“Who are these tall and big people? What are they saying?” These were the questions I asked my mother while I was holding her hand walking through the Financial District in Hong Kong. My mother responded, “they are foreigners from other countries. They are speaking in English. You will learn English in school.” “What is their home like?” I asked further. “I don’t know”. Mother replied. “I like to see their home, when I am older,” I continued my conversation.
Being born and raised in Hong Kong (a British Colony from 1896 to 1996), the bilingual system forced students to learn English. It was the second language in school. Both of my parents came to Hong Kong for a better future for their family. My father was the roast goose master who prepared and delivered delicious roast geese to local famous restaurants. The taste of father’s roast goose was just out of this world.
Most children would start supporting the family after 6th grade. My parents expected me to follow the same path. Mother had a part time job to supplement the family income by cleaning office buildings. When I was 11 years old, I joined her over the weekends to clean the Standard Chartered Bank building. It was my first paid job. (Oh yes, child labor law was not invented yet in Hong Kong.)
Even though I was anything but a child prodigy, I really enjoyed my classes in school. By the end of 6th grade, I wondered what it would take to get into high school. I quietly took the high school entrance test at a local high school and expected the test result would come to me. The high school sent my father the acceptance letter instead. To my surprise, my parents let me go.
After graduating, I worked as an ‘Office Girl’ with an import and export firm. Later, I landed a job as ‘filing clerk’ with an American shipping company. I was fascinated with the itinerary of each vessel. I thought it would be fun to explore the world by working on board of such a vessel, but my manager told me they only hire men.
Exploring the world was always my fascination. Due to financial constraints, pursuing a higher education in the US, Canada, England, or Australia was not an option for me. Like most youngsters, I shared hopes and dreams with friends. One of my friends was planning to continue her education in France. She shared information on the academic and financial requirements with me. After a few months with Alliance Francaise to learn basic French, I got accepted at the Sorbonne in Paris.
While attending school at the Sorbonne, I took on a job as an ‘Au Pair’ for a family with an 8 years old girl. It was a dream come true to live with a French family. What a great way to learn about the culture of the country.
All my classmates came from different countries. We got acquainted quite well by having a cup of coffee or gatherings after class. We learned about each other’s cultures and traditions. I also met my first American friends who suggested I visit the US. I joined the Student Exchange program, and worked as a chambermaid in one of the motels in Wildwood, New Jersey. During the first 10 weeks in Wildwood, my job was to clean 14 motel rooms in the morning, and I hung out with my new friends on the beach for the rest of the day. Towards the end of the summer, I took an unplanned trip across the US by Greyhound bus.
My American friends invited me to their New Jersey home by the end of that summer. During the visit, they encouraged me to continue my education in the US. With their support and encouragement, I started my college education with Pasadena City College in the following summer. In the assessment tests, I excelled in math.
After receiving my BS degree in Math/Computer Science from CSULB, my first job was with a court reporting software developing company in Irvine. The task seemed quite challenging at first, but the subsequent assignments became easier as time went on. The company was sold, and my job function was eliminated after 3 years of service. My next job was with another software developer - Reynolds and Reynolds – designing software for car dealerships. The job was both challenging and rewarding. Again, 3 years later, the company decided to close the Western region development unit.
With some help from a friend, I got a job with Pepperdine University in Malibu. My job functions were to support the financial and employee benefit systems. The University encouraged employees to take classes with the benefit of a healthy tuition discount. This way I completed my MBA degree while working at the University.
After some research into its causes, I decided to participate in the MS Challenge Walk – 50 miles in 2.5 days. After knowing how horrible MS was, I embraced my good fortune and good health. I completed 3 more walks in the following years.Looking for another challenge, Forex trading came up in one of the conversations with my friends. OTA was the only company that offered Forex trading in my area at the time. It was totally foreign to me, but I eventually got the concept of it.
After Farmers Insurance outsourced the entire IT function to India, my job ended. I spent more time pursuing Forex trading than looking for another job. Understanding Forex trading was only part of the game, mastering the game was another challenge.
Just as I felt that I was on my way to be a better Forex trader, I was diagnosed with cancer. The treatment did not take long, but the recovery seemed to be an eternity. I am a proud survivor and am grateful for my medical team. Not long after my recovery, I retook classes again with OTA. Each day when I came to the class, I felt the positive energy and love from this place. With the help from my friend Gina Monette, I am now one of the Clik Support Specialists.