An Unexpected Party

The other day I started reflecting on how I’ve reached this point in my life. I could have ended up anywhere, but somehow the events of my life have brought me here; getting ready for “An Unexpected Journey” (pun totally intended). A year ago, I was not seeing myself going to China, actually a year and a half ago I scoffed at the idea. My freshman year, 2 years ago, I knew I wanted to study abroad, but I didn’t know where. It came down to a three-way-tie between Italy, Australia, and Japan. I didn’t get to go to Italy when I was in Europe, Australia because Australia is beautiful and warm, and Japan because I studied Japanese at Concordia for a couple of summers.

When I went to the study abroad fair to get information on these three locations, I visited the “Chinese Business Trip” table and walked away with no intention to look into it. Throughout that semester I was planning on studying in Australia for biology, but also took up Chinese class. Eventually I had to drop my Australia plans due to cost, but that missed opportunity brought me here. During the Spring semester, the time I was planning to be in Australia, I declared my majors; Biology and Chinese, hoping to use them to work with Asian wildlife. I also applied for an Internship for the summer that I wouldn’t have received if I was abroad.

At my internship I worked with two pairs of breeding Red Pandas and we had a successful birth!


Here he is now at 6 months:


If I went to Australia and interned at that zoo, I may not have met the Red River Zoo’s Red Panda’s and decided to go into research on Red Panda breeding behavior!

I find it interesting how all the cards fall into place, and when one opportunity is missed another takes its place. And sometimes that new opportunity is better. I currently feel so confident in my decision to work with Red Pandas, more confident than I’ve felt about anything. And now that I’ve picked up learning Chinese, I have the potential to research their behavior in the wild or at the Chengdu Panda Breeding Center, located within my city of choice!

It’s just funny to think back. 2012 would have been a very different year if I went to Australia, and 2013 would not be nearly this exciting.


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