I was fortunate enough to spend a few years living in China. Julia Yu immediately reminded me of the fine qualities of the Chinese people. Dedication. Hard work. Simplicity. A drive to do better and create a better life for family. Commitment to friends, family, country and culture.
Right away you can tell that Julia has drive and is committed to making the best life for herself and her family. You can also tell who her priority is: Meet at 1pm on Tuesday? OK, but not too late because I have to go pick up my kids at school.
Julia is humble. Could you describe your success story? I don’t think I’m successful – I’m just a normal person doing what I need to get along with life.
Julia comes from Dandong city in Liaoning province in the North East part of China, right on the border with North Korea. With just under three quarters of a million people, Dandong is a small city by Chinese standards. It’s quite a change coming to a town of forty thousand, so why make the move?
Before coming to Campbell River she lived in Vancouver for three years. However, the substantial immigrant population in Vancouver left Julia feeling lost in the immigrant community there. Moving to Campbell River has breathed fresh air into her life as a Canadian. Here she feels connected to the community and the people of it.
In Vancouver it was easy to get stuck in the immigrant community and feel isolated. By contrast, here she can connect with locals more easily and as a result feels much more happy with life here.
Julia likes Campbell River because she feels the people are nice and the small community creates a feeling of being in a family. It is much easier to feel closer to other people. She finds it easier to find her way around and easier to get to know everyone.
There is a strong sense of inclusiveness in the community, and Julia has felt comfortable to participate in community events such as the Community Dialogue at the Maritime Heritage Center, Inclusive Leadership Adventure, and community parades such as Canada Day, Remembrance Day, and the Annual Walk Away from Racism.
The small community of Campbell River has also given Julia a great opportunity to improve her English. Julia finds it much easier to practice and improve English in the community because of the easy-going nature of the residents. As well, the lack of a substantial immigrant population has forced her to learn to rely on her own language abilities. Julia emphasizes that she has greatly improved English ability because of coming here and she is very proud of that fact that she can now speak two languages, while her friends back home still only speak one.
Julia loves the environment of Campbell River, especially the trees, mountain and sea.
In Chinese culture, mountains, water and trees are often referenced in poetry and literature as comprising the ideal habitat. Paintings with mountains, water and trees serve to further promote the dream and mystery of such places.
It would seem that living in a place like Campbell River, with its abundance of rich evergreen forests, vast green seas and majestic snow-capped peaks, is like living in a dream land.
Julia is a fully qualified and experienced high school science teacher, but unfortunately Julia has been unable to find work in her profession. Language ability is still a barrier, but so is ourcountry’s acceptance of her education and experience. But being in such an environment, with its kind people and peaceful atmosphere has inspired Julia to volunteer as a tutor with the Campbell River Christian School.
Julia and her family have really accepted life here and consider Campbell River and Canada to be their home. She sincerely hopes to be able to use her skills as a teacher but for now is content to volunteer as a tutor.
She sees that Campbell River has much opportunity in the future. Its growing population can only mean more opportunity and new ideas. She wonders why we export so many of our raw materials. All the products in the stores are made in China, but made from our resources, she observes. Why not build furniture here? We have the wood and the carpenters. We have our own unique native-influenced art. It’s time for Canada to start using its skills, not just give the world its resources.
I’m sure that Julia Yu is going to help us figure out how to do that.
Interviewed and prepared by the volunteer Mr. Dave Brown