We grew up only 20-minutes away by car. Los Angeles was and still is big enough that we would have never met except for a pandemic super-flu and a civil war. The fact that we met and married goes to show that God can make good out of evil.
I was set to graduate in 2002 and be a Peace Corps volunteer in Xian, China. Two weeks before I would leave to DC for Staging, I received a disappointing call: the Peace Corps program in China was canceled indefinitely due to SARS. All current volunteers were being evacuated immediately. My goal to get into a Tier 1 MBA school and then work in a prestigious investment bank was based on getting this work experience in China. China was where the money will be in the future and the only way I could afford two years’ worth of experience in China was through the Peace Corps. I didn’t think about the poor people getting sick in China from SARS, or the fear people felt from this super-flu. I only cared about my own dreams. Even to this day, I associate SARS to how my roadmap to become a high-flying investment banker was burned.
I tried to find new meaning in my life for two years, working in the private sector, before I decided to sign up for the Peace Corps, again. This time, it’d be a two-for-one: I’ll get both an MBA and Peace Corps’ experience at the same time via the Master’s International Program:
While I was getting ready for my Peace Corps assignment, my future wife was getting ready to evacuate from hers. Anne Marie and her fellow volunteers were in Nepal for less than a year before the Nepalese Civil War intensified. The Maoists bombed a U.S. facility in Nepal on September 10th; exactly six years later, our first daughter, Maya, was born. Three days before my 25th birthday, Anne Marie left Nepal. She didn’t quit the Peace Corps. Instead, she signed up again and was given two years in Guatemala. The threads God were weaving in His Tapestry brought the patterns of our lives closer together.