My name is Hsin-Yi, which roughly translates to “Heart’s Wishes” in English. The Chinese believe that the name you bestow on a child will determine their fortune in life, so I guess my name was chosen so that “all my heart’s wishes would come true”. Sometimes, though, I can’t help wishing that my parents had just named me “Lottery Winner”. I mean, why be coy about it, right?
So. I guess this is where I’m supposed to tell you about myself. People always say all this inspirational stuff about their childhood and their “journey through life” and how it’s made them who they are…I don’t know – I’m kinda embarrassed when I listen to others talk about how they always knew they wanted to be a vet or an actor or something when they grew up. Me? Well, all I ever wanted to be was Nancy Drew…and that was largely because she had “titian” hair.
So yeah. No grand ambitions here, I’m afraid. I tried the corporate ladder and didn’t get much further than the bottom rungs before I gladly jumped off. Not that I don’t have dreams, of course. One of them is to be a published author; to see a book – a real book – on a shelf one day, with my name on its cover – and this blog is partly – hopefully – going to follow me on that journey. (Another dream is being able to cook a meal one day without burning something but don’t worry, I won’t subject you to that lost cause.)
Mostly, though, this blog is going to be like sips from the multi-cultural soup that is my life. When people ask me where I’m from, I usually ask them, “Do you want the long version or the short version?” Because my background & history are more complicated than a Lost plotline and people’s eyes usually glaze over by the time I’ve got to my 10th birthday.
Well, to begin with, I – along with a million plastic products – have the dubious honour of being “Made in Taiwan” but I left the Ilha Formosa at 6 yrs old, following my parents’ divorce, to live with my mother & stepfather, in a succession of countries. By the time I was 10, I had lived in 6 homes, changed my first language and started a new school every year…all this change can seriously mess up a child and lead to a lot of confusion (like what uniform to wear in the mornings) but I guess I muddled through OK.
Fast forward 18 years and I’m now living Down Under, after some ‘wild’ unversity years at Oxford and a stint working in advertising in London – all this following my teenage years growing up in the United Arab Emirates which has left me with a fondness for things like tabouleh, baklava, shish taouk & shawarma….and the ability to swear in Arabic like a trooper.
And along the way, I’ve somehow managed to pick up a wonderful husband, a huge, slobbery dog, two rescue cats, an assortment of cardboard boxes and a slightly dodgy “trans-atlantic” accent.
I’ve been told that I’m a typical Aries: loud, volatile and hot-tempered, impatient and bossy; I don’t suffer fools at all (never mind gladly!) – and am an ‘eternal optimist’ (which is just a polite way of saying I have single-minded, terrier stubborness when I’ve set my mind on a goal). I’m also supposed to be a perfectionist and a Type A ‘over-achiever’ – which is another way of saying I’m a rabid control freak and I do things like drive my family crazy with detailed, self-made itineraries for every holiday, scheduled down to the toilet stops during each day’s sightseeing…
I’m a lousy loser; can never resist a challenge and add chillis to everything I eat. Oh, and I love animals (yes, even snakes & spiders, although I draw a firm line under cockroaches), am facinated by dogs, and I’m an obsessive, chain-reader. Books are my drug.
And if you’re still here (and your eyes haven’t glazed over yet) and you’d like to find out more about me and why I started this blog, check out my first post: A banana by any other name…