After the Hartford Whalers left back in ’97, I found myself a different person with no allegiance to my home city and state. Just kidding, I was only 13 at the time.
I fell in love with China on a school trip in high school – I spent a month in Beijing studying the language and then another 10 days traveling the country with my 11 classmates. In college, I kept taking Chinese so I could order food in the native language at restaurants. Little did I know that I’d start taking courses in Chinese history, culture, film and literature and it would lead me to a degree in International Area Studies with an East Asian Concentration. Isn’t that a mouthful? At this point, I feel I should apologize to my mother for not studying pre-med and becoming a doctor.
My second excursion to China was in 2005, when I spent a semester abroad in Beijing at the Beijing Foreign Studies University through IES Abroad, a program I’d recommend to anyone now that the director, Sandra Sachs, is actually the former director. During that semester, I was fortunate enough to run around Beijing and the rest of China with the reckless abandon that only a pre-drinking age American on their parent’s dime could do. Unlike everyone else who went abroad, I had class every day starting at 8 AM, so we worked hard and played harder. I left Beijing with incredibly memories and amazing friends.
Fast forward to 2011. I had tried to move to China in 2006 after I graduated, but my mother’s one condition was that I had to have a job before I moved. That didn’t pan out. Have you ever tried to get a job from 7000 miles away? How about one that requires an $1800 plane ticket just to be interviewed in person?
Life took me in another direction and I ended up working as a legislative and regulatory analyst in a lobbying firm’s energy & environment practice with some of the most distinguished, talented government consultants that Washington, DC has to offer. It was truly a wonderful experience, but after nearly three and a half years I was ready for the next challenge. I thought that meant furthering my career in the political world, but the multiple interviews and temping for various organizations in Washington, DC began to make me realize that I was missing something in my life: China.
I put everything I owned in storage, said goodbye to my friends and family, then moved home to Connecticut so I could help my mother move to Texas. My father had already moved to Mexico with my stepmother after my dog, Roxy, passed away. He didn’t speak Spanish (and still doesn’t, probably never will), but clearly has the same spirit of adventure that I do. I visited him, had an excellent weekend saying goodbye to friends in New York, then hopped on an airplane with a one-way ticket to Beijing.
Here I am, Beijing, rock you like a hurricane!