Passion Profile: Hope Lui. I interview this avid runner and kindergarten teacher from Hong Kong. Exercise in Hong Kong is looked at strangely. Hope discovered running in a US high school and brought it back with her to Hong Kong. Her passions are running and teaching children.
“Running is like breathing for me. It’s part of my life”-Hope
How old are you?
Where do you live?
Hong Kong. I moved to the US when I was 9. I came back to Hong Kong after high school.
How did you get into running?
I ran cross country in high school in the US. Everyone I knew was active as a teen.
Running is freedom. When I saw my grandfather at 97 limited to a wheelchair, I realized I don't want to end up in a wheelchair. I'm thankful I have legs to run.
Did you continue running in Hong Kong?
The culture is different. People think it's hard to run in Hong Kong because of the humidity and lack of space.
Why did you continue running in Hong Kong?
Health. And, it just felt right. It's the only thing that made sense to me. Running gives me a sense of gratefulness, a way to relax and forget work.
What's your running schedule?
3 times a week, I run 7-8 kilometers sometimes, 10-15km.
A couple times a week, I weight lift and do sit-ups and bodyweight exercise.
What do you parents do for fitness?
My dad rides his bike and hikes. Since his brother passed away from cancer, he's been more active.
How is Hong Kong different than the US?
There is a low awareness of health and exercise. People just watch what they eat, but not many pay attention to exercising.
With the popularity of exercise in the US, is any influence happening in Hong Kong?
The new trend in Hong Kong are martial arts. Thai boxing is becoming very popular here.
What would you do if you couldn’t run? If something happened and you couldn’t run for 6 months, how would you feel?
I had an experience several years ago, in which I got a knee injury when training for a half-marathon. Not only was I unable to take part in the race, I was also told by my doctor to stay off the road for about 3 months. It was as long as 6 months, but it was already torture to me. I could feel the difference physically and emotionally. I felt heavier, bloated. My movements were more sluggish. I was also crankier and grumpier (lol), and I’m pretty sure I was falling into depression by the third month. I never felt happier when I went back to the doctor for a checkup and he gave me the go-ahead to start running. I was back on the road the same day.
Besides running, what other passions do you have? Passion meaning when you do it, you love it and couldn’t live well without ever being able to do it?
Reading. Growing up, my dad has placed a huge emphasis on the importance of reading, so it’s safe to say I was surrounded by books my whole life. Another passion I’ve picked up in the recent years is discovering more ways to stay healthy. I’ve learned that sometimes it’s not about making big changes in your life, but gradually shifting your life towards a healthier direction. I’ve switched to making my own juice/smoothies rather than buying from grocery stores, or cutting out sodas and processed sugar in my meals, or using natural remedies in place or store-bought products.
What’s your job?
I'm a kindergarten teacher. I've been one for nearly 8 years. I’m in the midst of changing careers. I want to focus on helping special needs kids.
What does special needs mean?
Autism, ADHD, Aspergers, or kids with speech delay.
Why are you changing careers?
I want new challenges and want to help kids. I noticed in the classroom environment the special needs kids lack resources.
Why teaching kids and not teens or adults?
Personal preference, I guess? I just love this particular age group. Kids never judge, and they can be very unpredictable, which at times can be downright hilarious. When I go to work, I just love anticipating what my kids have in store for me.
Is teaching your passion? Is it what gives you purpose in life?
Working with children is my passion. I think this stage of life is the most important part because they are just starting to understand the world, so to me it’s important to help them set a good foundation.