beauty for my orphhanage one. So for me, my first name, given to me by my parents, amy, is actually the French selling of a me aim e, which means loved, because my mom loved. Wouldn't you feel loved and all that cute things. And then my Chinese name. So when I was adopted, my mom was told that it meant like morning do, she said, because I was found in the morning get to Chinese class. As some of my Chinese friends are like, that is not what that means. So, based on the radicals and the characters in my name, I'm pretty sure it means sorrowful road or sorrowful way or path. So kind of beautiful and one of those my con senses. But yeah, that's where it came from. Its sad it's just the two characters. I feel like when it comes to like figuring out the meanings, in a way it's like it's...

...up to us because while they can have its own like designated meeting within the language, it's also kind of like we're finding our connection with it and what we choose to like describe as, because I remember I was talking with amy about this and she was talked telling about like how the radical could mean, you said water, and kind of figuring out which way you want to identify. Yeah, I choose to think of it now that I kind of have a better potential understanding of it, that like sometimes like your past starts off in sadness, but it's still a path and you can continue us me that beautiful. I like that. You should keep that. Whenever someone asks, you should see Z as your meaning. Thank you. I'm so would you guys say you have like attachment to your your Chinese theme? I would say I do definitely do see as your name because for me until recently, I kind of just thought of it as like I knew was like kind of money because, you know, the orfanage gave it to me, but I never really associated my name with it. So I just used it for like gaming, Lugins and stuff like that. I didn't like take it seriously, but when I was going through make my adoption of gold for the first time, like last week, there's like a section where they're like um saying in my development report that I was starting to like respond to my name. I was just like, for me it's like like a paradigm tiche because I was like, Oh, people knew me and called me by that name. That's like the only name they've ever known me by. Something I was like, Oh yeah, so it's like a little piffany. So now I'm like, Oh, it is my name. I feel that. I think it is hard, like, when you're not consistently called by the name, to really associate it as you. It's kind of like, let's say, like someone calls you by like they mistakenly say you're like English name, and then you're kind of like who are they talking to you, and they're like it's like Oh, wait, oh, they met me, and that's kind of like how I feel. Like I said, got my Chinese name, like I do...

...associate with and like it is. I do feel like it is my name, but no one ever calls me by it. So if anyone was to like yell like Oh, I lean, I would take me like a good minute to be like wait me. Yeah, I agree with that too. Although I don't refer to myself by my Chinese name, Yu Jin fung, I do identify with it in some way because it actually is part of my name, Olivia Jin and then my last name. So yeah, I'd say I definitely do identify with it in that way. For me, I'm kind of the same way because you guys, I know that it exists and I would hear it and say like Oh, yeah, that's my Chinese name, because we use it my Chinese class and everything. So I guess I have a slightly more connected I would always phrase that. I'm slightly more a tune to hearing it in association with me. Also, some of my friends they were just curiously like, Oh, like, what is your Chinese name? And I told them and because my friends are who they are, they change their name and their phone to that. So whatever, I text them bill. Who is it? Oh, right, amy. So those are the ways that I go by it, but in my day to day life I don't really think about like Oh, yeah, I've got two names. I'm just like, yeah, it's a me. What up? Did your parents Maeak, your Chinese name part of your legal name? No, it's just like a fun fact that I can tell in them sidecause my Chinese name is part of my legal name. It's kind of Nice. Oh really, yeah, that is really cool. Like what's section does it fill? Does it feel like the Middle Name Section? It's like my second middle name. Oh Yeah, did you guys give a Chinese name to your children? I think I would. I mean I'm only twenty one, so I haven't really thought much about kids at all other than like the terror that could be children.

But I think if I like, if if I did have kids, I think I would want to give them a Chinese name because, like, for me, it is somewhat become a part of who I am, mainly for like, as we talked about before, meaning, and I always really loved that. My name meant like Lovely Lotus, and I like I want, I love flowers. So if it really perfectly and I just thought it was like a really beautiful name to me. So then I actually ended up getting a tattoo that kind of reminded me of it. So I like I've always loved like the design of like Mendola style loads, and so I got one of my back. That's so cool. It's very nice because I was actually thinking about me be getting a tattoo of my Chinese name, but it was in me too word or like the meaning. Since I don't actually know the meaning, I was going to go with just the work, the characters, but maybe I should put more thought into it and like come up with my own meaning, like you guys. I like for me, it would depend on who I have children with and that would determine if I give them a Chinese name or not. Yeah, I think you bring up a really interesting topic. I've never really thought about that, giving my kids part of a Chinese name or part of my Chinese name, but it's definitely something that I would think about in the future because I do identify myself partly with my Chinese name. So I think it just, you know, I just haven't thought of it, but it's definitely food for thought for me. I actually even thought about before today either. So but I think that I would kind of like that because I'm passing on like the culture, even if it's like I'm not completely immersed to the culture, but I can pass on like a little bit makes some a bit more unique. Yeah, I get what you're saying.

Yeah, as an expansion on that question, if you were to give your child a Chinese name, like, let's say, like you, whatever criteria like you need to meet to want to give your child, like child, a Chinese name is met, would you make it an optional name, more like they just know that, like that's an alternative name that they have, or would you actually put it in their legal documents? I think I put it in in their legal documents, but like as like a middle name, maybe, so you don't have to like use it it's just thinking there. If they want to, I think I would agree as well, just because that's how my name is, my legalized name, my Chinese name is part of it. So I think it worked out really well and every time I see my name, like on my driver's license or when I like do my signature, it like reminds me that that's part of who I am and I think it's just really special show and has meaning. Oh, to see it like that. I never thought about that way because I don't I don't have a middle name. I just have like these names that I knew all like alternative names for me, and so when I was when I, you know, my opposed the question of like what I named my child, I just thought like, in terms of naming them, oh, I would just like give it as a nickname. But hearing from you guys have like the meaning of having that as your legal name, I actually really like what Olivia said. Now I'm considering if I did, I probably would probably make it part of their legal name. Yeah, I've never thought about any of this, but hearing your guys's relationships to your Chinese names is giving me a lot of things to think about. It's really really special that I like it and like how everything of course I'm glad I could share you, guys. So what about your last name? Guys, how do you feel about your last name? So for me, fun fact actually I have two par last name...

...and no middle name. So thank God, because otherwise it would be the longest name ever. And the first of my last names is English, the second of my last names is Italian, like straight up Italian, and my first name is we discussed, is a friend in origin. And then I'm Chinese, so one teachers never expected me to be the person called. When they say my name, they're looking for anybody but a Chinese goal and to it's just like the biggest, like most random combination of names and it's just very confusing. No one can pronounce it. It's just a pile of different ethnically background names. I'll mix into a Chinese girl. You are the American melting pot. I am. That is hello. It me. I kind of feel the similar way to with that, because my name, both my first and last name, are Arabic and they have their own Arabic meanings and every time I'm called either one, people just don't say my first or last name. Right. So it always takes and it took me a second the beginning, but now I just hear, like when I hear people take a pause before saying by name, like when they're in my section of like the attendance, I'm like that's me, hello, I know who you're going to call. This is how it said. I've so I've always liked felt a little weird about it, because people will hear my name and then they're looking around for someone who matches it. But then you like, like Amy said, you have this Chinese girl when they're saying an Arabic name and they're like what, how? And I think my most memorable story regarding that was my freshman year of college. I was in math class and my math teacher to call my name. Somehow she said it pretty accurately correct I respond. Later on at the end of class, someone from maybe a desk or two behind me says to me, Oh wow. I was like, I was so...

...unexpected. I heard the Brown but I didn't see the Brown want to send the rest of my life. So like I kind of had, I've always had like a I like it and I sometimes like dislike it, like relationship with my name. I would definitely agree with that statement. Like you, you like it, but you don't like it because also for me, I went to a very Asian high school and because, like I was, like, you know, adopted, they're kind of like, oh, she like a real Asian, especially because, like my last names like such a dead giveaway. So I used to like kind of resent it. So if I went through a face where I like didn't write my last fame, I just like would wrote write like the first initial, kind of like, you know, hide it a little. But yeah, I know, like some adoptees what they do to avoid that kind of like where people like, Oh, why you have like a white last name? They just have like I don't. One goes. She puts like her initials, like her Chinese theme, that her initials. So then people don't ask her because she doesn't like to have people asking. I think that's interesting because, particularly when I was younger in elementary school, it was kind of the opposite for me. Might so my middle name is a Chu, my Chinese name, and when I was younger, I would refuse to share my middle name and when my friends would ask me what it was because they were genuinely curious I refused to share it to them, and it was all because they all had western middle names, and if that's not the correct way to call it, feel free to let me know. But they all had western middle names and I didn't and I thought that they might make fun of me or Pester me about it. So for me, when I was a kid, I just, you know, I just didn't talk about it, which, reflecting on it's honestly really said...

...that I rejected that part of my identity. So even after like elementary school, I don't remember being asked what my middle name was, but I still held onto those shameful thoughts even until high school, where I didn't really feel comfortable talking about middle names, which honestly, is sad now, but I don't hold that view right now. So that's I'm glad. That's good. It took a lot of, I guess, maturing, but I think that's an important path to take. Is like understanding and going into your identity and how you relate to who you are. I think that that's an important journey that a lot of people can nothing's like to a lot of adoptees struggle with M yes, I agree. Yeah, I definitely agree. With you guys, since it's like you're caught between so many different worlds of people try to box you into one specific thing when in reality you can't fit into any of those and you just like pulled between both. Almost yes, exactly, I would say I was definitely pulled when I was younger, at least how I viewed it, because my last name obviously is well, it's Norwegian, but it's more Western sounding than a Chinese name. So when I was younger I was proud of my last name because it made me sound, it made me blend in more with my classmates, even though my schools were pretty diverse. But then my middle name, it was not similar to my friends and you know, then I felt shame about it. So it was definitely my youthful mindset. It's hard as a kid, especially since, like you know, children are so blunt and they can be very mad about it when they don't understand, and it makes it hard for you, since you don't really understand...

...your own name, and then you don't understand why other people are taking something like that and using it against and I also think it was just part of my personality. I was a really shy kid, so I I luckily never got bullied about anything, even about that, but I just didn't even want to deal with it, so I just didn't talk about it. So it was definitely also related to my personality. I just didn't talk about it, but I'm certainly more open now, which I'm really thankful about that. I think I was lucky because for me there was at least like one or two other adoptees in my grade, because I went to to to schools when I was too, elementary schools, and so I always like it was it was like a bit more normalized for me and like, I think other people like that. All these people are adopted like kind of. So I didn't I was lucky and have to go through that as much. Yeah, I definitely agree with like, Oh, you don't talk about it definitely as much because you just want to fit in a bit more. That's exactly how I felt and for me, my elementary schools were very white. I don't think it's the case anymore because I think there's been more diversity in the more recent years, but when I was in elementary school there's like one Korean guy and that was it, apart from like the two adoptees. So I feel like a lot of us kind of grew up in that very like western Caucasian environment, and that's definitely a whole another topic. Tio have another time of like that struggle with it. But for she like that, definitely can make like ten episodes out of that right now a man facts. Like one of the crazy stories I have from that is that when I was in elementary school I was bullied for being Asian by like some other people, but also like the one...

I'll always remember is that an Asian bullied me for being Asian. Wow, like I looking back now, I understand that, like she so badly wanted to fit in herself, but as a kid I was like so confused and angry with everything. You know, it's just how kids are, I guess. But I think we all have our moments of like rejection with our culture. I think it's also like a representation of how people are taught. I think that's like a learned behavior from parents and stuff like that. I think just like bullying some of because they're like a different race. I think that has to part of it has to do with they've like that behavior somewhere. Also, I think probably just schools, not really. I want to stay integrating, but like involving a variety of the different backgrounds in a way that you know, it's normalized and there's nothing to be like a shamed about or nothing to make fun of because, you know, we're all human. That's true. Actually, after that, I don't actually know if it was after before that, but I do remember my mom had can't come in one of the days and that same year she did like a Chinese year kind of like thing with my class, and so we made like paper lanterns and stuff. So it's kind of like showing like a little bit more of like the culture and like hey, yeah, we don't just we it's not eating random animals or like sounding weird. Yeah, it's almost like if you don't show like the positive things, then people will get dragged into like the stereotypes that they hear about. Yeah, and that's never good. Would you say that now your guys are like proud of like your Chinese name, your last name, or do you so have like a bit of an identity crisis when it comes to them? I would say as I got older, I'm definitely very proud of my background and it's like, although it has had its difficulties, I think those difficulties have really helped me understand who I am and kind of like...

...where I stand, because when I had to face people who are making me fun of me for these certain things, instead of like I did like go to the point where I was rejecting it and I'm like, I don't want me this, but then it also made me feel like I also realized, like I don't want to let go of that part of me, like this is something strong that I want to hold onto and like take on with me. So I became very proud to be, like, you know, Chinese and share my culture and like, you know, the easiest ways through food, like when you talk about like typical Chinese food, the people know about and they love to it's like a really good way to connect with people. That's a great point. You kind of find out what's worth fighting for. I would say that I'm definitely proud of kind of everything and proud of who I am. I guess, more though, than the the names itself. For me, the names are these are my names, and I guess acceptance is a way of showing pride, but it also having such a different sounding name versus who I look like and who you know, another part of me being Chinese. It definitely kind of out of me is being adopted. So that helped me also be comfortable with being adopted. You know, I was, I'm a proud adoptee and things like that. I would also agree that I am proud of both my Chinese and my my Chinese name and my name, because just thinking back on like how much I actually rejected being Chinese just when I was a kid and then growing up to where I am now, and I full I embrace being open and, just like you said, accepting myself. It really shows that I'm growing and that this is a good path for me to be on, and so I'm really proud of that. For me, I went through, I think I said it's like a phase where I'd like didn't like my last name at all because I was a judge for...

...not being Asian enough, and so then I kind of like it's like kind of like shamed for being adopted, and so in the past year especially, I've been trying to like work on that. So I think now I'm not as at odds with my last name, but it's still still work in progress. I feel like for us it's gonna always be like a struggle. I mean for anyone in general, you're always going to struggle with your identity. But as I thought about it when Maya mentioned, you know what I name. Give my kid a Chinese name, and I think it's always gonna be a struggle of bouncing, like you know, where do we identify and like to what extent? And so it's always going to be that battle. And like self love and self acceptance is like journey of a lifetime, as they say. We're always gonna everybody is always going to be bouncing those things and for others it's a little bit more complicated, but I don't think you ever stopped that journey. I think it's just kind of it grows with you as you grow as a person. It's, I like, helpful to have like people around you who are kind of like going through the same thing, I think, because any it's more relatable. I don't feel like you're struggling alone. Yeah, and that's one of us, like you know, the whole reason behind this podcast. Like that's one of the really nice things because even just talking with you guys, it's like that feeling of comfort, like a safe space. Yeah, it's like these are the people who understand a portion of how I'm feeling. They are experiencing similar or you guys give a new way to look at things too. Sometimes, it seems, you to talk about things like this with people who you know understand it. Just it feel it hits different coming from people in that community. So do you guys have any like nicknames that you go by aside from like your Chinese name? Yeah, I actually have a couple nicknames. I have the the classics. Some...

...of my friends used to call the Asian, because I grew up in a very white neighborhood. We took a survey once in a high school and it was like ninety ninety six points something per cent white. So that's called the Asian, but it was always in love my last name, second last name, there's a silent Ge and it ends Gel I and I. So my friend, refusing to go with the grain, would say I'm going to say the G, you're going to be Gee lady. So that's a nickname that I grew to still people still use that today. And then I play a lot of video games. If you guys don't know. You guys probably do, but I have some gaming names. So when I was in middle school, I made up the word Chaivalut, which stood for like Chinese violin and flute. There's the instruments that I play. So beause I know that's that's what my name. Yeah, I know, these guys see it all the time. Thank you. I was so fad of myself, but no one can pronounce it. So I also I've recently have been experimenting with new Gamer Tags. One is cookie cat, because I found this picture of a cat on the Internet and a cookie months to working plate of Com it's clear the greatest image. I think I'm seeing the university, I think you. Hm, is it really a whole crap about it? What I what? Yo, this new potential Gamer tag might work out better than I thought. But yeah, those are my nicknames. So, since my name is Olivia, I usually just go by live for a nickname. Pretty simple. I don't have too many nicknames perfect, like when my uncle calls me Rosie. It's the curse of like the four letter name of there's not really happy to do. And whatever nickname I I would have like, it could only really be...

...lea which is just another name, or Ali, which is the male version of my name. So I kind of like that, though, I guess. I guess like my view of nickname was always that, like it's a name, that's your name, but also not fully your name and like because my name is so short, it just felt like that's just basically my name. And I would hear friends call, like I had a friend Leah, and the Big Oh Leah and I we would both look because she's like Oh, she hurts, Leah, and I hear Alia for a little a little bit like a weird way, and I'm like, Huh me. Yes, I did have one light nickname from my high school art teacher. He called me big Al as, in like the boxer. Since I was like I'm just I'm a short person. He said it was like fighting to hear it. So that's really cute, cute. Yeah, yeah, I like that. I have a nickname from my Chinese name. In Chinese, Gus. No one ever wanted to say you and Lou because, like it's just got that weird like thing for people who want used to sing you're speaking Chinese. So we developed like Lulu for my Chinese name. I like Lulu. Is there anything else you guys want to talk about? Do you guys have any final thoughts? I'm in concerns, questions, advice you want to share. You guys just really opened up my mind to a whole bunch of things I never even thought about or considered, but I'm really glad that they've been bought up because they are important to talk about and thinking. Yeah, I would agree with that. I ever really talked about my Chinese name openly with anyone, and like even my other adopted friends, mostly because it you know, we just didn't have that moment that it could naturally flow, I guess.

But I'm really glad that I could talk about it and discuss it with you guys. I think that was really it's just really nice to be able to talk about it and share our perspectives with each other. So thank you, guys. Thank you for sharing your perspective, and they're coming as thank you so much for having me. I've never done a podcast before, so I think this was a really great experience for me, and so I really appreciate it and you're welcome to come on a lot more episodes if you'd like to. I believe we do have an interview with you in the next tuple weeks. So she will be back. Yeah, definitely, say yeah. So thank you to everyone who tuned in today. For our next episode, I believe we will be discussing learning our learning different languages, and we will also have an interview episode coming out soon, so look out for that. If you're interested in participating in one of these episodes, please emails at adopted podcast at gmailcom. We would love to have you, and don't forget to follow us on instagram. You can find us at adopted underscore podcast and stay connected with us. So see you guys next week.

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