Ying Wa Spirit Enhances my Adaptability

Lam Kam Yin, Trista (1998)

Giving up everything and starting afresh in an unfamiliar place is undoubtedly challenging.  I embarked on a new journey to Calgary, Canada in May 2022 to pursue a Master of Social Work degree with clinical specialization in trauma-informed practice.  Upon graduation in April 2023, I decided to settle down in Calgary.  The deeply ingrained Ying Wa spirit in my flesh and bones has guided me through every challenge in these 20 months. 

Ms Chow Siu Fung (left) visiting me in summer 2023


With the spirit “Yes, I can make it”, I finished my demanding work under the pandemic at the midnight of 1 May 2022, with less than 24 hours to prepare for my new journey to a city I knew virtually no one and had limited knowledge.  Thrilled about returning to school, I soon realized I needed to catch up on the latest study technology.  Fascinated about studying trauma-informed practice, I was abruptly aware that I have suffered from serious compassion fatigue including vicarious trauma after years of serving.  This realization sparked inner struggles about abandoning my helping profession.  Challenges continued upon graduation as I searched for accommodation, assembled furniture single-handedly, retook a driving test, bought a car…, and I made it, drawing on the independence and perseverance instilled in me at Ying Wa.

On Abraham Lake


Ying Wa has always been a valuable source of support even though we are physically apart.  Friends from Ying Wa frequently expressed care and offered support whenever I needed.  Former teacher Mr Pun Hung Fung reached out when I was visiting Vancouver, and we met for recalling fond memories in Ying Wa.  My sincerest gratitude extends to our Vice Principal, Ms Chow Siu Fung (1982), visiting me in summer 2023 and offering me tremendous support during my most stressful period of taking care of my aged parents who were visiting me and a highly suicidal friend.  It was a great pity that I missed the opportunity to meet our caring former Principal Mrs Ruth Lee (1972) during her stay in Calgary due to a retreat.  I hope to connect with Ying Wa alumnae in Calgary.  Please send me an email trista@lifejourneycounselling.com and let’s get connected.

Clear sky in May 2022


Despite the hectic life of study, practicum, and daily life, I consistently explored the breathtaking Nature of Calgary and surrounding areas.  I also travelled to various cities in Canada to fully immerse myself in the Canadian experience.  Having visited over 680 cities in 70+ countries, I genuinely fell in love with Calgary for its stunning Nature and positive vibes of Calgarians.  The spirit of "go" provides me the courage to explore the world and ultimately finds my settlement in Calgary. 

Tranquility in Autumn


“Not to be Served but to Serve” is deeply implanted in my mind and heart.  During a 10-day silent retreat in Oct 2023, I heard my inner calling for continuous service, putting an end to my struggles of leaving the helping profession.  Thanks to the spirit of “serve”, my volunteer experience in different countries such as India and Malawi, facilitated me to land my dream job, walking through trauma with refugees from all over the world.  Additionally, I established my own counseling service, Life Journey Counselling, to serve the Chinese community.

Thank you Ying Wa! 

I feel privileged and grateful to be an alumna of Ying Wa.  With the invaluable guidance of the Ying Wa spirit, I successfully reconstructed my career and life in a new place, dedicating myself to continued service.

An article written by the author for the Feb 2019 issue of our newsletter can be accessed here.