Free the Pooch

Dear Hermits, Misfits, Recluses, Music Lovers, Rebels, and Trouble Makers of all sorts,

It's fitting that I write to you now from a hotel in Queens, New York City. I arrived last night late in the evening at La Guardia International Airport with a dog I was told was, "Saved from the meat trucks in Beijing". They waved me through customs with hardly a look and a nod and I almost fell on the ground in tears of joy for being back in the States again for a lot of reasons. It was a short lived moment as I had a very thirsty, juicy, “finger licking good” retriever on my hands that had been crated for over 24 hours. I needed to get it outside. A few years ago back In Beijing China it was adopted by someone and now it finally was escaping with me back to the states.

A free pooch!

In China they actually do eat lots of things I don't eat: cartilage, chicken feet, giant salamanders, turtles, grubs, shark fins, birds nests, fish from polluted rivers, sea cucumbers, wet market delicacies. The larger perspective is that I am a traveler these days if you can call sitting in a chair getting a Berklee Online Degree staring at a computer in China a world “traveler". 

As you might not know I moved to China recently. Beijing has 22 Million people. Most of them driving scooters on this little road I have to cross with my dog to get to the Wen Yu river park in the morning. My wife Laura had the crazy idea during the dysfunction of the covid pandemic to leave the States and do something cool while we’re "still able and young”. She applied as a medical provider to a government job in the State Department. This translates to spinning the wheel of fortune and being assigned at the absolute very last moment before you go mad with anxiety, to work at an Embassy in some foreign country. By the time they offered Laura the job, our kids Jack and Niamh were in High School. 

The decision to take the job was not as easy to make later as it would have been during lock down in Covid. We went back and forth for a long while on it. However in the end our taste for adventure got the best of us and we decided to go for it. This was a big gamble and we are not good gamblers. At first Laura looked like she was going to be assigned to Chad and Qatar and then later to our relief, Albania. Too good to be true, Albania would have been the perfect fit for the McCutcheon family. Touring musically. I almost bought ski passes for the Italian Alps! 

The short of it is, we ended up in Beijing. It's not a pretty place but it’s safe and you're not going to be shot in the face by your neighbor. When you are a newbie in the foreign service and an overachieving one at that, they send the rugged ones to the unsavory posts where they eat weird things.

Five Towns Inn, Queens NY

Leave a comment