And just like that, 14 wonderful weeks of working at hua have come and gone. This summer has been an incredibly memorable and humbling experience for us, full of new connections, laughter, and personal growth. Where do we even begin?
We kicked off our internship with an ambitious plan for the summer, – among some of the things planned were cooking workshops, a new bite-sized web series, and potential(!) raft tour with the Gold Mountain Tour Initiative. Little did we realize, there was a lot more in store for us.
Our Summer Workshop Series brought friends, allies and new faces together to learn, cook, and bond over delicious, homemade food. We also piloted shopping tours in Chinatown to compliment the cooking workshops, and found that many of our workshop participants enjoyed learning how to shop at our local greengrocers and dry-goods stores in the neighbourhood. Our Choi Identification blog posts also complemented these efforts for those who haven’t been able to join us in person. During our workshops, we discovered that there is a strong interest amongst our audiences to explore cultural knowledge gaps. We were able to do so under the direction of Auntie Julia who taught her tips and tricks as we shared stories about family, culture and identity, all the while finding the sense of belonging that we’ve been searching for.
Working in such a unique space, we were presented with many opportunities to dive deeper into what it means to be Chinese-Canadian. We collaborated with hua foundation board member Jackie Wong to write about the intersections between our intercultural identities, intergenerational conflict and involvement in progressive communities (editorials coming out soon, keep an eye out!) We also supported the Gold Mountain Tour Initiative while learning about the important history and legacy of Chinese miners in BC and spoke at Roundhouse Radio about our lived experiences as Chinese-Canadian youth.
As we wrap up our time here at hua foundation, we’d like to reflect on the highlights of what we’ve learned and the lessons that we’ll take with us into the future.
- Breaking the status quo: hua foundation’s name has many roots, one of which refers to the Chinese word “變化” (m: biànhuà / c: bin3faa3). Embedded in both its vision and its approach, hua foundation is changing the game by opening up new spaces for conversations around what it means to value intercultural presence and people. These spaces are important for intercultural youth such as ourselves to engage in critical self reflection and connect with people just like us.
- Building community, intentionally: The hua community tapestry is woven from a plethora of threads made up of individuals, families, community groups, businesses, and networks who share similar and yet unique life experiences. It was easy for us to take the bigger picture for granted at first, but we realized over time that the intentionality behind every thread of colour, conversation, and connection within the hua community has imbued it with a special feeling of family and belonging. While the time we’ve spent working at hua might has been short, both of us feel an undeniable sense of home here at the office and in Chinatown.
- Intercultural awareness – what exists around and before us: We have always been living interculturally, even before we stepped foot at hua. However, it was only through the work and conversations that we’ve shared together that we’ve come to realize its implications for our identities and day-to-day lives. Where we used to feel confusion and shame, today we feel a sense of confidence and pride that we will take forward with us instead. Our new sense of interculturalism has grounded us and will shape our future endeavours to come.
We are so incredibly grateful for our families, peers, community allies, hf board, hua staff, friends both old and new. Thank you for the sea of change and learning you’ve inspired in both of us. We’ll be back for more before you know it!
From your AA team,
Alan & Angela