Tuesday, March 25, 2014

In my DNA

I come from a family of travelers. My grandparents have circled the globe. I have an uncle who completed his graduate work in London and a cousin who worked on a baboon refuge in Africa. But I thought for sure I was the first of my family to live in Asia.


A few months after moving here, my aunt sent me an email. Since her retirement, she has spent a great deal of time working on our family's genealogy. And guess what she found during her research?

My great grand aunt just so happened to live in Japan. In 1921.

1921.07.11 - Helen Blake Wise

The glamorous Helen Blake moved to Japan with her new husband immediately following their honeymoon. Her husband was hired as an English teacher at the Imperial College and Helen came along as a trailing spouse. This sounds oddly familiar.

My aunt was even able to find this article clipping from the local newspaper detailing their travel plans.

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 2.48.42 PM

As if this information wasn't enough to blow my mind, my aunt also uncovered an application for an emergency passport, filed at the US Consulate in Japan. The reason they desired this passport? Sight-seeing in CHINA.

It's entirely likely that my great grand aunt not only visited Shanghai, but walked along some of the same streets that I do today. 

I guess being an expat was in my DNA.


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