A few weeks ago, Se Jin's father decided he would give me a Korean name. Names are really important here, but in a totally different way than in western countries. I've learned some interesting things about names that I'll share with you (I can't verify the accuracy of all of this, but most of it I've read/heard from multiple sources).
Korean names are (almost) always three syllables, the first being the family name and the next two being given names. There aren't many family names really, the most common being 김 (Kim), 이 (Lee) and 박 (Park), but you'll see the same names over and over again. When women marry, they keep their fathers' family names, though the children will take their husbands' names. Koreans with the same family name cannot wed, even if they are not related (although there was one year where they lifted this ban in the 70s or 80s and apparently craploads of forbidden lovers got married so they had to revoke it the next year).
You usually don't call someone by their given name unless they are younger than you or very close somehow and even then there are usually titles attached. For example, in Korean I call Se Jin "세진언니" which means "Se Jin Older Sister." In English, I refer to her as Jiny. It's very complicated.
Legal variances over the years have governed the giving of Korean names with and without hanja characters (the Korean adapted Chinese characters) associated with them (at times it's been illegal to name children without hanja, other years have been more liberal). The Kwons are a rather academic lot (her father was a principal for many years and their house has more books in hanja than I've seen in my entire life), so I kind of wanted a name with hanja characters associated.
Yesterday, Se Jin gave me three choices for my name her father came up with. Her family name, Kwon, was in all three. I chose the one that sounded a bit like my name in English, but it also sounded nicest in Korean and has a cool meaning.
Korean: 권 다 인
Hanja: 權 多 仁
Hanja conversion: 권세권 많을다 어질인
English "transliteration": Kwon Da In
"Da" here means "a lot" or (if we're being poetic about these things) "plentiful" and "In" means "wisdom."
Now I need to practice writing my name's hanja. Kwon is especially tricky, so it'll take some time. I've been adopted. Who knew?