Meng Zhao says she has realized her dream by launching the first Chinese-English magazine in Atlantic Canada.
Zhao said she first got the idea when she started working in media a few years ago.
"Why hasn't there been a newspaper or newsletter or anything in the Chinese community?'"
She said her idea got a lot of positive feedback right away, but admits it was a challenge getting the ball rolling solo.
"Whenever I approached people with this idea, they would be like ‘Yeah, that's a good idea,' but it's very hard to get something like that started because everyone has full-time jobs and commitments," she said.
"I didn't think I would be giving up my full-time job to start this, I originally saw it more as a side-project."
That started to change in October last year, as more people said it would be great to have a magazine focused on the Chinese community. She decided to go for it.
"I was afraid, I was nervous, it was a painful process for me to decide, Ok I want to do this," she said.
The magazine officially launched March 6 at the Keshen-Goodman Library in Clayton Park.
The first issue focuses on careers, in particular opportunities for recent graduates.
Zhao said the initial reaction was overwhelmingly positive, but she noted there are still lots of things she wants to accomplish for future issues.
Currently the magazine is only available in the HRM, but Zhao said she is planning to quickly expand across Nova Scotia and eventually bring the magazine to New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
The word Dakai means ‘to open,' it's meant as a invitation to everyone to learn about the Chinese community.
"It makes me very proud," Zhao said with a smile. "Not just of myself, it's my whole team and of our community. Working with all of these talented individuals. I'm very happy to see that people, even outside of the Chinese community are interested in a cross-cultural exchange and understanding."
"And holding the magazine in my hands, I feel responsibility, we need to improve," she said. "Now that we have positive feedback from our readers and people supporting us, we need to work even harder."
The next issue of Dakai Maritimes is slated to be out in June.