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Just How Did We Get Here (in China that is)?

July 16, 2009
Ashley 1991-92

Me at the ranch, age 5

 It all started innocently enough within the safe confines of my childhood home in the United States.  Any time (watching the news, eating dinner, or just having a conversation) a foreign country or exotic locale was mentioned you would hear a scream “Oh! Oh! I’ve been there!”  Who was that screaming?  That was me: barely into grade school and filled with the inexplicable delusions that I had traversed the globe.  My parents will tell you it was annoying, especially after the seventh, twenty-seventh, and seven hundredth time of explaining to me that I had in fact never even left the state of Texas.  I, however, will argue it was charming, especially the parts where I cried, screamed, and threw a fit in an effort to convince everyone just how sure I was I had been to these places.

Fast-forward almost twenty years…I’ve vacationed in Mexico, studied and researched in France, and am now getting on a plane to move to China (I promise I’m not telling tales this time).

Needless to say after a childhood filled with a fascination and almost obsession with foreign cultures, as I grew into youth and eventually adulthood, my favorite subjects were history, art, and foreign languages.  In college my concentrations were art history and French language.  And every single school break was spent reading book after book, both fiction and non, on all the enchanting places I had traveled (in my mind) as a child. 

Two months ago I graduated from university with my entire future ahead of me and the whole world at my feet.  I had a big decision to make.  What was I to do with myself?  Just who would I be and (evoking Dr. Seuss) just what places would I go? 

Of several things I’ve always been certain: I love learning about and experiencing other cultures, and I love sharing knowledge and the idea that we are all more alike than different  with other people.  This made the choice easy, though maybe not the application, to become a teacher abroad.  My goal to eventually get a Ph.D. in Chinese art history, paired with my need to continue learning Mandarin, made China also an obvious choice. 

So here I am in a different place and time from that little girl I was but living the same dream…the dream of discovering…discovering something great and unknown and exciting…and maybe even discovering myself along the way.


5 Comments leave one →
  1. July 21, 2009 11:01 am

    What an exciting adventure! I can’t read to read about all of your journeys, stories and escapes.

    • Ashley Bruckbauer permalink
      July 21, 2009 12:57 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Linda. I love, and I hope you can find some areas of interest here as well!

  2. Kirby permalink
    July 21, 2009 11:58 am

    Wow Ashley! How exciting! I admire you for chasing your dreams. I wish you all the best and I am looking forward to reading all about it.

    • Ashley Bruckbauer permalink
      July 21, 2009 12:56 pm

      Thanks so much, Kirby! Also, I seem to have lost you on Twitter. Are you still @kirbysander?
      ***Opps, NVM! Just realized you use your middle name instead of last. 🙂

  3. pariskarin permalink
    September 29, 2009 4:41 am

    LOL!! I know, I’m commenting a lot today, ha, but this post made me get a little teary. This was me, 20 years ago, but reversed! I was the one doing English and Asian Studies, off to China for my big adventure!! Two marriages, two kids, and a hella lot of Life Experience later, I find myself in PARIS, wondering, like the Talking Heads’ song “Once in a Lifetime,” HOW DID I GET HERE!

    Your story, in a lot of ways, is parallel to my own, and yet here you are, young enough to be my kid (OMG, that makes me feel old. I would have been a teen mom, though), and doing it all for the FIRST time!

    Kudos to you. ENJOY it. “So here I am in a different place and time from that little girl I was but living the same dream…the dream of discovering…discovering something great and unknown and exciting…and maybe even discovering myself along the way.” Precisely. Trust me, you will, and it never stops. As least as far as I can tell in the 41 years I have had so far…

    Beautifully-written, and I am so glad I stumbled upon your blog today! 🙂

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