Reconnection Feels Good

May 4, 2024 – Doing what fills my cup

We are now well into the spring/summer term and I am using this non-teaching term (for me) to do what it takes to do what makes me happy, but also move forward with my research and other work that would contribute to my research program but also add to my self-knowledge. Returning to Burnaby, BC is not exactly returning home. I was born and raised in Prince Rupert, BC, schooled in Vancouver, BC, and lived in Sechelt, BC for about 25-years. I’ve spent the last 5+ years living in Prince George, BC. It was like starting all over again, metaphorically and literally. Returning to the Lower Mainland is as close to returning to home. My parents lived in Burnaby for about 20-years after moving from Prince Rupert and living in China for a short period of time before retirement. My mom passed away in 2018 and I moved to Prince George later that year. A tonne changed since 2018, so returning back to Vancouver gives me an opportunity to return to some happy memories, like with food, people, and places, I regain a better sense of myself and purpose. My cup is filling and I am happy.

My first priority when I come to the Lower Mainland is to each Chinese food (or any Asian food) that I cannot get in Prince George. Food is my singular gateway to connect to my culture but also my mom. Although the restaurant in the mall is no longer there (i.e., the place where we had dim sum and “double-duck” dinner), I am able to go to other restaurants and places to reignite those memories, feelings, and connections. When I first arrived to Vancouver, it was raining. It felt great!! I miss the rain. It does not rain much in Prince George… and I was wearing my Crocs. Seemed serendipitous. I went to my sister’s place downtown and we went to an udon restaurant near her place. It was like Chipotle, but udon style. And so the Asian food mantra begins. It was delicious and satisfying. Then we went to the Vancouver Art Gallery. There, I was very interested in the weaving exhibit. We even bumped into my kid that day. She was en route back home. The first day concluded with me going to and dropping off my stuff at my brother’s place and going to the Neptune Restaurant for fish congee and deep fried bread; nothing better on a rainy day. PS. My kid got the same meal in Richmond.

I’ve had Thai food (i.e., tofu pad Thai, chicken green curry on rice, and beef pad see yew), Mexican food (i.e., tacos from Gringos), fish and chips in Horseshoe Bay, fried chicken from Jollybee, and yes… Chinese food (i.e., congee, lo bok go, pork dumplings, shrimp dumplings, taro root dumpling, beef rice rolls, BBQ pork buns, curry beef pastries, and egg tarts). It’s been a whirlwind of food. I’ve also loved getting boba drinks, affagatto, and brown sugar shaken oat espressos. I have no regrets. I wanted to return back to my roots and to some really good food. Although it’s been super wonderful to stay at my brother’s place during my time in Vancouver, I’ve been spending my time like a tourist (and local, kind of) to enjoy place. I loved meeting up with many friends who live in the Lower Mainland, to connect with my sister (and her husband and my nephew dog Stanley), and see my mom at her resting place. In lots of ways, Burnaby is my home. I love being near the ocean and I enjoyed visiting places like the Chinese Canadian Museum and Chinatown Storytelling Centre.

I continue to move forward with my research program and part of it is looking into the history of Chinese immigrants in Canada. Alarming and yet, not surprising. I love working remotely and learning more about my ethnic identity through place and people. I have a couple more days left here and I intend to make the most of it. I have a few meetings online. At my workplace, we continue to have meetings on Zoom, which makes working remotely possible. Which each day, I am feeling confident and excited about my research program and I am willing to do what it takes to explore ideas such as my ethnic identity as a second-generation Chinese Canadian woman, non-mathematics subject specialists in BC schools, and identity development of teacher candidates and educators through portfolio and climate change education. I can see the connection with these three topics and I am encouraged that I can proceed in the academy to explore these ideas further to add to the body of knowledge, but also to learn more about myself, my purpose, and my identity.