Yvonne and Scott Chiao and their daughter, Lynn Chiao, were bonding over a rosebush at about 8 p.m. one record-hot summer day in Santa Clara.
They were clustered together outside the garage of their home, where they had just dug a hole and lowered the rosebush into it. Scott and Lynn were patting soil around it. Yvonne was checking their progress.
“Working in the yard — if you do it with your daughter and husband, it’s a family activity, especially during quarantine,” said Yvonne. “With family together, we feel happy.”
More family togetherness is ahead for the Chiaos as six more rosebushes were lined up in front of the house awaiting planting on another day.
Yvonne pointed out that roses bloom several times throughout the year and are easy to grow in the Bay Area because they like full sun. She values more than beauty in a rose, preferring ones that are fragrant.
The conversation turned from the virtues of roses to the virtues of the neighborhood.
“My parents were looking for a home to retire in, close to a good hospital,” said Lynn. “This neighborhood is very quiet. I could see my parents growing old here.”
Yvonne, who was born in Taiwan, came to the U.S. on a student visa in 1982. She did undergraduate studies in Missouri. Then she earned a Master’s Degree in Computer Science at San Jose State University.
She met Scott, also Taiwanese, at a party in California, and they married in 1990. The family lived in San Jose, Cupertino and Sunnyvale before landing in Santa Clara in 2014.
“The longer we’ve lived here, I saw how friendly everyone is. We have each other’s back,” said Lynn. “It feels like a community.”
“The neighborhood is multi-cultural,” added Yvonne Chiao. “Everyone always smiles and says, ‘Hi.’ That’s why we like our Santa Clara neighborhood.”
Scott, who had been cooling off on the front porch after his planting endeavors, approached, nodding his head in agreement.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor is a column where we casually interview people we meet in Santa Clara. The column hopes to highlight what makes Santa Clara special — the people who live, work and play here.