I was born in Jinan, Shangdong, China. On the other side of the world. I was the third son of Dayuan and Theresa Xu. The first six years of my life I was raised by my Aunt Paula Chow in a country town southwest of Shangdong Province. I have fond memories of living with my aunt in the country. The nature was beautiful and much different than city life in Jinan.
I had to leave my aunt to go to school in the city which I was reluctant to do. I spent all the school years in one city, Jinan. I thought I would never leave that city again, but actually I was wrong. After high school I went to China Petroleum University in Jinan. There I learned to work in the petroleum refinery and was given my first job in Fushun, Liaoning. I really did not enjoy the kind of work, so I started to think about studying something else abroad.
I met Mary Green, a woman from South Carolina who was teaching English in China at that time. She became good friends with my mother and knew that I was interested in leaving my job. She promised to help me. After knowing I only got 2/3 financial aid from the school I applied to in the United States, she offered to help me pay the rest of my way. Two weeks after I celebrated my 25th birthday, I landed on the ground in Detroit, Michigan, and then South Dakota where I started my graduate studies.
Two years later, I transferred to Loyola University, Chicago and switched my major to Computer Science. I graduated in June, 2000, and decided to stay in the United States to work.
When I was still in school, I worked for Foote, Cone, and Belden advertising agency and then Society of Divine Word. After graduating, my first formal job was with AMS, a consulting firm, but I was one of the victims of the IT Bubble burst and was laid off in 2001. I was afraid that I might have to go back to China, but thank God I got the offer from Catholic Theological Union one week before my Visa expired. I still work for CTU in the Educational Technology department.