I am often asked, “Why China?”
My journey to the Middle Kingdom began long before it became a topic of conversation and my mother probably has a better idea of the exact origins. I was young but I couldn’t give you an age. For as long as I could remember I had an affinity for things Asian-y. Absurd sounding, I know, but that’s the best I can describe it because as a child, I wouldn’t have been able to differentiate various Asian cultures.
I remember it not being a major preoccupation, but a mild interest. I was much more interested in Germany at a young age, since that is where my family is from.
We took trips to visit family that still lived there every few years and I was in awe at the castles and cobblestone. The “Beauty and The Beast” feel of Wetzlar and other old areas were so much more interesting than my humble hometown.
I remember doing a video around 8 or 9 years old, with my then, good friend Brittany (I’ll have to point this out to her when I publish!). It was a video presentation about a country of choice. I chose Germany, obviously and she chose China. I think this was the first time I ever tried to use chopsticks and I got a little exposure to something new, but I don’t remember many details about it. I REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY liked Jackie Chan Adventures though.. does that count?
Yu Mo Gui Gwai Fai Di Zao motha truckas!!
Fast forward some years and throughout middle and high school, I loved Chinese calligraphy but I knew pretty much nothing about the culture and I knew probably zero Chinese people. But man did I like the ‘look’ of Chinese art. I did watercolor art and attempted to write the characters. It’s god-awful so I will not show you because this was before I knew stroke order and such. My room is a deep, vibrant red, and I had vases with Chinese and a paper lantern in my room.
I love it.
But it wasn’t until I met George on World of Warcraft in the Winter of 2010 where I had a tiny bit of exposure. Now I don’t want to get terribly personal here, but for many reasons I found that this man that I met online was something special and I decided that we should meet and started to make plans in September. I went to go meet him December 29th that year. For those of you who might not know, George was born in Shanghai and moved to Canada at 7 years old. By the point of our meeting I was completely smitten!
Before even going to meet him I got exposure to more “Chinese” things. I’m sure George was frustrated at times with my ignorance and to this day I am thankful he was patient enough with me to explain things and teach me things because we don’t really learn a lot about Asian history and culture at Pottstown. He even got me Rosetta Stone for German and asked if I wanted Chinese, too. I asked “Why Chinese?” and he pretty much replied something like, “Why not?”. This is where my language journey began. I messed around with Rosetta Stone for a full year, learning random things like 一匹马 a horse， 她的花是红色的 her flower is red，你是从哪里来的？where are you from?, and 我是美国人 I am American。
I was in Canada for 4 days after meeting him in person and decided I met my future husband.
While I was already learning about Chinese language and culture before going to meet him, there was more purpose afterwards. Over time, I became more and more in love with the language itself and found it interesting, challenging, and beautiful.
I took my interest forward when I started taking classes at West Chester University and met awesome people in my class like Jen, Dan, Rika, and Cory. Not to mention getting seriously inspired by people like Alex who took his studies to the next level!
The rest is history.. as I learned more, I was more hooked and apparently I’m not too bad!
During the process I researched teaching English in China because George mentioned going back there to work after graduation. What was an offhand comment for him, was a life changing comment for me! I thought, “What can I do in China if I don’t speak the language?”
ESL. So in efforts to see if that would be something I like, I decided to go teach English in China for a summer camp with fellow language student, Dan. It was a fantastic experience and I’m itching to go back. It was back in 2012 so it’s been too long!!!
I won’t go into huge detail here about that experience because A) I can’t remember so much of it so that’s why I’m keeping a blog this time around and B) this blog is about the future, sans this introduction..
Anyway, I hope this wasn’t too long but I wanted to explain how ‘this’ happened and where my interest in China and the languages started. I am an adventurer, a wanderluster, and a bit of a thrill junkie.
I love to travel and I believe travel is the spice of life and gives insight and experience that can never be experienced at home. To wander and not necessarily have a plan, to experience for the sake of saying I did, that’s what drives me to go to China the language study is to help me understand China better and to make it practical for my personal goal and career.
I fly to Beijing from Toronto on August 25th ~ there my adventure begins~
再见！See you again!