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Profile 2 - Sarah Tsiang

By Christine Hamelin with photography by Randy deKleine-Stimpson

Gene O'ReillySarah Tsiang lives in the moment, learning from her children’s fresh explorations of the world and writing sensuous, image-rich poems about them and her beloved adopted community.

Vivacious and engaged, she loves telling the somewhat magical story of her parents’ early years. Her father, Ken Tsiang, grew up poor and hungry in Shanghai; his parents were junk traders, and Ken often didn’t have shoes to wear. At 20, he immigrated to Canada and studied electrical engineering at McGill. His Chinese friends told him not to bother approaching white women, because they would never date a Chinese man, but one of his French-Canadian classmates thought it would be nice to invite him for dinner with his family. Ken was immediately smitten with his friend’s sister, Louise, who spoke only French. Ken spoke heavily accented English, so the brother had to translate.

“My mom instantly thought it was so interesting that they shared so many interests even though he came from the other side of the world,” says Sarah. The brother joined them on their first few dates. “My husband always speculates that there must have been overwhelming physical attraction, and it’s true that they were both beautiful people. That must have been part of it if they endured having to bring a third wheel on their dates to translate . . .

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