Angie has a simple philosophy when it comes to living her life. Tapestry’s newest resident Ambassador believes you should pursue your personal desires with determined passion and be led by your inner voice that provides the most authentic guide.
“Don’t let anything or anyone hold you back,” says Angie, reflecting on her personal mantra. “Just do what you think you should do. Think outside of the box and move outside of the box.”
Angie’s personal philosophy is reflected in how she lives her life at Tapestry. Since moving into the community with her beloved shih tzu poodle, Charlie, she has forged her own path, continuing to push boundaries as she fully embraces experiences and lives a rich and meaningful life.
In September, Angie put her philosophy into action when she and several Tapestry neighbours and employees jumped out of a plane at 10,000 feet in a tandem skydive, free-falling at 120 miles per hour. When she landed safely on the ground, a relived Angie proudly flashed her hands which featured the message, “Hi Kids!,” written in bold magic marker. She is particularly thankful that Tapestry has been supportive of her unique pursuits and enabled adventures that others might believe are impossible for someone in their late 70s.
While Angie has always had an adventuresome spirit, as a young girl she admits to being somewhat quiet preferring to observe others. She was born in China at the end of the Second World War and raised in Hong Kong where she enjoyed a peaceful and sheltered childhood as part of a large extended family.
When Angie was only 11-years-old, she fondly remembers accompanying her beloved father, a doctor, who volunteered with St. John Ambulance to provide free medical services to the poor living in nearby rural areas. She would proudly work with him as he met patients, handing him cotton balls and other supplies.
Angie watched and learned important life lessons as he gently treated those in need with dignity and compassion. It was an experience she would never forget and one that influenced her own desire to pursue a career in medicine. “Both my parents were doctors so you could say I was fully immersed in a medical background,” says Angie.
It was at Hong Kong University’s prestigious medical school that Angie would meet the man of her dreams and the fellow doctor that would become her husband and the father of their two children. Her eyes still shine when she describes the ambitious young man, who was also her teacher. He would steal her heart in an instant. “He was very bright, had graduated with an MD from McGill University and was good-looking and a bit of a playboy….who wouldn’t want to date him?!”
Angie and her husband immigrated to Canada in 1970 and settled in Toronto where she would become a respected child psychiatrist.
Like all working mothers, she juggled a very demanding full-time job with raising a busy family. Her responsibilities were complicated by the fact that she had to learn even basic domestic duties as being raised in a Hong Kong home with servants left her particularly ill equipped to manage a household.
“I don’t really like to remember those days,” says Angie, reflecting on the competitive pressure she placed on herself to excel in all aspects of her personal and professional life. “I wanted to do everything right. Looking back now, it was just nonsense….a waste of energy.”
The lives of Angie and her children were profoundly impacted when her husband suddenly passed away in 2004 on a family vacation. It was a painful and tragic loss for everyone. Angie relied on the support of her family and friends to navigate the immense pain. She channeled her grief into creating quilts, which were a symbolic expression of love and the intense personal loss she experienced as she survived those dark days.
Without her beloved husband and with her children grown, travelling the world became a source of joy and a respite of sorts for Angie. She started her explorations with short trips soon followed by a 12-day solo adventure in Scotland that set the tone for how she would live her life and define her future years. “When I drove out of Edinburgh, I was just so excited and I yelled to myself, ‘I am not anybody’s doctor, mother, sister or wife….I am just me and I am free.’”
A few years ago, Angie decided it was time to leave Toronto, where she had re-settled after returning from years spent living and practicing in Hong Kong. While walking Charlie on a bitterly cold Ontario day, she slipped on a sheet of ice and broke her wrist. It was a clear sign that it was time to move to a more temperate climate and live in a community that could support her, while allowing her to live independently and be completely herself, with her faithful companion Charlie, of course!
Angie says moving to Tapestry at Victoria Harbour has turned out to the perfect fit as it offers an amazing location and wonderful community filled with engaged people who enjoy the opportunity to interact and connect. “I love the climate and living downtown with access to parks, stores, the water and gorgeous scenery,” says Angie. “I have made many friends, there are lots of activities, large social events and the food at Tapestry is wonderful.”
The move to Victoria also brought Angie closer to one of her two son’s family, including three grandchildren. Angie enjoys spending quality time with them as she often attends their sporting events, helps out with driving to activities and loves teaching the older grandchildren how to cook Chinese food. Her other son’s family, who lives in Ottawa, visited Victoria this summer and plans to return often having enjoyed the city and its unique community vibe.
At Tapestry, Angie has found kindred spirits who share her positive perspective that life is to be fully lived at every age. Angie recently worked with a keen group of fellow residents who passionately created the “Patchwork of the Heart” quilt, which was raffled to ticket buyers with more than $20,000 raised for displaced Ukrainian nationals.
“I am surrounded by friends who encourage me to do what I want to do and live outside of the box,” says Angie. “Right now, I couldn’t imagine a better place for Charlie and I than Tapestry.”