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Dear America Wiki

"An Unexpected Gift" is the eighth short story included in A Season for Miracles from Dear Canada. The story was written by Gillian Chan and follows Chin Mei-ling from Chan's An Ocean Apart. It was translated into French under the title, "Un cadeau inattendu."


"Having done her best to reunite her family—her father in Vancouver, her mother and brother in China—Mei turns her attention to her studies, and the hope that she will one day become a doctor."


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See also: List of An Ocean Apart characters


  • Chin Mei-ling was Chung-yun's daughter. Her plan was to attend the University of Toronto in order to become a doctor. In December 1926, she visited Miss MacDonald's family in Toronto. There she became friends with her nephew, Robbie.


  • Agnes[1] MacDonald was Mei-ling's mentor. In December 1926, she brought Mei-ling to spend Christmas with her family in Toronto. Afterwards, she arranged an interview with the Missionary Society for Mei-ling to get a scholarship to the University of Toronto.
  • Helen MacDonald was Miss MacDonald's niece who attended Havergal College. She was often inconsiderate, such as when she joked about Mei-ling and Robbie looking like a "courting couple."
  • Mr. MacDonald was Miss MacDonald's older brother. He inherited the family business in Toronto, where he lived with his wife and two children. When Helen joked about Robbie and Mei-ling, Mr. MacDonald sent him away so he would not form an "unsuitable attachment."
  • Robert "Robbie" MacDonald was a student at the University of Toronto. He was under pressure from his father to take over the family business, but Robbie wanted to become a minister. In December 1926, he befriended Mei-ling when she came with his aunt to visit.


  • Chin Chung-yun was Mei-ling's father who gave her permission to go to Toronto with Miss MacDonald.
  • Mrs. Overfield, a woman at the MacDonalds' party who mistook Mei-ling for a servant.


  1. A Season for Miracles, "An Unexpected Gift", page 164

See also[]