I am from a home that was quiet, lonely, somber, and sad, and my favorite times growing up was when we were NOT at home, and on vacation with extended family members in Cape Cod, Long Island, Disney World, Niagara Falls, and Toronto.
I am the child of Sek Kwan and Cheng Ping who are from Guangzhou, China, Hong Kong, and Macau.
I am shaped by my experiences living in Montreal, Dundonald Scotland, Brussels, Long Island, Boston, Palo Alto, Washington, DC, and San Francisco
I am from a family that did not celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving, did a mediocre job celebrating Christmas, but did celebrate Chinese new year by giving me $20 in a red envelope every year.
I am from a tradition that believes in balance, yin and yang, that there is such a thing as “hot” and “cold” food.
I am from a household where I fought with my parents to eat McDonald’s happy meals so I could feel like a “normal” Canadian kid, not a Chinese Canadian kid eating “weird” food.
I am shaped by childhood experiences: I loved to draw. I played with my Strawberry Shortcake dolls, Cabbage Patch Kids, and My Little Ponies. Books were my closest friends: The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald, A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L’Engle, and the Chronicles of Narnia. The Smurfs, The Cosby Show, Winnie the Pooh, Guess jeans, Keds, and Oreos
I am from a tradition of doing 2 hours of Bible study with Jehovah’s Witnesses once a week. I went to college and temporarily forgot about God. I woke up Easter Sunday my junior year and felt a strong prompting to go to church and have ever since.
I am someone who has some doubts about faith: I struggle with what it means to long for a place (heaven) that I have never been to. I struggle with seeing why the gospel is such good news. I struggle with disappointment in God and myself. I struggle with gratitude, so every Thanksgiving I write a list of everything I am thankful for from the previous year.
I am forever shaped by a dark night of the soul, which I survived by the grace of God. I was sent to Washington, DC to wander in the desert. Suffering was my greatest discipler, perseverance my greatest ally. The other phrase I associate with that time was “being beaten into the ground.” I was completely broken by that experience.
I am glad that, through my time in DC, I finally realized that defeat and failure are part of life, and the sooner I can accept them, the sooner I can move on and find what makes me thrive and come alive. When I finally accepted that I would never thrive in DC, I gave myself permission to move back to the Bay Area.
I am deeply struck by a quote from the movie Rudy, when the priest says to him, “Son, in 35 years of religious study, I have only come up with two hard incontrovertible facts: there is a God, and I'm not Him.” This is the basis for my theology and helps me to be at peace with my doubts.
I am delighted by the word “Huzzah”, which makes me happy. I also love the Sanskrit word Ananda, the joy without which the universe could not exist.
I am genuine, exasperating, blunt, slightly off-putting at times, feisty, cheeky, truthful, bold, generous, insightful, playful, creative, and courageous.
I am an ENFP.
I am Hui Lan, a wise orchid.