When I decided to feature women who inspire me on my blog, I knew that the first woman I wanted to feature is my Popo (grandmother), Jacqueline Gim Ten Chiu.
My Popo was born in Chinatown, Vancouver, in 1928. At some point in her childhood, she moved back to China with her siblings, studied foreign language (english), and married my Gong Gong (grandfather). Popo’s family lived a wealthy life, but when communism took over China, they were forced to hand over all their belongings and money. Because she was born in Canada, Popo was able to move back to Vancouver, but was not able to bring Gong Gong. Her siblings that were born in China also had to stay behind.
Once Gong Gong was able to move to Vancouver, he and my Popo raised my dad and my aunts on Ontario and 23rd. During that time, Popo never forgot about her family in China. She worked very hard at various jobs and would send her earnings to her siblings overseas. The money that she sent back put her brother through med school and supported her family so that they could eventually move to Canada. When any family member or friend moved to Canada, Popo did her best to ensure that they felt welcome and found jobs and places to live. She was generous and kind to anyone she came across.
Growing up, Popo would take care of us grandchildren and we would go on fun excursions to the movies, Aquarium, and Science World. As adults, she would ask us how we were doing, when we were getting married, and when we were gonna give her great grandchildren.
During the last 10 years of her life, she spent a lot of time in and out of St. Paul’s Hospital going to dialysis treatments and being treated for other illnesses. Her experiences in the hospital made me realize how special she was. She would have conversations with everyone and remember all of the details of their lives – where they went to school, what their parents did, where they grew up, etc. Popo would also give chocolate bars to the nurses that frequently gave her dialysis treatments because she said it meant “better customer service”, but I knew she actually did this out of the goodness of her heart.
Even though Popo hasn’t been with us for over a year now, she continues to inspire me every single day. Her kindness and generosity is what I aspire to have and I will always strive to make her proud.