To hear my mom tell her story, however, it is filled with excitement and hope. She is an optimist, and despite the difficulties of leaving her sisters and home country, she was able to build a close-knit community of friends…
What did you learn from your mother about being Taiwanese? 妳從妳母親那兒學到甚麼是一個台灣人?)
Hospitality. There is a certain warmth that my mom has to almost everyone she meets. She welcomes all people into her life, including most of my friends! She is naturally curious about who my friends are and knows many of them by name. She is able to create community through simple informal dinners and even just by carpooling. I didn’t realize this was an inherently Taiwanese trait — generous and unexpected hospitality — until visiting Taiwan and meeting my extended family and their neighbors and even street vendors and farmers in the countryside!
What is the most important thing you have learned from your mother? (妳從母親／女兒學到的最重要的是甚麼?)
Hope. My mother emigrated to the U.S. with my father when she was 24. She had never been to any other country before. She first worked as a bank teller in Arcadia in Los Angeles in 1978. My parents had very little savings and almost no belongings between them. To hear my mom tell her story, however, it is filled with excitement and hope. She is an optimist, and despite the difficulties of leaving her sisters and home country, she was able to build a close-knit community of friends in New York over the years. When I think about the things I’m going through (finding a job, financially supporting myself, etc.), I think about my mother and how she was able to be excited about the future and not constantly worried about how things will turn out. I hope to possess that calmness and hope about the future.
As time has gone on, how has your relationship with your mother changed? (隨著年歲的增長，妳們母女關係有怎麼樣的變化?)
Last September, my mother and I went on a trip to Ireland. We spent a week driving through the major cities and also experiencing the rugged landscape of the north and west. As I reach 30, I really want to understand how my mom’s move from Taiwan to the U.S. has shaped her personality. The conversations we are able to have now can address those issues with a depth and also understanding I didn’t have had in my early 20’s. The fun we are able to have together— driving on the right side of the road, drinking Guinness and listening to folk music in a pub— is also not forced and the kind of fun you’d have between two friends who have grown up together.