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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Who Am I?

My name is Shawn Wesley, and I am writing this blog for the friends and family that I’m leaving behind as I undertake my first journey to both Qingdao and China, in general. During the course of my studies, I hope to also teach ya’ll some interesting Chinese along the way!

{A Quick Note: in China there exists four tones. To an American, the following characters all may sound the same (shi1=master)   (shi2=time),  (shi3=history) and (shi4=to be) with a sound similar to the English equivalent of Shirt without the t and a weaker r. However, each means something different because of the tones. For now, it’s easy just to think of first tone as an elevated voice (sing songy), second tone is a raising tone that resembles that of a question (shi?), third tone is difficult to describe but easy to mimic and master…it basically encompasses a dip in the voice and then elevation like one making the voice go low and then high in one motion ( \/ ), and then the fourth tone is just an abrupt tone almost as if someone is shouting and cutting it off ( \ ).  }

In Chinese, American names are not always translatable. While names like John and Lisa have respective 约翰 (yue1han4) and 丽莎 (li1sha1), not every name translates, since in Chinese every name is composed of characters with specific meanings. Generally speaking, girls’ names have different forms of “graceful,” “beautiful,” and “elegant,” while boys often have more varying characters in their names. The thing is: each character has a specific meaning and are often seen outside of the name. Furthermore, there are a collection of family names that serve the purpose of sir names. However, these “family names” come before the “given name” of an individual.

With all this in mind, I can share with ya’ll my own name and the name for the blog. My family name is (shi3). When not used as a family name, is a form of the word history. But in this case this is analogous to my last name. My given name is the powerful, wisdom-filled name of 云龙 (yun2long2). means cloud, and means dragon. This is a fantastic name in that it both exudes the pride and freedom of the clouds, and the wisdom and strength of the dragon. I plan during my journey to uncover more meanings for the name given to me by my first teacher, while also living up to the epicness of the name.  

I will be accompanied by fifteen fellow Cohort 10 Flagship students, along with our professor Dr. Lin, and a current senior TA Rob. My journey began early this morning at 04:00 when my wonderful, beautiful girlfriend, caring mother, and I departed for the New Orleans airport. After saying good-bye to my loved ones, I began the first leg of my journey with three of my fellow classmates: Lizzie, Maddi, and Evan. The plan’s simple: travel across the country to Los Angeles, board a 747 to Taipei, spend the night in the rebel country of Taiwan, and then board a plane to Qingdao in what will be the shortest leg of the journey, a measly two hours.

I look forward in keeping in touch with all of ya’ll, but studies, homework, and adventures may delay my blog posts and responses to questions. I need this blog to help me keep my English up to par and also to help keep me sane. One things for certain though…this Chinese venture is not going to help my Spanish out at all.

Feel free to ask blog requests or any questions. You can Skype me questions through the IM service, Facebook message me, or send me an email.

I hope that ya’ll enjoy!

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