“We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.” – Dr. Seuss
Sophia and I met through a mutual friend at a Japanese buffet in Hong Kong back in September 2015. There was a big group of us, so I didn’t get to say much more than a ‘hi’ to her at the time. Luckily, she started dating one of my friends, so we hung out a few more times before she left to head back to Canada a month later as her 6-month internship was up…but she promised to return!
And never one to break a promise, she flew back in 2017, pretty soon after I’d returned to HK after travelling for 6 months.
To make up for lost time, we always made sure to arrange a date at least once a week to explore and eat our way around Hong Kong – it was the best!
Sophia is one of the funniest people that I know and is wise beyond her years (but don’t tell her, else her head will get even bigger)! She radiates positivity, enthusiasm and is always up for an adventure. She has never let me down and is always on time (apart from a handful of times where she was a few minutes late and mate, I’m not angry – just disappointed).
Most importantly, her multiple-chin game is very strong, an essential for the BFF friendship level.
While being simultaneously chilled out and happy to go with the flow, she is also an avid lover of a good Excel spreadsheet and I can’t wait until we’re reunited in Thailand!
Hi Sophia, tell us a little about yourself.
Hello 👋 My name is Sophia! I was born in Calgary, Canada and currently live in Melbourne, Australia because of a boy who snores very loudly when he sleeps (please help). I’ve also lived in Guangzhou and Hong Kong for some time.
I love to swim even though the last time I actually swam was probably a year ago. I also like to read and am currently reading the Harry Potter series. Most of the time I’m either watching Netflix or my Chinese dramas because I’m a sucker for soapy plots.
I like to eat but I don’t like to cook. Travelling is something I love to do because it gives you perspective and you get to try ALL THE FOOD.
One more thing about me – I only eat apples that are sliced and skinned because I ain’t about that biting life (Baby or Princess? You decide).
In these unprecedented times, how are you doing and what are you doing to keep yourself occupied?
The last few years have been very much go-go-go for me. I’ve moved 4 countries in 4 years so one positive thing about being in lockdown is that I can’t go anywhere and finally have the time to unwind and reflect.
I’m also loving the extra time I get to watch all the TV shows I missed!
I’m trying out baking as well but not because I think it’s fun but because the bakery prices are insane in Melbourne and I’m cheap af.
What are you most looking forward to doing when freedom is upon us again?
Travelling! Especially with Queenie 😉
And also meeting new people again.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
I’ve never dreamed or envisioned myself in any particular occupation as a kid. I just saw myself as being successful. Is that weird? I just think that success is something you define yourself and if you’re happy then you’re successful.
What is your proudest achievement?
Ok, guys. My proudest achievement to this day was when I made Captain of my school patrol squad in Grade 6. I peaked when I was 11 y’all!
Also moving to Hong Kong by myself without a job prospect and then landing a job that I loved and being able to live out my dream to live in HK was also pretty cool, I guess.
Or maybe it was that one time I found $50 CAD on the floor and went to buy myself chips. That was epic!
Do you ever wish you were raised differently?
Yes and no. Sometimes I would imagine what life would be like or how I would have turned out if I was born in a different country or my parents did things differently. But, my parents were always loving and supportive of everything I do which isn’t the same for many families. They did their best with what they had/knew and sacrificed alot for my brother and I and I will always be grateful for that.
I think as children, we sometimes look back and blame our parents for things but remember to take a moment to think in their shoes and empathise with them. No one knows how to parent until they become one.
For many immigrant families like mine, my parents had to work hard to survive to give us what we have now. It’s easy for us to talk about our ‘passion’ and ‘dreams’ when we don’t have to worry about having a roof over our heads like they did. I think it’s so important to understand that they never even had a chance to even think about their dreams so as children, we need to understand where they’re coming from but also follow our own dreams. It’s a difficult balance especially if what they want for you isn’t what you want for yourself. I know I’m very lucky that my parents support me in everything.
What’s the best gift you’ve been given?
The gift of life? Thanks Mom and Dad!
I’ve never been a huge gift kind of person but if I had to choose one, I would say this Telebubbies toy I got when I was a kid. My family wasn’t well off so I never had toys but this one time my uncle took me to Toys’ R Us and got me a gift there and I remember being really really happy. But like all materialistic things, the novelty wore off and that toy didn’t bring me any more happiness than what I had at home.
Do you collect anything?
The tears of my enemies and dust bunnies because I’m a lazy butt.
If money was no object, what would you do all day?
I would travel with my family! And also start a foundation to give back to the community and help others.
What is your biggest fear?
Worms. Those things are NASTY. Like, have you ever heard of legs?
What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done?
Moving to China to work for a condom company. It was hard and just wasn’t the right fit for me (Hah, get it?)
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
Ugh, too old. I don’t want to talk about it.
To be honest, I’m not really sure! I never imagined myself living in Australia yet here I am. Life is unpredictable so I’m just going along with whatever happens.
I do see myself being happy (just like I am now) and spending time with my family & friends which at the end of the day is what truly matters.
If you were the ruler of your own country, what would be the first law you would introduce?
Hmm, equal pay for equal work.
If you were a super-hero, what powers would you have?
Teleportation would be so awesome.
And eating as much food without getting fat, breaking out, and health consequences.
If you could go back in time to change one thing, what would it be?
Absolutely nothing. I stand by all the decisions I made in the past because it’s what made sense for me at the time. We don’t have hindsight so no point in stressing out about what could have been / what ifs.
What’s the most unusual thing you’ve ever eaten?
Insect ice cream. I was going through a breakup at that time.
What would be your ‘death row meal’?
Give me a big bowl of Cheetos and I’ll be able to die in peace.
If I were to come round to your house for dinner, what would you cook for me?
More like you need to bring me food. I’ll supply the wine.
It’s really for the best to help you avoid food poisoning!
What’s your most prized possession and why?
I’m going to say my phone because I’ll literally die without it and it connects me to my family who live halfway across the world.
What personality traits do you share with your relatives?
I’m really funny. Like, reaaaaalllyyyyy funny.
Which of your personality traits are you most proud of and why?
Did I mention that I’m really funny? I once made this girl laugh so hard she had snot fly out of her nose!
What’s the first thing you look for in a partner and/or friend?
Trust and the ability to make me laugh!
What is your favourite memory of ours?
Queenie isn’t even my friend. She promised me $10 for this.
There’s a lot, like us laughing at Kanna’s story at TST station, me rubbing my sweat on her after a hike, our weekly hang-outs in Hong Kong which always ends up at the $5 HKD clothing shops, our foodie adventures etc.
Oh wait! I remember! That one time I went on a Tinder date with her and her match, risking my life for her love life.
Shout out to Queenie for allowing me to be my weird self and together we become one blob of weird.
TV series: Brooklyn-99
Book: The Giving Tree
Drink: Bubble tea
Food: French fries or Cheetos
Type of cuisine: Japanese
Subject at school: Does lunch time count?
Country that you’ve visited: Japan
Instagram accounts: @sophiaduyen
It takes someone truly bold and brave to admit that your favourite Instagram account is your own and that is why I love Sophia.
Follow her on her travels, food adventures and marvel at how one bright mind could come up with so many great captions…