They say you never forget your first love. For me, I never forgot that first Chinese pictograph I fell in love with: 家. This character—meaning “home”—shows a roof over the ancient Chinese representation for pig. In ancient China, the life of man and his swine were so closely bound up together that the pigs just wandered freely through the house.
This experience began my life-long love for Chinese culture, and my desire to understand the Chinese mind, a mind that could produce such beautiful pictographs that truly reflect the essence of their meaning.
But my interest in China isn’t just academic. As the mother of a daughter born in China, I struggle with the issues of identity my daughter will face as a Chinese-American. I want all of our children to understand the writings of Confucius, to have read the four great Chinese novels, and just to feel completely at ease eating dumplings with chopsticks at a street cafe. But most of all, I want our children to understand the culture, history, and beauty contained in those Chinese characters. I want them to fall in love with them just as I did.
I have an M.A. in international relations from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and a B.A. in political science from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. I also studied for one year at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan. I have been married to my husband Chris for sixteen years and together we enjoy raising our children, traveling around Asia, learning languages and cultures, and reading. After four years of university teaching in Tai’an, Shandong province, we now teach at Renmin University in Beijing. Our children still study in local Chinese schools.
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