At it again

It may be hard to start anew, but we often forget the lessons of the past and are thus allowed to move forward with more rewarding mistakes. I am "at it again" writing this blog, which begins in in December because I accidently erased it. I am "at it again" living abroad because I I erased from my memory the continous miscommunication and confusion of it. Luckly you can sit back in the comforts of your native language and culture and enjoy my adventures, hopefully with a laugh or snicker.

Monday, June 19, 2006

About home

The past two weeks we have had 2 American born Taiwanese in our 5th grade classes. Their mother graduated from our school and since they are here on summer vacation she thought they could get a taste of Taiwanese school and I guess maybe make some friends. They obviously speak fluent English, so my class should be a bit of a joke, but the boy even took the final exam today and helped me grade. He also wrote the extra credit, four sentences using sound, taste, smell and feel.
Here's what he wrote:
In America, the trash trucks don't make sounds to tell you that it has come.
Taiwan's food always tastes better than American food.
America smells better than Taiwan though.
Taiwan feels more like home.

In my last week teaching here, this toughed me deeply. Maybe it's because all the other sentences were "the CD sounds bad," but I think there is a lot of sentiment here. He is making keen observations and that he comes to the conclusion that Taiwan feels more like home is dramatic. I have a hard time imagining what it must be like to have such a connection to a country other than to one you grew up in. Obviously he is also Taiwanese and therein lies the difference. However it is that difference that strikes me, one I know I'll never be privy to, but that I have seen not only in this student, but in fellow Fulbrighters who have family here. I can't imagine having a connection of that sort to Russia or Germany or anywhere my family came from quite some time ago. But if I were to raise children abroad, how would they feel about America? Would they have the duality I've seen? And is a duality like that what you really want to have, can it only be had comfortably in America, where you can be both outside the cultural status quo (an immigrant's child perhaps) and still be culturally American.