I am a recent immigrant to the United States and have lived here for four years now. I was born in Northwest China, in Shaanxi, a province known for its Terracotta Warriors. I have a bachelor's degree in Chinese Language and Literature. When I was in college, like thousands of other young students, I participated in the Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989. After I graduated, I moved to Hong Kong. Around that time the Chinese government was loosening its tight control of the economy. Private businesses started to grow and flourish, and I became a successful entrepreneur and eventually earned my MBA.
In 2009, becoming ever more aware of the uncertainty of the political environment in Hong Kong, my family moved to New Zealand, where we proudly became citizens. We were deeply in love with our new home, with its land, its people, and with our many neighbors, and we felt so grateful that, after many years of wandering, we had finally settled in a place where we were warmly accepted and where we felt we belonged. I became involved with the community in Auckland, especially through volunteering, and I was very engaged with the parish at St Mark’s Church, consistently participating in Sunday school and Mainly Music.
My family moved to Cambridge in 2017. This time the move came more out of a curiosity toward the unknown, a desire to explore more of the world, than the search for a home. But as I experience more of this region, as I really come to know it, I now feel that this is my home too. (Sometimes I question myself if one person can have two homes...) I have become an active volunteer in the Shady Hill School community and am currently the Shady Hill Fund Parenting Co-Chair. I am presently taking a master’s degree in Theology at BU.
My connection to music began in the 1970s, not in any professional way, but it was essential for me and a beautiful part of my childhood. My family has always loved music; my mother was a doctor, but also a very good singer. We sang together after dinner. Though we didn’t have any instruments, we were the instruments ourselves. The other source of music was the radio. The most popular performances came from the Peking Opera and the Shaanxi local opera, with its folk genre, Qinqiang. I never went to a concert as a child, but I did watch opera productions many times at the local New Year Festival, performances which can go on for 15 days. We loved these so much, because they were true entertainment for everyone, in an age without television and internet.
I grew up in a government-owned manufacturing site for the assembly of airplanes, which was far away from any town or city. The nearest small city was 30 miles away, which really was quite far, as the most common mode of transportation was the bicycle. On every working day at our site, at half hour before the shifts began, the community radio station played music and read articles from the People’s Daily over speakers in the street. The sound was so loud, it could be heard for several miles. Luckily, most of the time they played classical music, often from Eastern Europe, such as Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake. That daily routine lasted my whole childhood, for the 12 years that I lived there. In the community primary school, I also had a chance to learn the violin, though only for one year. The first piece I learned was “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”
My connection with Benjamin Zander started at a neighborhood gathering and then at a few concerts I attended with my husband, George. Ben’s passion and love for music brings a spark; it lights up the whole atmosphere around him, even without a conductor’s baton. George and I so much admire this high spirit that Ben brings to music.
As I have moved from place to place, my interests and hobbies have changed. Swimming and cycling are my favorite activities from my life in China; paddle boarding, kayaking, and hiking are the ones I love that I learned in New Zealand; and gardening is now my favorite activity in Cambridge.