The air most sweet, the delicate perfume permeated through my window. Worthy for pause. A pause to acknowledge the annual emergence of cherry blossoms in the streets and avenues of Marpole adorning my route to school marked the advancing school year. That Spring felt extra special, I knew that after my summer in Hong Kong with Dad, I was about to secure the next foothold toward being 'grown up'. I was going to high school.
Summers in Hong Kong with Dad were in every possible sense different from life with Mom in Canada. When summoned to help gū~ma with the days' groceries, it started in the pantry of yė~yė and ma~ma's Kowloon flat. A roll of twine and a wide mouthed basket for a chicken, a dome top with a hatch for frogs, or a ventilated wicker for fish? Basket on arm, we would step out into sweltering tropical heat onto the humid streets and alleys of an open air Mongkok market. Clucking chickens, croaking frogs, and guttural dissonance of housewives, grammas, and domestic helpers bartering with fish mongers, butchers, vegetable vendors, and spice merchants excited every sense.
Returning to life in Vancouver as a Canadian born Wah~kēü (Huáqiáo) at the start of each school year also meant starting another semester at Chinese School. A place where many Chinese Canadian kids learn compliance, defiance, and for some, concession to compliance in the name of filial piety for at least a hundred and twenty minutes a week. Reliably so, from K to 12, Fridays, Mom would be out front of our school with a box of Hong Kong style bakery goods in the back seat of her Camry ready to shuttle me, my brother, and sister to Chinese School.
In the Chinese Canadian community, when asked "what do you want to be when you grow up?", "a neurologist" I would proudly respond with smiling eyes on the other side of my glasses under my ebony bangs, quelled further questions. I learned early on, that telling adults that I wanted to be a psychologist garnered more attention than worthy of combat, their campaigns to dissuade me from being interested in 'what matters to people, people's feelings, what makes their story special', taught me better masque to amuse.
I use to believe that growing up is something that happens. Somewhere along the way, from music school, to catching babies as a midwifery student in medical school while mothering toddler twins, to Realtor, I am discovering how growing up is happening.
I was recently asked, "what does being a Realtor have in common with midwifery?". I responded, "being authentic, aligning my values with my actions, gives me meaning in my life work, as a Realtor alike to a midwife, I am imbued with the privilege of being included in your story".
Today and beyond, I am still learning to fulfill my highest potential as a good daughter, mother, sister, friend, and life adventurer.