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Living Vertikal (2)

My Life in China: Kitty Wong's Story

Since coming to China almost two years ago, I have made friends with many of the Chinese people and learned a lot about how their culture is different than mine. I have often been struck by how different the Chinese education system is to my own as well. The children go to school in classes of 40 or more. They each have individual desks and rarely interact with their classmates or teachers. They are taught to focus on their own studies and can easily spend hours a day studying by themselves.


When they get older, there is a strong focus on marriage and finding a husband or wife as quickly as possible, so they can start a family. This is almost considered a measure of their life's success. I decided to ask someone firsthand about their experiences in China to gain a clearer understanding. It's very easy to have misconceptions of a place you've never lived before, so I also asked her perceptions of how Western women's experiences differed in similar situations. Please meet Kitty Wong, a 29-year-old Chinese woman from Southern China.

d382bd8ae87d9139df6458192532657c LIt's the beginning of a New Year and while I do not make resolutions because I set goals for myself daily, I do give each New Year a motto that I hope to exemplify in the way I live that year. For 2015, my motto is to be fearless. The simple and obvious definition of fearless is "lacking fear", but its synonyms are where I get my real inspiration: courageous, bold, lionhearted, heroic, brave and daring are the attributes that resonate the most with me.

Anyone who knows me knows Lion (his real name is George, but Lion is the name that stuck). Lion has been with me for many years and he has seen me through the most painful and scary times of my life. When I found out I was pregnant at the age of 19, Lion listened to me without judgment. When I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and bedridden, Lion was my pillow. When I experienced my first real heartbreak, Lion caught my tears. He's moved across the country with me and he has been on every trip I have ever taken. I am thirty-three years old and not ashamed to admit that I sleep with him every night.

The past five years have been exceptionally difficult in my life. I ended a dysfunctional marriage and later found out my daughter suffers from mental illness(s). I have always known something wasn't quite right, but my world turned upside down as she inched closer to adolescence. Eventually, diagnosis were given and treatment plans put into place, but there is still this huge question mark on her future. The daily struggles are only made worse knowing that they are punctuated by a giant unknown. I have felt weaker than I ever knew possible, I have felt tiny in a huge new world that I don't understand, and I feel daily like I have failed. But, every night, I go to bed with Lion under my head and every morning I wake up with Lion in my arms. I guess it isn't surprising, that between the scary situation I was facing and an ever-present lion in my life, my thoughts turned toward wondering how I could have the courage of a lion.

In 2014, my motto was "to live courageously". I felt broken down and timid, more like the lion from the Wizard of Oz, than a king of the jungle. I knew the Wizard was a fake, and I've never been one to ask anyone for help, so the last thing I'd consider courageous would be to ask for courage. I also knew that courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes, courage is the still quiet voice inside you that says "get up and try one more time". If I was measuring courage by that definition, than I was certainly very courageous every day. I may not have reached my goals for weight loss or certain ways I hoped to become more independent, but my quiet courage helped me make many difficult decisions for my daughter. It got me a promotion at work. It got me a new car and it laid the foundation for a new business venture. In thinking about becoming fearless, quiet courage is a necessary step in the process and I can see after writing this that I succeeded.

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