Hello! This is Kristen, and if you’ve found this blog that means we’re probably friends, so I’ll skip talking too much about who I am. This is a brief introduction to a new project that I am starting. I wanted to create a blog for the upcoming year that I could use as a platform for some of my thoughts, ideas, and adventures. Though I am beginning it now, at the start of the summer, I hope to be able to make blogging into a habit by August when I move to China. In Beijing, I’ll likely start to write more about my experiences learning Mandarin, exploring the city, and my life as a Yenching Scholar living at Peking University. Until then, I’ll be updating from my home in Philly about the little things that I do, and the big things that make my city great.

So, what’s in a name? Most of my friends and family know that I attended a Quaker K-12 school. The experience was a great one for me – I made close friends, had wonderful teachers, and really loved the learning environment that it provided both inside and outside the classroom. These days, I don’t get out to Meeting for Worship very frequently, but I still deeply appreciate the things that I learned about Quakerism and how it taught me to see the world. George Fox, the founder of Quakerism, is quoted as saying “Walk cheerfully over the world answering that of God in every one.” The quote appears in several variations in different Quaker texts, but echoes a sentiment that I heard regularly when growing up: there is light and goodness in all people. Personally, I don’t believe in proselytizing, and I identify more closely as an agnostic than with any specific belief in God. Yet, I’m drawn to this idea of exploring the world with an open mind and open heart, and seeking out opportunities to learn and grow with all the people you encounter.

If you’re reading this, you’re likely one of the friends who have made my walk thus far as cheerful as it has been. For that, I want to thank you! Though we might not always be walking side-by-side in the same city, country, or even continent – I’m appreciative of the time that you’ve spent with me & the ways that it has made me into a more full and complete individual. (A special shout-out goes to my parents, who are the real reason I made this blog, since they don’t have Facebook and won’t see when I post photos or other updates there.) So, here’s to more updates about cheerful walks around the world. Stay in touch!