Legend has it that I was born in the wee small hours of the morning, and the first snow of the year happened that day as well. And by legend, I mean that’s what my mom told me. That’s how I got my nickname in Chinese, ‘Little Winter’. Directly translated, it’s “Winter Winter”, because repeating the character makes it the diminutive in Chinese. But because of that, everyone in my family, including my very large extended family, calls me that, even though I’m almost 30. Well, I shouldn’t say everyone, just anyone that’s at least 10 years older than me, which, being pretty much the youngest one in my generation, makes it almost every other adult.
Where it gets really funny is when you translate the phonetics. When you translate it from Mandarin, it’s literally “Dong Dong”, or for short, what my parents call me simply “Dong”. This is of course is the name that’s used in all intra-family email correspondences. As you can imagine, my GMail ads can get pretty strange on any given day.
I’ve accrued very few nicknames through my life, but that’s really the one that stuck. I wish I could tell you it was cool, or that it I earned it in some more endearing way, but that’s exactly what it is. But at the end of the day, these are the odd little things that stick with you. Names borne of circumstance, gibberish to the rest of the world, unless you’re in on the joke. And isn’t that the best kind of inside joke? The one where the entry point is love and caring.
But yeah, that’s why the emails from my parents look like they’re addressed to someone they don’t really like, and/or want to insult like a high schooler.
Dear Dong indeed.