Some common questions I get asked by taxi drivers in Taiwan are:
Q1: Why do you speak Mandarin?
A: I studied Chinese and international business for four years. I made that decision to study the language completely on a whim and I haven’t looked back since.
Q2: Why do you have a Beijing twang in your accent?
A: When I studied Mandarin, my interaction with native speakers was mostly with Beijingers. Eventually, in third-year, I studied in Minzu University, Beijing. I have been in Taiwan for two years and I still have the twang and it won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.
When I was apartment hunting in mid-2017, I was told by a leaseholder, in Taipei, that my Beijing twang was part of the reason why I didn’t give a good impression. I could never tell if I should be upset, or proud that I have an accent.
Q3: Where do you come from?
A: I’m Irish, from Belfast, but grew up in a village in Kildare. If any of that makes sense to you, congratulations.
Q4: Why did you decide to come to Taiwan?
A: I wanted to leave Ireland because I wasn’t happy with the opportunities at hand. It is very common for young Irish people to emigrate abroad and I am no exception.
My knowledge of Taiwan was not as basic as most people who usually come to this beautiful island. This was partly because my university lecturer on Chinese history included history, culture, cinema and arts from China, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, New York and other places.
From Taiwanese cinema to history, I had a really good base for understanding Taiwan before I came here.
However, none of that mattered until I arrived and found not characters from a movie I seen or figures from historical documentaries, but a place that I could call home.
Q5: Do you like Taiwan?
A: Yes. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t.
If you want to contact me, you can do so below. For business or for pleasure, I don’t really mind.