People of Ryde presents Emma Chen
Published on 17 June 2020
A New Chapter Of My Life
When I was a little girl, I was always dreaming I could go somewhere far away from my small hometown village in China to explore the big world. 25 September 2004 was a memorable day in my life; my husband Wei and I, with our four-year-old daughter Miffy, landed in Sydney International Airport. I sat in the back seat of a friend’s car as we drove out of the airport and looked through the car windows outside. What a beautiful day – sunny, blue sky even the air was full of sweet unknown flower fragrances. It was hard to express my mixed emotions of excitement and anxiety. What would be my new life in Australia?
Life really did change and lots of things were confusing to me at the beginning. One day we went for a walk along our street and saw a big sign: ‘Garage Sale’. I was puzzled and said to Wei: “Why do people sell their garage? It is weird they can sell their property separately, garage, main dwelling, backyard and front yard?” When I talked to my friend about this, he could not stop laughing.
Another day I went to Woolworths and the staff kindly asked me at checkout whether I wanted any cash out. I was really shocked. “What? Can I get some cash out? Does that mean everything was free?”
There was no such thing as ‘garage sales’ or ‘cash out’ in China. Similar to other migrants, we have learned these things and ways to slowly merge into the local society.
The huge challenge was job hunting as a new skilled migrant. I achieved my university degree in information technology and had a few years work experience in China. Without local work experience, it was still hard to find my first job. Two weeks after arriving, I attended the English course for new migrants and joined Toastmaster Club to improve my English speaking. Meanwhile I started job hunting. I searched Yellow Pages and sent out my resumé to some small software companies offering to volunteer my services.
Luckily after another two weeks I got a volunteer job as Software Quality Analyst. After one month, the company offered me a permanent job due to my excellent performance. Another two years later and I got my second job in QAD Australia as a Senior Quality Analyst.
“I love that I have a job that I love,” was my motto, which drove me to climb the ladder further to become a Principal Quality Analyst and even Agent Lead over the years.
After some years living in a few different suburbs around Sydney, my family finally moved to North Ryde in 2013. Living in the Ryde area is easy and convenient. There’s public transport, schools and it is close to my work in Macquarie Park. We especially like the very kind and friendly community.
I joined a WeChat group for Chinese migrants in the Ryde area. We share school information, tips about children’s education and generally help each other. A few years ago, a Chinese family home burned down in Marsfield. People shared this sad news with the group and then donations were organised to encourage and support the family to recover from this horrible disaster. During this year of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in February, there were lots of families coming back from China after the Chinese New Year holiday. We reminded and even urged each other to stay home for the two weeks of isolation. If any family was isolated at home, lots of others were volunteering to deliver groceries and food.
There were countless good things that happened to our family because of living in Ryde and we’ve tried to repay those kindnesses by volunteering with local sports clubs, as well as more recently by volunteering with the COVID-19 emergency support efforts. We could not be more thankful to the local community and are so proud to be part of the Ryde community.
Written by Emma Chen