Wednesday, July 05, 2006

yeah, but why TAIWAN? (part 5) If you wanna know why I live in Taiwan, this post tells you the answer. The post below is the fifth installment of a multi-post series. It is a chronologic al story of why I live in Taiwan (as opposed to any other "foreign country"), so if you would like to start at the beginning of the story, you can start with part one. Let's see, to recap, so far I have talked about my first trip to Taiwan in 1997, about how God helped me to fall in love with the Taiwanese culture, how I kept returning to Asia, and about my year as an exchange student in 1999 and 2000. When I got back to America after spending a year overseas, I had MAJOR reverse culture shock. It was even worse than culture shock because no one had told me to expect it, so I was totally unpreapared for it. I didn't know what I was experiencing, but I knew something was not right. Thankfully, my Heavenly Father knew. He provided two people to help me get through it. One was a former missionary who I met for coffee one afternoon. I don't even know now how we were introduced, but I will never forget that afternoon of talking and crying through my emotions with someone who understood and could give good godly advice and wisdom. One of the things she told me that stuck with me for a long time was "it is good sign that you are having trouble adjusting back here because that means, first, that you felt at home in your host culture, and, second, that you will want to and can go back." The other person who helped me was my best friend--a Taiwanese young woman studying in America. I met her in America, then went to Taiwan to study abroad, and then came back to America and lived with her as my roommate. One day--after she built up her bravery--she confronted me. Basically she said, "Amanda, I don't understand you these days. You are so fake. Around Americans you act so American, but around us Taiwanese you act so Taiwanese. What is going on? Why do you act this way?" Although I could have taken what she said has a huge insult, we had a long girlfriend talk, and it helped me to better understood what was happening to me. I explained to my best friend that I was not being fake; that I had adopted Taiwanese mannerisms and ways of talking because I identified with my friends and roommates in Taiwan. That I was struggling to define who I was--which I know describe as a milkshake or fruit slushie. After living overseas for a year and the struggle with living in America upon first returning, I knew I was to live overseas for a long time. So, I refused to allow myself to readjust to American culture 100%. I fought hard to keep from going into further debt by buying a...

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