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Introducing the one and only: Anrenee Reasor

August 26, 2012

*A few days ago, I decided to interview my friend and former roommate Anrenee Reasor. Not for any particular reason other than I wanted to write and tell someone else’s story. So, that’s what this is: a piece of Anrenee’s story.

The walls of Anrenee Reasor’s dorm room are covered in postcards. These rectangle pieces of paper evoke memories of where they were bought, when they were received, whom they are from and what is written on the backs. There are postcards of Rome’s Colosseum and Paris’s Eiffel Tower. There is one signifying the marriage of Prince William and his bride, Kate. There is one depicting a town in Mexico called Tulum, a place Reasor remembers as being very beautiful with crystal-clear water. Reasor collects postcards, for traveling has been an important part of her life.

Born in China in 1993, Reasor was adopted and moved to the United States at 10 months old. She has lived in Thayer and Chanute, Kan., two fairly small towns in the center of America. Reasor said growing up in a small town shaped her outlook on the world.

“I suppose I have small-town values, but when people say they have small-town values, what does that even mean? That they party in fields and like cheap beer? Sometimes I associate those things with small towns,” Reasor said. “I would say small-town values mean valuing people on a personal level rather than just on a business level and enjoying their company and taking an honest interest in the person and their story and not just what they can do for you.”

Reasor’s graduating class had approximately 140 students, and she was one of four students of Asian descent at her high school in Chanute. She said she felt that she had Asian stereotypes placed upon her, but this did not really impact her childhood. However, people have expected her to be able to speak Chinese. She said she sometimes feels guilty about not being able to speak her native language, but she is now studying it at the University of Kansas (KU).

Reasor studies economics at KU. She has lived in the state for almost 19 years, but she thinks her time in Kansas is winding down.

“I feel like in the Midwest or wherever you grow up, it’s important to leave that place for a while,” Reasor said. “One time during RA (resident assistant) training, they asked us if leaving home is the only way you can find out who you are… I don’t know if leaving home (for college) has changed me much, but it’s definitely opened my eyes to different opportunities.”

While moving away from home may not have shaped her, traveling to various places in the world has, she said. Reasor has traveled to Australia, Alaska, Thailand, China, Spain, Paris, London, Italy and Greece; these experiences helped her realize the world was not just Thayer, America.

“I’ve definitely been fortunate in that my parents valued going on vacation more than they valued getting a new TV or updating their car,” Reasor said. “People sometimes would assume that my parents were really well-off, but they just valued different experiences more than other people’s parents, I guess. Some people want a big TV or the nicest car on the block or a new house, but my parents wanted to see things. You can’t take objects with you when you die, and you can take memories with you to your grave.”

Reasor said she values the people in her life, the experiences she has had and the expectations of the experiences she will have in the future. This summer, she started to become less materialistic because she does not want to value objects more than experiences.

“I think the ideal way to live would be to be able to pack up all your valued possessions in a few minutes,” Reasor said. “Obviously, you don’t want to live like a homeless person or a bum, but the things that you should value in your life should be the people who surround you and your memories or experiences.”

In the future, Reasor hopes to travel more. She went to China when she was in middle school, but she wants to return there and possibly even study abroad there during college.

“I feel like traveling is important because it’s the best way to learn about different cultures,” Reasor said. “It’s like taking the driving test. You can read the manuals and the stop signs and all of the signs all day every day, and you can learn about driving that way, but until you’re actually in a car behind the wheel, holding the stick shift, then you don’t really know what it’s like, so obviously, you can study European history all day, but until you actually go to the Louvre or walk the streets of London, it’s not the same.”

In addition to traveling to new places geographically, Reasor enjoys traveling to new worlds through one of the activities that makes her happiest: reading. She said reading enables someone to escape reality without traveling anywhere, without paying money and without even getting out of bed.

“[By reading,] you can meet new characters, meet new people, and sometimes you know the characters so well that you think they’re a friend of yours. It may sound strange, but there are definitely characters in books and movies that you think of and think of their situations and how they can change yours,” Reasor said. “Reading is also informative in that you can read about new places that you hadn’t heard about and teach you to think of things in a different way than you had thought of before.”

In the dorm room surrounded by postcards, Reasor finds herself curled up in bed with a new book. As she sits, she looks up at the postcards and thinks about all the places she has been and all the places she hopes to travel to some day. Then, she cracks open the cover of the book and is immediately whisked away into a new world.

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