This was a busy year as I got on a plane to go somewhere every month. Within China, 2012 took me from Beijing to Shanghai, Chengdu, Chongqing, Jinan, Qingdao, Shenyang, Harbin, Changchun, Huludao, Guiyang, Yibin, Luzhou, Nanning, Hangzhou, and more for work. Away from China, I was in Hong Kong, New York, Paris, London, Los Angeles, Berlin, Boston. In Germany, I spent the happiest days of the year in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg.
Certainly more than 12 memorable things happened this year, but none of them beats finding the person who promises to take walks with me and hold my hand when I’m 87. It seems unfair to make a list of 12 things, like I usually do at year end, when one big thing changed everything. So, this year I bring you a story instead…
In January, I met, at a party, a graduate student from MIT who was doing research in Beijing. It was late and it was loud, so we each left without remembering how to spell the other’s name. After much effort, he found me. We first traded emails on journalism and cultural biases, and Germany’s position in the Euro crisis. A few days, dates, and flight changes later, Florian flew back to school. As soon as he left, we both realized that something important was happening and we weren’t cool enough to just “see how it goes” across 7000 miles. So, we chased each other around the world for a few months. By summer, it was clear that the most important thing – someone who understands all the strange little pieces of us that we picked up in the decades we lived abroad – had been found. The rest were just details.
Luckily, the details worked out. On June 15, I put on white lace, he wore his bow tie, and we married in front of our family as witnesses in the city of Illmensee, Germany. Florian finished his thesis in August and moved to Beijing where we have made our home. We spend our weekdays working and chasing down our pet bunny; on the weekends we indulge in Mama Qi’s home cooking.
As the year draws to a close, I want to thank you, my friends, for understanding our madness and supporting us as we followed our hearts in 2012. Here’s to finding greater happiness in 2013!