Fast forward to about 1999. I was a professor at a Jesuit University in the United States at that time. The Jesuit Business Schools in the United States had joined together to offer an MBA Program at Beijing University in Beijing. I applied to teach in this program and was selected to teach in the first cohort during the Spring of 1999. This was a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to go to China so I jumped on it with both feet. So in spring 1999, I found myself and another colleague from a different university teaching in Beijing. That “once in a lifetime” trip turned into many others in the following years, and I really found the experience exciting.
During this initial trip to Beijing, a colleague from another Jesuit school in the United States and I were approached by the Dean of a very small university located in Macau, near Hong Kong. He was looking for foreign faculty to teach in their MBA Program. As he was speaking, my mind traveled back to a night in 1971 when I standing on a pier watching the Macau Ferry and was not allowed to go there. My eyes lit up and my colleague and I agreed to try it. They were willing to have us go there during our semester breaks or during the summer. My colleague went first and reported a positive experience. The invitation went out to me and I accepted. U.S. relations with China were on a positive note at that time, so I was encouraged to go on many fronts. The thrill of going to a once forbidden spot had a lot of appeal to me as well.
My first visit to Macau was now in the planning stages. I agreed by email to pay my own airfare subject to future reimbursement and head to Macau. Apparently the Dean who had made the initial contact with us was being replaced. I would be met at the ferry terminal by someone named José, whom I had never met. I found myself in the position of paying a substantial airfare to go to a place I had never been to meet someone who I had never seen, to teach in a school that I knew virtually nothing about. In retrospect it seemed foolish, but I went along with it.