Hi! I'm Jessica Xu.
(Xu, pronounced "X-U")
I'm a Chinese American traveler, journaler, sometimes artist, and User Experience Designer.
For a few hours each day, I sneak in time to write in my journal, train in Krav Maga, and attempt to learn modern Chinese trends and Mandarin slang from Chinese dramas. Beyond that, things that I think will always define me include my pride for my Chinese heritage and my beautiful home state of Colorado, my occasional experimentation with art and design, and my raging love for the color red.
“Your last name can’t be ‘X-U.’ Now how do you really pronounce it?”
I get that reaction a lot. Why would I insist on using such an unconventional pronunciation that would be impossible for anyone to guess? Well, it’s tough enough being at the end of the alphabet, let alone having a name that non-Mandarin speakers (who make up the vast majority of the American population) can’t pronounce. “Shoe,” “Zoo,” “……” — I heard them all, and I didn’t like any of them. In elementary school, one little boy (you know who you are) made fun of me in front of the class with taunts that my name had animals in it, and ever since then I figured that something had to change.
Then came the fateful first day of Fourth Grade, when I scanned the class rosters to see where I had been placed and came across “Jessica Hsu.” “Oh,” I thought, “now they’ve taken to spelling my name wrong.” Turns out there actually WAS a girl named Jessica Hsu, and she was none too happy about me stealing her desk. Fortunately, we cleared up the misunderstanding and hit it off, and she became one of my best friends for the next nine years. Unfortunately, it was nine years of being confused with each other and trying to figure out which one of us people were trying to address.
In time, “Jessica X” became “Jessica X-U” (it really is only an addition of an extra letter), and soon that was what I insisted on being called. If I can’t prevent my name from being butchered, after all, might as well have it butchered my way!