Karin Dai '93 and Brendan Kelly '94
Trinity Couple Lives Out Their Dream in China

By Donna Parker

“This is the first time in my life I’ve been able to breathe – look around and enjoy,” says Karin Dai Kelly ’93, who was performing on the violin at the age of four.

She and husband Brendan ’94 live in an expatriate community in Beijing.

“My husband is fluent in Chinese and always wanted to live here,” explains Karin, who majored Chemistry at Trinity. “As soon as he got the job, we found out we were expecting a baby.”

Son Clayton is now three and a half and enjoys such memorable field trips as elephant trekking in Thailand. All in a day’s work for this energetic patent attorney, who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry and a degree in law. Karin once enjoyed a thriving legal career in Manhattan, with a bird’s eye view of Rockefeller Center.

This is not what she envisioned at Trinity. “It’s much better. I wish I could stay home and work, but I’m attending an intellectual law symposium to stay current,” Karin says.

Brendan, now a senior tax attorney for Deloitte, sought out an Asian Studies curriculum at Trinity.

“Before I went to Trinity, the key factor was making sure they had a Chinese program,” says Brendan, who returns to campus periodically and speaks to undergrads about his experience. “Now that we’ve lived here, we can give back to those who study the language.”

Life in a foreign land poses challenges for this adventurous couple, not the least of which was watching the Spurs compete in the NBA Finals.

“I was waking up at 4 a.m. to watch International ESPN,” says Brendan who, along with 15 of his friends, rents a Beijing hotel gym each week to shoot hoops.

Karin, who was active in charities while on campus, has established a foundation for Chinese orphans and credits her school experience with providing her the motivation to experience all that life offers. She focuses on the orphanage and raising her son.

Brendan, who just finished hiking part of the Great Wall, is living his dream, but believes one more thing would make life perfect. As exotic as life is overseas, Brendan hungers for one simple pleasure – a good Philadelphia cheesesteak!