Monday, July 7, 2014

Welcome to the Heart of It All

Allow me to echo my friends Mike, Eric and Hans and wish you all a hearty welcome to "Heart of it All." My name is Pete, and I couldn't be happier that you're all here. I first went to WuDa in 2005, and I was there for a month last summer. In fact, I've been there five times. This is because my experiences in China have changed my life in ways too numerous for me to count. I am grateful for the opportunity to show you some of my country in the hope that you will have a similar experience to the ones I've had in China.

To tell you a little about myself, I was born in New York City and grew up across the river in New Jersey. I went to college at the University of Vermont, majoring in English and History. In 1992, I came to The Ohio State University for graduate school in English, and I've been here ever since. I teach English with Mike at OSU's Marion campus. In my free time, I like to read, run, play baseball, cook and travel. I've been to forty-nine of the fifty states in this country and to many other countries around the world.  In 2007, while I was at WuDa, I met a woman and we fell in love. Today, Alyssa and I are married and we have a son, Walter, who has just turned two years old.

Hans' father, Minru, calls Walter "WUSIEP Baby Number One" because he is the first child to be born from the partnership between Wuhan University and The Ohio State University. This will be my fourth summer working with Mike and Hans on WTOSP, and it's my sincere hope that this program will be another strong link in the chain that connects our universities, our countries and each of us, as individuals. My advice to you as a person who is visiting a new country for the first time is to be curious and to not be shy. Ask questions. Talk to strangers. Try to say "yes" to the things that are offered to you. I'm really looking forward to meeting all of you and to extending some of the same hospitality my Chinese friends have always extended to me.

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