Chinese Near Year is a special time for many Chinese American families across the United States. In San Diego, there are a number of Lunar New Year celebrations to mark the year of the rooster. Our host community reflects the diversity of our country and in San Diego, that is no exception.
In honor of Chinese New Year, we’d like to share two stories of Chinese American hosts who live, work, and host in San Diego.
Thuy is an Airbnb host and business owner in North Park. She owns Yog-art, a local staple that is well known for its ice cream, frozen yogurt, bubble tea, juice bar, and smoothies. She was born in China and moved to the United States in 1994, where she attended San Diego State University and the University of Phoenix. For Thuy, her dream was always to be her own boss someday.
That dream became a reality ten years ago, when she opened her own small business in San Diego. Six years after that, she began hosting on Airbnb. As a host, Thuy welcomes guests from all over the world and takes great pride in helping people feel at home. She celebrated Chinese New Year with her 8-week-old daughter – a celebration she hails as “a kind of Christmas and New Year’s hybrid.”
Teresa is an Airbnb host from the El Cerrito neighborhood who has been living in San Diego for the past 30 years. She arrived from Hong Kong in 1973 and has been hosting for the past two years. She enjoys opening up her home because she, “makes new friends and it helps me pay my bills.” Teresa uses the extra income she earns on Airbnb to pay her bills, buy food, and purchase things that will make her guests feel more comfortable. “It makes guests feel fantastic,” she says. Many of her guests are students from Taiwan, Singapore, and China who are studying or visiting San Diego State University. Her dedication to her guests is what has led them to affectionately call her their “Chinese grandmother.” “I like to meet new people and take care of them,” Teresa says.
Teresa celebrated Chinese New Year with her family, and cooked lots of food. It’s a special time of the year for her, and she enjoys throwing a big party with good friends. One of her favorite traditions is gifting red envelopes with money to relatives which symbolizes good fortune for the year.