Elisa Lam was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on April 30th of 1991. Prior to taking her last trip to the United States in January of 2013, she lived with her parents – David and Yinna Lam. Elisa had one sister named Sarah. The two shared a common interest in fashion.
Elisa’s parents immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong. They owned and operated Paul’s Restaurant in Burnaby. The restaurant specialized in home style Canadian and Chinese food.
Elisa had many interests, including blogging, reading, psychology, comedy, movies, traveling, gaming, and spending time with those she felt closest too. Some of her favorite shows included the Daily Show, the Colbert Report, and Downton Abbey – just to name a few. She really liked the movie Drive directed by Nicholas Winding Refn. One of her favorite books was The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Elisa had an ongoing tendency to retreat into herself when she felt sad, anxious, or afraid. When she did manage to spend quality time with others the interactions often left her feeling optimistic and positive about the future. There were exceptions to this, but for the most part Elisa did genuinely want to connect with people around her.
Though she was not enrolled in classes at the time of her death, Elisa had previously been attending the University of British Columbia. She was not registered for classes when she traveled to California in 2013. At the time of her death, Elisa was trying to figure out what to do with her life. She was at a standstill and struggling with depression.
In high school, Elisa excelled academically. This was a source of anxiety for her once she began attending university because she had become accustomed to holding herself to a high standard. She often compared her progress with that of her peers, and over time became concerned that she was falling too far behind them. She seemed uncertain about what she wanted to do with her life as far as a long-term career, and this may have contributed to the difficulty she experienced when trying to keep up with classes through attendance and the completion of coursework. Even though she seemed to lack certainty in this area of her life, she frequently expressed a strong desire to figure out what to do with her life and find her place in the world.
Before she died, Elisa recorded many of her thoughts and feelings on her blogspot and tumblr pages. Her writing reflects her contemplative, and often witty, personality. Elisa was a self-described introvert. She loved to observe other people and dig below the surface of people and situations to find deeper truths about the world around her. She valued authenticity in herself and in others, but found it hard to find people that shared her strong desire to move beyond superficial relationships. She wanted to truly understand others and also be understood in return.
On some of her social media sites, where it was possible for her to post her thoughts, feelings, and interests anonymously, Elisa was candid about the ups and downs she experienced on a day-to-day basis. This honesty is something that has drawn a lot of people going through similar difficulties to her story.
Because of some of the bizarre details of her disappearance and death, it has been easy for many to lose site of the fact that Elisa was a living and breathing person. Her life was, and still remains, similar in many ways to the lives of countless other young adults. While Elisa’s disappearance and death are intriguing due to being shrouded in mystery, it was her life that held the most meaning. This is one of many reasons why it is important to get to the bottom of what happened to her.