“A journey of a 1000 miles begins at one’s feet”….
Dao De Jing
I come from FuZhou from the Eastern part of China, near the ocean coast. My home town is a very beautiful city. Growing up, I spent the majority of my childhood living with my grandma who was an amazing cook. She would always let me cook with her and made many specialty treats. Back then in China, there were very limited materials and ingredients, but my grandma always managed to whip up the most delicious treats using the simplest ingredients. I think my favorite childhood memories are all related to my grandma and her food. And that’s also where I fostered my own love for cooking.
After working for 20 something years, my husband and I decided to immigrate to Canada, so that our young daughter could have a better education. My husband completed his Masters in the U.S and felt that the Western education system was much more suited for our outgoing, bright daughter. But this also meant we had to leave everything behind and start from ground zero.
I remember clearly the first night we spent in Canada. When the plane was landing, I looked down through the windows and saw a sea of lights. Our good friend Lin came to pick us up and had rented a van for all our luggage. It was pitch black outside by the time we arrived at the basement we had rented. After dragging all of our belongings into the house, I realized how dim and small our new home was. The narrow hallway was just large enough to fit through a single suitcase. I felt like I was in a landmine. This was not the Toronto I had imagined. My husband having studied abroad was more mentally prepared and saw that I was disappointed. Our landlord was very friendly and welcomed us with milk and cake. My daughter was very hungry and wolfed it down, but I didn’t have any appetite. That first night, my daughter, my husband and I slept on the same bed; neither my husband nor I fell asleep. We were both quiet for a bit and at one point, he turned to me and said, “Once we settle in, I’ll find a job and we will buy our own house. Everything will be okay.”
We chose to settle in North York and soon after, both my husband and I began to look for jobs. We wanted to prove that we could build a good life here; though we were frustrated at times to restart our careers. Slowly, we learned to let go of our lives in the past and focus on the present. In the first few years, I worked many jobs, from working as a factory laborer, a Personal Service Worker to running my own daycare. During all this time, I ran a food blog. Cooking was always a hobby of mine and it was a way for me to document all the good memories my family shared. No matter how busy we got, I continued posting. Initially it was really meant for myself and my close family & friends. But soon, complete strangers began following me and told me how my recipes reminded them of their home towns. With all this encouragement, I was motivated to turn this into something bigger. I spent more and more time inventing my own recipes, and 5 years ago, I tried making video recipes for the first time. It was incredibly difficult at first because I had zero knowledge in editing and filming. I learned through trial and error and after a few months, I started getting subscribers and was surprised by how many people loved my recipes. It became a way for me to connect with Chinese immigrants from all over the world, especially those moms who shared a similar story as mine. Looking back, I think the turning point for me was finding something that I was good at and enjoyed doing. It gave me confidence in myself and the motivation to keep learning. Now, I am living in Windsor with my husband in our own house and we spend all our times together filming new recipes and telling our stories through our videos.
After living in Canada for 12 years, my biggest takeaway is that this is a country for anyone who’s willing to work hard. It doesn’t matter what you do, if you have something unique to offer, you can find your own path to success.Even if it’s something as little as cooking.
Canada is so multi-dimensional. When you meet people, they come from the most diverse backgrounds. I’ve learned a lot because of this multiculturism. People are also very accepting here; which is something I’ve learnt after launching my YouTube channel “Garden Time Homemade Cuisine”.
When we first came here, we wanted to raise our daughter to be someone who is healthy, happy and successful. Now seeing her as an independent, mature young adult, we feel very proud. She’s someone who’s always motivated, proactive and is kind to others. We have a lot of confidence in her future. We also feel pride and contentment in launching our online channel “Garden Time Homemade Cuisine” It always makes me smile when I get messages from moms (sometimes even dads) who have made my recipes and received compliments from their families. I find it especially rewarding when non-Chinese fans try out my recipes and fall in love with making Chinese food.
And I really look forward to sharing my experience and knowledge with more people around the world.
Cooking and food are the most integral part of anyone’s life; yet we don’t attach enough priority to these. We cook in haste and eat on the run – what happened to #eatingtogether. Lets #EatTogether
TianYuan and QiaoFu are wonderful people spreading knowledge & kindness and sharing with the community. Learn Chinese recipes on TianYuan’s YouTube channel Garden Time Homemade Cuisine and like her Facebook page Garden Time Homemade Cuisine to keep in touch.
Your New Mom BFF!!! I am a regular mom but I choose to live my life to the fullest in high heels and fiery red lipstick. I want to share everything I have learnt (and I have learnt a lot) about skin, beauty, food, health and LIFE – Lets just say I know what's the secret to glowing skin and how your night cream can get you there - and how you can get a flat tummy after 3 kids from my years of working on top brands as a marketing manager. Hope to see more of you!