Neil Rutherford ’16
“What is your name?”
“Where are you from?”
“Funny you should ask. Ready to hear my life story?”
I was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and it seemed for the first seven years that I would be living your average American lifestyle. But that all changed at the end of first grade when my mom decided on a whim to become a teacher and live overseas. We packed our belongings and within months, we were on a plane to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, where I began to study Russian. We stayed in Kyrgyzstan for two years before moving on to Pachuca, Mexico, where I completed fourth grade and learned Spanish for half the day and English for the other half. After spending a year in Mexico, we decided to move to Shanghai, China, where we lived for four years and learned Chinese. For my first two years of high school, we decided to warm up a little bit by going down to Bangkok, Thailand. There I continued to learn Chinese, but I also learned a little bit of Thai as well. After living in the tropics, we decided to move to the steppes of Asia: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
By living overseas, I have been able to experience a plethora of interesting things that have ultimately defined who I am today. I have been to both ends of the Great Wall of China. For Christmas one time, I climbed a 13,000-foot mountain in Borneo. I have walked on fire in Kyrgyzstan, climbed Mayan pyramids in Mexico, been to Everest Base Camp in Tibet, travelled many segments of the Silk Road, and have lived in a yurt on multiple occasions. The first instrument I learned how to play was the komuz, a three-stringed lute from Kyrgyzstan. I ran my first 10 K run among the temples of Angkor Wat, and I ran my first half marathon in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia.