LYONS BROOK — A Pictou resident’s life journey is about to change.
Li Ping Zhang, who is completing her fifth year cooking at Piper’s Landing Restaurant, worked her last shift in the kitchen on Saturday and is scheduled to begin medical lab technician studies on Tuesday at the Nova Scotia Community College’s campus in Dartmouth.
“It was my dream; now the dream has come true,” she said, regarding the medical profession. “I always wanted to be a nurse, to help people. That’s what I really want to do. It’s my future.”
Zhang said she hopes to eventually incorporate traditional medicine into her skill set.
She plans to reside in Dartmouth during the school year while her family remains in Pictou. Her daughter attends MacCulloch Education Centre.
She is from China and came to B.C. 12 years ago. She arrived in Pictou County seven years ago and prepared fast food at different places before becoming employed at Piper’s Landing five years ago.
She is among four kitchen staff members who work at the restaurant.
“I had no cooking course,” she said. “I just started coming here and learning it. I learned a lot.”
Zhang said she values what she has learned from co-owners Matt and Brenda Vohs.
“It has been a good working environment,” she said. “You want to work happy and come home happy. Brenda and Matt are so nice, really good people. Matt is 83 years old and still working. Young people should look at him.”
Brenda Vohs lauded Zhang’s work ethic and how willing she was to apply what she learned..
“She was fun to be around, but she was very serious about what she was doing, very creative,” she said. “She was so resourceful with the information we gave her. She was happy in the job, happy to learn.”
Zhang does not rule out working at the restaurant next year after completing the first year of the three-year course, “if they need me.”
“I like it here,” she said. “I really like it here.”