小 刘 (Xiao Liu)

This is my Chinese nickname over here.

In polite company, people usually call you by your last name. But instead of using the formal Ms. or Mr., they use 小 (small) or 大 (big) followed by the last name. Since I am considered a young one, people call me 小 刘.

Last weekend, I met some new friends down at the volleyball court where they play every night. There’s dancing in the park among older folks and there’s volleyball in the courtyard among young professionals. They meet from 7:30 – 10:00 in the evenings to play and socialize. On my first night there, I volunteered to keep score since I was the newbie and they needed a scorekeeper. There are two courts and I hung out with the one with mostly women. Most of the players are about my age. I even met some teachers. When I went back tonight, they recognized me and invited me to play with them. I think the last time I played was just after I graduated from college … and these people play every night!! Not only were they competitive, they began to coach me (in Chinese) as we were playing. Talk about feeling like a newbie!! They were nice and encouraging enough, but after a few rounds, I let other people play (who were waiting on the sidelines). I hung around, though, to help keep score again.

I left a little earlier than 10:00 p.m. As I was biking away, I heard some people call out, “Are you leaving already, 小 刘?” I told them I’ll come back tomorrow night.

volleyball

2 Responses to “小 刘 (Xiao Liu)”

  1. kim says:

    what happens when there’s more than one person with the same last name? how would they call each other?

  2. mbcohao says:

    that’s a good question … I’ve wondered that myself. I haven’t encountered that (yet) but I’ll take note of it when I do!!! :-)

Leave a Reply