When I was in 8th grade I moved from Utah to Texas mid-year and in my class (English) I walked into the class taking a test. My teacher handed me the book The Outsiders and told me to read it rather than take the test with the class. I love reading and when everyone had finished I was still reading along lost in the book. I was brought back to reality by my teacher’s voice saying “David, put your book up.”
I raised my book in the air.
“David, put your book up!” she said again more forcefully
I raised my book higher in the air, stretching my arm all the way up.
“David, don’t be a smart alec, put your book under your chair, now!”
I out my book underneath my chair and (stupidly) asked “Why didn’t you ask that in the first place?” As it turns out, in the South “put it up” means “put it away.”
At 13 years old, I had moved to basically a foreign country. I faced my first frustrations with new dialects and over the next 4 years would come to learn an entirely new culture which included; playing High School Football, southern dating, abstinence-only education, and Baptist Rock concerts. This was my first taste at a new culture outside of my Utah bubble and it took me this long to realize that despite my embarrassment that day, I have been hooked on experiencing new cultures.
I moved to DC and dove into a city with Southern efficiency and Northern hospitality. I lived in San Francisco and had my mind changed forever by my first visit to the Castro. I moved to Ann Arbor and got a feel for Big 10 college football in the Big House. Finally when choosing my MBA program I picked Oxford because it would be an amazing experience in a new culture. Both British culture and Oxford prestigious culture and it has been amazing.
That’s why I’m not surprised when I visited the States again recently that I felt the need to keep moving forward and keep pushing to explore other cultures. This is one of the biggest reasons why I am looking forward to working in London this summer and possibly ending up working in London and travelling across Europe when I am able.
Being able to experience new customs, new cultures, to try new street food, see new sights, hear new stories, make new embarrassing mistakes, and see more earth is a key goal of mine. Its why I’m focusing my job search on London and really shifting my goals in life to be able to take advantage of travel whenever I can.