My Adventures

1. Coming To Canada
I was excited and nervous on that day from Beijing to Toronto.

2. My Trip To Banff
My roommate Robert Ironside in the graduate residence at the University of Toronto suggested and planned this trip for me. I was hoping my English was good enough so I wouldn’t get lost. I had a scary hitchhiking journey from Banff to Jasper.

3. Canvassing For Greenpeace
This was my first job outside the campus of the University of Toronto. Canvassing door to door, I was once yelled at by an Asian man, and once invited in to have a glass of wine by a Caucasian couple.

4. Visiting the United Kingdom
My first international vacation. A customs officer at the Heathrow Airport nearly made me go back to the plane I flew in. A handsome Scotsman invited me to smoke hashish in Edinburg. An English family gave me a warm welcome.

5. Portage In Algonquin
Portaging is probably one of the most authentic Canadian wildness experiences. It was how the natives traveled across lakes and land before the white people arrived. I nearly died in this trip. Yet I was reborn.

6. Singing, Song-writing And Recording A CD
My mother taught me to sing “do re mi fa so la ti” when I was about five. I was a singing star in my primary school. I began taking voice lessons while doing my graduate studies in China. After finding a job in Toronto, I was able to afford voice lessons. Mark Wilson was my best teacher. When I found that songs written by others couldn’t express my emotions and feelings, I started writing my own songs, which led to my self-released CD Album “It’ll Be Alright” in 1996.

7. Surfing, Portaging, Rock Climbing
I wrote about these three activities I have done and had it published in fab, a bi-weekly gay scene magazine in Toronto.

8. Playing Water Polo
My admiration for the physique of water polo players drew me into this sport. I could barely swim one lap of the 25m pool when I first started. Eventually I doubled my speed and was able to survive a 2-hour training session in the pool. I played my first water polo tournament as a member of the Seattle Otters team during the 2001 International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics Championships in Toronto. Toronto didn’t have enough players to form a team then. Through this sport, I met some very good people, straight or gay.  

9. Writing A Memoir
My mother taught me to write sentences, essays and revolutionary poems. I enjoyed writing classical Chinese prose (文言文) in high school. I went on study science in university partially because the whole China revered scientists. I became interested in writing again, in English, when I took free English classes from Debby Repka while I studied chemistry at the University of Toronto. After releasing my CD, I compiled all my written essays into a book form. I rewrote the book for several years. Three publishers offered to publish it. But we couldn’t agree on the terms. My writing skill improved a great deal thanks to my editors and writing friends, mostly, Jean Yoon and Marni Jackson.

10. Sky Diving
My mother paid me for this sky dive as a birthday gift.

11. Building An Igloo
I flew to a half-Cree and half-Inuit community in Northern Quebec to learn to build an igloo from an Inuit elder. After building it, I slept in it overnight, holding a dagger to fend off possible wolf attack. A couple of locals were on-call by Walkie-talkie that night just in case. It was a thrilling experience. What I learned about the issues in this native community was shocking.

12. Peace Activist
When the Bush administration insisted on invading Iraq to search for weapon of mass destruction (WMD), despite UN inspectors had proved that Iraq didn’t have it, I was reminded of how China had been invaded by imperialist powers since the First Opium War. It was always about using excuses to conquer for material gain. I joined the committee in Toronto that coordinated the worldwide anti-war protest on February 15, 2003. I took the role to promote this event in the Chinese and gay community. I also produced a peace postcard with my artist friend Aries Cheung. While working against the world’s super power, I occasionally feared that if my conviction were wrong and that there were indeed WMD in Iraq, people like me might be retaliated by “the new Rome”. Now, I can rest my fear and trust my instinctive conviction even more.

13. Being An Entrepreneur
After I was laid off from my chemist position in a Swiss company, I decided to write my own job description, which would include what I enjoyed doing: theatre acting, rock climbing and facilitating. So I started my own company www.thepingway.com and began to offer experiential team building. I was fearless, thinking that the worst would happen would be hat I would not make money and become homeless, which would still be okay as I had accepted an even greater risk – death – in my outdoor rock climbing hobby.

14. Becoming A Parent
I had hoped to find a marriage-like relationship by the age of 30 and have a child by 35. It did not happen. Relationship was a subject totally different from the scientific, logic subjects I had studied in my education. Finally, I decided not to wait for a relationship before having child. I would like to raise my child(ren) while I am relatively young and fit. In the past years I have explored surrogacy, co-parenting and adoption. I am now moving towards surrogacy and hoping to have the pregnancy news in August 2008.