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Finding Where I Belong

The journey began in a suburb of British Columbia, Canada. Much like the suburbs everywhere else in North America, rows of houses, a safe and quiet place with friendly neighbours, I lived a comfortable life. Yet, I have never felt so out of place as a teenager. I struggled with making sense of who I am, where my place is in this world. At that time, my world was small, but I had bigger dreams.

Partially, it was due to my ethnicity. Born in Taiwan from mainland Chinese ancestry, I was always an "out-of-province" Taiwanese. After our family's immigration to Montreal, Canada, I added to the mix of multicultural colours in my elementary school classroom. Subsequently, we have moved to a completely Chinese neighbourhood in western Canada and then to one only White and East Indian. Growing up, I felt like an outsider.

At 14 years old, I knew the world was bigger and meandering in my adolescent low self-esteem was not going to get me anywhere. 14 was also the year I found my personal faith as a Christian, the year I visioned myself someday in Africa (No more World Vision ads, but I want to be there) and the year I gave up suburbia for an international scene. It was the year I decided to embark on a journey to embrace myself and the world around me.

That year, I traveled to Shanghai and discovered my five thousand year old heritage as a Chinese. My heart was opened to a world where poverty is contrasted by the excess materialism of "new money." The lives of people started to matter to me and I carried their hearts with me. My whole life's focus revolved around one question, "how can life be better for you?"

After university, I touched African ground for the first time as a community nutritionist in Tanzania. In my little village, I not only worked, but lived alongside my villagers. There, I met women whose minds and bodies are as strong as iron and whose hearts and souls are as gentle as doves and filled with the richness life. Working on the farm, chopping wood, fetching water to feed the family and waiting until all that's done to walk miles to give birth at the clinic, WOMAN, I found for the first time, is an incredible breed. Together, we laughed and mourned, danced and sang, we faced everyday adversities and life as it came. With strong wills, we stand to protect those whom we love.

Woman chooses to sacrifice herself daily for her family, for her community, for her country, for a better and more equal world.

Woman is the voice that needs to be heard loud and clear, united and powerful. Woman is the transformation the world needs.

Woman is who I am and where I find my courage. Woman is where I belong.

Applying to VOF is my first step in becoming an advocate for the women, not only women in my life, but women all over the world. Reading an issue of WorldPulse in 2010, I connected to the women and their stories. When I joined PulseWire, I am empowered through the women in this community. I would like to add my voice to the powerful voice of women through World Pulse. Let's turn on that speaker to the max!


susa's picture

Finding yourself

Dear Jen,

This is an inspiring story about how you found yourself, where you belong and your connection with the essence of 'woman'. More power to you for your faith in yourself at age 14 to know that the world was big and varied and you wanted to be a part of that. I sense from your writing that you have found what you were seeking.

Your story may serve to inspire others who feel like outsiders - whatever their situations. Thank you for sharing it.

Per the week 2 assignment, it would be interesting to know how the journey from childhood to adulthood, to China and Africa, led you to World Pulse and to apply for VOF.

Your story may serve to inspire others who feel like outsiders - whatever their situations.

With best regards,

jluoh's picture

Thank you Susa!

I apologize for the late reply. Thank you so much for the encougating words and connecting with me. That is what I found so inspirational in WorldPulse... connecting with likeminded women! =) Oh yes, thank you for reminding me to write about why I applied to VOF. I shall add it to the journal!

Deewai's picture

wonderful essay. wonderful

wonderful essay. wonderful insights :)

jluoh's picture


I just learned the "thank you" in tagalog.. So selamat (is that the right word?) to you, I am encouraged.

Debra Engle's picture

Beautiful writing

Your writing is moving and powerful. I especially like your description of the women in the village, "whose minds and bodies are as strong as iron and whose hearts and souls are as gentle as doves and filled with the richness life."

You've done a beautiful job describing your sense of feeling lost when you were younger, and I can imagine how that's given you a great empathy and commitment to help other women and girls.

Like Susa, I'd like to know how you came to World Pulse, and how you see this experience supporting your vision. I look forward to reading more of your posts!

Deb Engle

jluoh's picture

Thank you Debra!

Dear Debra,

Thank you so much for the encouraging words and even quoting my text. I really do find women so beautiful, not that we are better than men, but our functions are different. Women have a natural power to love, care and give. Women can compromise and bear more... maybe because God made women the procreator and not men for a reason.

I think every woman is a superwoman.

Yes, I have added briefly to why I joined World Pulse, though now I read it again, feels a bit abstract. There's so much we can learn and share with each other in this forum. Being in VOF is to tell the world the strong message we have... I would be part of this voice anyday.

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