My earliest memories were the rhythmic crash of ocean waves meeting the shore, the salty fog rolling in just thick enough to make the water and the sky blend together. I was born in Half Moon Bay, a beautiful and vibrant harbor town in California
I grew up in a traditional family in the sense of two supportive, intelligent, working parents raising two kids. My dad grew up in China and immigrated to the U.S. alone at the age of 16 with nothing. He studied software engineering in undergrad, where he met my mom, and went on to earn his MBA. My mom grew up in a small town in rural northern Minnesota and became an occupational therapist. Both of my parents were the first generation in their families to pursue higher education; I was the luckiest kid to grow up with two of the greatest examples of grit and perseverance. I was taught that with enough discipline and hard work, any achievement is within grasp.
Our house in Half Moon Bay was just minutes away from the ocean, which was really fun. No chance of getting a random foot of snow in April! Our family moved to Minnesota when I was five, to a rural part of Hugo. The school district I grew up in was not the most diverse. Which, when you’re a kid and all you want to do is fit in and look like everyone else, was hard at times.