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Lichun Stopera's Jiaozi

“She was the most beautiful person in the room, both in her personality and her physical beauty. She’d laugh at anyone’s jokes and make you feel seen and special, and heard. She was an amazing person.”

Ryan Stopera’s family lost Ryan’s sister Jessica to addiction 19 years ago. But the aperture she left behind is still fresh. Perhaps it will never close. But the family has a way around— or possibly through— the void.

Stopera, filmmaker, social worker, community organizer, cafe owner, is stoic, soft spoken, generous, warm. You can practically feel the still waters running deep through his veins.

If he has an opposite, it’s his mom Lichun– a marvelous spitfire, direct to the point of cutting, which could sting if it weren’t for the sly twinkle in her eye. Petite in frame, massive charisma. 

“I’m never doing this again! This is only for my son or I would never be doing this!”

This, making the family’s handmade jiaozi, Chinese dumplings, for a group of strangers at a dinner party. 

Ryan smirks with quiet bemusement as his mom runs the show. 

“I’d much rather have her than a basic mom.” 


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