Joy and Jam

Week 68 – July 4, 2021 – Or is it “Jam and Joy”?

I was always fascinated by those who were vendors at Circle Craft, the huge craft fair in Vancouver. I loved going to each vendor to ask them about their product and the story behind the product. I loved their passion and commitment to their craft. I was always astounded by the detail and the love behind their work and what drives them to keep moving forward. I had always believed that my “jam” was other people’s jam.

What I am beginning to understand is, I think I was more jealous or envious of their jam. I could see the joy that their craft would give them and the intrinsic value they found in doing it. As an outsider, I could not understand their craft at face value (i.e. organic dog treats, hand painted silk scarves, or homemade soaps). I loved tasting different foods and appreciated the art and jewelry. I wanted what they had.

In the end, I am left with two questions: What is my jam? What brings me joy? Of course, I love my kid. She challenges me, humbles me, and takes care of me. She is number one on my priority list. I love to teach. I enjoyed teaching math, but also I enjoy educational leadership and governance. What I am learning is, joy comes from within. I create my jam from what brings me joy and in return, making jam is joyful.

Yes, I went cryptic there. I am learning that what I observe around me is a reflection of what’s within. I’ve been in a state of transition and reflection. I have boxes packed, I have a one month timeline, and I have to figure out my next steps on my pedagogical journey. Finally, I have carved out some intentional time to make sense of what is, reflect on the wise words of mentors, and come to terms with what makes me happy.

Another beautiful thing about friends and feelings is, they will reflect what’s from within. Now I’m paying attention. I am not suppose to be anyone else by myself. One of my friends pointed out to me what brings me joy and another friend belittled the same thing that brought me joy. I could feel and notice how I was feeling. They both point in the same direction. Now, I am working on next steps and it’s making sense.

I love Brene Brown’s work. I need to belong to myself, be seen, and find the courage to be vulnerable. Taking the time today to reflect, do the work, and be honest with myself with what I am observing, feeling, and experiencing has been a gift. Lot’s of aha’s and I am one step closer. I know what my jam is, but I need a moment to clarify and return back to my strengths, my why, and my passion. I am super stoked.

Time to Be Seen

Week 67 – June 26, 2021 – Truth Telling and Transformation

It’s bloody hot out there and I’m inside packing boxes. I have so much to do and in the midst of transformation. Gawd. There is one side of me that demands for change and another side of me that resists it. End result is shear paralysis and time flies by. Change is on the horizon. It’s time to reassess my mindset, my priorities, and my time. Many of the photos I am taking of place are brief moments of gratitude and goodbye. I have to get use to the idea of moving and becoming my own person.

I am spending a tonne of time during the pandemic really thinking about what’s important to me and I am faced with that question again. After 215 unmarked graves were found near a Kamloops residential school, then 751 near a Saskatchewan Residential School, I am numb, angry, and not surprised. This is part of Canada’s history that has been kept a secret within my lifetime. It’s horrifying, disheartening, and disillusioning as I unpack my ethic identity as a Chinese-Canadian. It’s very dark.

My gut instinct is to hide. That’s how I felt when George Floyd was killed last year. All of those feelings of fear and fitting in because of racist acts scare me to my deepest core. I’ve experienced lateral violence and micro-aggressions as a child and adult. You learn how to behave to survive. I did this as a person who looks Chinese, but have no Chinese language, culture, or beliefs. I’ve been successfully “Canadianized” or assimilated, but this does not protect me from anti-Asian racist behaviour or hate.

I can only imagine what Indigenous and black people feel or experience. The genocide and attempt to erase Indigenous culture and people in Canada are horrendous and the Indian Act continues to exist and persist because I think they can’t afford to get rid of it. Privilege, power over, and fitting in are hurtful and persistent acts that I am guilty of as a Canadianized Chinese Settler, but also have fallen victim to. I know that my problems are #firstworldChristineproblems but I have a role to play now in Canada’s history and current existence. I can’t hide anymore.

I am no longer safe. I don’t want to “fit in” and this is not the time to do that anymore. Most of my life was led in a particular way, much to live up to other people’s expectations with hopes of being accepted. As a result, I lost my sense of self. My WHY has always been inside of me. I don’t think that ever changes. But I’ve spent most of my life suppressing it, pretending, and hiding. I could never show my “true self.” I never felt safe. I think about my anger and frustration and wonder about what core values are being triggered and why. In the end, my power comes from within.

I create the change I want to see. I get that now. The locus of control, how I perceive things, and how I choose to act comes from me. That’s how change occurs. Part of that change will be SURRENDERING, listening, and walking through the fear. “It’s not about me.” I have to remember that. There is no shame or blame. My anger and frustration protect me. Emotionally distancing myself from others keeps me safe. TRUST and self-efficacy are areas of growth for me, and what I see mirrors back.

There is no time to ponder. It’s time to act. I’m scared but it’s time to be seen. I’ve changed my trajectory in life and pedagogical journey several times. I think that I was running away instead of standing still and digging in. As Brene Brown says in Braving the Wilderness, you have to keep your back strong and your front soft. I will try.

Finding Solace

Week 66 – June 14, 2021 – Everyday is a NEW Day

I will admit… some days are harder than others. Today was a tough day for me. I am not sure exactly what was weighing me down. I’d suspect a few things… some are personal, some professional. Slowly but surely I had to stop and take a moment. I cried. Not my jam, but I had to feel my way through it today to unpack and deeply understand what was going on for me. I know that I am in a state of transformation. It’s not easy. I see this in my teacher candidates, especially when they go through practicum. Something in the experience is transformational. All of a sudden they enter the program as students and exit the program as learners/educators.

This weekend I am feeling the shift. I am turning a corner. My job right now is to allow and surrender. Instead I am finding myself resisting, hiding, and protecting myself from the possibilities. I see this behaviour in my candidates as well. When this happens, transformation cannot occur. Practicum becomes challenging and sometimes candidates are unsuccessful. It’s heart wrenching, but there is something to say about readiness, willingness, and vulnerability. I’m not about to shame myself, but I needed a moment today to let go… to wonder… and to feel. I was overwhelmed by grief today. My kid was not happy with me because she could see I was feeling sad.

I could not figure it out. On the weekend, it was pretty clear to me I reached my limit. I need to turn the page. I struggle to find the energy and do all the things I want to do. I look for guidance. I look for help. I am so grateful to have people I can lean on. TRUST does not come easy to me. It scares me. I think today I experienced a “vulnerability hangover.” Brene Brown speaks to this in one of her TEDx talks. The feelings were ugly and you cannot go back in time. I extended myself, but remained guarded. A strange combination. I was uneasy but wanted to take the leap. I felt disconnected when my deepest desire was to connect. Anyway, I’m over it now and found solace.

The power of time and reflection… as I am left thinking about the day. Gawd. I never felt this sadness before. I needed to sit in these feelings so that I can move forward. I start delving into self-doubt, I second guess, and then question my worthiness. It’s an awful feeling when you have other people telling you differently. I took the time and space to be with my sadness, my heartache, and my heavy feelings to put the pieces together to make sense of what I was experiencing and witnessing. This is where I found solace. All of a sudden I felt joy again and happiness. I was able to laugh and giggle. I can lift myself up again and TRUST in who I am, my values, and my integrity.

I needed to get here. No more hiding. No more judging. No more protecting. I can’ t do that anymore. I have to be who I am, believe in what I am doing, and keep persisting when no one seems to understand or hear what I am saying. What I do is not for me. My self interest is student learning and creating spaces that honours equity and diversity. It’s ok if people don’t hear or understand me the first time. Keep moving. Persist. Follow your passion. Today was a tough listening day for me… but as I reflect, I recall the stories shared with me that reminded me of MY WHY and my mantra of “Anything is possible.” I have to believe it’s possible and believe in myself.

Deepest gratitude to the people in my life who hold me up. I would not be here or who I am without you. You inspire me. I hope, one day, I can do the same for you.

Finding Time for Me

Week 65 – June 11, 2021 – Valuing Self

Nothing will change until I do something different. Profound, I know. LOL. But damn… habits of the mind, body, and soul are so challenging to change unless you can afford the time and effort enough to care to make the change. Hence, here is the obstacle. I need to value myself and my dreams, goals, and ambitions. I also have to believe that it’s possible. I spend so much time on the day to day, that I forget about what I need and want to do. I’m in the service of others, but what about me? I’m losing myself in this equation called life and I can’t do this anymore. I know that I’m beginning to sound melodramatic, but when my kid, my friends, and my family say… get on with it… I get spooked. I’ve never experienced so much “brand new territory” and so late in my life. I’m beginning to believe that 50 is the new 30. I am ready for a new beginning.

I am taking night walks, going to bed at a somewhat decent hour, and gratitude journalling everyday. I am enjoying place and the company of my kid. I love being with friends and I hope to connect with my family soon as the COVID numbers decline and we are all vaccinated. I am appreciating the little things and excited to move to Prince George with my kid. Admittedly, I am a little overwhelmed by what’s required to move my stuff and as I continue to work, I have very little time to contemplate how to move my stuff and what I need to do to close this door behind me and move forward to what’s possible. I am excited about that, but when my friend tonight says… “just be open and say yes”… I get spooked. OK. I’m starting to see a pattern. As much as I need to be vulnerable and courageous… I am a bit skeptical.

When will I put myself first? I am struggling right now with identity, my sense of self worth, and next steps to change my trajectory. I know what to do now, but I do need to change my habits and be open. GAH. It’s so much “safer” to hide and not be seen. I don’t think I want to be hurt again, but I also think that’s part of the journey. I keep replaying this image in my mind of me getting knocked down and I reach out my hand for help and someone grabs it and lifts me up. It happens everyday in my life. I am so lucky to have people in my life from past and present who lift me up. When I get knocked me down and I have people to lift me up again, they are not only helping me to get back up, but they believe that I’m worth lifting up. I need to remember that.

Part of valuing myself is finding time for myself. Honouring my ME TIME is so important and I just don’t know how. Servicing others seems more natural to me. Time for myself seems selfish, but really… I have to value myself to understand that taking time for myself is not being selfish, but necessary to thrive. I will try again tomorrow. That’s all I can do. Admittedly, I am distracted by the details, but really… all I have to do is jump in, commit, be open, allow, and find the joy in the act of doing. We are back to the wise words of Alasdair McIntyre and the goods internal… I must engage in the practice and achieve excellence to experience the goods internal.

Connection and Reconnection

Week 64 – June 6, 2021 – Visit to Prince George

What a whirlwind. On May 30th, I drove up to Prince George to start the moving process and to visit teacher candidates on Week 3 (of 4) of EDUC 490 practicum. Due to the pandemic, I have not met the teacher candidates face to face this school year because universities continued with remote learning and the housing market boomed everywhere in BC, I needed to assess my apartment to see how viable it would be to have my daughter live with me. I had boxes in my car (some of which returned back to Sechelt with me because I could not get to them). It was a full week in Prince George CONNECTING AND RECONNECTING with teacher candidates, colleagues, and friends. For an extrovert in COVID-19, I filled my cup in many ways.

The crazy part was, I started my week presenting at CSSE 2021 with OTESSA 2021. When I arrived in my apartment, my first course of action, aside from making dinner with food that I hoarded at the beginning of the pandemic over a year ago (i.e. pasta and sauce) and throwing away every item in my freezer because everything was freezer burned, I prepared for my presentation on e-portfolios, identity, and teacher education. I was added to the program on short notice and I was able to stay up late to create my presentation. My presentation was scheduled for Monday morning and it went really well. It was a wonderful boost to my sense of efficacy to be an academic and that I have something worth sharing. Presenting to others is great feedback.

Moving boxes in between and removing 2-years of recycling from apartment, I connected with school principals via email to let them know I would be visiting schools to meet teacher candidates. Week 3 is a great time to visit because they are just getting their groove as teachers in the classroom. I started my visits with those placed at an independent school. I got to say a quick hello to one candidate and briefly observed another. It was a good start to my journey. The next day, I toured a couple of schools with a district staff member. It was good to connect and build our relationship between the university and school district. The first school we visited was Nusdeh Yoh. The day started with drumming and singing with students about the salmon and we ended circle being smudged to start the day in a good way.

We toured Nusdeh Yoh with the school principal to learn more about the school and how Indigenous culture is embedded in the school, curriculum, and way of being. I was inspired by what I saw and the experience was reminiscent of being a school trustee. We looked at art, met teachers and students, and I was so pleased to meet and briefly observe the teacher candidate placed in this school. We then headed to the largest high school in Prince George. Five teacher candidates are placed there and I had to chance to speak to all of them to see how things were going. We stopped for lunch, then I visited two elementary schools independently. I had the chance to speak to teacher candidates and coaching teachers to assess how things are going.

The following day, I visited the remaining schools in Prince George where teacher candidates were placed. I started in Beaverly at an elementary school and ended in the Hart at a secondary school. The visits varied from hellos, brief conversations, to edu-stalking moments (because they were being formally observed and teaching). I had a good sense of how things were going in practicum from the perspective of the teacher candidate, coaching teacher, and school principal. I got a healthy dose of feedback, of which I will bring back to the university, and I finally had a chance to meet most of my teacher candidates face to face (two of which I met at Starbucks on my way out of Prince George in Quesnel). The remaining few, I connected with email.

It felt so good to meet the teacher candidates. In other times during my visit, I reconnected with friends and colleagues in Prince George. It’s a good problem to have when you did not have enough time to see everyone you wanted to see within the week. I think I may have over done it at times with wine and possibly overstaying my welcome. LOL. The strength of Prince George are the people. There were no down times and even one student from my math teaching days reached out to me to say hello because they saw my name and number at the school check in. This person was Grad 2000. When you think about it, that was 21 years ago… makes you think about the importance of connection, relationships, and making an impact on learners and student learning. A powerful way to end my visit to Prince George. Thank you.

Surrender

Week 63 – May 28, 2021 – End of the Month

How horrible… It thought I wrote out this blog post… and well, it turned out I didn’t (but I’m pretty sure I did). Now those thoughts have vanished. How appropriate that I had titled this blog, SURRENDER. That’s what I am doing right now as I am frantically writing my thoughts about this week (and super behind on writing next week’s blog post). I’m pretty sure that my last blog post was brilliant… but apparently, it’s gone.

There is a high level of bewilderment and utter awe on what the heck happened to my blog post. Anyway, to keep this post succinct and to the point, I realized (a couple of weeks ago) that I have to SURRENDER. What am I holding on to? Why is it so important? Who is benefitting from the work that I feel that I am putting forward. I was beginning to question my motives and purpose. I could not do it anymore.

I look at what I had written (now deleted) and can see that my mind has shifted since. I was riddled by self-doubt with feelings of betrayal. Huge, I know. And then I realized that what I was doing was not serving me. I know at some level that sounds selfish, but on the other hand, you cannot lose sight of who you are and acknowledge that your work should feed into your why. ALIGNMENT. Somehow I got it wrong.

Everything that I was doing was serving others, but was not directly aligned to my WHY. I shied away from it. I believed I was wrong or not worthy of doing things for myself. It did not seem like team-like behaviour. I recall making decisions “for the team” and put my needs and priorities to the side with hopes of service benefiting the team. I’ve done that several times and what I am realizing is, there is no benefit.

Sounds dramatic, I know, but I had this all wrong. What is valued and what I was doing were not aligned. I questioned myself. What was I doing? Was I willing to compromise my values? Did I get it wrong from the beginning? SURRENDERING has helped me to LET GO. When I share ideas, I don’t have to expect a warm reception as long as I am aligned to my WHY. My main objective is to keep the agenda moving.

What I am learning is, everything that I have done so far has got me to where I am. I realize now that some of those decisions were not “the right” decisions, but it seemed right at the time. I am understanding the CRITERIA now, in a much deeper way that I have to be able to carve out time for myself. What I have also realized is, I wanted the TEAM so badly, but the team did not exist. Maybe I was in denial, this is not my team.

Listening to Brene Brown and Simon Sinek on the Dare to Lead podcast, I realize that I have people on my team and I may not know who they are, but they are there to help me rise. Right now, I am part of a group and those on my team are not part of this group. I have some incredible mentors and friends in the field that I need to focus on those connections and know that these amazing people are on my team.

I am so grateful to my team. but also to my group. I had to let go of what I wanted and how things should be (or at least how I wanted to be) and SURRENDER to what is. What I stopped to take a clear look around, I am surrounded by people who love me and what to see the best for me. It’s not just one person, but there are quite a few. How lucky am I? Now I can see them. I am so happy that these people are in my life.

Trust and Vulnerability

Week 62 – May 23, 2021 – To what end

It’s frightening to think that I am writing about trust and vulnerability. For most of my life, I trusted nobody and I never wanted to be seen. There are very few people I trust. Sometimes when I think I trust someone, I doubt the trust and relationship. I can’t help but question it because trust is so hard to come by. I have been betrayed and hurt so many times that my naive mindset often lends itself to want to believe that I can trust in others, but then in return hurt so deeply that I just can’t do that again. I just can’t. Trust is not a commodity that I want to give away too easily. When I do, I question myself when expectations aren’t met, promises are broken, or secrets are made. I can’t stand betrayal, but who does? Trusted relationships are hard to find.

I will admit, I am so grateful to have a few critical friends who I can share who I am without feeling threatened or belittled. They listen to me, offer honest feedback, and I can do the same in return. I feel blessed to have these people in my life and I am not sure where I would be without them. Some of them I’ve been friends with for a few decades while others I’ve just met in the last few years. I find solace in these people. It’s easy to be vulnerable with those you trust. I can be myself. I can be seen. This is a challenging feat especially when I spent most of my life hiding and trying to “fit in” to what I thought people wanted me to be. I call it blending, while others might call it belonging. What I do know is, I was protecting myself from really being seen.

What I learned growing up is to go with the flow. I’m not great at it. Keeping with the status quo has not been a strength of mine. I would speak up or question, but then be “put in my place.” I always thought I must be wrong. Few could see my point of view, so I stayed quiet. What do I know? I did that as the youngest child in my family, I did that in my work, and I did that in my marriage. I would have good moments, but then I always self-doubted and regretted my actions. Being vulnerable was not my preferred modality because I was too scared to be in the ring, standing up, alone.

Belonging and acceptance mattered to me. I was taught that it mattered. They are primary needs next to food, shelter, and safety. What I am learning about myself and what my purpose is, I am “that person” who says things and questions the status quo. I am “that person” who pushes back, problem solves, and brings forward ideas that may tamper or provoke. I am “that person” who will have their voice, take risks, and then walk away. I can have those tough conversations. I can ask difficult questions and listen. I can speak my truth and be vulnerable. I just can’t be silent anymore.

I need to proceed with deliberate action and intentionality. I need to be strategic and thoughtful. I need to act in ways that are wholehearted, authentic, and aligned to my why. I have integrity. I will take care of myself as well as others. I will be persistent and patient. I will always get up when I’m knocked down. My anger always informs me. I am focused on justice and doing what’s right. I have not changed. I can see who I am.

Rebrand as Chris Ho

Week 61 – May 16, 2021 – My Name

Gah. I may have mentioned before in a previous blog that I hate my name. My first name is “Alice” and my given name is “Christine.” Honestly, what a pain. Don’t do that to your children. That was a small PSA to those who are at the midst of naming their children. This matters. It sticks with them for life. Well, I guess I could change my name, but what a pain. Such a hassle for those few moments at the doctor’s office and the call you by your first name. Ugh. I have to listen carefully or else I’d be sitting in the waiting room for a very long time. Not good.

Then you have other identity issues like being my brother’s twin or my sister’s sister. Always an association. Who am I? Ive mentioned in many previous blogs that I’ve spent list of my life trying to be like my older siblings and trying to be “equal.” My mom knew better and never told me about it. I realized she treated us differently soon after she passed away and we’d compare notes.

I think my strongest sense of identity happened in my 20’s and a bit of my 30’s when I branded myself as “Chris Ho.” My friend reminded me of this the other day. The name sounded so familiar and comforting. It wasn’t “Christine Ho” or “Alice Ho,” but CHRIS HO. The name resonates with me. It signals my independence and authenticity. I loved hearing my friend call me “Chris Ho,” a name that represented who I was.

Of course, I “rebranded” when I got married to “Christine Younghusband” and more recently I’ve rebranded to “Dr. Christine Ho Younghusband” since reviving my doctorate at working at the university. I can see how my name easily flips into the latter. I’ve “Christine Younghusband” for about 20-years. Change is hard.

I don’t know if I ever go back to “Chris Ho” as my name again, but I sure like the sounds of it. It resonates with me as a person. It definitely resonates with my friend who’s now calling me “Chris Ho.” It makes me smile. It’s things like your name that can impact your identity and how you perceive yourself. I was uncertain for awhile whether to call myself “Dr. Christine Ho Younghusband.” With life’s events, it became clear to me that this is my name, for now. It represents who I am and tells my story.

Don’t even ask me about my Chinese name. That’s another story. I will continue to wrestle with my name. Even though they still call me “Alice Younghusband” at the doctor’s office, my name might change again in 20-25 years… Who knows. 🙂

Tampering With Why

Davis Bay and the Salish Sea

Week 60 – May 9, 2021 – Happy Mother’s Day

This year is about DISRUPTION and TURBULENCE. This is the pros and cons of being an “experiential learner.” It takes time and you have to go with the punches. Your life is a learning lab. You are given feedback at all times. Your job is to recognize it and when you do… you have a choice on whether or not you do something about it. 

I have to admit… I’m a REFLECTION ADDICT. There was a time when I was so numb to life, that nothing mattered. I was angry. Never happy. And guess what, nothing changed. What’s the point of that? I guess at some level, it was self-serving, but really… what is my agency, what’s within my control, and what am I willing to do?

Sometimes I take risks and sometimes I want to hide. It’s so important to understand “your why” to make those critical decisions that you need to take to serve your greater purpose. Much of my life was lived in fear. Hiding. Trying to be someone else. Now, I understand my why and often it gets tampered with that forces you reflect. 

Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of leave Prince George to return back on the Sunshine Coast to be with my kid. I left on Mother’s Day. I felt it would be a nice gift to me despite the complexities and uncertainty of my marriage and the pandemic. At the time (and now), seemed like the right thing to do. No regrets.

Working remotely has been difficult and pivoting my practice into an unknown territory was challenging at best. The only thing that gives me solace is, that it’s a shared experience. It’s been traumatizing to say the least but you have to relent and keep moving forward. In the end, you have to make the most with what you have.

“You can’t please everyone.” This is so true, but I’ve been thinking about this mantra and I’ve come to the realization of “what about me?” Where am I in all of this? I am left to wonder. Self-doubt can get the best of you, but I have an expertise, I have knowledge worth sharing, and I need to connect this understanding to my why.

Recent events… and there has been many are all pointing in the same direction. I need to listen. I need to honour self. I need to fulfil my why. I am pretty stoked about this and it’s going to take a huge amount of vulnerability, courage, and grit. I can do this. I never thought I could, but now I’m more convinced than ever. Here we go.

#pandemicreflection #turningthepage #jumpingtwofeetin 

Ethnic Identity

Week 59 – May 2, 2021 – Reflecting on my Ethnicity

Here I am… reheating frozen siu mai (aka. pork dumplings) for breakfast this Sunday morning (because we are still living with COVID-19 and its variants and there is no dim sum, just #stayinghome)… getting ready for the spring term and finalizing my course syllabus. How privileged that does that sound? There’s a lot of privilege. No question. I have a home, I have a job, and I have food on the table. I am safe and working at remotely from one of my homes on the Sunshine Coast (the other is my apartment in Prince George).  What can I say? I am very lucky and I am grateful. What I really want to say is, my parents worked very hard to give me what I have today.

My parents immigrate into Canada from Hong Kong in 1968 (I think) with my sister who was 2-years old. They first flew to Vancouver and then to Prince Rupert, BC with prospects of getting job. I was born and raised in Prince Rupert with my twin brother. I am the youngest of three and treated like the youngest. My sister was the #1 child and my brother was the first boy, so the #1a child. Most of my life, I’ve led the role of the #3 child. Yet, I spent a lot of my life, especially with my parents, to ensure that everything was “equal.” Big mistake and my mom knew this. She did treat us differently, when it counted. For me, I lost myself in trying to be someone I’m not.

BELONGING and SAFETY. The two biggies in education and the two biggies that we all strive for when our primary needs are met. I spent much of my life trying to belong… to blend… to be someone who I thought others wanted me to be. I was doing everything in spite of myself. When I had moments of true self emerge, I would second guess, self-doubt, and cower into a place where it looked like I was “like everybody else.” This behaviour has been true in my family life, career, and how I perceived myself. “I hate my face” is something I felt about myself for a long time.

I never said it out loud before until the other day with my friend. What a horrible realization, but these feelings are stemming from my pedagogical journey and self exploration of my ethnic identity, my biases, and delving in deep into Standard 9 of the Professional Standards of BC Educators. I’ve been working on Indigenous perspectives and worldviews with respect to K-12 mathematics education for more than 10-years. Alongside this work is understanding self and my ethnic identity.

I decided to write along side my weekly “Chris’s Edu-Vlog” that is currently focussed on themes related to IDENTITY. I need to delve deeper. I hated my face for 50-years because all I wanted to be is like everybody else. I minimized who I was and the outside never matched the inside of me. Always disheartened. Sometimes I would just never look or ignore how I looked, just like how I would ignore racist remarks or misogynistic behaviour that belittled me in public or amongst my peers. I can’t do it anymore. The #AntiAsianHate doesn’t help in light of COVID-19. I am not the one to blame or the scapegoat. I kills me to see #AntiAsianHateCrimes. I’m just done.

George Floyd and #BlackLivesMatter tampered me in many ways. One of them was recognizing that I am a person of colour… a visible minority… a woman. I overlooked marginalizing behaviour in my marriage, career, and community. I can’t do it anymore. At one time it was self-serving to me. Blend. My parents set it up that way. They made me Canadian. I have no Chinese language or culture. I don’t know of any family stories or know where my parents are from. I know very little. Even at dim sum, when my family would come together on Sundays at my mom’s beckon. I don’t even know how to order the food, what to order, or how to say it. I have nothing.

Can you imagine? My mom made sandwiches at the local deli for a living. She also worked at the pulp mill and cannery. She had a catering service and owned a coffee shop (called Vivien’s Coffee Shop) for a short while. My mom worked hard to give me the life that I have. I am an Assistant Professor at a university and my brother and sister are also professionals in their field, successful and thriving. My mom (and dad) gave this Canadian privilege to us. That’s all she wanted. I still hate my face and well… I am learning my strengths to know now, I’m not going to deny them. My mom was trying to show my gifts to me until her very last breath. I am so grateful to her.