“We were children like other children. There is a story of my sister and I walking along the street with our parents. We pointed out at someone and said “look, a foreigner!” We were not aware that we were foreigners ourselves, because we were so used to it! We were lucky to live a smaller place in Taiwan and our parents knew a lot of people, so we were invited to events like weddings. We would go to places up in the mountain, and at farms, where we were invited to eat with a lot of local people. There was always gathering of people and nice food. For me, one good thing from living in Taiwan is that the culture is very lively. There were night markets in the small town where we lived. There were many festivals. There was always a lot stuff on the street, and people everywhere. There was of course the Chinese New Year, the Mooncake Festival, the Lamp Festival where children carry their lamps with candles in them. There were the temple festivals where there would be processions on the street and someone dancing with a dragon head and people with drums. I think all of that are very exciting and was very happening for children. Even though I was shy as a child, I enjoyed being in a culture where there is always something going on. So I think very fondly of that growing up. Compared to Norway, in Taiwan there was more of a big family feeling. People would not at all live by themselves. Where we lived, which was a farm area, it would be very natural for several generations to live together. There would be grandparents, children, aunts and uncle looking after each other. I know that has changed now since we left, but it was the way it used to be.
I came back to Norway when I was 15, then I did not think too much of Taiwan, but instead I was trying hard to fit in the Norwegian society. It was not until when I travelled to China eight years after, and was able to speak Chinese with a good accent – that was when I realized I still have some of it in me. But I did not have a big vocabulary, so I did not really understand all that much after all! Apart from the language, I think growing up in Taiwan impacted me in the way that, it made me more open-minded. If I have a party or dinner, I am open to people bringing along someone. Whatever happens, comes along! I am more spontaneous. I like travelling, I have friends from different places in the world. I think when you have lived somewhere else, you have seen people living different ways and they have different value structures, and ways societies function, you become more open to new ideas. In the job I have now, I have taken interest in patients who have foreign backgrounds. I think maybe it is easier for me to relate. I am more interested in the stories they have to tell. Sometimes people from different backgrounds has different stories, which you need to be a bit flexible to understand where they come from.”
The interview series is a project to explore the lives of individuals living in the intersection of the Chinese and Norwegian cultures, to show the similarities and contrasts, expectations and surprises, and the possibilities of synergy between the two cultures, experienced by individuals, one story at a time. 人物访问系列 以活生生的个人故事，探讨生活在中挪两个文化之间的人物，面对当中的协调与矛盾、期望与惊喜，以至互相补足提升的可能。