Throwback: 5 Posts From the Past

Camera 360Dealing With Anxiety Abroad

 Panic Attack 01: I’m crossing the road when a sense of dread comes over me. I feel my heart beating faster and faster. My knees weakening. People passing all around me. My ears ringing. I see the bus and for a split second I imagine myself stepping right in front of it. My thoughts are irrational. I know this. It’s not that I want to commit suicide. I do want to live. I become so overwhelmed where I will be seeing myself in the third person not realizing this is really me. I’m really here. I pinch myself. I take a deep breath. Sometimes it works while other times I rush back home. Sometimes, though, I don’t have that luxury to return home so I hold my breath till I return to my studio apartment and I simply throw up. The entire day I felt like a fish on land.
Panic Attack 02: I’m standing on the platform waiting for the train. I’m restless. I know either somebody is going to push me or I accidentally fall onto the tracks. I’m breathing heavily. I’m shaking something awful. Once I step in the train just as the doors open, I collapse onto the seat (if I can get a seat).
Panic Attack 03: I’m sitting in the cab heading towards the airport. Did I leave my Resident card (I have one for Taiwan)? Did I leave my passport? Will they even accept it? I either keep checking my pockets nonstop or look into my purse thinking the outcome might change. My phone? Where is my phone? I’m tired. I’m terribly tired. I will probably get on the wrong plane. Will I even find the gate? I’m not dizzy due to car sickness but rather my mind is spinning like a tornado in the scenes of the Wizard of Oz.

artAlone Doesn’t Have to Mean Lonely

Despite I’m introvert, it doesn’t mean I am anti-social. I may often find small talk irritable, it sometimes kind of nice to talk to a stranger every once in a while. For an example, a nice elderly man was held the elevator door for me to get inside. I quickly said thank you, pushing the button of the floor I’m going to. He looked over at me, “Do you speak Mandarin?” I replied, “A little bit.” “Ah,” he said while he was trying to get his dog into the bag. I looked down at his dog, “I think your dog is very cute.” His smile grew big, “Thank you!” He stepped out of the elevator smiling and so did I.
Besides, I realize strangers find it easier to approach you when you’re alone. I’ve had some of the most interesting talks when I’m solo.

10 Reasons Why I Like Shanghai

I left Shanghai in August of 2015, and my life haven’t been the same since. To basically sum up how I feel about being back in the States: “Leaving the States is like losing your seniority from this big company and you learn to adapt to other companies only to realize you like what you see, learn the tricks of the trade and due to this, you’re no longer the same. When you return to the big company, you can’t adapt and you wind up feeling more foreign than when you lived abroad.”

Camera 360My Shanghai State of Mind

Sure, being a foreigner is a muddy thing at times. I start to see a different perspective and adapt to different norms. While I may be changing, back at my birth country somehow remains the same –  it’s as if time stood still.  People back home somehow don’t ever really get it and still ask me when I plan on moving back from a supposed extremely over-extended vacation. I thought I would only be here a short period of time and before I know it, two years has already passed. It’s as if somebody put a cloth over my head and I witness this really neat trick I cannot explain. I realize that while I will always be a foreigner here, it becomes home away from home – if not more home than home.

img_20130408_103454Guest Post: What Is It Like Being A Taiwanese in China?

When I visited China for the very first time, the very first uncomfortable situation I encountered was at the airport. When I was going through the airport immigration, there were 2 lines for me to choose, one for foreign nationals, the other for Chinese nationals. For a person who was born and raised in Taiwan and lived in the United States for almost 20 years, my first instinct was going towards the line for the foreign nationals, but shockingly, the police was yelling “Visitors from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan should go to the line for Chinese nationals.” I was like, what?! I am a Chinese now even though I had never set a foot on Chinese soil before?!

I Wouldn’t Change My Marriage for the World

Aimer, ce n’est pas se regarder l’un l’autre, c’est regarder ensemble dans la même direction. Translation: Love does not consist in looking at each other, but rather in, together, looking in the same direction. (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry)

Dawen is enjoying his travelling life.

Dawen and I will be celebrating 8 years of marriage this Friday. On our wedding day, we had a rather casual and intimate ceremony in Key West. Dawen’s younger brother and mother were our only guests. We said our vows in a rather small, cute church (for my mother-in-law). It was the least I can do for her. We both decided we wanted to spend our money on travelling, anyway.

How did we meet? Dawen and I met online out of all places; he typed me a genuine message on a social networking website we all have forgotten. I responded back not realizing I was typing to my future husband. Life is funny like that. Well, there are parts in our life that wasn’t so…funny.

When we first started dating, a certain person in my family called my husband accusing him of using me to get a green card, which there is all kinds of wrong with this. For starters, just because he is Asian – it doesn’t mean he couldn’t possibly be an American. It’s racist thinking. He has been in the States for the past 15 years before he met me – talk about a long pause in trying to use somebody for a green card.  I have almost forgotten about this, but my husband reminded me of that incident. He was at work and he almost got fired for the harassment he didn’t deserve. At all.

The reason why I decided to mention this it’s because while I tend to be really positive about what I share on my blog – it doesn’t mean everything is peaches and cream. I also should be honest with the barriers that my husband I go through when it comes to interracial marriage, as well. Who knows, maybe somebody who is reading this is also in an interracial marriage has gone through something similar what we went through.

We had some judgmental people try to tell us that what we have is wrong. I can’t count how many ugly, death stares I have gotten from white men. There was an incident where the waitress refused to serve us at a restaurant in the Keys. The people around us looked at us as if we were clowns in their circus.

Sometimes Dawen and I even sit through the most awkward conversations. I remember a Taiwanese man asked me if I had a thing for Asian men. I simply said, “I like….men.” He quickly said, “So, it doesn’t matter whether he is Asian or not …” I interrupted, “Exactly. I like…men.” My husband could have easily been with a Taiwanese woman. It just didn’t happen. Honestly though, I refuse to be with a man who has mommy issues. Anybody who puts down his own people has some issues I don’t want to be mine. Those issues….has to stay out of my life. Period.

I have  a father and  a brother who are Western men. It would be silly to go crazy and talk ill of them. The common sense would be….lacking. It just doesn’t make any sense to me. So yes, we do have the craziest things thrown at us, but in the end – it’s their mess and not ours.

MIL and I

The thing is, I wouldn’t change our marriage for the world. The longer Dawen and I are together, the more it becomes the honeymoon stage. Our marriage is like in reverse. It was tougher in the beginning but the more we learn from each other’s background, the more understanding we become. Mutual respect is so important.

Now I have a second home in Taiwan, an amazing mother-in-law who is supportive of me – anybody who ever said to me that I would have a tough life by being in an interracial marriage can take a shit on that! Life may be tough, but I have so many great memories with my husband I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Now excuse me, I’m packing. Dawen and I will be celebrating our marriage in Taipei. I will be making sure to eat my stinky tofu.

My Shanghai State of Mind

ww1  I have met people who didn’t stay for long but left an imprint in my heart. I learn more of myself through that person. What I want, who I am as a person.

  Over two years ago I arrived in Shanghai from Taipei. At first I stayed at the Hostel near the Bund before I moved to my studio apartment where I stayed for over a year. I’ve bumped into interesting characters. When I went to the computer room for the free WiFi, I saw an aspiring musician strumming his guitar to practice singing his songs. I kind of liked his beat. I thought about exchanging emails to discuss writing lyrics together, but my shyness (scratch that, anxiety overshadowed my opportunity – I even shared how I deal with my anxiety: Dealing with Anxiety Abroad). Who knows, he’d probably stare back at me as if I have multiple heads.  Continue reading “My Shanghai State of Mind”

Photo Friday: Transition

2015-03-28-13-53-52_decoI took this picture the first week I moved back to Shanghai from New Taipei. I was heading to the old neighborhood I lived in 2013, and I decided to take a picture on my way there. It was one of those rare days where I didn’t have a single panic attack – I felt like I was smiling with the whole world.

Alone Doesn’t Have to Mean Lonely

I’m not the first in my family to live abroad. I recently found out that my Great Aunt almost went to Taiwan. Who knew? She almost went to the beautiful island I now call my second home. Not only that, my dad lived in Germany when it was East/West and he talks about how he misses his life there to do this day. The last time I talked to my brother on the phone, he told me our dad was watching the Bourne Trilogy to see Germany in the background.

It got me thinking, you know? This will one day be me. I can imagine myself watching movies simply for the scenes that were shot either in Shanghai or Taiwan. I don’t mean to be melancholy (or a better word for it would be sentimental).

Jpeg2015-04-01-15-58-05_deco2015-04-01-15-53-07_decoExplore the neighborhood

For starters, I went to my local park to see the beautiful flowers. It honestly felt kind of nice to be able to see what’s around my neighborhood. I at least can explore at my own pace. I really needed to get out for a while, honestly. Continue reading “Alone Doesn’t Have to Mean Lonely”