Hi! I am a Chinese American born in South America and grew up in Columbus Georgia. My parents immigrated to America when I was a baby. I spent the first 10 years of my life in Georgia with my parents and three siblings. We moved to Orlando, Florida when I was 11 years old. My father became ill and passed away shortly after and my mom and my older sister raised us. My parents started the very first Chinese Dim Sum restaurant in Orlando, ” Trey Yuen Chinese Restaurant” and when my father was no longer with us, my mom put on both the mom pants and the dad pants and in my eyes she became a superhero for the next 20 yrs. She worked 12 hour days 7 days a week year after year and my sister who was only 6 years older than I was, made sure we kept up with our school work. My entire family ate, worked, lived around the family business and I have been a “restaurant kid” most of my life. From sitting in the back of the restaurant doing homework to working the register and packing orders. We did this until my mom retired. To this day, I have always had the hustle mentality as my parents did. That hustle, hard work, get it done mentality is what I lead with every day of my life and I am proud to be a part of College Park and coming from a family business, I’ve been blessed to find my way to another special place in which I consider also part of my family. I’m proud to be a part of Monarch Learning Academy in College Park.
Q: Please tell us a little bit about your family.
I am married to the most awesome person, Ben Duen, who is also my bff and we have been blessed with two amazing teen kids.
Q: Please tell us about your current, past, or future career. What do you love most about what you do?
I am an educator at Monarch Learning Academy. I love seeing our students and families every day. My work family is very important to me as well. I feel like we all have the “work it like you own it” mentality. It is my home away from home.
Q: What are a couple of your favorite restaurants in our community?
Tornatore’s is awesome for many reasons, but I must point out they are always super nice to my teens who run down to get a slice of pizza or a snack. China College Park (Hot and Sour soup!) and Meditereanean Deli (Hello my friend!)
Q: How long have you lived or worked in our community?
I have been a College Park resident for 13 years, three different streets.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
Most of my family resides in Orlando, so I think I would travel to the future where we could have gatherings again.
Q: What is one of your favorite movies? TV shows?
Law and Order SVU-I secretly cry and blame it on allergies when anything happens to Captain and Commanding Officer, Olivia Benson.
Q: What advice would you give to people?
NEVER be afraid to ask questions.
Q: What is something on your bucket list?
All my life, I dreamed of winning a costume contest, dressed like Prince from Purple Rain, but I achieved that last year thanks to the Community Paper, and can’t imagine achieving a bigger dream. Bucket list complete.
Q: What is your go to band when you cant decide what to listen to?
Most friends know I can sing all lyrics to 90’s hip hop, but Bruce Hornsby and the Range are my go to while cooking in the kitchen.
Q: What current or former local business makes you the most nostalgic about our community?
I kinda think the vacuum repair store is pretty cool and I have always wanted to check out the driftwood store. Maybe I should add that to my bucket list.
Q: If you could choose anyone that is alive today and not a relative; with whom would you love to have lunch? Why? And where locally would y’all meet for this lunch?
I would have lunch with Dave Chapelle, invite the besties; Truyen Van and Lindsay Chamberlin. We would have to get take out from the Tap Room and Tornatore’s because we would probably get kicked out for being too loud.
Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about our community?
I LOVE going to CVS and Publix. That would be like my version of Cheers, where everybody knows your name. I love chatting with everyone that works there.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years?
I am so happy right where I am. I hope to continue to learn and educate. If we know better, we can do better.
Q: (Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
I speak Hakka. A dialect of Chinese that is soon to be extinct, therefore I brag about it.
Q: What is the most beautiful place you have ever been?
Niagara Falls is breathtaking.
Q: Favorite month? favorite holiday? and best single day on the calendar?
October is awesome. Chinese New Year is amazing. October 8 is the best day ever. The day I married my Ben.
Q: What would you rate a 10 out of 10?
Michael from Christos!
Q: Who inspires you to be better?
Marguerite McNeill. I notice I do channel my “inner Marguerite” before I make decisions some times. She is always so kind, patient, and full of good intentions.
Q: What is one or two of your favorite smells?
I love the smell of Cinnamon. I also love the smell of Chinese food.
Q: Finally, what 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
Family, love, laughter