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Far-Flung Friends

These alumni departed Mount St. James for distant reaches around the globe. Where did they go? Why did they leave? And what did they learn?

By James Dempsey
Illustrations by Michael Weldon
Far Flung Alums

A journey is the simple act of moving from one place to another, and, yet, it is also perhaps the most quintessential human adventure. It resides at the heart of all our myths and legends. From Ulysses to Yuri Gagarin, from Aeneas and his father to Huck and Jim, from the Grand Tour to Route 66, the journey has always meant so much more than the mere transportation of the body. We imbue our journeys with metaphysical and even with spiritual qualities. “One’s destination is never a place,” said Henry Miller, “but a new way of seeing things.”

Many journeys began on the slopes of Mount St. James, and Holy Cross alumni can be found all over this ever-shrinking planet. What is it that drives these wanderers? Often, it is a job or an unusual opportunity. Some seek adventure, others strive to help those less fortunate. Some experience a moment approaching epiphany that sets them on their way, while others seem simply hard-wired for motion.

Christina Sadowski ’90 is a classic globe-trotter. She has worked at 35 different jobs and has spent two years backpacking in 31 different countries, “just exploring for the sake of it.”  For the past 13 years, she has lived in Australia.

“My eldest sister Joanne (now Joanne Niland ’85) attended Holy Cross,” she says, “and I spent my formative high school years hearing tales of ‘Easy Street,’ blind date balls, all-nighters, tailgates on Freshman Field and the Sadie Hawkins dance. I followed in her footsteps.”

After graduation, Sadowski and a group of friends moved to London. When her work visa expired, she volunteered on a kibbutz in Israel. After that, she worked on a diving boat and waitressed in Egypt. She also piloted a boat pulling parachute gliders—but only until her employer noticed that she couldn’t steer straight. There followed a year working in Washington, D.C., to replenish her bank account—then Sadowski was off to Barcelona to be certified as an English teacher. Once certified, she bought a ticket to Krakow, Poland, where she tracked down her grandfather’s nieces, still living on the farm he had left 80 years before. She politely turned down the offer of relatives to have her marry her second cousin, “despite their persuasive assurances that he was ‘a very good driver.’”

 Then came India, Kashmir and Kathmandu—and it was in this last city that she met Sean Kevin O’Keeffe, the Aussie she eventually married.

 “When I close my eyes and think of ‘home,’ many images, past and present, come to mind,” she says. “I don’t feel entirely American anymore.

“And I know I’ll never feel entirely Australian,” Sadowski continues, “as my formative years were not spent here. It’s strange to hear your children speak in foreign accents and inform you that you are not pronouncing ‘zebra’ properly!”



Far-Flung Friends continued>>>

 

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