Marlins of Mercy: Vanessa Aldstadt


Aldstadt has lived around the world, but still makes Mercy her home

“Living in Shanghai was quite the experience. It had a lot of ups and downs, a lot of experiences. But overall, I had really cool opportunities. I got to travel to Agadir, Singapore, Berlin, Philippines, Thailand, and all across the globe. Usually, I traveled within Asia because I was in an honors choir program. With the school in Shanghai (because it was international), we would go to other places in China and go to migrant schools. There, we would help kids, and it was really nice.

I was initially a little shocked when my dad told me his job got relocated to China. I definitely didn’t want to leave Michigan, just because I had so many friends here. I grew up in Michigan, but I’ve always been really open to new experiences, and so I kind of took it as, ‘oh alright, well you’r egoing into high school, might as well start it in another country, I guess.’

I remember my first day at my school in Shanghai; I was distraught. I didn’t know we had to take a math placement test; I had no clue, no one told me anything about it. I went in, had a major panic attack, forgot everything, and got placed in the most basic algebra class. It was terrible, but in the end, I met a lot of really nice people that day. This one girl, who moved three months after I did, was Australian. Their school year started in January, so she had to leave at Christmas in order to go back. It was really hard on both of us, but that first school day we were immediate friends.

Katie Wildern and I have been friends since third grade. It was spotty at times when we talked just because texting wasn’t working. But every single Christmas and summer, we would always reconnect. Then, she introduced me to her friends at Mercy and I got a little community here that I could come back to, even though I hadn’t even been to Mercy yet.

At Mercyaires, there are lots of nice girls there that I’ve gotten to form a bond with. It’s still very early in the year, but we had a camp, so I got to talk to a lot of them and make new friends and I still get to sing.

The best thing to come out of Shanghai is all of my new friends and I got a broadened perspective of the world. It’s not just our little place in Michigan, or Shanghai. There’s 8 billion people in the world and I got to meet so many of them in Asia, Europe, and here. After everything, I know so much more about the workings of the world.”