This is going to be my last blog post for the semester, but I will be back (after a few weeks in America)…So, stay tuned for all the adventures that will come in 2015.
Where do I even start?
This past year has been one of the scariest and most exhilarating of my 25 years on this planet. 2014 was full of change and spontaneity. I moved from NYC to Shanghai to continue teaching, made new lifelong friends (more like sisters), skied in Japan, hiked the Yellow Mountains, road-tripped in New Mexico with my family, embraced tradition in Cape Cod, moved to Shenzhen where I didn’t know a soul, started business school without ever taking a college level math course...just to name a few of many highlights. These experiences are shaping me in ways that I don’t even know how to describe. Every one of my adventures has opened my eyes to new possibilities and has put me on a path that I would have never envisioned for myself in a trillion years.
Let’s backtrack a bit. To give you a better sense of how far I have come on my journey of life, listen to this…I actually once had the opportunity to go to China for two weeks with my 9th grade class. Currently, when those close to me hear someone speak of China, their immediate reaction is: “China! Allie! It’s her other home!” Well, the 14 year-old Allie had ZERO interest in experiencing another culture or leaving her comfort zone – the living room couch with a good chick flick and pint of Ben & Jerry’s. I remember thinking “EWW, I don’t want to eat dogs and rice for my spring break. Temples and museums are sooo boring. I much rather go visit my cousins in Atlanta and go to the mall with my aunt Susan!” That’s precisely what I chose over China. Of course, I absolutely love visiting my cousins *I miss you all!* (and shopping with my aunt was awesome), but my attitude towards life and adventure has done a complete 360. If you were to ask me now, I would choose anything over the mall!
How did my life full of sensational yet unforeseen adventure all begin you might ask? Well…
High school happened.
Then, college happened. I started learning Chinese, so that was a start...
However, I was still stuck in the “I want to be in Branford for the rest of my life” phase and never wanted to leave my high school friends behind (It’s still hard for me to part with them, but I know they will be friends for life...So, I’ve stopped worrying). A weekend trip to Rhode Island to visit my best friend Nicole felt like a huge deal. At that point in my life, it was.
It wasn’t until I graduated from Hamilton and conquered my fear of living in NYC that my life full of exploration really ignited. Before accepting my Teach for America position in NYC, I was very hesitant and afraid of big cities (I’m not joking!) I cried hysterically to my mom on the phone and told her that “I would only live in Boston. NYC is too overwhelming!” Moving to NYC was the first big risk I took in my life. I have always been a person who loves order and predictability – change, surprisingly, is not one of my fortes. Moving to NYC was my first big leap outside of my comfort zone.
It is an understatement to say that I am a very different person than I was when I started college in 2007 – curled up at the foot of my parents’ bed yelping “I doooonnn’’tttttt wantttt tooo goooooo!!!!” I was petrified to leave home and refused to go to college anywhere more than a few hours drive from Branford, Connecticut. Here I am now, eight years later…living by myself in Shenzhen, China. Life is funny, isn’t it? My mindset has now shifted to “as long as I’m a Skype call away” it can work. I have realized that the only way to live the journey of life is to take chances, conquer fears and approach the unknown with open arms. Although I still struggle immensely with change, I am learning to be okay with some uncertainty. You really never know where the path may lead. I am a living example.
Taking risks and creating new unanticipated chapters for my life has been more rewarding than I could have ever imagined. I feel so incredibly blessed to be where I am today with the most loving friends and family I could ever hope for. The 2015 chapter of life is completely unknown, but that's OKAY. I am excited to see where it will take me. It seems like a summer in Israel is a great possibility :)
Happy New Year to all those who have made my journey spectacular!
Wishing you all a year of health, happiness and love.
Live your journey. Take chances. Embrace uncertainty.